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  • Writer's pictureDavid Story

What was the Olds Pirate?

Before the turn of the century, some visitors at Ormond hotel on Daytona Beach discussed the idea of an auto race on the beach. Alexander Winton, race car builder, and racer had already built and driven a race car called the Bullet. Ransom E. Olds was manufacturing small, two-seaters. Winton agreed to bring his car down and Olds said that he would build a suitable challenger. Olds named his car the Olds Pirate. The two cars met and had identical speeds of 57 mph. It was in the very early days of car racing and both had a great time but neither claimed victory.

Olds went on to start the Olds Motor Company in Detroit. He is credited as the first person to use a stationary assembly line in the automotive industry. Henry Ford came after him and was the first to use a moving assembly line to manufacture cars. This new approach to putting together automobiles enabled Olds to more than quintuple his factory's output, from 425 cars in 1901 to 2,500 in 1902. By 1903 he was the largest automobile manufacturer in the U.S.


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