- A handsome and spacious touring car
- Powered by a 35 hp, inline four-cylinder engine; three-speed manual transmission
- Equipped with cowl lights and driver’s mirror
- Rides on wood spoke wheels; dual rear-mounted spares
- Button-tufted interior features a Stewart speedometer and a wood-rimmed steering wheel
- Fitted with optional electric start
- High-tension magneto installed for reliable spark; original Splitdorf low-tension magneto accompanies the car
- Owned and maintained by one family for the past 62 years
Founded in 1903 in Indianapolis, Indiana by Charles Minshall and Claude Cox, the Overland Automobile Company evolved and adapted with the times but was always known for innovation. In the 1920s, Willys-Overland produced the Willys Knight, which used the sleeve valve engine designed by Indiana native Charles Knight. During WWII, Willys made the famous Jeep. Today, Jeep pays homage to their Overland roots by naming one of their top models the Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland, and in the guise of Jeep the company has remained, in a sense, alive and well to the present.
In 1914, Overland was the second-largest producer of cars in the US, behind only Ford. While the Model T was an everyman's car, the Overland was an upmarket model selling for about twice the cost of a T; it was larger, more powerful, and more spacious than the Ford. Overlands featured a four-cylinder engine with separately cast cylinder jugs. An electric starter was available as a $125 option in 1914, and the car offered is so equipped. Notably, 1914 was the last year for right-hand-drive.
This Model 79 Touring was purchased in 1958 by Walter Hopkins from Larry Amsley of St. Thomas, Pennsylvania. Mr. Amsley had purchased the partially restored car from a local man when he was 15. He was learning to become a restorer from his father Carl Amsley, and after he completed the car, he sold it to Mr. Hopkins. Shortly after purchase, the car won an AACA National First Prize; the plaque noting this remains attached to the car today.
The car has remained in the Hopkins family for the last 62 years. The Hopkins Overland collection grew to include a 1914 Speedster and another 1914 Touring, and Mr. Hopkins became a reference for Overland enthusiasts worldwide. He started a business selling replacement top water manifolds for several Overland models as a service to the Overland community. His sons carry on that business today.
The car has had a storied history of touring in the mid-Atlantic, southern Canada, Michigan, and southeastern Pennsylvania. In 1961 the car completed the Glidden Tour out of Hershey, Pennsylvania. Mr. Hopkins made the papers due to something that happened early in the tour: A rear axle broke pulling into the parking garage on day one. Following the welcome banquet, he diagnosed the problem and located a replacement in Hanover, Pennsylvania. A reporter for the Sun Oil Company magazine was covering the Tour and offered to drive him to pick up the axle. Driving through the night, they acquired the part at 2:00 a.m. and returned to Reading about 6:00 a.m. Mr. Hopkins installed the axle and started the tour tired—but on time—at 9:00 a.m. That axle remains installed on the car to this day.
The Hopkins relocated from Hockessin Delaware to Woodstock Ontario, to Lansing Michigan, and finally to Lewisberry, Pennsylvania, always accompanied by the Overland; during the move to Ontario, the car was loaded in an Allied Van Lines truck. Allied used this photo in their advertising. Sons Mark and John fondly recall many week-long tours during these years.
In the 1990s and 2000s, Mr. Hopkins enjoyed taking his grandchildren for rides in the countryside in this car, often stopping for ice cream. His last ride in the car was to Hershey in 2014 to collect the 100th anniversary plaque for this car. In 2019, Mr. Hopkins after a short illness. He was 92, and a life member of AACA, WOKR, and the HCCA.
Always properly garaged, the car today presents handsomely with a cream body pinstriped in red; this is accented by brown fenders with a cream pinstripe. The black interior is complimented by a tan canvas top, and the cabin is fitted with a two-piece windshield. A pair of spare tires are mounted at the rear. The lighting is electric, provided by Auto-Lite (located in Overland’s hometown of Toledo, Ohio). The car uses a high-tension magneto for reliable spark, but the original Splitdorf low-tension magneto accompanies the car in a box. It is easy to start by crank, and the electric starter, while rarely used, is always available.
This car's reliability and comfort demonstrate why the Overland was a popular car when new. It cruises comfortably at 25-30 mph and has never failed to climb a hill. Many marque owners recite the slogan, "The man who owns an Overland never wants a better car." After six decades of cherished single-family ownership, this Model 79 Touring offers you the opportunity to experience why.