Gables Service Station
30 June 2005
c.1915 OVERLAND 27HP MODEL 83 RACEABOUT
Registration No. FF 306
Chassis No. Tba
Engine No. Tba
Yellow with black lining and black upholstery
Engine: four individual cylinders, 4 1/8 x 4½ ins. bore and stroke, 3,950cc water-cooled by thermo-syphon, pump lubrication, magneto ignition; Gearbox: three speed sliding & reverse, cone clutch, shaft-drive to bevel back axle; Suspension: front, semi-elliptic leaf springs, rear three-quarter elliptic leaf springs; Brakes: external contracting and internal expanding rear-wheel brakes. Wooden wheels with detachable rims. Right hand drive.
An Overland automobile first saw the light of day in Terre Haute, Indiana on the 12th February 1903, and a dozen similar single-cylinder runabouts were built in that first year with two-cylinder cars following the next year. In January 1905 production was moved to Indianapolis where it stuttered along for the next couple of years until New York car dealer John North Willys arrived on the scene and revived the moribund business. With no factory the 465 Overlands turned out in 1908 were assembled in a circus tent - typifying the 'can do' approach of Willys. In 1909 he bought the former Pope-Toledo factory in Toledo, Ohio, and over the following eighteen months transferred Overland production to the new location 200 miles away, managing to maintain output in the process - over fifteen and a half thousand cars in 1910 alone. The names Willys and Overland became inextricably linked and the first car to bear John North's name, the Willys-Knight, appeared in 1914 whilst Overland continued until 1926.
Over the years Overland made a considerable variety of models. The one that most closely matches the checkable specifics of this car is the 1915 Model 83 and the technical information given above is based on this assumption. However it cannot be guaranteed and as Overland changed from right-hand drive to left for 1915 it is possible that the car is from a year or so earlier and therefore marginally different in detail.
A bolster-tanked two-seater roadster was a standard Overland offering, but nothing quite as stark as this car seems to have been available new from Toledo. Nevertheless with an engine of around 4-litres capacity and not much weight to pull about it should feel exhilarating to drive and could also provide the opportunity go racing in the VSCC's Edwardian class.
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