### An Old Car Math Problem

A couple of weeks ago I worked at a car show near my home. One of the many vehicles on display was a 1903 Oldsmobile. A copy of the original advertisement for that vehicle was also on display. The image that you see above is cropped from a picture that I took of the advertisement and some other associated literature.

What stood out to me about the advertisement was “It Costs 3/8 of a Cent a Mile to travel in the Oldsmobile.” Immediately, my mind went to thinking about fun math problems that could be based around the advertisement. Some of the questions that I thought of include the following:

• How would that cost today after adjusting for inflation?
• How much would it cost to cover ten miles in that car in 1903?
• What’s the modern equivalent of \$650?
• A research question: What was the top speed of that vehicle?
• How long would it take to drive 20 miles in that vehicle at its top speed? Is that faster or slower than covering the same distance on horseback or in a horse-drawn wagon?
If you would like a high resolution copy of the picture in this post to use in your classroom, please send me an email and I’ll be happy to share it with you.

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