Your Father's Oldsmobile

In the 1903, the Olds Motor Works shipped the first car to bear the mark "Oldsmobile." Olds had, previously, built 11 different models powered by either gasoline or electricity for upscale automobile customers. In 1901, a fire destroyed the Olds factory, and the only vehicle saved was a low-cost, gasoline powered prototype. Two years later, the "Oldsmobile" shipped. Olds sold 12,500 of the curved dash buggys in the first year, for $650 apiece. (For comparison, competitor Buick sold 37 vehicles in 1904)

It was a very different time not unlike the computer industry of 1977. People had about as much use for a car as they did a 'computer.' Nothing was standardized and there was no service industry to speak of. No mechanics. No gas stations.

Sooo... 'in case something's wrong, here's how to fix it yourself.' The vehicle schematic in the owner's manual is your first warning.

Not that the Olds folks weren't helpful. Entirely the opposite. The manual is full of good advice and everything you need to know to maintain your "Oldsmobile," or at least as much everything as 24 pages allows. But exactly what was the owner expected to fix? Right about when you get to the picture of the piston, you realize it really isn't your father's Oldsmobile. Dad could pay someone else to fix his car.

Fortunately, "the entire mechanism requires attention only occasionally..."

Of course, operating your "Oldsmobile" is a lot easier if the battery's working. And that's a lot easier with this wiring diagram.

And some people can't be bothered to check the water level in their battery...

While it may seem daunting in our time, the new "Oldsmobile" owner was well equipped to turn his new self-propelled buggy into a useful tool, thanks to lots of helpful advice packed throughout the manual.

<--- Customer Service this, jerk!
Keep that in mind with your 275 horsepower Z-28 Camaro.

Hope you've got your pilot's license. --->

Nuts, so much for saving a few bucks at the pump.

<--- Whoops. What pump? Actually, we're still trying to figure out where people bought gas, though the line "common stove gasoline being preferred" is a little spooky.

In case you missed it, they're talking horse team. The "Oldsmobile" wasn't known for striking fear into the professional croquet circuit. --->
<--- That's number two, right after "Is it plugged in?"
Apparently the Olds staff caught a lot of Dragnet and Hawaii Five-Oh, at least enough to catch on that you never, ever confess. --->

O.O.S. (Olds Owner Syndrome) was diagnosed around 1902, concerning a severe lack of self-respect in the presence of other "Oldsmobile" owners.