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"In 1977, it took about eight months for a slightly faster more refined mechanism to put punk in the window of Holt Renfrew. It's gotten faster ever since."
- William Gibson

Overdrive  
  A propulsion technology that allows a craft to travel at faster-than-light speed.  

A nebula is a gas. It is so thin that a comet's tail is solid by comparison, but a ship traveling on overdrive - above the speed of light - does not want to hit even a merely hard vacuum.
Technovelgy from First Contact, by Murray Leinster.
Published by Street and Smith Co. in 1945
Additional resources -

Raymond Z. Gallun uses the same expression with more details in his 1951 story Brother Worlds, published in Thrilling Wonder Stories:

A few thousand miles out from the Moon, those marvelous new engines of the Centaur went to work and we swung into overdrive. Vision blurred. One felt impossibly but painlessly twisted. A vagueness, characteristic of hyperspace, lingered. And there was fear lest that intricate wonderful apparatus, still short of perfection, might fail entirely, ending our lives in an explosion of matter-energy shifts and phases that we would not feel or know about.

Or there might be a small fault of function ó improper matching of transdimensional coordinates. It could be that when we came out of overdrive at last we would be changed to monsters. The Centaurís complicated engines needed constant fine adjustments...

We spent most of that trip dozing in our bunks. Hyperspace dulls the mind. Everyone knows that now. And old time-scales just donít apply. Earthtime our journey took many months. But it didnít seem anywhere near that long.

Compare to this first use of the phrase faster than light from John W. Campbell's 1931 story Islands of Space.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from First Contact
  More Ideas and Technology by Murray Leinster
  Tech news articles related to First Contact
  Tech news articles related to works by Murray Leinster

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