SUSPENSION SYSTEM – 5 Year Warranty, Extended Life Bushings, 8,000 lb. In 1908, John Willys bought the Overland Automotive Division of Standard Wheel Company and truck lite catalog pdf 1912 renamed it Willys-Overland Motor Company. From 1912 to 1918, Willys was the second-largest producer of automobiles in the United States after Ford Motor Company. In 1913, Willys acquired a license to build the Charles Knight’s sleeve-valve engine which it used in cars bearing the Willys-Knight nameplate.
In the mid-1920s, Willys also acquired the F. Stearns Company of Cleveland and assumed continued production of the Stearns-Knight luxury car, as well. John Willys acquired the Electric Auto-Lite Company in 1914 and in 1917 formed the Willys Corporation to act as his holding company.
In 1916, it acquired the Russell Motor Car Company of Toronto, Ontario, by 1917 New Process Gear, and in 1919 acquired the Duesenberg Motors Company plant in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The New Jersey plant was replaced by a new, larger facility in Indianapolis, and was to be the site of production for a new Willys Six at an adjacent site, but the 1920 recession brought the Willys Corporation to its knees. The bankers hired Walter P. Chrysler to sort out the mess and the first model to go was the Willys Six, deemed an engineering disaster.
To raise cash needed to pay off debts, many of the Willys Corporation assets were put on the auction block. The Elizabeth plant and the Chrysler Six prototype were sold to William C.
Durant, then in the process of building a new, third empire. The plant built Durant’s low-priced Star, while the Chrysler Six prototype was substantially reworked to become the 1923 Flint. Walter Chrysler and the three engineers who had been working on the Chrysler Six all moved on to Maxwell-Chalmers where they continued their work, ultimately launching the six-cylinder Chrysler in January 1924.
In 1925, the Maxwell car company became the Chrysler Corporation. In 1926 Willys-Overland introduced a new line of small cars named Willys-Overland Whippet. In the economic depression of the 1930s, a number of Willys automotive brands faltered. Stearns-Knight was liquidated in 1929.
Production of the Willys-Knight ended in 1933. Canaday, who beginning in 1916 had done advertising for the company before becoming a full-time employee, had taken on the role of chairman.
He helped guide the company through its current receivership. It was forced to sell its Canadian subsidiary, itself in weak financial shape, and started a massive reorganization. Just the main assembly plant and some smaller factories remained the property of Willys-Overland.
The other assets were sold off to a new holding company that leased some of the properties back to W-O. The parent company was thus able to ride out the storm. In 1936, the Willys-Overland Motor Company was reorganized as Willys-Overland Motors. In 1937, Willys redesigned the 4-cylinder model.