The Octauto was the brainchild of Milton O. Reeves, truly an independent thinker. The concept behind this, as well as the six wheeled wonder that followed, was that tires would last longer as the weight each tire carried was halved with an eight wheeled configuration.
This was not Reeves first automotive endeavor or his most prosperous. Before stretching this Overland to a wheelbase of 180 inches he had manufactured a line of rather conventional vehicles between 1905 and 1910.
His primary business was the manufacture of pulleys and pulley systems. One of these, a variable speed transmission that utilized a series of tapered pulleys, was the initial inspiration for his automotive endeavors. In 1896, he built a motorized wagon as a promotional device for his VST.
The wagon garnered much publicity, none of it favorable. The noise was more than an acceptable irritant to the residents of Richmond, Indiana, and it terrified horses.
Reeves rectified the former problem with the development of a muffler, the first known use of such a device for automotive application. In an effort to resolve the latter he acquired a paper mache horse from an area blacksmith, sawed off everything behind the front shoulder and mounted the front portion to his car. The head and neck also served as a cover for the fuel tank!
Reeves and the Octauto will be profiled in a forthcoming Independent Thinker column I write for Cars & Parts.

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