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*Updated* Perhaps The Most Imaginative New Car Showroom Ever – The Reo “Booth” at the Helsinki Auto Show


*Update* At the bottom of the post by Juha Kaitanen a Reo owner from Finland.

The scene above was during the time that the 1927 Helsinki Automobile Show was held. By this time, a number of American car, truck producers and importers had established a thriving market in the Scandinavian countries for American automobiles. The increasing demand in the export market around the world was also absorbing a considerable portion of the cars and trucks produced by many of the automakers. Reo was one of the companies that benefited from this situation. The car and truck maker had also recently entered into the bus market and cleverly used this showroom to announce the new additions to their product line.

  • Reo2     Reo3      Reo4
  • The two automobiles offered by the Lansing, Michigan company at the time, the “Reo Flying Cloud” and the newly introduced “Wolverine”

Pohjoismaiden Autotuonti had been importing the Reo into Finland at this point for only one year. Mr. Peltola the importer did not want to join the other car dealers at the show and decided to have his own display in a market square called Kasarmintori in Helsinki. A look inside the novelty shown in the middle photo above, demonstrates just how well the display showcased the product for the firm. At the far end can be seen a sales desk set up under and inside the cowl and hood. All show photos courtesy of perrasmotornostalgi via Retronaut.


*Update* By Juha Kaitanen: “I have a set of the same photos. I got them from a man whose father used to work for Pohjoismaiden Auto Tuonti. At the auto show in Helsinki the importers did not want to join the other car dealers. He wanted to have his own show in a market square called Kasarmintori in Helsinki. The company was founded by him in 1926. They imported Reo cars, truck and bus chassis to Finland from 1926 until the early thirties. Mr. Peltola died in 1929 but the firm continued on. After this the Reo was imported into Finland by a company called Nikolajeff in Helsinki.”.

14 responses to “*Updated* Perhaps The Most Imaginative New Car Showroom Ever – The Reo “Booth” at the Helsinki Auto Show

  1. Do any readers have a picture of the giant 1932 Studebaker which stood on the highway between South Bend and Chicago? I don’t know when it was destroyed but there must be many pictures of it

  2. Unfortunately I’m not like the man in one of Jules Verne’s books, who learned many languages of the world only by always carrying a dictionary with him and learning wherever he was standing in a queu… Finnish is one of these languages which is not for strangers, but fortunately the pictures tell the story. I’m always interested in early car history wherever in the world, if only to see which cars came first (especially if they didn’t have a car industry of their own). Reo seems to be an early American car also in Sweden. I noticed in the Finnish article the name of Turku, which was Swedish until early 19th century (I believe they still speak Swedish there). So maybe that’s the link?
    An American ‘car’ which was available during the early years in many Northern European countries (Scandinavia as well as The Netherlands) was the Orient buckboard. Apparently the cycle industry was the link in this case, as many American cycle makes were available on the European market.

  3. There was a life size 3-D mock-up of a truck and trailer on the roof of a tenement building
    at 41st st. and The West Side Hwy in NY,courtesy of Yale Transport Lines.
    When I was a kid I wanted to live in it.

  4. Swedish, Norwegian and Danish are all of the same linguistic group. Finnish is not, but rather belongs to the Finno- Ugric grouping which includes Estonian, Hungarian and Turkish. As a geographical entity, Finland is a part of Scandinavia!

    • Turkish language never belongs to Finno-Ugric group It is from another language family of at least thirty-five languages, spoken by Turkic peoples .

  5. The REO autoshow was held in Helsinki on 18-26 of february 1928 at Kaartintori (not Kasarmintori, tori=market place). I do have an advertisement for the show, in Finnish, of course. If you want to add it here, I can scan & email it to you.
    According to a book “Fiude – Sata vuotta helsinkiläistä autokauppaa” (100 years of car business in Helsinki) the gigantic REO bus was designed by artist Gösta Eklund and the length was 29 meters, width 8 meters and height was 9 meters. There were enough room for 300 guests and orchestra was entertaining the visitors. The REO bus also included a cafeteria.
    Greetings from Finland.

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