- Company founder C.H. Wills was a former assistant to Henry Ford.
- Starting in 1919, Wills built his “dream city” in Marysville, Michigan, and opened the C.H. Wills and Company factory to build the Wills St. Claire.
- The first car was produced in 1921.
- The cars were called “The Molybdenum Cars” after the type of steam used in its design.
In 1919, prominent American metallurgist Childe Harold Wills left his position as assistant to Henry Ford to design a new automobile, which he called the Wills St. Claire. That year, he began changing the face of the village of Marysville, Michigan. Within two years C.H. Will’s “Dream City” had become a reality. New streets were laid out, new homes were built, and the C.H. Wills and Company factory was built to produce the Wills Sainte Claire. In 1921, the company produced its first automobile, model A-68. In 1922, the company name changed to Wills St. Claire, Inc.
Molybdenum steel was used so extensively in the Wills St. Claire design that factory literature called them “The Molybdenum Cars.” Wills’ engineering is demonstrated in this 1922 roadster which has a 60 degree V-8 engine with two overhead camshafts (one to each bank of cylinders). The generator and fan are driven from the gear case, thus eliminating the usual fan belt. In 1924, a long stroke overhead camshaft engine, with six cylinders in line, replaced the V-8 engine, and this model remained in production, with slight changes, until production ceased in 1927.