January 05, 2020

OVERLAND

Standard Wheel Co. (1903-1906)

Terre Haute, Indiana

Overland Automobile Co. (1906-1909)

Terre Haute & Indianapolis, Indiana

Willys-Overland Co. (1909-1926, 1939)

Toledo, Ohio


This is an Overland radiator emblem (1915-1919)     mjs
Size: 65mm wide 45mm high    MM: Greenduck

Charles Minshall, president of the Standard Wheel Company decided in 1902 to build an automobile with the help of Claude E Cox, a recent local polytechnic graduate. With no previous experience, Cox had came up with a design for a water-cooled 5 hp single-cylinder runabout. Twelve cars were built in 1903 and double this in 1904 when a 6-1/2 hp two-cylinder model was added. In 1905 a 16 hp four-cylinder side entrance tonneau was also offered. In early 1905 the Overland automobile department moved to a plant in Indianapolis but Minshall had made no profit from the venture so far and decided to leave the automobile business.

A customer of the Standard Wheel Company, David M Parry, who had earlier tried to build his own automobile, decided to give financial support to Cox to develop the Overland and the Overland Automobile Company was organized in March 1906. Production began but then came the financial crisis and panic of 1907. David Parry was badly hit and had lost everything, although he later recovered and went on to build the Parry automobile.

John North Willys was an automobile dealer, who had bought all of the Overland production for 1906 and had sent an advance of $10,000 with an order for 500 cars in 1907 but none had arrived. He came to Indianapolis, saw what had happened and took over the Overland Automobile Company. He used a circus tent as a temporary factory and built 465 four-cylinder cars in 1908. In January 1909, Cox left, and Willys built 4,907 cars, some of which were a new 45 hp six-cylinder model. In 1909 Willys consolidated all his interests into a new company called the Willys-Overland Company with a plant in Toledo, Ohio. In 1910 production tripled to over 15,500 cars and then continued to grow to over 48,000 by 1914.

In 1917, Willys announced plans to produce a low-priced four-cylinder Overland to challenge the Model T Ford. But, John North Willys was busy buying companies and expanding his business empire as head of the Willys Corporation and a serious strike at the Toledo plant delayed the new Overland model until 1919 when it was too late to effectively compete with the Model T. Then the post First World War recession hit hard. Willys had to go to the banks for financial help, which was agreed to subject to Walter Percy Chrysler being brought in to manage the Willys business.

Two years later John North Willys made his way back to the top at Willys-Overland and revitalized the Overland. The Overland became a larger, more powerful and more attractive automobile and sales soared from nearly 50,000 cars in 1921 to over 150,000 by 1925. Then in 1927 the Whippet arrived and the Overland name was dropped until it re-emerged briefly in 1939 for a line of low-priced four-cylinder cars that became the Willys-Americar by 1941. All other cars succeeding the Overland carried the Willys name. Overland also produced delivery vans from about 1908 until 1927.

Emblems

The Overland cars built by the Standard Wheel Company did not carry a radiator emblem or a radiator script, although the familiar "Overland" script logo was being used in advertisements and on company brochures from about 1903, see examples below:

This is an Overland ad showing a script logo (c1904)     ms

This is an Overland brochure cover showing a script logo (c1903)

The following "Overland" emblem photo is from the Al Thurn collection. It has been suggested that this emblem was used on the very first Overland cars built before the introduction of the "Overland" script but I can find no evidence to support this:


This may be an early Overland emblem (1903)     alt
Size: Unknown

If you can identify the Overland emblem shown above, please let me know, in order to update this post.

Early Overland cars most likely carried the Overland name on small nameplates and/or serial plates attached to the body of the car,. I have not seen a Standard Wheel Company serial plate for the Overland but, if such a plate can be found, it would be extremely rare.

Cast metal serial plates, made by the Overland Automobile Company, do exist, see example below. These Overland serial plates are very rare.

This is an Overland serial plate (1908)      mjs
Size: 89mm wide 39mm high

An original photo of a 1905 Model 17 Overland Runabout in the Standard Catalog of American Cars appears to show an "Overland" script on the radiator tank top but this has not been seen on other Overland models. 

The first original photos showing a brass "Overland" script attached to the radiator core date from 1908, see example below. This script may have been used earlier on some models but I cannot confirm this.

This is an original Overland photo showing the radiator script (1908)    dpl

This "Overland" radiator script is more clearly shown on the following original photo from May 1909. This Overland radiator script uses the design as seen on the 1903 Overland brochure shown earlier above :

This is an original Overland photo showing a radiator script (May 1909)     dpl 

An original example of this Overland script is shown below. Original Overland scripts with this design are very rare.

This is an Overland radiator script (1908-1909)     mjs
Size: 280mm wide

The Overland script design was changed in advertisements from 1909, see example below:

This is an Overland Model 30 ad showing the new script (1909)    ms

The following photo of the Overland stand at the Newark Auto Show in February 1909 shows the new "Overland" script logo clearly displayed on a banner hanging behind the cars but the cars still carry the first "Overland" radiator script:

This photo shows the first Overland radiator script and the new logo behind (Feb 1909)  dpl

This suggests that the new script logo began to be used as a radiator script later in 1909. This design of radiator script appears to have continued in use on some Overland models up to the end of 1914, see example below. However, the use of a radiator script on Overland cars was not universal and several original photos of Overland cars taken in 1910 show no evidence of either radiator scripts or emblems:


This is the new Overland radiator script (late 1909-end 1914)     wiki

This radiator script together with much smaller brass scripts pinned to the sides of the hood and on the head lamps can be found on a surviving 1909 Overland Model 30 at the Swigart Auto Museum, see below. These scripts may be original but I cannot confirm this.

This is an Overland Md 30 displaying scripts on the radiator, hood sides and headlamps (1909)   sam

This is a small Overland hood side script (1909)     sam
Size: 75mm wide approx.
 

This Overland script logo is also found on Overland patent plates, see example below:

This is an Overland patent plate (c1909)     mjs
Size: 93mm wide 47mm high

The following original photo is taken from a postcard and purports to be of a 1911 Overland, which has a variation of the "Overland" radiator script and a similar but smaller script pinned or embossed into the radiator tank top:

This is an Overland with radiator script and tank top script (c1911)   trombinoscar 

Close up showing the radiator script and the radiator tank top script (c1911)

Design variations of the Overland radiator script are seen on several surviving Overland cars, including some much larger radiator scripts, but they do not appear on any original photos that I have seen and may be later additions. 

Overland advertisements after 1909 continue to use the "Overland" script logo but there is no evidence of the use of radiator emblems until about 1911 when radiator emblems appear to be used on at least some surviving Overland models.

The following red, white and blue enamel emblem referring to both Indianapolis and Toledo is extremely rare and is believed to be the first Overland radiator emblem: 


This is an Overland radiator emblem (c late1910-1911)     sam
Size: 65mm wide 45mm high    MM: Unknown (possibly Robbins)

I cannot confirm the actual dates of use of this emblem but the Toledo plant was set up in 1909 and became the production factory that replaced the Indianapolis plant. However, the Indianapolis plant continued to be used for some time. It is reported that by 1911, the Indianapolis plant was "only used for component assembly work". The lack of evidence of the use of radiator emblems on Overland cars before 1911 and the rarity of this particular emblem suggests that this emblem had very limited use on certain models only from possibly late 1910 to early 1911. 

The emblem is seen on a surviving 1912 Overland but it is possible that the emblem was a later addition. 

If you have confirmed evidence of the dates of use of this Overland radiator emblem, please let me know, in order to update this post.

The red, white and blue enamel Overland radiator emblem design was changed for some models for the 1911 model year, see example below. This emblem was used on all Overland models from 1912 to 1915 but is scarce, nevertheless.


This is an Overland radiator emblem (1911-1915)   joaquim massana
Size: 65mm wide 45mm high    MM: Robbins

From 1915, the same Overland radiator emblem was marked "REG. US. PAT. OFF.", see example shown above at the top of this post.

The following white, pale blue and black enamel Overland radiator emblem appears to be a variation on the emblem shown at the top of this post and may be a prototype emblem. This Overland radiator emblem is very rare.

This is an Overland radiator emblem (c1915)     mjs
Size: 65mm wide 45mm high     MM: Unknown

The following Overland radiator emblems appear to be original and, if so, are further color variations and are very rare. I do not have details of the use of these emblems. If you can help to identify these Overland emblems, please let me known, in order to update this post.

This is an Overland radiator emblem (c1915 dates unknown)    sam
Size: 65mm wide 45mm high    MM: Unknown

This is an Overland radiator emblem (c1915 dates unknown)     sam
Size: 65mm wide 45mm high     MM: Unknown

The red, white and blue enamel Overland radiator emblem was reduced in size for all four-cylinder models from 1919 until the end of production in 1926, see examples below:

This shows the reduced size of the oval Overland radiator emblem from 1919   mjs

This is an Overland radiator emblem (c1919-1926)      mjs
Size: 52mm wde 34mm high     MM: None

The following Overland radiator emblem is a slight variation of the emblem shown above:

This is an Overland radiator emblem (1919-1926)     mjs
Size: 52mm wide 34mm high     MM: Bastian Bros

The following photo shows the Canadian version of the smaller Overland radiator emblem:

This is a Canadian Overland radiator emblem (1919-1926)     mjs
Size: 52mm wide 34mm high     MM: None

The following Canadian Overland radiator emblem has a different style for the letter "d" at the end of Overland and is scarce:

This is a Canadian Overland radiator emblem with changed "d" (c1926)     dnc
Size: 52mm wide 34mm high    MM: None


The following round, blue and red enamel Overland radiator emblem was used on the Model 93 six-cylinder Overland models from 1925-1926:

This is an Overland Six radiator emblem (1925-1926)      mjs
Size: 43mm diameter    MM: None

This is an Overland Six radiator emblem (1925-1926)      mjs
Size: 43mm diameter    MM: None (some Bastian Bros)

The following blue and white enamel variation of the Overland Six radiator emblem is rare:

This is an Overland Six radiator emblem (c1925)      mjs
Size:43mm diameter    MM: Unknown

The following Overland emblem is another variation but I do not know, if this is a genuine Overland emblem or a reproduction. If you know when this emblem was used, please let me know, in order to update this post.

This appears to be an Overland radiator emblem (dates unknown)    kmc

The radiator emblem design for the four-cylinder Overland was changed to a round, red, white and blue enamel emblem in 1926, see example below. Note the change of style of the letter "d" in Overland.

This is an Overland radiator emblem (1926)     mjs
Size: 42mm diameter     MM: None

The following emblem is the Canadian version of the final four-cylinder Overland radiator emblem. Note the further change in the style of the letter "d" in Overland.

This is a Canadian radiator emblem (1926)     mjs
Size: 42mm diameter    MM: None
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