1948 REO Speed Wagon: Tougher Than The Band!

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When Ransom E Olds sold his company to General Motors, he agreed to not use his name on another company. He named his new company REO, for Ransom Eli Olds, building cars and trucks from 1905 to 1975. Mr. Olds was actually the first car manufacturer to use the assembly line, ahead of Ford. There’s no information on the history of this 1948 RIO Speedwagon. The body has said to be in good shape with very little rust. The owner has been working on reviving this truck for 2 years, mounting the REO body on a more modern truck, a 1991 Dodge. The owner has driven this 15,000 miles since completing it, so it must be somewhat sorted. There are numerous items to be completed like turn signals and glass. It’s for sale here on eBay with a BIN of $20,000.00 and bidding up to $5700 not meeting reserve. What use do you think the new owner will make of this truck? And what do you think would be a reasonable price?




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  1. rich

    I love this. If I were in the market for a truck I would snag this.

  2. Jordan

    Id love to see this guy get his 20k but sadly it doesn’t look like he will.As is always the case he has much more (twice?)as much as that in it.He has done some very nice work to this truck.Sorting out that diesel in an old gas truck is no small feat .Hes got the fit of the body looking pretty good and aced the tire fit in the wheel wells.
    Im working on a couple of old trucks that are not nearly as far along as this one.A 1937 D-2 International 1/2 ton and a 1947 Studebaker M5 1/2 ton.Its not likely that I will ever totally finish them to be honest but they are a lot of fun as hobbies.
    I would keep this truck if I were him and bring it all the way to what he had envisioned.It doesn’t deserve to be sold for a penny less than his reserve.

    Like 1
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi Jordan. I wouldn’t give up on those projects of yours. Both are worthy to be seen right through to the end. I have a ’38 D2 that’s in pretty rough shape too but I’m either too stubborn or too stupid to let it go. I’ve got (8) vehicles, (3) of which are drivers. The others are just in line with some getting closer to the finish line. I don’t intend to stop until I’m planted in the ground.

      I agree that this guy should just hang onto it and finish it off. Both he and the truck will be much happier for it.

  3. Howard A Member

    I’m sorry, but this is down right blasphemy. These are so rare, it should have been kept original. As a huge fan of older trucks, it pains me to see someone do this to such a rare truck.
    Many truck makers built extra heavy duty pickups. Mack, REO, Diamond T,( I owned a 1949 Diamond T 201 pickup for 25 years) Federal, all had trucks like this, but were not big sellers. A seller on Hemmings a few years ago claims, less than 200 REO pickups were made in 1948, of which, less than 20 are around today. I’m sure I’m not the only old truck enthusiast who feels this way.

    • The Walrus

      I am in your camp 99% of the time. I much prefer original over re-interpretation. That said, we have no indication of what was going on with this when the conversion was started. Perhaps all he had was the cab and bed. Perhaps, even though the body looks good, the frame was unsalvageable. Perhaps the engine was seized beyond repair or the transmission totally wasted.

      I’m sure, over time, there were people who saw an Auburn like the one featured yesterday and said ‘you know what, that’s something special’. While there are some who have viewed trucks that way, they are far fewer and farther between. Trucks are considered tools, used up and discarded when no longer useful. This being such a rare truck to begin with, there probably aren’t many, if any, ‘parts car’ types lying in the weeds. Even if there are, how would you find them? Parts, for such a rare truck are likely difficult if not impossible to acquire. In these cases I shift to the 1%, and am happy to see the spirit remain, even if the soul is gone.

      • Howard A Member

        Hi TW, I understand and it’s truly a conundrum. Do you restore it original or resto-mod (which I feel this is) I doubt it would lay in the weeds, as anybody who knows old trucks, wouldn’t let this go. REO was an assembled truck, like most others of the time. With the exception of the Gold Crown motor, which, I believe was REO’s own design, they used Warner transmissions and Timken axles and many other outside suppliers, so mechanical parts shouldn’t be a problem. And judging by what rust buckets people restore nowadays, I think any body part could be reproduced. I know, it’s the owners call, but still, it’s like a punch in the gut to me, to see this.

    • William H

      I’m right there with you Howard. I hate to see older, rare trucks chopped up and hobbled back together with modern underpinnings. But, as The Walrus mentions, we don’t know what he started with. If he began with just the body and mounted it on newer frame you really can’t fault him for that. Since what’s done is done, personally, I would finish it up and make it my daily driver. Certainly would be a head turner where ever it went. I know the old Power Wagons, Jeep trucks, etc certainly grab my attention when I see them out on the road. On the bright side, keeping the mechanical portion up and running should be a much easier task now that everything is modern.

    • MikeH

      I agree with you, Howard. It’s a Dodge with a REO body!

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      I’m a purist first and foremost and frown at those who take a cab and put it on another chassis, unless the cab was all that was left. If that’s the case here, then I think the guy should simply finish the job and enjoy it. However, like so many others, I think that something this rare should be done up properly, with the flathead six, Warner T-9, super rough ride and questionable (stock) brakes. The truck will thank him for it…

  4. Nick G

    Judging by the price of Dodge Powerwagons, this is worth $20k. Probably a question of having to wait for the right buyer though.

  5. Tirefriar

    i have seen few late 60’s GM F bodies mated to ’90’s structures. The idea was to have a much more modern suspension with the classic look. I’m not a fan of that, but in this case I doubt that the seller is so vane. Value of the truck depends on what the title says is the make and model year. I can’t see beyond more than $7k, but an REO lover may feel it’s worth double that…

  6. DENIS

    I kinda like what’s been done…would be fun for a backwoods hunting truck, ain’t no trailer-queen or show truck and ain’t that stylish. It’s a big-ass ugly truck in decent shape and I’d say based on that kinda use, 10g is the money. In stock condition, they road n drove like a tank….

  7. JW

    As a born to modify guy I love what’s been done, it would be much cheaper and easier to maintain than a original and that can make for longer trips without parts worries. It’s ugly and that’s what makes it beautiful to me. Man I wish I had the extra cash flow right now.

  8. Henrie

    I noticed that REO made cars and trucks up to 1975. Any pics of these models ?

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Henrie, The last car REO made, I believe was the late 30’s. It was all trucks after WW2 ( and lawn mowers, for a while). REO became part of the White Corp. in the late 50’s, and merged with Diamond T, to become Diamond-REO. Diamond-REO soldiered on until 1975, mostly large trucks. Diamond-REO was a classy truck in the 70’s, right up there with Peterbilt and KW. http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4020/4323362059_64806c8c49.jpg

  9. Henrie

    Tanks Howard. Not far from where I stay in Johannesburg , South Africa , is a lot that sells heavy earth moving machinery. Also parked is a Diamond T , hooked to a flat bed trailer for moving Caterpillars? , similar to the picture, but with a rearwards slanting windscreean. I often drive past and wonder how great it whould be to own , and I think back to a time my uncle took us for picnics on the back of his Oshkosh truck.Sometimes on his Henchel?

  10. Chris A.

    Over here in western Pa there is a contractor that every winter rebuilds his Diamond-Reo dump trucks. The dump beds along with the mechanics are refreshed and ready to go in the next construction season. Really big tucks that look like they’ll last forever if you take care of them.

    Like 1
  11. rob slikkerveer

    I love the fact you used a dodge chassis with a cummins diesel , I own a 1945 REO SPEEDWAGON ,my youngest son Zachary is doing basically the same but instead of a dodge chassis we went with a 2000 F-550 4×4 chassis an youll love this!!. we went with a 97 5.9 CUMMINS AND 5 SPEED 4×4< ,THIS IS GOING TO BE A TOW RIG FOR HIS ROCK CRAWLER. keep up the good work, I love old trucks with modern chassis upgrades.

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