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October 11, 2013

One of the Ugliest Cars Ever Produced: Pictures of Octo-Auto and Sexto-Auto in the 1910s

In 1911, Milton Reeves founded the Reeves Sexto-Octo Company. He modified a 1910 model Overland by adding four extra wheels and calling it the Reeves Octo-Auto. Time Magazine has named this car as one of the most ugly ever produced.

At the time, however, the Octo-Auto was hailed by writer and editor Elbert Hubbard for its comfort and durability. It had a 40-horsepower engine, was over 20 feet long, sat 4-passengers, and retailed for $3200.00. The Octo-Auto was notable or notorious enough for Hemmings to feature it in 2011 as an April Fools' Day article on its website titled “World celebrates the centennial of the Octo-Auto.”

Selling points on the 1911 Octo-Auto included the following “The Only Easy Riding Car In The World” and “The Safest Car In The World To Its Occupants.” The below magazine ads also claimed that the Octo-Auto was “The Easiest Car In The World On Tires.”

In 1914 the Reeves Pulley Company decided to sell its engine business. The Cummings Machine Company of Minster, Ohio was its purchaser in 1918.

The Octo-Auto failed to sell and in 1912 Reeves created the Sexto-Auto, a six-wheel version. The first version was a modification of the Octo-Auto. The second attempt was built on a modified Stutz Motor Company chassis and was no more successful than the first attempt. It was a luxury car, had variable speed transmission and reportedly made several cross-country jaunts. With a price of $4,500 (over $100,000 in 2014 terms) it too never caught on with the American public.

In Sexto-Auto advertising it was claimed that "Built on the principles of a Pullman Place car and rides like one".


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