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Overland in the wash

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  • Overland in the wash

    There are these mystery ruins, on the south side of Phoenix's South Mountain. Nobody I've talked to knows anything about them. They are labeled as "ruins" on the 1952 topographical map of this quadrangle -- that's the only date I can find. The foundation walls are poured concrete, but the fireplace and interior walls are of an early form of concrete block. I don't think there were concrete blocks until the 1940s, but I'm not sure.

    There are new houses about a mile south of the ruins. I talked to a resident in his backyard -- he said he'd heard the place was a speakeasy. I didn't think much of that idea, because in the 1920s this was far from any roads.

    A few days ago I found this axle in a dry wash, not far from the ruins. There are also gold mine tunnels (drifts) in these foothills, and at first I thought it might be from an old truck associated with a nearby mine (which goes in about two hundred feet). On a second visit I looked more closely, and noticed that there is a hubcap on one side. This faintly says Overland.

    According to this link the axle appears to be from an Overland touring car, from the 1920s. It has mechanical brakes.

    I haven't figured out how the tires mounted. As you can see, there are no studs. Anybody know?
    Last edited by aostling; 05-10-2008, 04:31 PM.
    Allan Ostling

  • #2
    Here is a view of the brake linkage.

    Allan Ostling


    • #3
      In the photo it looks like the hub may be on backwards. Overland was started in 1907 and was changed to willys-Overland shortly after. They made cars and trucks. Keep asking around and some oldtimer will know the story.
      Last edited by Carld; 05-10-2008, 04:44 PM.
      It's only ink and paper


      • #4
        I think it was made by Willys. The wheels were wood spoked and they are long gone together with the rims.
        Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec


        • #5
          The "ruins" look like an abandoned, unfinished attempt at building a house. I would guess late forties.

          Some might call the house I live in as "ruins".

          As far as the axle and how the wheel was mounted? You've seen these before.

          Brake drum, bearing hub, wooden spokes, and a steel rim all one assembly. The tire was mounted on it's own rim and held in place with clamps stationed around the wheel.

          The wheels spokes and rim are missing.


          • #6
            Originally posted by topct
            As far as the axle and how the wheel was mounted? You've seen these before.

            Brake drum, bearing hub, wooden spokes, and a steel rim all one assembly. The tire was mounted on it's own rim and held in place with clamps stationed around the wheel.
            Wooden spokes. Of course I've seen these in museums, and in the link I supplied.

            Here is the view looking south. The ruins (slab visible in lower right-hand corner) and the mines are not visible from those houses, so most of those people have no idea what is in their "backyard."

            Last edited by aostling; 05-10-2008, 05:12 PM.
            Allan Ostling


            • #7
              According to local guy who is about 88 now , many of the older wood spoke wheeled cars had replacements wheels from other models of cars. He said the
              wood spoke wheels often failed before the car. He did have an Overland and was at car show many years ago and was asked where he got his wheels ? He replied "I made them" was then asked if he would him a set he said yes,
              and began home business making wheels and sent them all over the world.
              He was a Machinest and tried to get that kind of work for his shop, all he could get was one or two items or repair work. He also taught machining at local high school , so by accident he became a wheel maker. He is very talented man his machine work is impressive , some of his machines were old reconditioned line shaft equipment, he has a metal planer about 2 foot by 6foot drill press and band saw that were formerly driven by line shaft. walking in to his machine shop is step back in time.
              scariest thing to hear " I am from the government and i am here to help"


              • #8
                Man, that drove me NUTS.

                Drove through Toledo yesterday. Off of 75, there is still a smokestack that says "Overland"...I could NOT figure out where I read about it recently.

                Now I feel better.


                • #9
                  I kick this thread back to life just to ask a further question. I hiked to the axle in the wash with a friend today. He commented on the hub cap, which as you can see is bright (not rusted), and wondered what metal it was. Before I could object he scratched the rim slightly with a rock, and it looked like it might be aluminum.

                  Did they have aluminum hub caps in 1925? Could it be nickel?
                  Allan Ostling


                  • #10

                    Probably aluminum. A couple of twenties Whippets locally appear to have aluminum hubcaps. The Chevrolets of the same period used very thin brass.

                    FWIW I have worked on wood spoked wheels from several makes of cars from the teens and twenties, both American and British, and they all seem to use 16 TPI for their hubcaps, though the diameters vary.