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.