Oldsmobile etymology: What does its name mean? Who is it named after?

Oldsmobile was once one of the most popular automotive brands in the US. Olds is now consigned to the pages of history, but where did its name come from?

Despite what it might seem like to outsides, Oldsmobile isn’t so named because it’s chasing after the grey hair demographic. Rather, Oldsmobile owes its name after its founder, Ransom E. Olds.

Founded in 1897 as the Olds Motor Vehicle Company, the Oldsmobile name started off as a colloquial name, but began being officially used in 1907 with the Curved Dash Oldsmobile. General Motors purchased Oldsmobile in 1908.

Ransom E. Olds left the company in 1904 and founded REO Motor Car Company, another company that took his name.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Oldsmobile was the third most popular brand in the States, but the brand fell into a heap in the late 80s, and was phased out in 2004.