Description

  • This car has headlamps with magnetic mirror reflectors that depressed the headlamp beams when a button was pushed.
  • The backup lamp was lighted when the transmission was put into reverse.
  • In 1923, the company was $8,000,000 in debt.
  • After reorganization, Wills lost money on every car made until production ended. 

Story

Story

Wills St. Claire automobiles were named after their designer, Childe Harold Wills, who formed the C.H. Wills Company.  The cars were produced from 1921 to 1927 and were considered luxury cars.  A few innovative features were headlamps with magnetic mirror reflectors that depressed the headlamp beams when a button was depressed and a backup lamp that lighted when the transmission was put into reverse.  Wills’ engineering is demonstrated by the car displayed here which has the advanced feature of a 60 degree V-8 engine with a single overhead camshaft per bank of cylinders.  In 1925, a 6-cylinder engine was introduced which became the mainstay of the company, although the V-8 was still available.

By 1923, the company was $8,000,000 in debt.  Wills was temporarily ousted from control but came back with the support of the financial firm Kidder, Peabody & Company, which reorganized the company as Wills St. Claire, Inc.  Profits did not equal sales and Wills lost money on every car made.  Wills St. Claire automobile production ceased in 1927. The factory was later purchased by Chrysler.

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