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R.E. Olds family establishes award

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The Classic Auto Show & Cruise-In of Dublin, Ohio, a major fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation of Central Ohio, recently announced that the family of Ransom E. Olds, the early automotive pioneer who created the Oldsmobile and REO Companies, has established the R.E. Olds Family Award.

This award recognizes the Brass Era or Pre-War car that, in its day, offered a significant change in style, technology or marketing consistent with the ideals and accomplishments of R. E. Olds, an early automotive pioneer. The award will emphasize unique attributes of the car or manufacturer versus the quality of the restoration.

Ransom, or R.E. as he preferred to be called, was considered by his peers as the “Father of the American Automobile Industry.” His creative genius resulted in such innovations as the automobile assembly line, the first truck and the first foreign shipment of a vehicle. He was also a marketing genius who developed numerous unique events to publicize his automobiles. Olds was also the first manufacturer to work with steam and electric engines before settling on gas internal combustion engines. He held many patents that he willingly shared with his contemporaries.

Peter and Debbie Stephens of Dublin, Ohio, are sponsoring the award. Debbie is the great-granddaughter of R.E. Olds. “We have been attendees and shown cars at the Classic Auto Show for a number of years and feel it is the proper place for an award to honor R.E. Olds and his legacy,” said Peter Stephens.

My great-grandfather’s later years were spent in philanthropic causes and we know he would approve of our effort to raise money for arthritis research” added Debbie Stephens.

The Arthritis Foundation’s mission is to work to support those who have this dreaded disease and to help fund research to find a cure. Locally, the foundation is able to serve over 486,000 residents of Central Ohio in 25 counties, who struggle with more than 100 different types of arthritis. All proceeds from the car show are directed to arthritis research and support programs for people suffering from arthritis.

“We are honored to have this award at our show. This is the first time the Olds family has given out an award in the memory of R.E. Olds and his legacy. We are thrilled that the Stephens chose the Classic Auto Show as the place to present the award. We hope to significantly increase the number of Brass Era and Pre-War Cars at our show as a result,” said Jeffrey Brashares, chairman of the show.

Peter Stephens added, “We hope that by having more of these unusual and exceptional cars at the show, we can increase the number of people attending the Classic Car Show, which means we will raise more money for arthritis research.”

The 30th annual Classic Auto Show will be held in Dublin, Ohio, at the Metro Center on July 6-7. For more information, contact Michelle Thomas, Auto Show director, at 614-876-8200 ( or visit

For an indepth-look at pre-war cars, check out our Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942.

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