29 April 2000
PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF LAWRENCE E. WARNER
1934 REO FLYING CLOUD CONVERTIBLE COUPE WITH RUMBLE SEAT
Chassis No. 4S 33621
Engine No. 4S 3331
Olive green over cream with piedmont green fenders and moulding, green leather interior
Engine: in-line six cylinder, 95hp; Gearbox: three-speed manual; Suspension: live axles front and rear with semi-elliptic leaf springs; Brakes: four wheel hydraulic drums. Left hand drive.
Ransom Eli Olds, like so many early car company founders, endured the rapid changes in the early motor industry. He was forced out of the Olds Motor Works in 1904 by its controlling stockholders who wanted to replace Olds' favorite curved dash. Founding the R.E. Olds Company the same year, Olds Motor Works objected as they owned the use of the Olds name, so Ransom used his initials, REO, neatly ending the objection and one-upping the owners of Olds. After developing a steadily-larger range of Reo models, in 1912 Olds withdrew from the company's active management. However he remained the controlling shareholder and continued to influence Reo's business and product policies.
In 1927 Reo was the first manufacturer to adopt Lockheed's hydraulic braking system, but like so many manufacturers of the period, Reo then looked up-market, introducing its top of the line Royale 8-cylinder luxury car in 1931, in the teeth of the Depression. By 1934 Reo's car division was on its uppers. Automobile production would cease only two years later as Reo concentrated on its truck lines.
The Reo Flying Cloud convertible offered here is nearly unique, one of only two 1934 Flying Cloud convertibles known to exist. It was purchased by the late Mr. Lawrence Warner in 1988 and, while the car had been a former show winner in the mid 1970s (National First Prize and Senior Winner in Antique Automobile Club of America events), he decided that the car should be restored again to meet the current high standards. It is also worth bearing in mind that in the late 1980s the car market was experiencing phenomenal price rises in all collectible car categories. For two years the car was subject to a no expense spared restoration; copies of the receipts are available for inspection and in the region of $80,000 was spent during this time.
This costly restoration did however reap dividends; in 1990 the car was awarded a Grand National First Prize award in AACA, the Reo was shown at Meadowbrook and also was awarded a Preservation Award at the Reo National meet. In 1992 at Burns Foundation Concours d'Elegance in Pennsylvania it received the Judges Award.
This Reo is truly quite exquisite and from the rear the car has a beautifully contoured tail. A folding luggage rack can also be used for carrying a trunk or picnic basket. There is an active Reo Owners' Club who organize events, newsletters and technical support. Late model Reos are renowned for their styling and build quality and this rare example has benefited from a concours winning restoration.
has benefited from a concours winning restoration.
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The series of 15 sales was led by two exceptional predella panels by artist Giovanni di Paolo