The original Overland car was developed in the early 1900s by the Standard Wheel Company of Terre Haut, Indiana that had already changed hands once before John North Willys, a New York auto dealer and major Overland customer, arrived to rescue it from oblivion in 1907. Building four-cylinder cars only from 1910, the revitalised company went from strength to strength, production increasing steadily until by the start of WWI only Ford could claim a higher output. Willys even had the temerity to introduce a direct competitor to Ford's Model T but by the time the Overland Model 4 arrived in time for the 1920 season its $945-upwards price tag (more than double that of the equivalent Model T) placed it in an entirely different market sector. The Model 4's combination of a 27hp, four-cylinder engine and 100" wheelbase would remain a feature of the range until the Overland's deletion at the end of 1926. The car was also manufactured under licence in the UK at Heaton Chapel, Stockport, Cheshire by Willys-Overland-Crossley, a subsidiary of Crossley Motors Limited.
Although the Overland had gone, Willys had something entirely new up his sleeve: the Whippet, which had been developed along European lines with assistance from Crossley. America's smallest car at the time of its introduction in late 1926, the Whippet was as swift as its name suggested and boasted a most impressive specification: four-wheel brakes, a seven-bearing crankshaft and full-pressure lubrication all being parts of a competitively priced package that sold for less than $1,000. Four-cylinder 30hp and six-cylinder 40hp versions were offered. Built to a high standard that belied its competitive pricing, the Whippet was an outstanding success, selling 110,000 units in its first year and helping to propel Willys-Overland into 3rd place behind Chevrolet and Ford in 1928. Produced for only four years, the Whippet was a casualty of the Wall Street Crash and ensuing Depression, ceasing production early in 1931.
This four-cylinder Whippet is believed to have been imported in rolling chassis form and bodied by Bristowes of Poole. However, we have been unable to find any record of such a coachbuilder and it is possible that Bristowes was the supplying dealership. Acquired in 1987 and treated to a full 'body off' restoration, the car has not been used since the rebuild's completion in 1989 - apart from MoT testing - and is described as in generally good condition, having been kept in dry storage. Offered with old-style logbook.