When Buying a New Willys-Overland Made the Papers

When the automobile industry was young, buying a new automobile was a newsworthy event and the newspapers of the early 1900s are full of such mentions. I was recently researching my great-grandfather and discovered he bought several new automobiles during this period of history.

From 1923:

And 1926:

Oops, also 1926:

My great-grandfather emigrated from Westphalia, Germany in 1881 when he was 13 years old and settled in Kearney County, Nebraska. Later, during World War II, there were many German POW camps in Nebraska, and he helped by reviewing prisoner correspondence at one of those camps, Camp Atlanta. He was a farmer and, like many in that vocation, embraced the new automobile trend with enthusiasm. His car of choice in 1918 was an Overland Light Six:

The seller, Lars Gundersen, was born in Norway and came to the United States in 1889. Originally a blacksmith, he entered the automobile business around the turn of the century and was the first mechanic and automobile dealer in Kearney County. By 1918, he was a Willys-Overland dealer and found a buyer in my ancestor. The newspaper doesn’t mention a body style, but that year the Light Six was available in a 5-Passenger Touring Sedan, a 3-Passenger Touring Coupe, a 5-Passenger Touring Car, and a 3-Passenger Roadster. This was just part of the full line offered by Willys-Overland in 1918:

The Overland was advertised as “The Thrift Car,” and a lot of them were made and sold. So many, in fact, that from 1912 through the war years, Willys-Overland was second in production only to Ford (a distant second, but second nonetheless).