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Conover T. Silver Custom Overland Six Roadster Coachwork

In earlier coverage, we wrote: “Conover Thomas Silver better known as C.T. was one of the most active, prosperous and creative car dealers in New York City during the teens’ and twenties.” He was based in New York City and believed that if he offered custom coachwork constructed in house on moderately priced chassis’ his business plan would be a success.

The lead image and the expandable version of it below shows a 1915 Overland Six with one of his first designs, a custom six-passenger roadster equipped with a pair of his exclusive running board seats that slid out of the coachwork. To show just how successful his design was, compare it with a standard Overland touring car pictured above in an article covering the new six-cylinder model in “The Automobile” November 5, 1914, issue.

Learn more about C.T. Sliver and view some of his other designs and patents in our earlier coverage. The custom roadster photograph is courtesy of the Detroit Public Library.

18 responses to “Conover T. Silver Custom Overland Six Roadster Coachwork

  1. Those ladies are gonna lose their hats about fifty feet down the road in that thing without a windshield !

    I can see why that ittie bittie seat on the side was called the mother in law seat ,I’d LOVE to put my ex mother in law in it !!!!!

  2. The ladies looking so very elegant in the Conover Overland Six. The driver looks a lot like an earlier photo of the lovely women gathered around an Indian Motorcycle you posted November 18, 2015. It’s the gal on the far right of the picture. Must be the hats. They look similar.

  3. I wonder if a Kissell expert might offer their opinion if the roadster might actually be a Kissell rather than an Overland?

    The fenders, wire wheels and hubs, and steering wheel and column lead me to offer this observation. Also, Kissell used the running board seats on the Gold Bug speedster.

  4. Nope , A Kissel has A much higher cowl , no running boards , higher spare tire mounting , different entrance , etc .

  5. What a great looking car! Beautiful and well-proportioned lines. With the flowing fenders, hood louvers and sleek shape it looks more like car from the mid-to-late 20s. Very advanced for 1915 when most cars had a lot more angles and flat surfaces. I think a rumble seat is pretty rare for 1915 too.

    So are the seats in drawers. Like Mike, the Kissel came to mind however the Gold Bug was also a product of the 1920s. It even has the same basic shape. But most Kissels (not all) had side mounted spares and step plates rather than full running boards. I have wondered what it would be like riding in those precariously mounted seats. Given the bad roads, poor ties, two-wheel brakes and possibly an inexperienced driver (almost anyone could take the wheel back then) it must have been pretty scary. And probably a lot of fun. Today’s safety experts would be horrified.

  6. Not only is there no windscreen, there also seems to be no provision for any sort of a top as well. No license plate on the rear may suggest this was just a publicity shot of an unfinished vehicle.

  7. The drawer-seats not only have a grab handle to help keep you aboard, but the forward end of the running board has a rail to tuck your feet under. I do worry about that low-hanging spare tire, though.

    • Seems like there is possibly a connection between the spare mounting assembly and the lid for the rumble seat. In conjunction with the horizontal rod inboard of the spare, perhaps the spare hinged out and down as the rumble lid was lifted? When not in use the spare could have swung upwards and ‘flatter’ as the lid was closed.

  8. There is a 1916 Willys “Silver Knight” roadster designed by C.T. Silver currently in the Glenn Curtis museum.

    It has a very similar cowl, running board seats (these ones fold down rather than slide out) and hemispheric hood vents.

  9. I don’t know if it’s an Overland, but there is a big early Teens runabout that shows in HPOF at Hershey that has these drawer-type suicide-seats.

  10. If Silver ordered the chassis for a roadster it would be a Model R-81. Touring chassis were T-81 in 1915. I think the main difference was the rear spring leaf number.

    • This car with a long wheelbase would be a Model 82 six cylinder. 2,873 were built with a 303 cubic inch engine
      designed by Overland and produced by Continental. The first few engines had a detachable head which caused
      much trouble. They were quickly replaced by non-detachable ones. Overland built 91,904 cars in 1915 to place
      2nd to Ford in world production. About 12 Model 82’s have survived. I owned one for 20 years and it was a
      pleasure to drive. Unfortunately, the proper tire size , 35 x 4 1/2, hasn’t been manufactured since the sixties,
      though other sizes will work. In 1916 virtually the same car was produced as the Model 86 and 11,600 were
      built.

  11. I get the impression that these girls will not exceed 25 MPH , in a Monacle” Windshield “car!, Or: this is a pure publicity shot as they are not prepared for what happens without : Full windshield, Top, Eising glass side windows , top, etc., the clothing is too minimal, the hats are: Gone!!! Not even to mention the weather in the Rumble Seat ! They are not 8 year old boys, so scootching down and closing the rumble seat’s lid is not an option! The “drawer chair ? traffic side — A bit dangerous ., —way more so than on back of a Motorcycle! I figure that in cold weather: A “ride around the block ” would suffice!!!

  12. Conover T. Silver was a successful car dealer who represented several marques and also had a hand in design. He suffered from chronic “speedster fever” and executed several examples, some more successful than others. The Sept 1961 issue of Antique Automobile has an example of a 1915 Overland “cut-down” style speedster (pp338-9). The 1915 Overland 6 chassis that was used for the example at the top of this article was a bodied style that Silver fancied and further developed; this car was mentioned in a NYT article w/ photo on April 18, 1915 – the page escapes me.
    Silver proposed an Apperson Speedster in 1917 and presented plans to the Appersons, who were then delving into custom-built bodies for 1918, but they turned his design down in favor of their own. A copy of those plans exist in the Indiana State archives.
    The same plans were then shopped to the Kissels, who accepted them with modifications and produced the Silver Apperson Special Speedster for Jan 1918, the no-door version. It was later fitted with doors, and the name “Silver” was dropped in favor of “Custom.” The nickname “Gold Bug” was affectionately attached to this car but never was an official company name.

  13. Irregardless of the origin of this Speedster, this has to be one of the best; if not the best looking Speedster design to come out of a custom shop in that time period ln my opinion. It can come live at my house anytime !

  14. How did the smiling ladies , so elegantly, fashionably attired w/ their garb so voluminous ever get in the ” Silver Speedster” and still be so “Spit Spot”… there appear to be no step plates up to the rumble seat and the door opening seems far too narrow and small to accommodate even their skirts. No windshield … the free , fresh wind in their faces, ladies-good bye hats, “Oh My!”. As for 6 passengers… in your dreams!!! Oh, I forgot the “Drawer Chairs”, each side… God help us, they’ll be saying in short order.

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