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 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.B. 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. Chrysler had auto engineers Owen Skelton, Carl Breer, and Fred Zeder begin work on a new car, which was often referred to as the Chrysler Six. In 1917, Ward M. Canaday, who had been doing advertising for the company, became a full-time employee. 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 improved and modified, becoming 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.
This car is actually a late 1915 production car with the more desirable Jug motor, and therefore would be eligible for HCCA tours. The engine has been completely rebuilt with ceramic coated jugs and manifold and roller lifters installed, as well as new rods and pistons. The transaxle was also rebuilt with a new output shaft, new leather cone clutch and sealed ring and pinion. The Wood wheels were also completely reconditioned. Cosmeticelly the car is a nicely restored and presents very well. It is perfect for touring- a car you can jump in and drive confidently, and will also quite welcome on the show circuit as well.