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Billy Kingsley

Do any survive? 1911 Reeves Octoauto

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Many years ago I acquired this trading card from the 1953-54 Topps World on Wheels set. I had never heard of the brand, but I've been fascinated by the car ever since. 

 

I do not know if any survive...from what little I have been able to find out, production was extremely limited...as the car was not popular when new, and I infer, although not secure on that, they may have been converted to Sextoautos in 1912 after not selling in 1911. 

 

I consider finding and photographing one of these to be my "holy grail" in automotive photography...but I don't know if any are known. 

 

195354ToppsWorldonWheels1351-vi.jpg

 

There are a couple of photos of the actual cars on Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milton_Reeves)

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No, none are known.  As you note, in addition

to the Octoauto, he afterward made a Sextoauto having

6 wheels.  No Sextoauto is known, either.

 

Many years ago, the excellent hard-bound magazine

Automobile Quarterly did an authoritative article on

Mr. Reeves and his eponymous automobiles.  The

article did show a 4-wheel Reeves car and I believe

stated that it was the only Reeves known.

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)

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I have heard tale for 40 years that it survives - some people say intact and some say modified back to what would be considered a normal car configuration - everybody who ever mentions is from Ohio, Kentucky, or Indiana - the 3 states connect via the Western side of Cincinnati. 

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I remember seeing pictures of the OctoAuto in one of Floyd Clymer's books. Will need to did to find.

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I have heard what John states as well, but only that it was modified back into a regular 4 wheel version for regular use, this theory was also around when I worked for Austin Clark in his library at his house and he got calls then asking to confirm this  - that was in the early 1970s. Other rumors , although less so, concerns the Christie front wheel drive cars and race cars. The only piece of a Christie that I can confirm existed was the hood off the Christie taxi and that was in the loft of the Long Island Auto Museum , I do not know where it is now or if it was saved/bought by someone once the museum closed and the property sold off.

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I am pretty confident that these rumors are baseless.  Most of them came from the fact that there were so many project Overland cars around at one time.  There was a huge treasure trove of parts in Indiana that were supposed to contain the remnants of the Octoauto.  Nowhere in this stash was a single part that would have been exclusive to the Octoauto.  I know as I was a buyer along with a close friend who inspected the parts.  Lots of Overland stuff but no eureka moment unfortunately.  

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The Sextoauto was built from a Stutz and is reputed to have been converted back. May have been more than one Sexto.

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I found the Automobile Quarterly with the article

on Mr. Reeves and his cars.  It is the Winter 1968 

issue (Volume 6, Number 3), and the article begins

on page 282.  The original poster might be able to

get a copy of this magazine if he contacts the

AACA Library soon--before lots of things get sold 

during Hershey week:  They were selling a lot of

back issues of Automobile Quarterly for very

reasonable prices.

 

According to the article, only one Sextoauto was built:

"...Milton [Reeves] eliminated one pair of front wheels

and created what he called a Sextoauto, which could

be sold for $3200.  Prospective buyers again looked

with admiration--but didn't place any orders.  Milton was

irrevocably out of the automobile business."

 

I infer that only one Octoauto was built, also.

These cars were built from a 1910 Overland--not a Stutz.

 

And the article maintains that only one Reeves exists,

and it's not an Octoauto or Sextoauto:

"Of the many cars he built, however, only one remains

in existence, a Motocycle still in perfect condition, which 

his sons presented to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

in 1963..."

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)

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5 hours ago, John_Mereness said:

[OCTOauto]

 

I have heard tales for 40 years that it survives -

 

I had to laugh. Sounds like an old monster movie.

 

Looks like a cool car.

 

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I am interested in learning what the inventor’s main objective was for this Octocar. Payload? Just something unique? Light ground pressure to float on mud better? To win the longest car award? Row seating for 9 plus baggage?

Edited by keithb7 (see edit history)

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22 minutes ago, keithb7 said:

I am interested in learning what the inventor’s main objective was for this Octocar. Payload? Just something unique? Light ground pressure to float on mud better? To win the longest car award? Row seating for 9 plus baggage?

Better ride on the roads of the day.

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Tire longevity?

Many cars carried 2 spares because they had different sizes front to rear but tire wear and damage was a big expensive problem.

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47 minutes ago, Layden B said:

Tire longevity?

Many cars carried 2 spares because they had different sizes front to rear but tire wear and damage was a big expensive problem.

I would think tire troubles would be a concern on an Octoauto! After some research I agree the inventor was trying to extend tire life. It had a 175" wheelbase!

Edited by JFranklin (see edit history)

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Totally different suspension concept, better for rough roads compared to an axle attached to the chassis by leaf springs. Inspired by the rail car. This article seems to explain it well.

 

Rail car "bogie."

 

 

 

https://silodrome.com/reeves-octoauto-sextoauto/

 

Milton Reeves took the concept of bogies as used on the railroad Pullman cars and applied it to an automobile. According to contemporary accounts his idea worked perfectly. Instead of four wheels, one on each corner, his Octoauto had eight wheels, two on each corner, with the much improved ability to soak up the shock of potholes, corrugations and ruts with ease.

Bogie3.jpg

Bogie4.jpg

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I have no way of knowing for certain myself, but I have suspected for a very long time that William Harrah spent a considerable amount of time and money trying to find one of the two only cars that would have been either the Sextoauto or the Octoauto prototypes. One of the cars used was a '13 Stutz touring car, and Harrah owned and restored a few of those (one of them is owned by a good friend of mine and I have ridden in it!). The other base car was an Overland touring car. Harrah had a few of those, but continued for many years advertising for Overland cars and parts. A rather common brass era car relatively speaking, the only real reason for his continued looking was to find that one car, or even one single frame, that had extra holes in certain places. I would think he was trying to find either one of those historically unique cars to resurrect one of the cars.

Reeves had spent a lot of money, designing and building, only to rebuild and redesign again in an attempt to market his idea. He offered to build such a creation on any automobile chassis of the (potential) buyers choice. However, nobody came forward to buy one. I suspect he was discouraged by this. It has generally been believed that both "base" automobiles were soon after returned to their original configuration and quietly sold simply as slightly used cars.

 

The upside to all this, is that I think a lot of Overlands survive today because of the search for that one Overland. I have personally known several people that owned and toured with brass era Overlands. A couple of them I have spoken with a bit on the subject and I have been told by a few of those Overland owners that Harrah's quest for that one Overland did push others to find, acquire, and restore Overland automobiles that otherwise would likely have not survived.

 

And besides, I got to ride in a Stutz!

 

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A lot of interesting discussion here. I was afraid that the result would be that none are known. Maybe that one that Harrah's was looking for is still waiting to be discovered...

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Maybe we need to give him credit for inventing/manufacturing something with more useful. "Reeves drive " is associated with a variable speed V belt pulley drive with variable ratio.  One pulley was either positively set, or spring loaded axially, so the V belt ,which may have been fairly wide, ran closer to the axis or periphery as required,  to alter the ratio.   I remember buying TWO different examples for curiosity at machinery auction in North Melbourne in the 1970s.  They may still be in the shed somewhere, but I never found use for either.  I was the only bidder at the auction, so everyone else there saw no usefulness for them.

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Here is a picture of one I have in my "archive"

 

Never seen a survivor.

 

-Ron

 

image.thumb.jpeg.946a402e80382cec7941c742ed3c60d7.jpeg

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The 1912 Overland axle is the same as are other features....

1912 Overland.jpg

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On 9/29/2019 at 6:10 PM, Layden B said:

Absolutely not an Overland!!!

The-Reeves-Octoauto-and-Sextoauto-9-740x416.jpg

It appears that there are no front brakes and no brakes on the rear-most rear axle.

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