1915 Willys Knight RoadsterSOLD
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Estimate: $20,000-$30,000 US

Offered Without Reserve

$11,000 Sold

Specifications: Model K19. 45hp, four-cylinder sleeve-valve engine, manual transmission, rigid front axle and live rear axle with leaf springs, mechanical rear brakes. Wheelbase: 120"

John North Willys ĺ knowledge of automotive mechanics was by all accounts rather limited. Mr. Willys was, however, an expert salesman, a quality that he developed at the turn of the 20th century as he worked in the field of sporting goods. By 1907 he had assumed the reigns of the nearly bankrupt Overland automobile company, renaming it Willys-Overland two years later. Steps toward producing a car that bore his name were not taken until 1913, when Willys purchased the Edwards Motor Car Company of Long Island City, New York and moved it to Ohio. In doing so, Edwards acquired the factory equipment and designs for the innovative Knight sleeve valve engine. By 1915, the relatively pricey Willys-Knight Model K-19 and K-17 models were introduced, fitted with Knight ĺ s engines. Offered with Roadster and Touring bodies, these pioneering Willys-Knight models were only produced for one year before being replaced by models that cost less than half as much.

The Willys-Knight Roadster offered here was purchased in 1999 upon the closing of the Remember When Museum in Riverton, Wyoming. It is finished predominantly in yellow and blue racing paint, a color combination which extends to the wood spoke wheels. Admittedly the paint is somewhat old and suffers from inherent signs of aging and deterioration. It does, however, retain some of its shine. A gas tank and toolbox are mounted behind the seats, as are two spare tires. Shrinking and aging are readily apparent on the black leather upholstery, but the wooden steering wheel and its nickel-plated spokes are in remarkably presentable condition despite being unrestored. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the black undercarriage and engine compartment, both of which are rather dirty and suffer from extensive grease and road grime.

Given the continual appeal and rich history of the wartime Willys Jeep, it is particularly exciting to find the origins of the Willys-Overland company in the Brass Era of early American automotives, when it was a serious competitor to Ford Motor Company. This particular Roadster is among the earliest ever built and, outfitted with the extraordinary sleeve-valve engine, makes for an excellent restoration project or delightful driver.

Reference Number 14923

as of 11/3/2007

Car 1915 Willys Knight Roadster
VIN 846067 
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