Skip to main content

1922 Wills Sainte Claire A68 news, pictures, specifications, and information
Four Passenger Coupe
 
Childe Harold Wills began his automotive career with the Ford Motor Company. He was the chief metallurgist and was responsible for helping Henry Ford incorporate a new material, vanadium steel, into the production of the Model T. Vanadium steel was a lightweight material that was not only strong but flexible and it would become the principal material for most of the Model T's chassis parts.

Wills worked for Ford until the end of World War I, when he decided he wanted to build his own automobile. When he left Ford, he took with him $1.5 million which he would use to start his own company. The new C.H. Wills and Company was located in Marysville, Michigan and in 1921, they built their first automobile which was called the Wills St. Claire. Unlike the Model T, which was an affordable, mass produced vehicle, the Wills St. Claire was an expensive luxury car that was built using the latest technologies and materials. For the cast components, Wills incorporated another new material, molybdenum, which like vanadium steel, was lightweight and very durable. Wills St. Claire vehicles were powered by either V8 or I-6 overhead valve engines. Unfortunately, the Wills St. Claire never achieved the success that other vehicles did during this period and by 1927 the company closed its doors.

Today, Wills St. Claires are extremely rare automobiles and it is estimated that fewer than eighty examples remain.
Roadster
Chassis Num: 6336
Engine Num: 7367
 
Sold for $151,250 at 2015 Bonhams.
The Wills St. Claire Company was introduced in 1919 but their experience with automobiles began many years before. Engineer C. Harold Wills was an expert metallurgist who had introduced Henry Ford to vanadium steel, which added to the Model T's legendary durability. Wills also designed the famous Ford script logo. In 1919, Wills left Ford and began building his own automobile. He used the $1.5 million he'd received in severance from Henry Ford to help capitalize on his new car. His new car was dubbed the Wills Sainte Claire, after himself and the river that ran near his new Marysville, Michigan factory. The Canada grey goose was portrayed on the new car's radiator ornament.

The engine was a 265 cubic-inch monobloc V8 with two overhead camshafts. It was designed in similar fashion to the Hispano-Suiza World War I aircraft engines. Precise bevel drive gears improved upon the noisy straight gears of the Hispano design, making the Wills' V8 much quieter. The engine breathed through a dual throat carburetor and offered exceptional performance.

Wills used castings of molybdenum steel to help keep their 121-inch wheelbase Wills Sainte Claire light and nimble. Beginning in 1925, the company offered a SOHC 6-cylinder engine along with the V8.

Between 1922 and 1927, more than 12,000 examples of the Wills Sainte Claire were produced. Though the cars were well engineered, the business model was not as fine-tuned. Wills often shut down the production line so he could make improvements. The V-8 engine was very expensive to produce and the low output of the company would never yield a profit.

This particular example is a Model A-68 V-8 Rumble-Seat Roadster. It is one of the 2,162 Wills Sainte Claire cars produced during 1924. It features high ratio gearing, distinctive headlamps and the driver's courtesy light. It wears an older restoration that still shows well in modern times. It has its original Wills bumpers, golf club bracket and a mechanical directional system. The Wills includes a full set of side curtains.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2015
FORD SUPPORTS SECOND SEASON OF FINDING YOUR ROOTS WITH HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR. ON PBS
◾Ford is supporting the airing of the second season of Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., which debuts Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. ET ◾Each hour-long episode will feature a 30-second spot that looks back at the history of Henry Ford and his visionary, family-owned company ◾Ford will engage viewers throughout the program with several digital and social media executions, including an original digital content series As fall arrives and new shows debut on the small screen, one tele...[Read more...]
AS 50 YEARS OF MUSTANG APPROACHES, FORD AND MUSTANG CLUB OF AMERICA PREPARE FOR LARGEST CELEBRATIONS EVER
◾Ford and Mustang Club of America celebrations are open to the public; events to be held simultaneously at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway beginning April 16 ◾Thousands of Mustang owners and fans expected to attend the five-day celebrations; events include product ride-and-drives, track time, and Mustang Garage displays featuring 50 years of Mustangs from all model years, special editions and the all-new 2015 Mustang ◾Ford Motor Company executives including Executive Chai...[Read more...]
The Fox Body Mustang: A Return To Form
'Thou shall never do a slantback front end.' That was the commandment from Gene Bordinat, Ford's vice president of design, 'Henry Ford II only wants vertical front ends, and he'll show us the door if we ever try anything like it.' This mantra hung over the early development of the third-generation of Ford's wildly successful Mustang. In 1975 Ford designers began the job of redesigning the iconic pony car for the coming 1980s. The car and country had been through a roller coaster 20-year perio...[Read more...]
'OPENING THE HIGHWAYS' ARTWORK RESTORED AS FORD BUILDS ON CENTURY-PLUS LEGACY OF MOBILITY LEADERSHIP
◾'Opening the Highways' Ford advertisement first printed in 1925 still used to summarize company's vision for automotive leadership ◾Ford and The Henry Ford work together to restore historic painting used in the ad ◾Restored painting and ad unveiled in Henry Ford Museum's 'Driving America' exhibit DEARBORN, Mich., June 24, 2013 – A nearly 90-year-old advertisement that propelled Ford Motor Company's vision for putting the world on wheels and recently helped transform the company from...[Read more...]
Unique Ford Shelby GT500 To Be Auctioned Saturday
On Saturday, Sept. 22, Ford Motor Company and Henry Ford Health System will auction a fabulous, one-of-a-kind 2013 Ford Shelby GT500. As part of its 2012 'Get Your Heart Racing' event and charity auction, Henry Ford Health System has once again called on the creative talents of Ford designer Melvin Betancourt. To thank the dedicated team at Henry Ford Health System that Betancourt credits with saving his life when he was treated for a serious heart condition, the designer has focused all of h...[Read more...]

© 1998-2014. All rights reserved. The material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.