In Lansing, on August 21, 1897, Ransom E. Olds (1864 - 1950) founded the Olds Motor Vehicle Company, the precursor to Oldsmobile. He produced four vehicles that year. In 1899, Olds relocated to Detroit, opening the Olds Motor Works on West Jefferson Avenue near the MacArthur Bridge. In 1901, he built 425 gasoline-powered Curved Dash Oldsmobile Runabouts, driving them on Belle Isle prior to sale. Mounds of dirt excavated during canal construction on the island provided perfect "hills" for the drivers who tested the mettle of early automobiles. Runabouts were the first cars to carry the Oldsmobile name.