Willys Overland Six 90 Roadster

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Overland Six 90 Roadster





Willys was a brand name used by Willys–Overland Motors, an American automobile company best known for its design and production of military Jeeps (MBs) and civilian versions (CJs) during the 20th century.

In 1908, John Willys bought the Overland Automotive Division of Standard Wheel Company and in 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 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. Whippet production ended in 1931; its models were replaced by the Willys Six and Eight. Production of the Willys-Knight ended in 1933.

In 1932, Ward M. 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.

At this time, Willys decided to clear the boards and produce two new models – the 4-cylinder Willys 77 and the 6-cylinder Willys 99 – but since the firm was once again on the verge of bankruptcy, only the 77 went into production. It was forced to sell its Canadian subsidiary, itself in weak financial shape, and started a massive reorganization. Only 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. It gained a semistreamlined body with a slanted windshield, headlamps integrally embedded into the fenders, and a one-piece, rounded hood transversely hinged at the rear.

For 1939, the Model 39 featured Lockheed hydraulic brakes, a two-inch increase in wheelbase to 102 inches and an improved 134 DID four-cylinder engine with power increased from 48 to 61 hp. The Model 39 was marketed as an Overland and as a Willys–Overland rather than as a Willys.

In 1929, the company built a factory that built vehicles located at what is now 6201 Randolph Street, Commerce City, California. During the war, the factory built aircraft assemblies for Hudson Bombers. When the war ended, the factory resumed automobile production and was one of two locations to build the first CJ2A, as well as the Willys Aero. The factory was closed in 1954. The location is now occupied by Prologis Eaves Distribution Center.

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