David Parry organized the Overland Auto Company in 1906, although it produced few automobiles. John Willys, who bought 47 1906 models from Overaland and put in an order for 500 more (with a $10,000 deposit), arrived in 1907 to find that there were parts in the factory to build fewer than three cars. With his monetary investment at stake, Willys took over an in 1908 he built 465 cars using a circus tent as a factory.
In 1909, he purchased an idle factory and the controlling interest in the Marion Motor Car Company, reorganizing them into the Willys-Overland Company. That year the company built 4907 models on three different wheel bases. By the last teens, Willys-Overland was challenging Ford's Model T as the low-priced leader of America. In fact, from 1912 through the First World War, only Ford produced more cars than Willys-Overland.
After the War, a combination of retooling from war production and several bad purchases made by Willys, forced the company to the brink. But John Willys brought his company back and they sold 215,000 cars in 1925. The Depression, however, would challenge Overland again, and although the company would continue, it would never again put the Overland name on its vehicles.
Collection of Chris WeltonSource - SDAM
Claude E. Cox, a recent college engineering graduate, was hired by Charles Minshall, president of the Standard Wheel Company of Terre Haute, IN in 1902. He was tasked with designing and overseeing production of a new automobile. Cox had very little experience with automobiles, especially considering his age and the infancy of the automobile marketplace. His only previous automobile experience was a four-wheeler he had devised out of a motorized tricycle for his senior thesis project. Despite this lack of experience, he came up with an advanced little car for its day.
In the fall of 1902, on a coffee break, Minshall and Cox came up with the name, Overland. The Overland Auto Company was organized on March 31, 1906. John North Willys, an auto dealer in Elmira, NY, took over the Overland Company for the 1908 production year. Production of the Overland continued until 1927, when it was superseded by the short-lived Whipped. The company, however, continued production under the Willys name. The Overland name returned in 139 for a line of low-priced four-cylinder vehicles, but this was a short-lived endeavor. It later evolved into the Willys Americar by 1941.
This Overland Model 30 Touring Tonneau is finish in navy blue with a black leather interior and is fitted with brass accessories. Power is from a four-cylinder engine offering 30 horsepower and mated to a planetary transmission which is located in the rear, just ahead of the differential. It is currently on display in the William E. Swigart Jr. Automobile Museum collection. It was donated in mid-May 2004 by Dennis Milstein, of Gladwyne, PA. It is one of only 4,907 Overlands produced in 1909. While in Mr. Milstein's care, the car was given a meticulous restoration
The car's original owner was J.V. Bollinger who purchased it in 1909, from the Overland dealer in Fort Scott, Kansas, for around $1,000.