Willys Overland Knight Registry

John North Willys
John North Willys 1873 - 1935

J.N. Willys (pronounced Willis not Willeez) is most remembered for the dynamic energy, enthusiasm, personality and salesmanship skills he showed during his leadership of Willys Overland.

Also not to be forgotten is the strong connection between J.N. Willys and the Knight Sleeve Valve engine.  After J.N. Willys met with Charles Y. Knight on his way to England and was subsequently convinced of the technical superiority of the sleeve valve engine, Willys Overland produced almost half a million Willys Knight vehicles during the 1914 - 1933 period.  Although other manufacturers used the Knight engine, none were as successful as Willys Overland  in keeping the manufacturing costs low enough on an engine which demanded high quality and close tolerance machining.

Besides the obvious link between the Willys name and that of the Willys, Willys Knight vehicles and Willys Overland company that shared the Willys name, J.N. Willys is also regarded as a savior to the company, and the thousands of Toledo and other workers, as things seemed to go best when J.N. Willys was at the helm.
In fact, J.N. Willys saved the company three times;

John North Willys with 100,000th Whippet
John North Willys with the 100,000th Whippet

Although J.N. Willys favored the technically superior sleeve valve Knight vehicles to which he added his name, it was the simpler poppet valve Overland Fours, Whippets and later the Jeep that gave Willys Overland its major production volumes.

 Interested readers should also refer to the W.O.K.R. STARTER INDEX for more articles on J.N. Willys.
A recent example appeared in number 143, Apr - Jun, 1998.
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