At 107 years old, Oldsmobile was the longest surviving automobile brand in the United States, and the third oldest in the world (behind Peugeot and Daimler). Founded by Ransom E. Olds in 1897, the company had produced 35 million Oldsmobile automobiles (or 'Oldsmobiles') by the time the marque was phased out in 2004. Ransom Olds sold his company in 1899, and the Olds Motor Works moved to a new plant in Detroit. In 1901, the plant burned to the ground, and all the prototypes went up in ashes. The only surviving design was the single-cylinder Curved Dash; once the new factory was built, the company began producing them on the very first automotive assembly line. General Motors purchased the company in 1908 and, two years later. In 1929, in an effort to boost sales, Oldsmobile introduced the Viking brand, an upgraded marque which lasted only a year. Despite Oldsmobile's critical successes, General Motors announced plans to phase out the brand in December 2000 due to slowing sales and declining profits. Ironically, Oldsmobile had just introduced the Bravada SUV, which became another critical hit for the division. The final 500 Oldsmobiles that came off the assembly line in April 2004 received special Oldsmobile logo badges, dark cherry paint, and 'Final 500' markings. The final car, an Alero GLS 4-door sedan, was signed under the hood by all of the assembly line workers.

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