The Curtiss-Reid Aircraft Co Ltd was formed in december 1928 when the New Yrk based Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company took a controlling interest in the Reid Aircraft COmpany of Montreal. The Canadian company had itself only been set up in February of that year by former Canadian Vickers designers Wilfrid T Reid and MJ Berlyn. Together, they designed a two-seat sesquiplane as a club trainer, private tourer and light transport aircraft. This aircraft first flew at Cartierville, Montreal on 23rd September 1928 piloted by Martin Berlyn and was named the Reid Rambler at a demonstration ceremony on 29th September.
The Rambler's Fuselage was a rectangular structure of welded steel tube, fabric covered, as was the tailplane which consisted of a one-piece horizontal unit and a balanced rudder with no fixed fin. Tandem open cockpits with full dual control were to be standard. The wings, which folded for storage, consisted of duralumin spars and ribs, fabric covered , with the top wing supported above the fuselage on Steel tube struts. The interplane struts, also of steel tube, were circular in section on the prototype but streamlined on production Ramblers, forming a V when viewed from the front. Simplicity was achieved in design by making each side of the undercarriage interchangeable and by making the wing spars of dural tubing which was simply cut to lenght and slightly flattened at the outer ends
Trimming was accomplished by means of a spring in the control system. This was engaged by a lever on the left side of the cockpit which was usually referred to as the "Cheese cutter".
A 20 gallon (90 litres) fuel tank was fitted in the centre section of the top wing. Sharply angled, almost triangular, ailerons were fitted to the top wing only.
The undercarriage consisted of a pait of interchangable V-strut units with rubber shock absorbers. On the prototype a braking system linked to rudder application was designed to help ground handling but this was not used on production aircraft. A tailskid was fitted as standard and ski or float undercarriages were available as options.
Power was provided initially by an 80HP ADC Cirrus Mk.II 4-Cyl in-line engine, fully cowled, with metal propeller and spinner and with a short downward aligned stub exhaust.