Introduced in 1941, Willy’s patriotically named “Americar” was produced for that one full year and a portion of 1942 (Series 441 and 442), This Willys was the only model in 1941 and there were three styles, Speedway, Deluxe, and Plainsman - 22,000 cars were produced in 1941 and only 7,000 in 1942.

Built by Willys Overland Motor Company of Toledo, Ohio, under the presidency of Joseph W. Frazer, and engineered by Barney Roos, the Americar was a.very ordinary compact passenger vehicle, Ordinary, yes, but a very well-built, lightweight, economical, four-door five-passenger vehicle with a 104” wheelbase and conventional L-head 4-cylinder engine, has an 11 ½ gallon fuel tank, ladder chassis and weighed 2,116 pounds.. .

The sharp-nosed body styling was slightly owed to previous Nashes and Hudsons. This Americar was competitively priced low at $665.

Why only 7,000 vehicles in 1942? The year had barely begun when civilian automobile production was abandoned by the United States motor companies in order to assist the military - the Americar was no exception. And Willys was one of the companies awarded a contract to produce the highly successful and “immortal” Jeep.

This Willys Americar was the last Willy’s automobile produced until 1952. The Americar was so new that it hadn’t had a chance to develop a reputation, customers were slow to appreciate it or take care of it., If you try to restore an Americar today, you would have a real problem finding body parts.

The company name has been mispronounced over the years – it’s “Willis” not “Willies”.

MORE about the company with the not-so-common name.

Willys had been a major force in the low-price market for many years, placing second or third in sales during the teens and twenties.. The company teetered on the edge of bankruptcy, company fortunes declined sharply after the death of John North Willys in 1935, and Willys struggled under receivership for several years. .

By 1941 when the Americar was built, Willys financial picture had improved - even more after the war began, and production of the well-known Jeep rebuilt the company. The Americar was inended to sell under the price of the Big Three, and it did so by about $100. Judge for yourself if it was a good value

Willys, 4-cylinder, 67 hp, 104” wheelbase - $665.

Ford, 8 cylinder, 90 hp, 114” wheelbase - $775.

Chevrolet, 6 cylinder, 90 hp, 116” wheelbase - $754

Plymouth, 6 cylinder, 87 hp, 117” wheelbase - $780.

How did buyers choose in 1941? Willys 22,102, Ford 602,01, Chevrolet 930,293, Plymouth 452,187.