The ex-Bill Harrah, William B Ruger
1924 Will Sainte Claire V8 A-68 Roadster
Chassis no. 7550
Engine no. 08534
Engineer C. Harold Wills was the chief designer of the Model T Ford and a key figure in the rise of the Ford Motor Co. An expert metallurgist, Wills introduced Henry Ford to vanadium steel, which contributed greatly to the Model T's legendary durability. Wills also designed the famous Ford script logo. In 1919, Wills left Ford on his own volition, departing to design and manufacture his own automobile.
Wills used the $1.5 million he'd received in severance from Henry Ford to help capitalize his new car. Wills named his automobile the Wills Sainte Claire, after himself and the river that ran near his new Marysville, Michigan factory. The Canada grey goose, a bird greatly admired by Wills, was portrayed on the new car's radiator ornament.
Drawing inspiration from Hispano Suiza WWI aircraft engines, Wills designed an advanced 265-cid monobloc V8 with overhead camshafts for his new car. Castings of molybdenum steel, a Wills development, helped keep the 121-inch wheelbase Wills Sainte Claire light and nimble. Starting in 1925, Wills offered a SOHC six-cylinder engine alongside the V8. More than 12,000 Wills Sainte Claire cars were produced between 1922 and 1927, the year production ceased. Wills admiration for the engineering of Hispano Suiza was reflected in the flying goose logo of the company.
The Model A-68 V8 rumble-seat roadster offered here is one of 2,162 Wills Sainte Claire cars produced during 1924. The famed Harrah's Auto Collection acquired the car in 1966 and carefully conserved its exceptional originality. The next owner obtained it during the Harrah's dispersal and then displayed it in the family room of his home as an example of automotive art. Around 1989, the Wills was taken into the late Bill Ruger's highly regarded collection and was subsequently inherited by his daughter in 2003.
According to the Wills Sainte Claire Club, this roadster is the lowest mileage Wills knownits odometer has yet to reach 25,000 miles. The blue and black paintwork on the Budd-bodied roadster is believed to be factory original, while Harrah's restoration shop may have replaced the leather interior and top many years ago. The original owner's handbook still accompanies the car.
All Wills Sainte Claire models are CCCA full classics. The Wills Sainte Clair Club maintains a museum, located near the original factory site, dedicated to preserving the intriguing history of C. H. Wills and his exceptional car. Rare and possessing one of the most sophisticated powerplants of its day Waills Sainte Claires have been treasured parts of many prestigious collections. These cars seldom come available on the open market and this is a tremendous opportunity to acquire one of the most original examples of the highly sought after model.
The roadster is currently registered to the vendor in New Hampshire.
- The engine no. in the catalog is incorrect; it should read 8541