Cohort Pic(k) of the Day: 1948 REO Speedwagon – Speed Is Relative

William Oliver found a splendid example of one of my favorite trucks. I found one some ten years ago, and the full write-up is here, but this one has a fab two-tone paint job, in colors that rather scream “1948”. These are big heavy-duty pickups; more like medium trucks with a pickup bed, and it sits tall and proud.

I won’t do the full story here, but REO stands for Ransom E. Olds, the father of the Oldsmobile. REO was his second act, but it didn’t go as well as the first, which is not uncommon.

REO claimed that they first used the term “Speed Wagon” in 1915, which referred to lighter trucks with pneumatic tires that allowed significantly higher speeds than the lumbering early trucks with their solid rubber tires. “Higher speeds” was maybe around 25-30 mph, compared to 10-15. It became a generic name for some time, as presumably Reo didn’t have a trademark on it. But only Reo put it on their trucks, as far as I know.

Under the “alligator hood”, which flips up in one piece, sits a Gold Crown 245 Cubic inch (4 liter) side-valve six, rated at 89 hp @3100 rpm. Top speed: probably around 45-50, in part because of the low axle gearing. “Speed” is a relative term.

Ask me which of these two trucks I’d take if I was offered either one.


Related CC reading:
Curbside Classic: 1949 REO Speedwagon Pickup Truck – The Hunting Trophy