WOKR History

In June of 1960, Chet Lamberth and John Rawlins of Dallas, Texas owned Willys-Knight automobiles and correctly thought there may be others interested in preserving sleeve-valve engine vehicles. They formed the "National Registry of Willys-Knight Automobiles and others using sleeve-valve action" and by year's end, there were 36 members. A year later there were over 100 members from Australia, Canada, Sweden and the USA.

In 1964 Charles Proctor was elected as this fledgling club's first President. In late 1965 Charlie Weaver of Winston-Salem, North Carolina assumed leadership of the club. Under his direction the membership grew to 700. Many members had other Willys-built vehicles, and in 1969 the name of the group was changed to the "Willys-Overland-Knight Registry". As word of the WOKR spread, the membership grew and by 1975 there were 1,100 active members in 23 countries. During this period, WOKR Chapters were formed first in Canada, then the United States, New Zealand and Australia.

Once a membership number is assigned, it is kept for that person or their heirs. At the time of the printing of this information, over 5361 numbers have been assigned.

In 1976, in order to spread the growing workload among more members, the WOKR was reorganized with a complete set of officers under newly elected President Dave Bell. Membership was now in 34 countries.

Also in 1976, to cope with fast changing times, the membership and vehicle data was computerized. The vehicle registry is maintained in such a way that vehicle data is retained even if the owner drops out of the club or if the vehicle is sold to a non-member. In such cases, the number listed after the vehicle data is the member number of the last club member to have registered that vehicle, but no member name is listed.

In 1996 the WOKR joined the World Wide Web on the Internet. We are truly a world-reaching club. Our website is www.wokr.org where information about the club, its activities, chapters, photo gallery, WOKR archives and a membership application form can be accessed.