The line between visionary or eccentric, between progressive thinking,
and outright insanity is often quite thin. During the formative years of
the American automobile industry, the unbridled manifestations of a
creative imagination blurred this line on thousands of occasions.
As an example, on the visionary side of the line would be the optional
swing away, electrically heated steering wheel available on the 1917
McFarlan. Indicative of the eccentric side are the eight-wheeled Octoauto
with an astounding 180-inch wheelbase, or six-wheeled Sextoauto, devised
by Milton O. Reeves.
Straddling the line quite nicely would be the automobiles built by
Benjamin Briscoe of the Jackson, Michigan, based Briscoe Motor
Corporation. The 1914 models sported a single Cyclops headlight mounted
dead center in the upper radiator shell and laminated papier-mâché body
panels. The 1916 models sold with four cylinder engines and a promotion
proclaiming, "Buy the Four. Use it a month. If then you decide you want
the Eight, simply pay the difference and a small installation fee."
Milton Othello Reeves "Octoauto" in 1911.
Photo courtesy Wikipedia