Written by Terry Ernest, Museum Director
NOTE: This website issue of the newsletter does not cobtain photos or
images. Please join us as a member of the Wills Museum to receive the
Award winning "Gray Goose News" with photographs.
Museum ® News
Wills Sainte Claire Automobile Museum 2408
Wills St. Marysville, MI 48040 (810)
987-2854 501c3 non-profit
Newsletter # 44 - July 2016 - Page #1 Editor/Director: Terry Ernest
HAPPY 100TH BIRTHDAY BILL
a birthday party is a great event, but when it is your 100th birthday, then it
is even more amazing!
Mason is a long time Wills Sainte Claire Museum member. His son, Rick, emailed
me earlier this year and asked if I could attend and represent the Wills
Museum, at his father's 100th birthday party in Lansing, Michigan. This is
about a 2 hour drive from the Wills Museum in Marysville. Of course, I said yes. As director of the Wills Museum, how could I
possibly turn down a request for such an important event.
Mason has been a member of the Wills Sainte Claire Club since it began in 1959.
In fact, Bill's involvement with Wills Sainte Claire goes back a long time
further. In the mid 1920's, when Bill
was just a tyke, he remembers the local Wills Sainte Claire distributer sending
over a Wills roadster for his father (who owned a commercial meat processing
company) to try out for the weekend.
Bill made sure that every time the car went anywhere, he was riding in
the rumble seat! Unfortunately, his
father did not buy the Wills, as he had just purchased a different brand of
car. But Bill never forget those wonderful rides in a Wills
Sainte Claire car.
June of 1930, he sent a letter to C. Harold Wills, who built the Wills cars
from 1921 to 1926 in Marysville, Michigan, requesting a brochure of the Wills
cars. The Wills Sainte Claire Automobile company had gone bankrupt in 1926
after building 12,107 cars, but to his credit, Mr. Wills had saved one last
brochure. Mr. Wills wrote back to 14
year old Bill and said: "Dear Sir,
As requested in your letter, I am very happy to send you a catalog showing you
the different models of the Wills Sainte Claire car, which happens to be the
only one I have. Trusting that this will
meet your pleasure, (signed) C. Harold Wills."
Bill always had those fabulous Wills cars in the back of his mind and would
eventually go on to become a Wills car owner by purchasing a 1926 Phillips
bodied Cabriolet. His son and daughter
told me they had fond memories of riding around in the rumble seat of the Wills
Cabriolet when they were kids. As happens
in life, family comes before antique cars, and Bill had to sell the Wills to
pay for his children's college educations.
was a member and stayed in close contact with the Wills Club (started in 1959),
which eventually became the Wills Sainte Claire Auto Museum, and often sent in articles and information,
sharing his vast knowledge of all things Wills through the Museum's Newsletter.
In 2012, Bill
was awarded the "Spirit of C. H. Wills" award by the Board of
Directors of the Wills Museum for his many contributions to the Museum. The "Spirit
of C. H. Wills" Award
is given in tribute to the spirit that propelled C. Harold Wills and the Wills
Sainte Claire automobile to the forefront of automobile quality and
engineering. This award is given by the
directors of the Wills Sainte Claire Automobile Museum to a member who has reflected
this spirit in their service to the Museum over the previous year.
As I began
thinking about the trip to Lansing to celebrate with Bill and his family, I
thought it would be a good idea if I could bring a Wills Sainte Claire car with
me to have on display. No problem, I
have a Wills Roadster and I could easily bring it to the party. Then I considered it further and thought, it
would be really fantastic if I could bring the car that Bill used to
own. Bill's Wills Cabriolet was
purchased and restored by Ray Burgess, who gave it one of the finest
restorations ever lavished on a Wills, and the car just happened to be on
display in the Wills Museum. I called
Ray in Florida and asked him what he thought about me taking his valuable Wills
Cabriolet to Lansing for a birthday party for Bill. Ray, as gracious as a gentlemen can be, said
"I think it's a great idea!".
happens with antique cars that have been sitting for a while, the Wills
Cabriolet did not want to be cooperative in starting the engine. As you can imagine, there are not many Wills
engine specialists in the world, but fortunately for us, Scott Shepley of Blue
Gryphon Service, whose business is a short distance from the Museum, dropped everything
he was doing to come to our aid. Because
of Scott's mechanical prowess, he diagnosed the problems and in short order had
the car running well. With the Wills
safely loaded in the trailer, off we went to Lansing.
birthday party was well attended by his many family and friends. Bill's son, Rick, created a wonderful slide
show of Bill's life and accomplishments, and many photos included his Wills
Sainte Claire. As dessert was being
served, my wife and I slipped out of the dining room and unloaded the Wills
Cabriolet from our trailer, placing it under the portico of the facility. After lunch, Bill made his way outside, for
what his son Rick told him was a "special surprise", as Bill did not
know about the Wills Roadster being present at his party.
Bill's eyes lit
up when he saw his old car! Then a smile appeared on his face, that for me,
made the whole trip immensely worthwhile and immensely satisfying. Bill looked the car over and began
reminiscing about the outings and memories of trips with his wife and family in
the car. I asked Bill if he would like a
ride in the car. Another big smile on
his face told me the answer was yes. It
is not easy to get into a car made in the 1920's at any age (especially if you
are tall) and when you are 100 years old, you certainly don't bend as well as
you used to. But none of this stopped
Bill. He worked his way into the tight
interior of the Wills and we were shortly ready to go. As we drove along, Bill told me about the
sounds that the engine and transmission made as we shifted gears were just as
he had remembered them many years ago....
birthday to you, Bill Mason, and many more!
1925 NEW YORK AUTO SALON DISPLAY:
Wills Museum has successfully completed the 1925 New York Auto Salon
display. The featured car is Carl Moss'
1925 Custom bodied Town Car by Willoughby displayed on a rotating turntable.
New York Auto Salon differed from the
Auto Show in that it was for custom
bodied cars. The display shows 3 views
of the Hotel Commodore with many high-end car manufacturers and custom body
builders showing off their latest creations.
Although not seen in the original
photos of the auto salon, the Willoughby bodied town car was on display at the
salon on the Willoughby stand.
component that makes the display and history so interesting is that Willoughby
hoped to sell the Town Car to C. Harold Wills for use by Mrs. Wills. Unfortunately for Willoughby, Mr. Wills did
not purchase the car. But someone famous
certainly did: Mrs. Horace Dodge of the
illustrious Dodge brothers!
copy of the Willoughby letter and the rest of the display are now available for
viewing at the Wills Museum.
LECTURE AT THE MUSEUM:
Our next lecture at the Wills Museum is about the Buhl
Aircraft manufactured in Marysville, in buildings formerly used by the Wills
Sainte Claire auto company. Museum secretary,
Carl Moss will be presenting this fascinating part of local transportation
history from Buhl aircraft files recently donated to the Wills Museum. The date for this will be September 27th,
2016 beginning at 7:30 PM.
knew that they built airplanes in Marysville?
JOIN US AT THE LECTURE!
1929 Buhl Sport Air-Sedan
SURVIVING WILLS MOTOR CARS - 2016:
The following list of known existing
Wills cars follows the format used by Bill McKeand in 1980 and again in 1986, listed
vehicles by car number from oldest to newest.
Cars from 1921, 1922, and 1923 are presented in this newsletter; cars
from 1924 and 1925 will be published in the next Gray Goose News, and 1926 cars,
and those not on previous lists will be listed on the following
newsletter. Each of these cars have
individual folders kept on file at the museum.
They contain whatever information is presently known: Previous owners, photos, magazine and
newspaper articles, etc. for each vehicle.
is difficult to keep this listing up to date as when cars are sold, passed on
to relatives, or otherwise change hands, that information is often lost and not
shared with the Wills Museum. That being the case, the current listing
undoubtedly contains a number of errors.
(Spreadsheet is on page 6 of this
newsletter) Readers are encouraged to contact the Museum regarding omissions,
corrections, or updates of the date contained in this listing.
by Museum Secretary Carl Moss-2016)
NEW ENGINE MANIFOLDS AVAILABLE:
Wills Sainte Claire V-8
1921-24 intake manifolds, new. Pressure tested. Exceeds OEM specs. Made
from 356-T6 aluminum. Hand machined. Increased flow. Brass tubes swaged on.
Photo shows polished example. These are not polished. Show quality. Made in
U.S.A., with warranty. Immediate shipment. Very limited supply. $3,950 ea (+s/h). Call or email: Dr. John Baeke Phone: 913-406-2262.
As we had announced in the last issue of this newsletter,
we have begun the restoration of a 1926 Wills Roadster, graciously donated by
Tom Lieb of California. As most of the
Wills cars in the Museum are owned by their owners and placed on display in the
Museum, (as in not owned by the Museum) it is not easy to take a Wills to a
concourse or other outreach educational venue to teach about the Wills Sainte
Claire. By having a running &
driving car that is owned by the Museum, we will be able to take the car out of
the Museum to use as a teaching tool. Museum
Board members Carl Moss and Paul Pawlosky are heading up this project. Currently they are taking the parts out of
the box to assess what needs to be done first.
would like to thank Ray Burgess who has made the first donation to this worthy
project. We could also use your help. Please make your donation out to the Wills
Sainte Claire Museum with a note on your check to use toward the "Wills in
a Box" project.
your support, we can accomplish this worthwhile project!
WILLS WINS AWARD AT EYES ON DESIGN:
Pawlosky's 1926 T-6 Roadster won a prestigious "Design of
Distinction" award at the the annual Eyes
on Design show at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford estate in Grosse Pointe,
Michigan on Father's day. This show,
which benefits the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology, is very much about the
design of the car or "rolling sculpture" as famous auto designer
Gordon Buhrig once said. Congrats Paul!
VINTAGE GREASE AD:
Steve Rossi sent in an ad for Moly Grease, a lubricant
with Molysulfide in it produced by Climax Molybdenum. In the ad, the proud owner of a 1922 Wills is
telling the mechanics that he wants them to use Moly Grease in servicing his
pride and joy. One of the mechanics asks
"What d'ya suppose they used in 1922 - Bear grease?"
Sainte Claire Museum Board of Directors:
Terry Ernest –
Achatz – Fundraising
Conger Street 523
N 3RD St
Huron, MI 48060 St
Clair, MI 48079
Cangemi – Vice President Paul Pawlosky – Merchandising
Trillium Trail 904
MI 48032 Otisville, MI 48463
Scott Metzner –
Treasurer John Porter– Facilities
River Rd 137
MI 48040 St
Clair, MI 48079
Moss – Secretary
Huron, MI 48060
Newsletter # 39 - November 2014 - Page #1 Editor/Director: Terry Ernest
2015 NATIONAL MEET IN
The membership has spoken, and we have
listened! Although we here at the
Museum had been planning on moving the national meet to Akron to be part of the
Stan Hewett Concours in 2015, members let us know that they would prefer the
meet to be in Marysville. Along with a
venue change, the dates will also be changing. Our National Meet will now be
August 13 to 16, 2015, in Marysville, Michigan.
will coincide with the annual car show in Marysville Park (across the street
from the Wills factory) which will showcase the Wills Sainte Claire Automobile
as the show's featured marque. In the
next issue of this newsletter, we will give you details of where we will be
visiting and the rest of the meet specifics.
START PLANNING NOW TO ATTEND!
It is very important that you vote yes or no on the
by-laws that the Museum Board of Directors has created for the operation of the
museum. The board spent many hours
crafting these rules of governance that will guide the museum now and into the
future. We hope you will vote to approve
them. Your vote must be received by
December 31, 2014 to be counted.
Fig. #1 Mr. Wills' Hispano-Suiza (photo by C. Harold Wills)
C. Harold Wills was believed to have
owned a Hispano-Suiza in the early 1920's.
One of the mysteries surrounding this car was what model and year was
it? Wills Museum member Richard Coulombe
of St. Bruno, Quebec, Canada has written up an article (with photos) to help us
explore this rare car. Richard's research and article follow:
This picture (Fig 1) was published in our Grey Goose News a
few years ago. Evidently, C. Harold owned an Hispano! And, that is all we know. How and when did he
acquire it? Who are the people? Where was the photo taken? Who took the picture
and when? Which Model is it? What year?
researched this mystery, making contacts in France, Spain, & getting a 500
pages Hispano book from London. I also exchanged with Robert Nester whom passed
away in 2013. He was the son of Virginia Wills Chauvin (1908-94) and the
grand-son of C. Harold Wills.
Brief historical info; Marc BIRKIGT was the bright mechanical
engineer behind all Hispano-Suizas , Swiss born in Geneva in 1878, the same
year as C. Harold was born. Birkigt went to Barcelona, Spain in 1899
and worked on many engine designs. A promising prototype won the "Coupe de
l'Auto" in 1910, and so impressed the king of Spain that he secured the
first "Type 15" produced (Fig
Fig. #2 King Alphonso XIII
and his Type 15
popular race/sport car became known as the "Alphonso Xlll".
The monoblock (Fig 3) was a T-head of
3.6 Liters, rated at 45hp.
Fig. #3 Alphonso XIII Type
Production started in Barcelona, and
moved to Paris in 1911 where larger facilities had been built. The Alphonso Xlll
was deemed the best & fastest Tourer, building (439 units) prior to WW1. It
evolved into a 4.5L "Super Alphonso" which raced in Brooklands
in July 1914. World War I broke out in Europe on Aug. 3rd, paralyzing all
production. All tooling and material were then transferred back to Barcelona
along with the 56 unfinished cars of the new "Type 26".
Fig. #4 King Alphono XIII driving his Type 26
The first two of these good looking
Type 26 (Fig 4) went to the King in 1915
and were known as the "New Alphonso Xlll". It had a lively
T-head 4 cyl 4.6L/75hp, chain driven twin camshafts to 16 valves
Birkigt experimented in 1912-13
with an Over-head camshaft
and valves with detachable head. They
were installed on a very few Type 20-21-22-23 Models. The 3 bearings crankshafts proved so faulty,
they had to cease it's production.
Fig. #5 16 valve Type 26 Engine (75HP)
The Type 22 motor (64HP) would have
upgraded the "Alphonso Xlll" into a "Super Alphonso
Xlll". Birkigt urgently designed
(early '14) a bigger T-Head 4.5Liter block for it (Type 25) as a
temporary fix. Only 20 or so of those
"Super Alphonso Xlll" were built, competed successfully at the
summer of '14 but...Because...
War priorities on military aero
engines monopolized Birkigt time in Spain. The result was the superb V-8
(Type 31) of 150hp (300hp by 1918) with crown/pinion Over-Head
Camshafts. Some 49,000 were produced under license in Allied countries
and the USA. The sturdy Hispano V-8 evolved into the V-12 Liberty, produced in
the USA, on which C. Harold solved many production problems. The V-8 design and
OHC surely impressed him. This V-8 Hispano was by 1916, on the SPAD of
famous ace George Guynemer on the Stork fighter Squadron. This
"Stork" would become the Hispanos emblem after the war. These
powerful V-8 and V-12 aero-engines helped the Allies regain control of the
skies to victory and made the Hispano-Suiza name known worldwide.
Birkigt found the time somehow
during the war to correct the 4 cyl OHC, of 3.0L with a 5 bearing crankshaft
and 59hp, leading to the superb Type 30 and the larger 95 hp Type
32. Both those Type 30 & 32 had the ingenious <Spur gears>
from the crank, offset on the left side of the block (Fig 6) and driving the <Over-head camshaft>.
Fig. #6 Spur gear drive with OHC
The intense war effort in Spain on
the aero-engines resulted in limited car production. The Type 30 appeared
slowly in 1916 and Type 32 in 1917. Being in high demand, 955 units of
the Type 30 were built in Barcelona as well as 426 of the Type 32 til
1924. A total of some 3397 Hispano-Suiza cars were built prior to the H6
and J12 era. End of brief historical
Wills was set on leaving
Ford and left in March 1919, determined to build his own car, his own way,
certainly influenced by Hispano's sound engine design and features. He would
not have dared to get a Hispano prior to leaving Ford, Henry Ford could
have reacted unpredictably. Besides, finding one during the first world war was
Some of Wills' Hispano-Suiza features:
Right-hand drive, Long hood, Vertical wind-shield (two glass panes).
oil pan well below frame.
3- Extra engine oil reservoir below left cowl.
Rounded radiator shell (a post '14 style), not with a "Stork" cap
but with a "Moto-meter".
Fenders of late-teen style. Large tool box
below running-board. Rumble seat and folded panels (note A-68 like step
wheels/thin tires/Whithworth Rudge
7- Electric head lamps.
8- Rear brakes only.
What Model? A long stylish roadster, fit for a King. It
is not shown in my 1000+ pictures, although the hood, cowl and fenders of
Type 26 shown in Fig. #4
are almost alike. The engine oil pan is quite low.
are the People, and When? Harold's wife, Mary
Coyne Wills is at the wheel, the chauffeur "Rex", is likely driving
the car in the background. The two boys are Jack & Harold Jr,
born in 1916 and '18. They seem to be 4 to 7 years old according to Bob
Nester (C.H. Wills' grandson) which would date the scene to 1922 or 1923. C.
Harold (fond of cameras) is likely taking the picture. Where? I
make out <EDEN MUSEUM> and flags on building in background, perhaps an
amusement park for the boys, on a warm summer day outing, fairly close to
Detail of photo showing "Eden Museum" in
Model Year? It is probably not
an ALPHONSO Xlll (1910-14), smaller and lower with square radiator
shell curve at top. It is not the H6B model built in France from 1919
which had servo-brakes on all 4 wheels, wider tires and a
radiator cap with the "STORK" emblem. Unlikely to be a Type 26 of 1915,
the engine oil pan profile is different, only 56 were made and it would not
look nearly as new in 1922. It is
unlikely to be a big 95hp Type 32 with a much higher hood. C. Harold
would have acquired his Hispano-Suiza in the early '20s from
Spain since they continued to be built there until 1924.
That car had lots to impress
him, with the <Spur gear> over-head camshaft
(direct drive, "mando directo" in Spanish) and tappet clatter
suppressor (Fig. #6-7-8).
The intake manifold was water jacketed, the fan was gear driven etc...
Virginia Wills often told her son Bob (Nester) that her father had taken
the Hispano all apart to better appreciate Birkigt's genius.
Fig. #7 Type 30 Spur Gear drive (59 HP)
Fig. #8 Type 32 Spur gear drive engine (95 HP)
Fig. #9 Type 30 Touring (most resembles Wills' Hispano)
Conclusion: C.H.'s Hispano was light, very fast, even dangerous with rear brakes
only. Many models like it were lost. His car likely has not survived. I
conclude that C. Harold's smart, sporty Hispano-Suiza most "likely"
was a 1919-21 Spanish Type
30 (Fig.#9). Don't you find that
the Wills A-68 Roadster (Fig.
#10) and Wills' Hispano (Fig.#1) share many visible features?
Written by: Richard Coulombe
Fig. #10 Early Wills A-68 Roadster
In researching this article, we
contacted some experts in the Hispano-Suiza club for their opinions of what
model Hizzo that Wills may have
owned: After examining the photo, here
is what they think:
This looks like a
1914 Alphonso XIII to me. The radiator is the later nickel plated rounded
edge style as compared to the brass sharp edged earlier version. There is
the spare oil tank attached the frame rail visible just below the front right
fender near where it meets the running board, which was not found on other
models. (This tank was attached with a copper pipe to the crankcase which
had a float valve that allowed oil to automatically refill the crank case if the
oil level got low.) The wheel hubs are the later style as well, but the
knock-off lock rings are not something I have seen before -- normally they are
just a ring with holes that you turns with a pin spanner. That is what it
looks like to me. However, with your permission, I would like to send
this on to our early HS expert in Barcelona for confirmation.
Nelson V. Thorpe
I had many interesting exchanges
with the authority in Spain, Senior Manuel Lage.
He is of the opinion Wills Hispano looks like a 1914 Super Alphonso, classified
25", with the same "T" head 4 cyl, and only a slightly
larger bore from 80 to 85mm.
Manuel Lage mentions Type 25. Many early
Hispano cars were destroyed or lost. Only one is left, it is in Australia.
one is very difficult to identify. Note that the coachwork appears mid to
late teens, there are knock-off wire wheels and no front wheel brakes.
All French produced Hispanos after the war were the H6 Series cars introduced
in 1919. They all had front wheel brakes. The Spanish factory did
produce cars during the war and into the twenties that were also sold outside
of Spain. All of the cars prior to the H6 cars were 4 cylinder of
different displacement and different valve operation, mostly overhead cam after
the T heads. The Spanish 4 cylinder cars continued into the mid
twenties. Photos I have seen do not show front wheel brakes on the
Spanish cars even into the twenties. When I look at early photos I do not
see knock-off wheels anywhere.
had to guess, I would speculate that the car was either a Type 30 or 32.
Both were produced from the mid teens through the early twenties. The
Type 30 was a 3 Liter engine and the Type 32 was 4.7 Liters. Both were
single overhead cams. There were about 960 of the Type 30 chassis
produced and about 420 of the Type 32.
I'm looking at the particulars of
the Hispano-Suiza. It looks like it is a
T 32 which was produced from 1015-1924. 4.7 liter, 4 cylinder motor producing 30HP
(about 100 brake HP).
Interesting Terry!... pretty
well same line of thinking. Type 30
is tempting, 900+ were made only in Spain until 1924.
The Super Alphonzo Xlll was made (only 20 or so) prior WW1 to upgrade the
Standard Alphonso, with a re-designed larger block (Type 25) but with a T-head
a temporary measure because the first Over-head-camshaft engines had faulty crankshafts.
In fact, they had to be scrapped and re-appeared in 1916 with 5 bearings
and 4 connecting rod journals to go
in the Type 30 first, and the even larger Type 32 in '17.
WILLS FACTORY BADGE:
Every once in a while, I look to Ebay
and type in "Wills Sainte Claire" in the search section to see what
might be available. To my great
surprise, I located a Wills factory badge in a city about 30 miles from
Marysville. What really amazed me was
the very low number on the badge, #9.
Does this mean that the employee that
was issued this badge was an executive, or perhaps one of the very first
employees hired? I suppose we will never
know the true story, but I am happy to find such a rare item. The other badge in the photo with the higher
number was found by a diver on the bottom of the St. Clair river (which flows
past the Wills factory) in an area that rubbage used to be dumped.
MEETING IN HERSHEY:
Karl Krouch once again hosted our group Friday morning to
talk about what Wills items we may have discovered in our trek through the many
venders. We also discussed what was
going on at the Museum and an opportunity to catch up with one another. We also posed for the below photo, chalking
up another year of old car fun!
From left to
right: Fran Warsilla, Fred Cleaver,
Peter Landsbergen, John Porter, Gary
Minnie, Paul Pawlosky, Steve Rossi, Mary & Karl Krouch, Rita & Terry
COLOR TOURING IN A WILLS:
In a past newsletter, I asked for photos of members using
their cars at a show or on tour. Richard
Coulombe of Quebec, sent in this gorgeous photo of his T-6 Wills Traveler out
touring in the beautiful Canadian countryside.
So I am asking again, please send in
your photos and associated stories about your car and I will include them in an
upcoming newsletter. Heck, even if you
are just washing it in the driveway, we
would love to see it!
WILLS FROM THE 1960'S:
Greg Henkels of San Diego, CA wrote in with some photos
of a relatives' Wills roadster that they sold to Wm. Harrah in 1960. What follows is an offer and negotiation
through letters, and some period photos of the Wills. It appears to be an early roadster either an
A-68 or B-68 roadster.
Strople is asking $1500 and Wm. Harrah is offering $1000. Per the hand written note at the bottom of
the 2nd letter, the price was split in the middle at $1250. Sure wish we could buy them now for those
prices! Wm. Harrah would eventually have
13 Wills Sainte Claire autos in his incredible collection!
CLUB VISITS MUSEUM:
Auburn-Cord Duesenberg club held their annual CAN-AM meet this past spring, and
this year it was in the Port Huron-Marysville area. We were happy to host one of their tour stops
and enjoyed having some great car enthusiasts stop by for a auto history
Some of the many ACD
cars on tour visiting the Museum
WILLS' HOME FOR SALE IN MARYSVILLE:
C. H. Wills had a home built in Marysville in the early
1920's for a place to stay while he was working at the factory, although he
also kept his home in Grosse Point. He
also docked his 140' Yacht, the "Marold" (named after the combination
of his wife's name Mary and himself) at the dock in front of his water front
some point the home had been split into 3 apartments and is currently offered
for $950,000. The first photo is a
current image of the house. The second image
is Mr. Wills with L.B. Miller, in front of Wills' home in 1926. Miller broke the cross country speed record
in both 1925 & 1926 in a Wills roadster.
Mr. Wills traded him this handsome coupe in exchange for his for his
FROM THE DIRECTOR:
devoted a lot of space in this issue to discuss Hispano-Suiza. The reason for this is because we believe
that C. Harold Wills was greatly influenced by this fine automobile, perhaps borrowing on concepts in the design
of his own amazing car.
could really use some help on the funding of an LCD projector and laptop for
the Museum. If you are able to help
financially, please do. We need $1200 to
fund these items. Your gift to the Museum
is tax deductable!
the dates for the National Meet are August 13 to 16, 2015.
plan now to attend!~
don't forget to vote yes or no on the proposed by-laws by Dec. 31, 2014. They can be reviewed at the Wills Museum
Terry Ernest, Director
Newsletter # 33 / 34 – Nov. 2012 - Page #1 Editor/Director: Terry Ernest
of the quantity of information and articles to be published, this issue
is a double issue; chock full of information about our favorite topic,
C. H. Wills, his cars and the Wills Sainte Claire Auto Museum. Enjoy!
HERSHEY PHOTO FIND:
Museum Secretary, Carl Moss, found a great photo of the Wills Sainte
Claire Dealer of Columbus, this year at the Hershey swap meet. A Wills car can be seen in the service door and another in the window to the left of the sales staff and managers. No address is listed and it begs the question if the building is still there. (photo below)
AQ ARTICLE ABOUT WILLS:
Automobile Quarterly volume 51, No. 2, published an article by writer Michael W.R. Davis, entitled; MARQUE HISTORY
Man and Machine: C. Harold Wills and the Wills Sainte Claire. This well written article can be purchased from AQ for $24.95
Henry Ford’s Last Race -- Part 1 (Photos from the Virginia Wills’ Collection) Article by: Robert Wills Nester
have been working on my mother, Virginia Wills’, photo collection,
including my Grandfather C. H. Wills' ancient red photo album – scanning
and digitizing the pictures and trying to identify the people and events
for the larger Wills family and, for images of historical interest, for
our Wills Sainte Claire Museum. There are four images of this 1904
event, Henry Ford’s last “race” in one of his racing machines, the
“Arrow.” Identical to the “999,” it had four giant in-line cylinders
displacing about 1100 cu. in. and produced an estimated 70 to 100
horsepower. Published accounts of this event vary in details.
do not know yet who took these pictures or whether there were other
copies made at some time. I am not aware of any pictures ever published
of the event. Because C. H. is labeled “Wills” in two of these, someone
who did not know him by sight probably took them. Peter Collier and
David Horowitz tell the story of Henry Ford's last great auto speed race this way:
(Ford) reluctantly agreed to one more race – this time against the
clock instead of another car. In the dead of winter, he readied the
Arrow, twin of the 999, for a one-mile straightaway course on the frozen
surface of Lake St Claire. Barney Oldfield was not available this time;
Ford had to do it himself. Clara was there on the day of the race, so
still in the bitter cold that she looked like a statue; eleven year-old
Edsel was beside her, jumping up and down to keep his blood circulating.
Harold Wills was present, languidly tinkering with the racer's engine
and then standing back and shrugging at Ford when it was fine-tuned.
Another Ford Motor Company employee, Ed “Spider” Huff had been
conscripted to ride as copilot. Later on, Henry Ford called this run across the frozen lake the most frightening experience of his life.
ice was seamed with fissures which I knew were going to mean trouble
the moment I got up speed. But there was nothing to do but to go through
with the trial and I let old
“Arrow” out. With
every fissure, the car leaped into the air. I never knew how it was
coming down. When I wasn't up in the air, I was skidding, but somehow I
stayed topside up and on the course, making a record that went all over
the buffeting car to a stop, he was pale and shaken, but he had done a
mile in thirty-six seconds. It was a world's record; it was also a rite
of passage. Determined to own what he had just risked his life for, he
would now fight all the harder to control the company. … To celebrate
the fact that he was still alive after the record run on Lake St Clair,
Ford took Wills and Spider Huff to the Hotel Chesterfield for a dinner
(photo 1, below)
four wide angle pictures with this article show that the sun was bright
and high in the sky – it was at least mid-day– and C. H. and Spider
Huff are in shirtsleeves. Clara Ford is hanging on to her hat in the
breeze. This is a warm and windy winter day, but hardly the “bitter
cold” described by Collier and Horowitz. To do almost 100 mph over a
frozen lake surface in these warm and maybe gusty conditions was
certainly a risky proposition. The “fissures” Ford noted in his book
were probably opening up as the lake surface warmed in the sun and
melted, making the track rough, slippery and mushy, in spite of the
cinders they spread to improve traction. I doubt any sane driver today
would want to try to repeat this feat inside a modern car, let alone an
80 horsepower gasoline behemoth with a single seat, two steel I-beams
for running boards and four balloon-tired wheels.
was probably more than a little nuts to do this. C. H.'s face (at age
25) seems to express a sense of worry that his friend, recent best man
and boss is determined to “race.” Henry
Ford (photo 1 & 1a, foreground, in racing goggles) watches the
photographer while Spider Huff (?) in cap and shirtsleeves confers with a
goggled copilot (kneeling, identity unknown) and Wills (photo 1 &
1b, also in shirtsleeves). Dark smudges are finger-smeared glue that
degraded photos when they were originally put in album.
is hard to understand today why Ford would have allowed his wife and 11
year-old son (Edsel) to witness the wild run unless he truly had no
idea of the risk or believed he was immune to the danger. Here, she
holds a 2-3 year-old girl, possibly a grand-niece. Edsel is already out
of the car and roaming the area. Here it looks like Ford has set this up
as a picnic outing for the family and a few Ford business friends,
rather than as a serious world record auto race.
the apparent (goggled) copilot and another man in a white panama hat,
who talks with Ford as if he is an official with the “race,” seem to
scout one of the race support cars looking for something. Someone (C.
H.?) has tossed a coat in the front seat. This might be the car that
towed Arrow on her trailer. White uniformed Ford Arrow race technician
“tinkers” in the background, readying the machine for Ford’s run. It is
nice to be able to produce a close-up of C. H. in historic action so
young (25). Photo 1a left; Ford – 1b below; CH Wills
Photo 2 (above)
Photo 2a (above) detail
last photo, shows a few of the 15-person party focusing on the roar of
Arrow as she is started up and the carburetor(s), ignition and throttle
are run through tests at various rpm. [“The roar of those cylinders was
enough to half kill a man.”] Ford stands beside the Race official in the
white panama hat (note his shadow); Clara and her baby-in-arms stand
behind those two men (see shadow at Ford’s knee and the baby’s head at
his chest); the two suited men (Ford employees?) with white boaters seem
impressed with the race preliminaries.
Henry Ford and Barney Oldfield pose with the Arrow’s twin in 1902.
According to one account, the 1904 timed run pictures here required
“Spider” Huff to “sit” on one of the “running boards” to shut off the
carburetor(s) to stop the racer after the mile was finished. With the
racer bouncing around and sliding over the ice, it is a wonder both men
managed to hang on to their perches and finish the race.
the end of the race day, I assume her chauffeur drove Clara and the
children home. The Ford employees probably packed up Arrow and
supporting equipment and took that all back to its garage. The race
officials went home. Henry Ford, thoroughly pumped at making his last
and best world speed record, captured C. Harold Wills and “Spider” Huff
and treated them to a muskrat dinner at the nearby Hotel Chesterfield.
What in the world does a “muskrat dinner” signify?
who will be a Ford employee in five years (at 16), Corporation
Secretary in ten, and CEO in 15, watches the noisy spectacle carrying a
mysterious box with dials on its side.
Henry Ford’s Second Last Race -- Part 2
The Model K Racer at Atlantic City
I finished Part 1, I was still curious whether I had identified Ed
“Spider” Huff correctly in these photos. I thought he was the fellow in
shirtsleeves and a driving cap (only he of all the guys in the pictures
deserved that nickname) but there was someone else wearing the goggles
of a race car driver. Who was he and why was he there if Ford was
driving and Huff had to be “conscripted” to drive? I Googled “Spider”
Huff, hoping to find a picture of him, and found several of him racing
with Ford on a Flickr web site that has 41, The Henry Ford Museum (THF)
pictures of Ford racers. Among them I found this one.
the fellow bending over, in shirtsleeves, suspenders and a driving cap
is “Spider” Huff and his colleague wearing the driver’s goggles is Frank
Kulick, one of Ford’s premium race car drivers, along with Barney
Oldfield. This picture was taken within a few seconds of the one I
presented on page 2 above, thinking we were racing in the winter of ’04.
Suddenly, our warm and breezy winter day on Lake Saint Clair has turned
into a summer day in 1905 in Atlantic City. The Arrow and Ford’s “last”
race have morphed into a new “Model K” race car and another full scale
Ford racing attempt (although one that is ignored in Ford’s own book, My Life and Work and in Collier and Horowitz’s The Fords: An American Epic). I
will have to look further into the Atlantic City “race” and why it
dropped out of sight. In the mean time, THF shows us pictures of the real January 1904 race, as follows.
Lake Saint Clair race course looks foggy, which suggests that the air
temperature was above freezing, though certainly not shirtsleeve
weather. Note that Spider Huff is leaning forward, unsupported, in
position to kill the carburetors(s) if Ford’s controls freeze up.
page is a photo of some of the January 12, 1904 race observers,
directors on Ford’s board, including John Dodge, A. J. Malcomson, John
Anderson and James Couzens. There are no pictures of Clara or Edsel
Ford, though Collier and Horowitz say they attended. Likewise, there is
no sign in any of these January 1904 race pictures of C. H. Wills,
though his participation is documented.
it looks now as if the January 12, 1904 world’s record automobile speed
race was run in a cold winter fog and that the photos C. H. Wills put
in his album were actually of the next Ford racing event, a summer, 1905
“race” apparently on sand near Atlantic City. We now have our pictures
correctly located because they correspond with at least one additional
picture of the event owned by the Henry Ford Museum, timed among the
photos we have showing the same people in different positions.
have more loose ends to follow up about these four C. H. Wills photos
and more to scan in the album. I am sure there will be enough material
there for another WSC Newsletter article but I am now a little wary of
where it can lead.
When There’s a Wills, There’s a Way…
By Steven Rossi
long-standing relationship between Harold Wills and Henry Ford is well
known…so much so, that Wills is truly recognized as one of the chief
architects behind Ford Motor Company’s spectacular success. And Wills’
endeavors that followed within the world of Wills Sainte Claire itself
are obviously well known, too. But it came as a surprise to learn that
Wills also had a connection to Charles F Kettering and what would become
a part of General Motors?!
was the inventive mind behind the creation of coil ignition, the
self-starter, leaded gasoline and much more. His Dayton Engineering
Laboratory Company (Delco) would go on to become the General Motors
Research Corporation, after GM acquired it
during the 1918/1919 timeframe. Kettering became a General Motors Vice President in
January 1920, and joined the GM Board of Directors that December.
inventions and innovations soon followed, including Chevrolet’s
Copper-Cooled engine, quick-drying Duco paint, Freon refrigerants and
more. The ever-expanding scope of the GM engineering enterprise even
reached as far as diesel locomotives and…guided missiles. And Wills
added his engine expertise into that equation.
all spelled out below in the following excerpts from BOSS KETTERING:
WIZARD OF GENERAL MOTORS by Stuart W. Leslie, which I’ve recently been
reading. The 382–page biography was published in 1983 by the Columbia
faced a two-sided challenge as the head of the army torpedo project. He
had to develop a body and power plant for the weapon, and he had to
devise a guidance system.”
the former task, he could rely on an impressive array of aeronautical
engineering talent from Dayton, notably Orville Wright and two of his
assistants, Roland V. Hutchinson and Louis Luneke. Together, this design
team worked up a prototype that met Kettering’s cost requirements. For
some reason, Kettering, who knew very little about aviation design, felt
compelled to offer his advice on ailerons.”
Wills, the former chief designer at Ford, and Ralph de Palma, a race
car builder and driver, had charge of the torpedo’s engine. Here too,
Kettering felt qualified to give advice. Initially, he insisted on an
air-cooled, two-stroke, opposed cylinder design; a configuration he
thought would save weight. Though they did build such an engine, even
the best efforts of Wills and de Palma could not get it to run right.
They later convinced Kettering that a more conventional four-stroke,
in-line design would be better. Their final model pulled a strong forty
horsepower and cost only $40.
efforts to improve performance and save weight had mixed results. A
model with aluminum pistons gave forty two horsepower on the test stand,
and then exploded spectacularly in front of terrified spectators. Wills
did improve cooling by repositioning the carburetor to feed the front
and rear cylinders individually.”
September 13, 1918, the trials of the torpedo began. At five o’clock in
the evening de Palma whirled the engine into life, and at Kettering’s
signal, sent the biplane down the test track…It flew respectably for
about a hundred yards at a height of a few feet…A full-scale flight on
Wills recounted the event for Elmer Sperry (Sperry Gyroscope): You
probably heard of the flight that they made at Dayton last Friday. I
think it was terribly funny…A great many were skeptical and thought the
engine would not fly…the ship went up about 500 feet and then she nosed
straight up into the air…and started up in circles about a mile in
diameter…Kettering watched it until it was up about 12,000 feet and out
of sight…there were a couple of hundred people there and they got into
automobiles and started to chase it…They finally located it about twenty
one miles away…There wasn’t a thing hurt on the engine, not even a
spark plug broken, but the gasoline tank was dry. It would have been
going yet probably had it not been for the lack of gasoline.”
So Kettering may have been the “Wizard of General Motors,” but Childe Harold Wills obviously remained a wizard with engines after leaving Ford. Witness what followed with Wills Sainte Claire!
What was the first recognized vehicle to employ an electric fuel pump?
The All - American 1924 Wills Sainte Claire of course!
WILLS CAR KEYS DONATION:
Recently the Museum received a set of car keys and a photo with these remarks: “While we no longer own this car, we have an extra set of keys that perhaps you could put to good use.”
Original Russwin WSC Keys and photo (bottom of
page 9) of the A/B-68 Wills Roadster they are from
Our thanks to John Libaire for the donation.
AMOS NORTHUP AT WSC:
A recent article in Hemmings Classic Car (October 2012) had an article written by Jim Donnell about Amos Northup which included his work at WSC. “It was all good. Everything was bold, advanced, daring. Each design penned by Amos Northup, regardless of who employed him at the time, was exciting and still vital.”
had been lead metallurgist at Ford, persuading Henry Ford to adopt
high-grade vanadium steel for the manufacture of the Model T’s. With
a severance package and other financing, he set up a colony in
Marysville, MI, to build his dream car, which incorporated advance
Molybdenum steel and a radical OHC V-8 engine. Until
Northup was persuaded to join the company as a stylist, however, they
were conservative in appearance, in sharp contrast to their advanced
technology. Northup was the lead designer for Wills Sainte Claire from 1924.”
The article goes on to mention the other manufacturers that Amos worked for including: Pierce-Arrow, Willys, Reo plus coachbuilding firms, Murray and Rubay. Unfortunately Amos died in February of 1937 when he slipped on an icy sidewalk, hitting the back of his head at age 47.
WILLS WITH DUESENBERG ENGINE:
Wills owner Bill Stout of Florida has a very interesting Wills Sainte Claire because it has a Rochester-Duesenberg engine in it. Bill explained to me that years ago the original Wills engine was damaged and taken out. At that time it was replaced with the current R-D engine. Here is a brief look at the Rochester-Duesenberg engine. After
WWI, the Duesenberg Brothers had decided to change from the four
cylinder engine to the straight-eight. They sold the rights to
manufacture the four cylinder walking beam engine to the Rochester
Motors Company and helped them change the engine from a two-main bearing
crank with ball bearings to quieter plain babbitted bearings and added a
ended up with a powerful 80 h.p. engine which found a market with
makers of high quality and distinctive assembled cars. Most of these
cars were very sporty and attractive designs that appealed to the
motorist of means who wanted something different than the very
conservative and plain Jane cars which were being produced at the time. Roamer was one of these car companies and there is a very good chance that this engine is originally from this type of car. (below: Stout Wills w/ R-D engine)
WILLS ROADSTER FOR SALE:
Jim Caldwell of Florida has a 1924 Wills Roadster for sale. This car had previously been his father Ken’s car, who founded the WSC Club in 1959. Contact Jim at:
20490 Sugarloaf Mtn. Rd. Clermont, Florida 34715
phone: (407)-376-1770 for more information. (photos below)
MARYSVILLE SCHOOL VISIT:
The Museum was honored to share our history of C.H. Wills with the Marysville School systems 2nd grade classes on May 29, 2012. Docents
spent the day teaching how the history of the city changed with the
construction of the automobile factory in 1919, for the schools Michigan
and local history component. We received handmade thank-you notes from the students with drawings of the cars and their interpretation of the Museum. 2nd grader Nicholas wrote: “Dear Will St Clair. Thank-you for showing us the cars that Will made. I never knew what a rumble seat was. My favorite car was the red one with the duck on it.” Another gaggle of little girls told me during the tour that they made up a song, and then sang it for us:
have a car, it’s made of tin, nobody knows what shape it’s in. It has 4
wheels and a rumble seat. Hear it chugging down the street. Honk honk, rattle rattle, crash, beep beep.”
Thank-you to our docents who volunteered to show the students around: Marlene and John Porter, Dorothy Burgess, Sally Achatz, Pete Cangemi, Carl Moss and Terry Ernest.
Docent Dorothy Burgess discusses what the school group will see on their tour, with Sally Achatz (L) and Marlene Porter (R)
Museum VP Pete Cangemi shows the students the jump seats in
Gary Wurmlinger’s 1926 T-6 seven passenger sedan
TO RESTORE OR NOT RESTORE:
have created a display that allows the guests of the Museum to vote
their opinion. In front of Carl Moss’ 1926 T-6 5 passenger sedan, we have placed the following display regarding restoration. Votes of $1 or more can be cast either for its restoration or to have it saved as an original. Special thanks to Grant Achatz for his woodworking handy-work in building this new display.
Moss’ original T-6 with new display on the right
Close-up of new “Original or Restore” display
MAROLD CUP DONATION:
Recently C. Harold Wills’ granddaughter Elaine (Schenck) Hawes, donated a fancy silver cup used aboard Wills’ yacht the Marold. Her
son George was kind enough to bring the cup to the Museum where it will
be permanently displayed with the Museum’s model of the 140’ ship. We would like to thank Elaine for her donation and her wiliness to share this artifact with Museum visitors.
(photo top of next column)
FLAG POLE ERECTED:
Thanks to members of the Museum for donating funds to have a flag pole erected at the Museum. US
Air Force Veteran (& Museum Board member) John Porter brought up at
a meeting that it would be appropriate to put up a flag pole to display
the American flag. A few months
later, and after financial assistance from some very special people, we
now have a flag pole and flag that we can be proud of.
Our new flag and pole flying proudly in front of the Museum
flag was officially flown for the first time on November 11, 2012
(Veterans Day), with Korean War Vet John Porter and Vietnam Vet Dan
Hable on hand for the raising. The Museum would like to thank the following members contributing to this project: Ervin Graber, John McMullen, Bobbiedine Rodda, and Raymond Gularte. The Museum would also like to specially thank Sylvia Jung for her valuable assistance and donation to this worthy project.
“THE FOLLY” HOME TOUR:
the past 14 years, Museum BOD secretary Carl Moss and his wife Trish
have been lovingly restoring a Victorian era home in Port Huron
affectionately known as “the folly”. As they completed the restoration project, they approached the Museum about doing an event to raise funds for the Museum. On October 20 more than 300 people waited patiently in line to see the grand job that the Moss’ had done with the 1860’s home. Wills Museum docents and others dressed in period clothing and told visitors what was special in each room.
Carl & Trish Moss with a Wills in front of the “folly”
fabulous & fun fundraiser brought in $2,000 for the museum, funds
that will go toward projects that the Museum has been working on,
including new electronic displays, building maintenance, and toward the
ongoing literature and file cataloging project. The Museum BOD wishes to thank Carl & Trish for their generous use of “the folly” for this successful fundraiser.
Visitors first stop in the home’s grand entrance
Sharron Revere (L) tells about the bedroom & furnishings
Fred Cleaver’s Model A, as the crowd gathers on left
Rudy & Sharon Vernon (R) show the updated kitchen
ESTABLISHMENT OF BY-LAWS:
Over the past 10 years, the Board of Directors (BOD) has done an admirable job in running the Museum. As
the Museum project matures and grows, the establishment of by-laws is
becoming critical as we continue to improve how the Museum functions. Over the last year, a committee of members, and the BOD have met to craft these by-laws that govern how the Museum operates. In the near future, we will make a copy of these by-laws available for members to vote on for approval.
NEW SIGN ADDITION TO GARAGE:
David Kasny of Pearl River, NY donated a great addition to our “Harold’s Garage” display recently. It is an antique Hood Tire sign that is period correct for our display. Thanks David!
DUES ARE DUE:
Attached to this newsletter is your 2013 dues statement. We hope that every member continues his involvement with the Museum by paying their dues in a timely manner. As you probably already know, the Museum has no paid employees. All positions are voluntary, from the president/director to our many docents, so no money is spent on staff. Membership dues remain the same as last year, $25 for a membership that has the newsletter e-mailed or $35 for a printed copy that is mailed to you through the US Post Office. However you select your membership, we want you to know that your continued membership is important to us.
Don’t know what to get that “car guy” or “car gal” in your family? How about a year’s membership in the Museum? This solves the dilemma of Christmas giving and helps the Museum at the same time. Or perhaps a hat or other Wills Museum gift idea. We have lots of Wills logo items available. Go to our website at: www.willsautomuseum.org and see for yourself.
FROM THE DIRECTOR:
would like to take this opportunity to thank Steve Rossi and Bob Nester
(CH Wills’ grandson) for contributing articles for this newsletter. Steve has supplied many articles in the past for publication and I appreciate his contributions. Bob has many unpublished photos of his grandfather, especially when CH was with the Ford Motor Company. I hope he continues to explore and write about his findings about the family photo album.
I am especially thankful for the many docents who volunteer at the Museum. Without their good work the Museum would cease to exist! They man the hours that the Museum is open, clean, paint, repair, build and otherwise keep the Museum going.
Our website brings us attention from people around the country who would never know we exist. It
was the website that allowed the Libaire family to locate us and donate
the photo of their Wills and the original set of keys.
Artifacts allow us an opportunity to touch a piece of history. The donation of the silver cup from the Yacht Marold ties us to the past. Holding this cup I thought back to the days when C. Harold Wills may have held this very same cup. Very cool indeed!
Until next time,
Terry Ernest, Director
Wills Sainte Claire Museum Board of Directors:
Terry Ernest – Director Sally Achatz – Fundraising
3546 Conger Street 523 N 3RD St
Port Huron, MI 48060 St Clair, MI 48079
(810) 987-2854 (810) 329-9520
Pete Canjemi – Vice President Fred Cleaver – Merchandising
6621 Trillium Trail 1001 N River Rd
Jeddo, MI 48032 St. Clair, MI 48079
(810) 327-2327 (810) 329-6522
Kay Carlisle – Treasurer John Porter– Facilities
PO Box 96 511 Jay St
Marysville, MI 48040 St Clair, MI 48079
(810) 364-7635 (810) 329-3192
Carl Moss – Secretary
1617 Military Street
Port Huron, MI 48060
ntain photos or images. Please join as a member of the Museum to receive the award winning "Gray Goose News" with photographs:
Newsletter # 29 - March 2011 - Page #1 Editor/Director: Terry Ernest
Lost & Found; Article by Carl Moss:
Director Terry Ernest received several e-mails from a new Wills owner,
Aaron Burkett, who had the car passed onto him by his grandfather. The
Wills had been stored in a barn for the last 8 years and he requested
any information the Museum might have on it in our files. After
receiving the car and engine numbers, we were able to confirm that the
vehicle is a 1922 7-Passenger sedan whose last owner of record was Bill
Ramsey of Greenwich, Ohio. This car was in attendance at the 1990 National Wills Meet in Marysville Park (see photo, second from right).
1980, Bill McKeand prepared a list of 81 Wills Cars known to be in
existence; the Wills here (car #3525, engine #4633) was not on his list,
but did appear on a compilation in 1986. By 2005, however, the car could not be accounted for and was on a list of two dozen cars designated as missing.
Wills Museum attempts to keep a folder on each Wills known not just for
historical purposes, but to aid new owners when cars change hands. Ongoing
records obviously depend on car owners contacting the Museum when their
vehicles are sold or passed on via inheritance. We at the Museum would
encourage you to contact us with such information so our files can be
updated when ownership passes. The current example shows the worth of keeping track of each of our wonderful Wills automobiles.
WILLS V-8 ENGINE, BEGAN AS AN OLDS?
Did the legendary Wills V-8 engine really begin life as an Oldsmobile Light Eight? Former Wills owner Bill Mason from Michigan sent in this possibility from a paragraph he discovered in the book on Oldsmobile “Setting the Pace”, by Earley and Walkinshaw. In
the chapter “Bumpy Road 1920-1929” a paragraph mentions that when Olds
decided to concentrate solely on the Model 30, instead of a combination
of engine types, they sold the tooling for the Light Eight “at 20 cents on the dollar” to Wills Sainte Claire, which used the engine in some of its later cars.
I have never personally seen any Wills factory records that make this a possibility. But
it does beg some questions; did Wills have another eight cylinder
engine up his sleeve to be used on cars produced after 1926? With
the multi-cylinder race among the car manufacturers in the late 1920’s,
did Wills feel he needed to bring back his beloved V-8 engine updated
for the times? Or did he purchase the Olds tooling to be used for another project? We may never know the reasoning for this purchase, but it does make one wonder….
By Tom Kleinschmidt with lots of help!
of the fun of my Wills Sainte Claire is figuring out how to fix it and
then doing so. I am an electrical engineer by training and that means
I’m an electrical engineer and not a certified
nut mechanic. What
I tell you is based on my experience and should be questioned at all
times. Many know more then I, and I welcome your inputs. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or cell: 1-847-722-0758 metro Chicago / Central time zone.
Spark plug update:
in 2007 I was trying to figure out what spark plug to use in m ’26 T-6
and created a spread sheet based on the plugs in cars at the WSC museum
with lots of help from Terry Ernest. It was published in the news letter
back then. Just recently, I found a four page pamphlet from Champion Spark Plug published in 19661. The listing for Wills Sainte Claire 6 & 8 is “Old type 9”, “New type D-21”. Checking the Champion web site2 it is still listed as an industrial spark plug, stock number 502 and part number D21.
Contemporary aftermarket WSC service information links:
From the 1928 Radco Repair Manual with some 1929 supplements, printed in California3…
1. WSC Shop Manual: http://www.geaaonline.org/willssaintclaire.htm
2. Wheel alignment specifications: http://www.geaaonline.org/alignment.htm
3. Stewart Warner vacuum tanks: http://www.geaaonline.org/vacuumfuelfeed.htm
4. The entire document can be found at: http://www.geaaonline.org/ Click <1920s Repair Manuals>
Schebler Carburetor – Model “S” adjustments:
my T-6 was returned to a running state after sitting for some ten years
it would only run with the choke out about half an inch. Although it
ran fine the gas mileage was about 5 MPG and lots of black smoke from
the exhaust mixed with blue smoke from the burning oil!
quick side note, my son Derek and I were at the WSC every five year
meet in Marysville for the first time last August. We had a great time
and met great folks that are very friendly and helpful. I commented to
Derek on the way out that we should make sure we are in the
back-of–the-pack for the tour as we would smoke everyone out –only the
blue kind now. I was surprised to see that all the WSC cars on the tour
were smoking blue. Not as big a deal as I thought!
problem with the choke was related to the setup of the carburetor
mixture of which there are multiple adjustments that must be done in the
proper order. There is a wonderful adjustment procedure in the book: Supplement to Dyke’s Automobile and Gasoline Engine Encyclopedia – Carburetors… The
edition I have is from 1928, The Type “S” is on pages 1258 to 1260. (It
is a thin book. They continued the page numbering for m the main
volume.) They are available sometimes on EBAY and used book sites like
Abebooks.com. I will send anyone who wants a scan of the pages for the
price of an email.
Some tips from my experience on the SCHEBLER:
you do anything take the carburetor apart and be sure the idle mix knob
freely rotates the shaft perpendicular to it. This raises and lowers
the needle seat to set the idle mixture. Here is the CAUTION: Multiple
people warned me that the knob rotation feels the same if it is all
varnished up as when it is free. The difference being is you strip the
brass gear linking the knob shaft to the seat shaft when it is varnished up and the adjustment doesn’t change!
2. The idle adjustment can take many turns to have an impact
3. The idle adjustment has hysteresis or a time lag between the setting of the knob and the engine reaction – adjust and check.
as on a “modern” carburetor a vacuum gauge is a help on the idle
adjustment – tune for maximum vacuum. I found in my sedan the easiest
place to tap vacuum was at the wiper motor as it has a rubber hose
feeding it and it is on the carburetor side of the car. The wiper hose
is smaller than the coupling on my gauge so it slid right in and made a
the tune up put a tachometer on the coil under the dash so that the
meter face is visible on the floor of the car with the door open or on
the driver’s running board. The Idle mixture will affect the RPM – lower
RPM when misadjusted and higher RPM when properly adjusted. Once the
idle mix is set for maximum vacuum. Set the RPM to around 500 if memory
serves. It will idle slower but my engine tended to die when slowing to a
stop. My goal was to set the hand throttle to minimum and have the RPM
be proper on a warm engine to have no stalling problems.
of the adjustments on this carburetor are interactive. Changing one
thing affects others. It takes patience and the willingness to move back
and forth between adjustments. Once you get the carburetor settings
close I found it is best to start from the beginning of the manual and
adjust everything again to get it all set properly.
carburetor assembly and disassembly is not fool proof. I had trouble
with sticking mixture l linkages and a stuck choke after taking it
apart. It turned out that the internal clamp on the needle valve dragged
on the carburetor body - I needed to reorient it over so it would work
properly. This was strictly a reassembly error on my part. Pay close
attention and take pictures.
1. Champion extra-range spark plugs for cars and taxicabs built in the USA 1920 (to) 1942
to Rick A. Jorgensen of Golden Era Automobile Association for his
permission to link to our newsletter and the source document information
DOUBLE ENDED ROTORS – TECH HELP:
Ray Gularte of California was having trouble with his 1922 A-68 not running well. Let’s have Ray explain the trouble for you: “The
engine is missing on #6 & 7. All cylinders have compression and all
are firing with new plugs, but I think I have a distributor problem. I have 5 WSC owner’s manuals, but they don't explain how the distributor works.
They each give a different firing order. Taken out of the owner’s maual they are;
1-8-3-6-4-5-2-7 (This is on my distributor cover)
1-5-3-7-4-8-2-6 (This is on my dist. cap, the motor runs but misses)
I would appreciate any help you can give me.
You and your crew of volunteers have been doing a wonderful job with the Museum, it looks great.” Signed, Ray Gularte.
Ray recently emailed me that he has solved the problem and was willing to share his solution. “Concerning
my 22 Wills roadster that I wrote you about needing some mechanical
help, well I finally did my math, then slept on it a couple of nights,
and it finally works. That double ended rotor on these A-68’s was quite a
challenge for me.
So I just want you to know that I have it running good on all 8 cylinders at last.
had contacted Bruce Frumveller (Wills owner in California) in the past.
He told me he read about a Canadian restorer that had connected rubber
balloons to the cylinders to determine the exact firing order. That
sounded like an oversimplification, but I tried it anyway and it worked.
Then I was able to time each bank of cylinders separately with the
rotor with two pointers that it has. No where in all of my instruction
books did it suggest that.
I want to let you know that I don't need assistance any longer, and I
can now start driving my car on tours like I used to. People have been
asking about my Wills, and I do notice that I am usually the only one
driving a Wills on tour.
If someone else in the club ever contacts you with this same problem I would be happy to help them.
Best regards, Ray Gularte
Gray Smith of Maine is in need of a Steering arm for his T-6. The Wills part number is 3107. Gray would like to purchase one or if one is not available to purchase, he would like to borrow one so he can duplicate it. Contact him at: 207-596-6676
FAMOUS WILLS OWNERS:
Bill Mason has begun to compile a list of famous and well-known Wills Sainte Claire owners. Here it is thus far:
*Elizabeth Arden: (cosmetics) a personal friend of Mrs. C. Harold Wills
*Jack Miner: Owner of world famous Canadian bird sanctuary. C. Harold Wills presented Mr. Miner with a very early Wills Roadster. It has been rumored that Mr. Miner designed the WSC Radiator badge.
*Frank, Herbert and JB Book: Owners of the Book Cadillac Hotel and Book Tower, Detroit, MI.
*Norman Rockwell: Famous for the design of the Saturday Evening Post covers.
*RB Lepper: Well known Dodge dealer.
*Conrad Nagel: A Hollywood star of the silent film period. A photo exists of Mr. Nagel and his WSC.
*Henry Ford: Mr. Ford purchased a 1926 WSC Roadster for his niece. This same car is on display at the Henry Ford Museum.
*Mrs. Horace Dodge: Owned a WSC Town Car, now undergoing restoration by Carl Moss, soon to be displayed at the Museum.
*Mrs. Fred Duesenberg: A photo has been published in Newsletter #26, March 2010.
*Virginia Briggs: Daughter of Walter O. Briggs, Owner of the Briggs Body Co. and the Detroit Tigers.
ANTIQUE CAR MEMORIES:
Bill Mason also sent in an article from The Detroit News dated
March 22, 1959, which details the memories of Mrs. Russell Chauvin (who
was C. Harold Wills’ daughter, Virginia) upon seeing a WSC after more
than two decades. The car she was viewing was owned by Bill Mason at the time and is now owned by Ray Burgess of Michigan. A copy of the article appears on page 5 for your reading pleasure.
COULOMBE WILLS ON MAGAZINE COVER:
Richard Coulombe of Quebec, Canada, recently had his 1926 T-6 GG Traveler on the cover of the French speaking magazine Le magazine de L’Auto Ancienne. The cover shot and the three page article appears on page 6. Unfortunately my French is not good enough to translate it, but if you speak the language….
Congratulations to Richard, and thanks for keeping the Wills name in the public eye.
CROSS COUNTRY RUN OF 1925:
Richard Coulombe requested that a reprint of the original “Gary Goose Bulletin”
which featured the New York to San Francisco record breaking
transcontinental run in 1925 by LB Miller in a Wills 6 cylinder, be
published. I am happy to oblige and this article appears on pages 7 & 8 of this newsletter.
MUSEUM STAFF UPDATES:
I am happy to welcome Kay Carlisle to the Museum BOD. Kay is replacing Treasurer Laurie Baker, who is leaving to pursue a college degree. Kay is lifetime Marysville resident with previous experience in the banking industry. We welcome Kay to the Board and wish Laurie great success and we appreciate her service to the Museum.
As we continue to organize the Museum’s WSC factory records, we also welcome Kendra Wisson to our group. Kendra
has a degree in Library Science and has begun the task of scanning
documents into the computer and attaching them to the appropriate files. Welcome Kendra!
WILLS CLUB/MUSEUM CELEBRATES 50TH
Standing (l to R): Stephen Miller, Rick Mason, Ray Burgess, Fred Cleaver, Larry Williams, John Porter, Gary Minnie. Seated: Bill Mason, Mrs. Miller, Dorothy Burgess, Rosemary Cleaver, Fay Williams, Cindy Minnie
Standing (L to R): Rudy Vernon, Bob Carlisle, Carl Moss, Jerry Saunders, Stan Mitchell, Don Herber, Terry Ernest. Seated: Sharon Vernon, Kay Carlisle, Trish Moss, Debra Wurmlinger, MaryAnn Herber, Rita Ernest.
The Wills Club/Museum celebrated the 50th Anniversary of its founding in January 1959, when Club Founder Ken Caldwell sent out the very first newsletter. Ken’s
opening statement in 1959 was: “The purpose of the Gray Goose News is
to accumulate, organize and distribute all available Wills Sainte Claire
news, which will assist the owners and restorers to complete, repair,
or put into the operation their Wills and help those already enjoying
Our speakers for the evening commemoration: Bill Mason, Terry Ernest, Sally Wills Achatz, & Fred Cleaver.
member Bill Mason spoke about the club in the beginning and how they
shared information with one another and hoped to eventually have a
National Meet, which was finally accomplished in 1976. Terry Ernest moderated the event and discussed the Club history and how the Museum came about. A WSC stock certificate from 1926 was provided to the members by Karl Krouch. Fred
Cleaver showed slides and talked about the first National Meet in 1976,
and Sally Wills Achatz displayed tableware and mementos from her
grandfather’s yacht the “Marold”.
Tableware from the Yacht “Marold” and Wills family photos.
(The name of the yacht comes from the combining of Mary and Harold Wills’ first names.)
Bill Mason discusses the Club’s beginning in 1959
Fred Cleaver showing slides of the first National Meet in 1976
Special thanks to Sally and her husband Grant, for putting on a first class event in their restaurant. A “thanks” also goes to Nancy Wills for sharing her photos of this “trip down memory lane”.
Sally Wills Achatz and mementos from the yacht “Marold”
Wills family members present: Sally Wills Achatz, Elaine Trazasko, Nancy Wills, Elaine Hawes, David Trazasko.
HERSHEY MEETING 2009:
Karl Krouch once again hosted the Wills members to a morning devoted to Wills Sainte Claire.
First row (L to R): Terry & Rita Ernest, Dorothy Burgess, Rosemary & Fred Cleaver, Mary Krouch, Gary Minnie. Back row: David Hausgen, Ed Hausgen, Ray Burgess, Stan Mitchell, John Porter, Peter Landsbergen, Karl Krouch.
Here is Karl’s report: “After
a week of sunny skies, cooler weather, and many miles walked throughout
the Hershey Car Show, the Friday morning annual meeting convened at
9:00 AM under a cold drizzle. Karl and Mary Krouch hosted the event
under the tent at their flea spaces. After greetings, Karl brought the
meeting to order, starting with an update from Museum Director, Terry
Ernest. The progress on the museum’s newest display, a 1920’s gas
station, was described in greater detail. With its completion near,
member Ed Hausgen was again thanked for his generous contribution of a
vintage gas pump. Terry was able to find a glass globe for the top to
complete its restoration. Fred Cleaver, former Museum Treasurer, assured
us that the club was on good financial ground, but always looking for
donations. Terry reminded members of the Wills club 50th anniversary
dinner to be held Saturday, October 17, 2009 at the restaurant of Will’s
granddaughter, Sally Achatz. There were no Will’s parts found to be
shared at swap time. Karl had a unique find and had made copies which
Mary passed out. They were of a Dec. 20, 1926 Will’s stock certificate
of 10 shares, a value of $1,000.00. Karl had background information on
the share holder, Llewelyn Sherman Adams, former governor of New
Hampshire and chief of staff for Pres. Eisenhower. He had been involved
in a scandal over a mink coat he received as a gift when chief of staff
that resulted in his resignation. He left politics and opened a ski
resort in New Hampshire that he operated until his death in 1986. He was
a young man of 28 when he purchased the stock, only to have it be worth
nothing a month later when Wills closed in Jan. 1927. Karl also noted
that Wills was incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It was
pointed out that it may have been done as a result of Wills
reorganization in 1923 and financial backing of Northeast banking
investors. The extra copies, as well as the information on the original
owner, were donated to the museum. The meeting was concluded with the
annual group picture. See y’all next year in August at the National
Wills Meet in Marysville, Michigan!” (Submitted by Karl Krouch.)
Karl has been kind enough to allow a copy of this Wills stock certificate to be enclosed with this newsletter (page 6). Thanks to Karl and Mary for hosting us at Hershey!
“HAROLDS GARAGE” PROGESS:
that we have a restored Frye gas pump (donated by Ed Hausgen and
restored by Don Herber and his crew), we decided to create a facade of
an early Marysville Gas Station. With
the assistance of the Marysville Historical Society, we were able to
obtain photos of a Standard Station operating in Marysville in the late
1920’s. With the groups input, Rita Ernest designed a facade which Jerry Saunders and his father constructed in the Museum. Jerry and his father are more than casual hobbyists and did a fantastic job on the construction. Now that the wood working is complete, paint comes next. I would also like to thank Jerry Taylor for his efforts on the pump restoration and in engineering and building the base. This
great display (with two Wills cars parked at the pump) will be ready to
be enjoyed by our guests next year during the annual meet.
Harold’s Garage gas station display ready for paint and signage.
NEW WILLS A-68 OWNER:
We would like to welcome Gunnar Gudmundson as a new Wills car owner. Gunnar joined last year and told me he was interested in finding a Wills because of the superior engineering. This fabulous Wills was once in the Wm. Harrah and Wm. Ruger collections. Gunnar wrote in with some info:
is incredibly original. Blue with black fenders. All black paint is
original. The blue also is original with considerable cracking but has
been touched up in a few places. All electrical components and wiring
are original. The only nuts on the engine that look like they have ever
been touched by a wrench are the valve adjust access covers. Engine
compartment splash pans are still in place etc, etc.... Never had
bumpers and the radiator shell was never plated. It is an absolutely original car except that the seat leather, top and running board linoleum have been replaced. It is really a good reference for how they were delivered.”(Submitted by Gunnar Gudmundson.)
C. H. WILLS’ ELECTRIC CAR:
Did you know that Mr. Wills owned an electric car? Galen Handy recently contacted the Museum about what we knew about the Detroit Electric car that Mr. Wills owned. Suffice to say, I had never heard of his owning an electric. So
thanks to Mr. Handy, you will find attached to this newsletter an ad
for the Detroit Electric Car Company from the April 2, 1914 issue of Motor World. Please
note in the lower part of the first column, that Mr. Wills is noted in a
“partial list of critical owners…” as: “C.H. Wills, Factory Mgr., Ford
In 1914, Mr. Wills was working for Ford Motor and had not yet struck out on his own. The Detroit Electric car was probably used by his wife. Mr. Handy adds: “The
reference to CH Wills having a Detroit is from an ad in Motor World,
April 2, 1914, which listed the people in engineering and manufacturing
who owned Detroit Electrics. The ad featured H. Ford & T.A. Edison. Clara Ford drove Detroit Electrics from 1908 through WWI and Mrs. Wills was possibly a passenger.
Anderson (founder of the Detroit Electric Car Co.) was a Member of the
Detroit Athletic Club. There is a wonderful photo of the preview for
member’s wives, the day before the Clubhouse opened in 1915. Parked on
the streets are perhaps 70 cars of which about 50 are electric. Anderson
was clearly successful in selling his cars to the members for their
The list of gasoline car makers whose spouses drove electrics is rather long.” (See ad on page 7)
WILLS CAR DONATED TO MUSEUM:
Lieb of California has donated another Wills car (V-8 Roadster) to the
Museum. Four cars have been donated to the Museum to date, 3 of which
were from Tom. The BOD thanks Tom for his donation and appreciates his thoughtfulness. If any members would like to donate cars or Wills parts, please contact Director, Terry Ernest.
Early Wills V-8 Roadster donated by Tom Lieb.
MUSEUM NEWS AND UPDATES:
The literature organization continues at the Museum. Tom Adamich from Ohio continues to work his way through the material organizing it as he goes. We expect this project to take a couple years as Tom works on it periodically throughout the year. It is a very large project and we are happy to have Tom’s professional abilities to do the job properly.
Two changes have been made to the Museum Board of Directors. Gary Wurmlinger has left the Board for a job assignment with the Military in Florida. We wish Gary well in his new job and we appreciate his service to the Museum over the past 8 years. Pete Canjemi has accepted the position of Vice-President that Gary formerly held. Pete is a retired executive from a nursing home facility and brings many years of experience to the Board. Welcome Pete and thanks to Gary!
The Board of Directors has been expanded from 4 to 7. John
Porter, Fred Cleaver and Sally Achatz (C. Harold Wills’ granddaughter)
join Terry Ernest, Pete Canjemi, Laurie Baker, and Carl Moss on the
Board. A larger BOD allows for more input before important decisions are made. We expect this collaboration effort will increase the knowledge base of the Museum as we move forward.
Your wife called, she wants her garage back! One of the ways the Museum pays it bills is by offering part of the building to winter car storage. This space is available to anyone who wants to store a car, whether they are a member or not. The car storage area is dry, secure, heated
and protected by an alarm system and a low temperature sensor, making
it an ideal way for you to get your favorite car out of the garage and
out of your way for the winter. Space is available for $85.00 per month
with a minimum of 5 months. Don’t need the space yourself? Help the Museum by recommending it to a friend.
Member Malcolm David of Maitland, Florida wrote in to thank BOD member John Porter for taking him through the Museum. Malcolm writes: “Thank you very much for taking the time to show us the Museum. It was particularly important for my son to make the connection as he will inherit the car (Wills) from me. At that time title would have been transferred to 4 generations; my grandfather, father, myself and my son.”
NATIONAL MEET IN AUGUST 2010:
Hopefully you are already planning on following the geese home to Marysville Michigan for the National Meet August 13, 14, and 15. Because our members are spread across the U. S., Canada, Germany and Finland, we only have a Meet every 5 years. Sally
Wills Achatz is putting together our itinerary that will include
touring in the Marysville/Port Huron area with stops at auto
collections, nautical museums and a car show on Sunday honoring Wills
Sainte Claire autos. We are planning on a dinner Saturday evening at the Museum so that we may “dine among the cars”. Please make time in your schedule and plan on joining us in Marysville next year, and please bring your Wills car if you can. Further details will be forthcoming in the next newsletter.
WILLS CLUB 50TH ANNIVERSARY WRAP UP
page 8 of this newsletter is the third original newsletter written by
Bill Abbott of Alton, Illinois, and published by Bill Harrah of Reno.
Mr. Abbott discusses where to purchase Wills parts then shows a roster
of known Wills cars and their owners. At
the end are some “for sale” ads including one for a 1926 Wills roadster
in “running condition” for $475. Remember, this was written in May of
1959 and car prices have gone up some since then….
I hope you enjoyed reading this newsletter, my 25th since taking over some years ago.
I also hope you can join us in August next year. We always have a great time when the Wills Gang gets together!
Terry Ernest, Director
Wills Sainte Claire Museum Board of Directors:
Terry Ernest – Director Sally Achatz – Fundraising
3546 Conger Street 523 N 3RD St
Port Huron, MI 48060 St Clair, MI 48079
(810) 987-2854 (810) 329-9520
Pete Canjemi – Vice President Fred Cleaver – Merchandising
6621 Trillium Trail 1001 N River Rd
Jeddo, MI 48032 St. Clair, MI 48079
(810) 327-2327 (810) 329-6522
Laurie Baker – Treasurer John Porter– Facilities
3036 Beach Rd 511 Jay St
Port Huron, MI 48060 St Clair, MI 48079
(810) 966-4806 (810) 329-3192
Carl Moss – Secretary
1617 Military Street
Port Huron, MI 48060
Newsletter # 24 - June 2009 - Page 1 Editor/Director: Terry Ernest
If you have not paid your dues, they are now past due! Our very small Museum needs and deserves your support. If you have not sent your money in, would you please consider doing so today? And a big thank-you to those members who have paid their dues, it is greatly appreciated!
KLEINSCHMIDT WILLS SEDAN AT SHOW:
more than 40 years, Oakbrook Center has had the tradition of hosting
some of the most anticipated yearly events in DuPage County, and last
year was no exception. Tom Kleinschmidt sent in a photo of his 1926 Wills T-6, 5-passenger sedan at the Oakbrook Shopping Center in Oakbrook, IL. Tom noted that the OHC engine draws a lot of attention along with the outside band hydraulic brakes.
“HAROLD’S GARAGE” MUSEUM DISPLAY:
The volunteers are as busy as ever at the Museum, this year adding a new display called “Harold’s Garage” named after, who else,
C. Harold Wills. This
narrow facade of a 1920’s gas station is being headed up by the very
capable Gerald Saunders. As you may recall, Gerry is the same talented
volunteer who assembled our rotating automobile turntable from ½ a pile
of parts, and then had to fabricate the rest of the steel together.
Last year, Wills Owner Edward Hausgen donated a rare 1920’s Fry brand gas pump. Don
Herber is now heading up the restoration of this pump and when
completed, the pump and gas station facade will become a museum
attraction with a Wills car parked at the pump. Another
benefit of the garage facade is that the garage doors will be
functional, allowing cars to be moved between the Museum display area
and the storage area.
Conceptual rendering of gas station facade by Rita Ernest
LITERATURE COLLECTION ORGANIZATION
few years ago the Wills Museum purchased the largest known collection
of Wills Sainte Claire documents and artifacts from a local family who
had been collecting Wills related literature for two generations. This
vast archive of documents, owner manuals, parts lists, and company
records is considered one of the Museum’s greatest treasures. But
with the quantity of documents, and our lack of collective knowledge on
the sorting of this information (remember the Museum is operated by
100% volunteer labor), it was imperative to get some professional
advice. Because of the Museum’s
affiliation with the National Association of Automobile Museums (NAAM),
we were able to locate an expert in library classification and
preservation. We have now
contracted with Tom Adamich, Visiting Librarian Services to begin the
process of cataloging and organizing the rich resources of the
collection. We are anticipating this project to span the next two years as Tom will be doing this job on a part time basis. It
is the Museum’s hope that in the future researchers and historians who
write articles and books will enjoy a more organized retrieval of
records from the Wills Sainte Claire era.
On a related note, Sally Wills Achatz will be heading up a fund raiser for this very important project. In the next newsletter Sally will tell us how you can be a part of this and receive recognition for your participation.
WILLS PHOTOS, BACK IN THE DAY:
By having a website for the Museum (www.willsautomuseum.ORG) the public in general has an opportunity to locate and discover the Wills Auto Museum. Recently Ted Pietsch III, of Seattle, Washington, emailed about some vintage photos of an early Wills that his family owned. The photos are dated 1921, making this a 1921 A-68 Roadster. Ted notes that the photos were all taken on Wickford Road in Roland Park, Baltimore, Maryland. The first photo is of Ted’s uncle John Oliver Carroll Pietsch, age 8 at the wheel.
1921 A-68 Wills Roadster in 1921. Photos courtesy of Ted Pietsch III
Ted W. Pietsch II and his younger brother, Robert with the Wills
Pietsch family friend Nadeje Nolting sitting on the 1921 Wills Roadster
also wrote “My grandmother, Gertrude Zell, wife of the architect T.W.
Pietsch I, lived in Baltimore during the teens and 1920’s, owned several
Wills Sainte Claire autos. She is said to have been the first woman licensed to drive in Maryland. The
family was quite wealthy (at least before 1929 when the stock market
crash took nearly everything away) and traveled around town in big
chauffeured Packards, but, she in addition, always owned something
smaller and sportier for her own use. Not only did she drive, but she was an accomplished mechanic as well. I have several pictures of her “under the hood”.
(Ed. Note:) Notice
in the top photo the accessory spotlight attached to the windshield
frame near the top, and the Motometer, of which Mr. Wills once said: “I would state that I am very much opposed to them as we do not need them. We have no boiling of water and they are unnecessary. We have the best cooling system there is of any motor car in this country and we do not need a register upon it. These motometers are inaccurate and are liable to disconcert the user.” (From a November 19, 1923 WSC Office memorandum.)
Thanks to Ted for sending these period photos in for publication! It is great to see our Wills cars ‘back in the day’. If any of our members have any period photos, please send them to the Museum for inclusion in an upcoming newsletter.
PEPPING UP WILLS
Steve Rossi sent in an article from the publication Automobile Trade Journal, January 1933, with the above title. QUESTION: “I
would be grateful for your professional opinion on points in connection
with increasing the performance of an old Wills Ste. Claire overhead
camshaft six. It is a rugged motor with its seven main bearing crankshaft. Have you any objections to changing the stock cast-iron pistons to aluminum? If a change is made, what is the best type to use? Have you any other suggestions, excluding a change in carburetor? The
fact is, I am in the process of constructing a sort of
semi-road-racing-sports car, which will have to be practical in a
certain sense, yet have a better than average performance.—Phillip L.
Taylor, 135 Main St, Williamstown, MA.”
ANSWER: “There is a lot that can be done to improve the performance of a six-cylinder Wills Ste. Claire. And,
in this connection, the installation of aluminum pistons would be a big
factor in increasing the speed of the engine and also tend to reduce
any vibration that may be present. While
you state that you do not wish to change the carburetor, we have known
of a number of these cars which have been fitted with two Ford Model A
carburetors which gave a marked improvement in performance. In regard to the types of pistons, we believe that any of the standard makes would prove to equally satisfactory. Another
change which would serve to increase the performance would be higher
compression ratio. This can be obtained by either milling about 1/8 in.
off the top of the block, or by the installation of pistons which have a
greater distance from the center of the pin to the top of the piston
head. Naturally, the latter change would be the easiest to make, provided you can obtain the pistons of the correct dimensions. But
in either event, care must be exercised that the dimensions are not
altered to such an extent that the pistons will strike the valves when
the piston reaches top center. It would also be possible to increase the valve lift, but this would be rather an expensive proposition.”
Ed. Note: Remember, the preceding article was written in 1933. The Wills Museum is not suggesting you try any of the above alterations.
MISSING WILLS FOUND
Adler of Ohio had a wonderful collection of antique cars, including the
earliest known (by serial number) Wills Sainte Claire. Upon his death, the collection was sold to a buyer in Europe. Unfortunately for Wills auto affionados, the car became “lost”, as we could not track down the new owner. But as luck would have it, the new owner discovered our website (www.willsautomuseum.org) and emailed the Museum. The A-68 roadster has become part of an impressive museum owned by Hannes Steim in Schramberg, Germany. Hannes reports that he plans a roadtrip with the Wills at least once per year. Welcome to the group, Hannes!
WILLS OWNERSHIP LINEAGE CONTINUES
welcome Eric Butler of Sloansville, NY, as the newest Wills auto owner.
Eric’s 1925 W-6 5-Passenger sedan was previously owned by his mother,
Jonnie Jo Rolfe and her late husband, Ron Rolfe. Eric says he is looking forward to enjoying this beautiful car.
WILLS IN FAIRBANKS AUTO MUSEUM
The new Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum in Fairbanks, Alaska will open on June 1, 2009. The
Museum’s collection features over 60 historically significant American
automobiles and showcases the interesting heritage of the automobile
during Alaska’s post-Gold Rush era. The collection includes rare gems
like the 1901 Rochester and 1917 Owen-Magnetic, plus a Wills Sainte
Claire Model A-68 sedan. Several
of the autos are the only examples of their marquee known to remain,
including an 1898 Hay Hotchkiss, 1906 Compound and 1920 Argonne. Seventeen of the cars previously resided in the William Harrah and Parker Wickham collections. The antique automobile collection is located on the grounds of the Wedgewood Resort, just minutes from downtown Fairbanks. On most summer evenings, docents will drive one or two cars around the Resort. “To
be able to see these rare cars is great,” says Willy Vinton, interim
museum manager, “but to hear them run and see them is priceless.” For more information, call (907) 450-2100.
Wills A-68 Sedan, at Wedgewood Resort, Fairbanks, Alaska
WHERE THERE’S A WILLS, THERE’S A WAY
(Article and photos by Wills Museum Secretary, Carl Moss)
early May, four intrepid Wills Museum members – John Porter, Gary
Minnie, Carl Moss, and Paul Pawlosky – left from Marysville and
journeyed to Temple Hill, Maryland to pick up a 1925 Wills Roadster
which had been generously donated to the Museum by the family of Jack
Thompson, a long time member of our organization. Having
no photos of the vehicle, the four adventurers did not know what to
expect when they arrived at the garage where (most of) the car was kept. When
the garage door was opened, the Wills could not easily be seen – only
the top of the windshield could be discerned. Mrs. Thompson commented
that her husband collected and kept all kinds of things. As seen in the
photo below, a multitude of items were packed under, in and on top of
Wills saved in garage. Note cowl on left and rear of car on right.
four guys rolled up their sleeves and worked six hours straight without
a break to remove the materials engulfing the car, drag the vehicle
into an enclosed trailer, and return the hundreds of items back into the
garage. The Wills was found to
be very rusty and incomplete. The splash aprons were found in the
basement of the house and the front axle, cylinder head, wheels,
fenders, and other pieces were found in a second garage on the property. The
exhausted foursome arrived back at Marysville after the three day trip
and it was decided to unload the car until the following day. The car was soon safely secured in the Museum – another Wills returns home! While
not in the best of condition, the 1925 Wills is still one of only 70 or
80 of our favorite vehicles in existence, and the third Wills donated
to the Museum. The Museum Board
of Directors and all of the members of our facility would like to
express our thanks to the Thompson family for their generous gift of the
John Porter (l), Carl Moss (kneeling), Gary Minnie, and Paul Pawlosky delivering the 1925 former Thompson Wills to the Museum.
thanks to our four Museum members for their adventure in picking up the
Wills roadster, and the Thompson family for their special gift!
WILLS FAMILY VISITS MUSEUM
C.H. Wills’ granddaughter, Elaine Hawes visited the Museum this past March. Joining her was her son George Hawes and his wife Ann. Elaine writes “It was a pleasure and delight to see all the Wills cars. I
am looking forward to the reunion (National Meet 2010) and shall bring
all my family members that want to come. We were all so impressed with
all the work and effort everyone puts into the Museum.”
George & Ann Hawes, and Elaine Hawes, C.H. Wills’ granddaughter
DID YOU KNOW?
The American-made Wills Sainte Claire was the first vehicle to employ an electric fuel pump. From Auto Almanac, WINDSOR STAR.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Tom Kleinschmidt writes in: “Do you know of anyone in the club or ensnare that can provide valuation of my ’26 Wills? I want to be sure insurance is adequate.”
Good question Tom. The
Museum is asked occasionally to provide car valuations, but because of
our 501c3 status, we are unable to provide estimates of value. So how about it members, does anyone have any experience in having their Wills valued and could recommend a good auto appraiser? Drop me a line or email email@example.com with your answer.
In a previous newsletter, Gray Smith asked about speedometer repair. Steve Rossi writes in: “I have had great success with Bills Speedometer Shop, 109 Twinbrook Pl. Sidney, Ohio 45365 (937) 492-7800. Most recently he did a Model T Ford speedo for me which I delivered to him at Hershey.”
Newsletter #22, an article appeared about the Wills Roadster at The
Henry Ford Museum, of which the placard reads “Gift of Henry Ford”. Bill
Mason wrote “This is probably the Wills car that Henry Ford bought for a
niece. It is believed to have only 16,000 miles on it.”
Thanks for the update, Bill.
For many members, this newsletter was sent by email. As
postage and printing costs have continued to soar, it seems reasonable
to try to reduce costs at the Museum wherever possible (and this from a
non-profit entity that doesn’t even have any paid employees) to save
money. One of the choices we can
make is to increase dues, which have not been increased since the
Museum opened 8 years ago, but in the current economy I don’t think this
is a very good idea. One of the ways to save money is to email the newsletter to our members, which we will continue to do. If
you are getting this newsletter by mail and would like to help the
Museum save money, send me a note about having the newsletter sent to
you by email. The other advantage of getting the newsletter by email is full color throughout. Even
though the newsletter photos are typically color, when it is printed
only the first two pages are color the rest is printed in black and
white. So an advantage of the emailed newsletter is full color.
If you have not had an opportunity to visit our Museum website, check it out. You can find it at: www.willsautomuseum.org Please note that this website address ends in .org not the more commonly used .com. There
is a lot for you to do at the web site including a gift shop, guest
sign in and a forum where we can discuss the wonderful world of C.
Harold Wills and the Wills Sainte Claire Automobile. We also archive the previous newsletters, although without the photos, on the website. Take a look and make a comment on the forum at the website.
It is hard to believe but the Wills Club/Museum is now celebrating our 50th anniversary! As printed in the last newsletter, Ken Caldwell began communicating with other Wills car owners in 1959 to: “…accumulate,
organize and distribute all available Wills Sainte Claire News, which
will assist the owners and restorers to complete, repair, or put into
operation their Wills and help those already enjoying their Wills.”
In the beginning of the Club, each newsletter was written by a different member. Ken
Caldwell wrote the first one, Meryl Ewalt wrote the second one, Bill
Harrah (of Harrah Casino fame) wrote the third one, etc. I am all for
going back to that format, but even 50 years ago members taking turns
writing the newsletter only lasted a few years, before Ken Caldwell
continued to write the newsletter himself.
In the spirit of celebrating our 50th anniversary, I am enclosing (at the end of this newsletter) Wills Club Newsletter #2 written by Meryl Ewalt in 1959. Worth noting is the interview with Wills factory head mechanic “Frenchie”.
Hope you enjoy this glimpse into the past.
you are thinking about it, mark down on your calendar the next National
Wills Sainte Claire Meet to be held the third week of August 2010. The
specific dates are August 13, 14, 15 of 2010. Sally
Wills Achatz is heading up this get together and I am sure it will be a
lot of fun. A rough idea of the weekend will be tours on Friday and
Saturday and car show on Sunday. The car show will be honoring the Wills Marque and those of you that bring a car will be parked in a special place of honor. Stay tuned, more details will be forthcoming….
And in closing, allow me to say Thank-you very much to all our volunteers!
Terry Ernest, Director/Editor
Long time member Bill Abbott sent in this article about Wills Cars from 1995. He notes two mistakes. Can you spot the errors? When you find them, let me know and we’ll publish your comments in the next newsletter. firstname.lastname@example.org
Wills Sainte Claire Museum Board of Directors:
Terry Ernest – President / Director Sally Achatz – Fundraising
3546 Conger Street 523 N 3RD St
Port Huron, MI 48060 St Clair, MI 48079
(810) 987-2854 (810) 329-9520
Gary Wurmlinger – Vice President Harold Krul - Marketing
1313 Georgia 2028 N River Rd
Marysville, MI 48040 St. Clair, MI 48079
(810) 364-3612 (810) 329-7901
Laurie Baker – Treasurer John Porter– Facilities
3036 Beach Rd 137 Brown St
Port Huron, MI 48060 St Clair, MI 48079
(810) 966-4806 (810) 329-3192
Carl Moss – Secretary Fred Cleaver – Gift Shop
1617 Military Street 1001 N River Rd
Port Huron, MI 48060 St. Clair, MI 48079
(810) 982-4771 (810) 329-6522
Editor/Director: Terry Ernest
Your dues are due! Enclosed with this newsletter is your 2009 dues statement. Please
fill out the form and return it as soon as possible. This would also be
a great time to sign up a friend or family member to get the “Gray
Goose News” and associate them with our little Wills Sainte Claire
2008 SPIRIT OF C. H. WILLS AWARDS:
C. Harold Wills was a man of amazing vision and foresight. Since
his early days of working with Henry Ford, he envisioned an automobile
of high quality built by a contented workforce who lived in modern homes
in a true community. The Spirit of C.H. Wills award is given by the Museums’ Board of Directors in tribute to this spirit.
This year’s National member is Tom Lieb. Tom
has helped the Museum in many ways including actively showing his award
winning Cabriolet Roadster in national events (thereby creating more
interest in the Wills Sainte Claire marque) and in his donation of two
Wills cars to the Museum, the first Wills autos owned by the Museum. Tom also willingly shares his vast knowledge of the Wills cars mechanical minutia and details.
This year’s Local member is Stan Mitchell. Stan has been invaluable as a local member. Stan’s
ability to procure the majority of advertisers for the annual car show
program booklet is extremely important to the success of the show. He has, and continues to be, an active participant in nearly all of the Museums’ functions and activities.
Tom and Stan have “the right stuff”. The Museum and members greatly appreciate what they have done to help!
(top photo) Tom Lieb’s award.
(bottom photo) Stan Mitchell (L) receives his “Spirit of C.H. Wills”
award from Museum Director Terry Ernest
Once again the local chapter of the AACA-Blue Water Region has put on a successful car show benefitting the Museum. President Paul Pawlosky and his team attracted a fabulous group of cars this past August to the Marysville City Park. The net earnings from the car show in the amount of $8,400 was donated to the Museum. THANKS TO ALL THE GREAT MEMBERS OF THE AACA-BWR!
Museum Treasurer Laurie Baker accepts donation
from AACA-BWR Treasurer John Porter at the Museum
year at the annual Hershey swap meet, the Museum set up a display on
the chocolate field thanks to space provided by Fred Cleaver. Our volunteers passed out hundreds of Brochures about the Museum and Wills Sainte Claires. Special
thanks to Fred Cleaver, John Porter, Carl Moss and Gary Minnie for
transporting the tables, tents and displays and manning the booth. And a very special thanks to Rosemary Cleaver and Dorothy Burgess for working the booth. These ladies presence made the whole display look better!
Rosemary Cleaver (L) & Dorothy Burgess working the booth at Hershey
WILLS AUTO DISPLAY IN FLINT:
Gary and Debbie Wurmlinger displayed their 1926 T-6 7-passenger sedan at the Golden Memories car show this past September. As you can see in the photo below, the Wills was given a premium location!
Wurmlinger’s Wills and Museum display at Flint Cultural Center
WILLS AUTO DISPLAY IN YPSILANTI:
Terry & Rita Ernest displayed their 1926 T-6 Roadster at the Orphan Car Show earlier in the year. Our goal of showing the Wills’ cars is to help bring exposure to the Museum and build interest in all things Wills Sainte Claire.
Ernest’s Wills & Museum display at Ypsilanti Orphan Car Show
EARLY V-8 WILLS SOLD:
Kruse has sold his 1922 A-68 roadster (below) to Robert Pass, former
owner of Passport Transport. It has been reported that the car will go
on display at the ACD Museum in Auburn IN, where Mr. Pass is a Board
you have shown your Wills Sainte Claire car or taken it on tour this
past year, drop the editor a line and we will publish your story!
GAS PUMP DONATION:
The Museum would like to thank Wills car owner Edward Hausgen of Elsberry, MO for his donation of a period Fry brand gas pump. We
would also like to thank Gary Minnie and John Porter for traveling to
Missouri to pick it up. The Museum intends to restore the pump and use
it as part of an upcoming display that will include a Wills auto and a
1920’s gas station facade. If you have any related items that would help us complete this display, please contact Terry Ernest.
1920’s FRY gas pump pre-restoration
EARLY WILLS-LEE ARTICLE:
Harold Wills and John Lee (who worked together at Ford Motor) were
thought to be the principles of the new auto factory in Marysville in
1920. Bill Mason of Michigan sent in a couple of articles from the publication THE AUTOMOBILE. The first dated July 1, 1920: MARYSVILLE LAND GRAB HALTED BY COMMISSION.
June 25) “Two Detroit realty firms have had their licenses suspended
and two others have been reprimanded by the State Board as the result of
the efforts of real estate men to sell land at Marysville, in the
vicinity of the new Wills-Lee automobile plant. Misrepresentation is charged. Complaints
against several firms were filed by the executives of the Wills-Lee
company, alleging these firms were representing the property for sale as
being within the corporate limits of Marysville, when, as a matter of
fact, the land sold was outside the limits and far removed from the
Wills-Lee platted the town of Marysville, land in the town was being
sold through a syndicate under the auspices of the Wills-Lee
organization chiefly to prospective employees. The
town site began to boom immediately after announcement of the location
of the Wills-Lee plant, and real estate dealers platted sub-divisions. Lots were being sold rapidly when complaint was filed and efforts of the realty men were stopped by the securities commission.”
The second article from the September 9, 1920 issue of THE AUTOMOBILE: Detroit, Sept 2. “General
offices of the Wills-Lee Co. in the Book Building here closed today and
practically all of the officials will in the future be housed in a
portion of the new plant in Marysville. A
few officials will remain in Detroit and will have headquarters at the
plant of the DePalma Mfg. Co. on Woodbridge Street, pending the closing
of some local business.
The purchasing department has been moved to the DePalma offices. A
shipment of the machinery and equipment of the DePalma plant was sent
to Marysville a week ago and has been installed in the Wills-Lee
factory. The machinery and plant of the DePalma Co. had been used by C. Harold Wills for the conduct of experimental tests.
the opening of offices in Marysville the company expects immediately to
begin production on the new car, a description of which is promised
appears to your editor, from reading the two previous articles, that C.
Harold Wills did not let much information leak out about his new car
project (which would eventually be called the C. H. Wills Co. not the
Wills-Lee Co.) which is why the press guessed wrong for the name of the
new auto manufacturer. John Lee
was Head of the Sociological Department for Ford Motor Co. who left Ford
to go with Wills to Marysville to help plan the new community.
second article mentions the DePalma Mfg. Co. which during this period
of time Wills owned, perhaps to do testing and work out design criteria
for his new car while still working at Ford.
Thanks to Bill Mason for sending the articles to my attention.
HENRY FORD & C. HAROLD WILLS HOMES:
Henry Ford’s cars became popular, Henry’s monetary fortune and those of
his closest constituents began to rise dramatically. Both Ford and Wills had homes in the upscale Boston-Edison district of Detroit where many of the auto barons lived. In
1908, the same year he launched the Model “T”, Henry Ford, wife Clara
and teenage son Edsel moved into their brick and limestone 7,500
square-foot "Italian Renaissance Revival Eclectic” home on the corner of
Edison and Second. Edsel had a workshop over the garage, where Mrs. Ford kept her Detroit Electric car. The
Ford’s spent $483,253 to build the home and the family lived there
until 1915, when they moved to their newly constructed mansion known as
Fair Lane in Dearborn. His B-E home still exists today, and it’s current
owner is the Director of the Piquette “T-Plex” museum, birthplace of
the Model “T”.
C. Harold Wills was planning an elaborate home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, but in 1909, Wright sold his business. Wills unfinished drawings were completed by Marion Mahony, a protégé of Wright. The plans were finished in late 1909, but perhaps because of the estimated cost to construct the house, Wills never built it. However, Wills did find a way into the Boston-Edison neighborhood of his boss Henry Ford.
Henry Ford’s house in Boston-Edison district of Detroit (current photo)
Wills purchased his home in Boston-Edison from John W. Drake, who was one of the founders of Hupp Motor Co. Drake built his new home in 1911 at 650 W. Boston. With
the money that was now flowing to Wills’ bank account from his profits
at Ford Motor, he could afford to live in a very nice house, and with
9500 sq. ft., he had plenty of room! As I was doing research for this article, I noticed that the house is currently for sale. It
is listed for $675,000 and is on a professionally landscaped 1 acre lot
with its own 7000 gallon koi pond. 8 bedrooms, 5.5 baths and 3 car
garage, which would be a great place to park your Wills Sainte Claire
auto and maybe a Model “T” or two.
C. Harold Wills’ home at 650 W. Boston in Detroit (recent photo)
BODY REFERENCE RECORD:
Member Richard Coulombe has sent along a copy of the “Body Reference Record” for the A-68, B-68, C-68, D-68, W-6 and T-6 Wills autos. Mr.
Wills did not manufacture bodies for his cars, instead preferring to
concentrate on the mechanicals of the car, much of which he produced in
his own factory. Bodies were
purchased under contract from many different body builders who were
prevalent at the time. The body reference shows some of the many body
builders who made contract car bodies for Wills, which included: Budd,
Fisher, Babcock, Baker, Witham, Willoughby, Erdman-Guider, Gotfredson,
Richard also sent along a sheet on accessory manufacturers, what parts they made and who produced it for our Wills’ cars.
I have reproduced the “body” sheet on page 7, and the “accessory” sheet on page 8 of this newsletter. (Thanks to Richard for sending this in!)
EMPLOYEE BADGE AND LAPEL PIN:
Because the Museum has a website (www.willsautomuseum.ORG), we get interested parties contacting us about various Wills related items. Recently,
Mark Wetherbee contacted me about two employee badges and a lapel pin
that he has in his collection. Although I have seen employee badges
before, I had never seen one with a star next to the number. I also noted that the number was small (20) as compared to the larger numbered ones I had seen before. Mark
speculated, and I would tend to agree, that the employee who was issued
*20 must have been an executive or officer of the company. Perhaps Mr. Wills had badge *1!
Mark found the *20 employee badge at a small flea market in Pennsylvania about 20 years ago.
also sent a lapel pin which he said is typical of service pins provided
to service or sales employees by dealerships for performance quotas
that have been met or exceeded. Note that the service pin is quite small at about 9/16” and uses a screw-back pin to hold it onto a lapel.
Wills Factory executive or officers badge
Service Lapel pin with screw back and dime to show size reference
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
Wills auto owner, Gray Smith of Maine, wrote in to bring up a topic regarding his problems in having his speedometer repaired. Gray sent his Waltham speedometer to a company in Florida who has taken more than 5 years to work on his speedo. This is a frustrating ordeal for anyone to have to go through, yet many of us do in the process of restoring our beloved Wills. Let’s
create a discussion about the successes you have had in getting your
delicate Wills parts restored correctly and in a reasonable amount of
time. Write your editor with your recommendations and I will publish the stories as they come in. We all can benefit from your experience!
If you have further questions about the particular vender mentioned above, contact Gray directly at: 207-596-6676.
MR. WILLS PERSONAL NOTEBOOK:
the Museum purchased a large literature collection from a local family 8
years ago, we discovered some very interesting items. One such item is
the personal notebook of C. Harold Wills. The notebook contains about 100 or so pages of formulas, data, recipes and information that was important to Mr. Wills. Most of the data is typed, but there are some drawings and copies of articles. Each entry is alphabetized and indexed for easy reference. Some have dates. The most recent of which was 1932.
For instance, page A-2 “Heat treatment of Aluminum Pistons” (Lincoln Motor Car Company): Aluminum 88.63
Raise temperature to 975 degrees F, taking one-half hour to do so, then hold for one-half hour at 975 degrees F. Quench in boiling water one hour. Transfer to furnace at 400 degrees F and hold four hours. Cool in air. A seasoning at room temperature tends to increase the hardness. It is possible by the above heat treatment to obtain a Brinell hardness of 165.
Another example from page A-4:
“For Acid Stomach: 8 or 9 drops of a ten percent solution of Muriatic Acid (HCL) in one half glass of water – To be taken three times a day.”
Page B-4 is a recipe for making the liqueur Benedictine. (The main ingredient consists of 90% grain alcohol and goes on in detail.)
Page H-1 is the Method of figuring the price of a second hand car by Mr. Halsey:
“For a car less than one year old an allowance of 58% of the present sales price.
For a car less than two years old an allowance of 40% of the present sales price….”
Page H-2 is Mrs. Wills recipe: “How to Cook a Missouri Ham”
“Soak ham for 48 hours in cold water. Be sure it is covered well with water. Remove from water and scrape well (as the ham is very mouldy). Boil in cider 4 hours. Take ham out of cider, remove skin, sprinkle with fine bread crumbs and bake in very slow oven for one hour.”
notebook goes on to describe zinc and iron plating baths, special
insulating paint compounds and even a recipe for mouthwash. We
can only speculate that this notebook contained what Mr. Wills must
have considered very valuable (and easily referenced) information. Please note: I would not necessarily recommend the recipe for Acid Stomach! But if you want to heat treat aluminum pistons, that should be OK.
COMMENTS FROM THE DIRECTOR:
Here in the Midwest in January, the weather is cold and snowy. Allow me to thank Scott Shepley for donating the plowing of the Museums parking lot and shoveling the sidewalk. I
also want to thank Paul Pawlosky for taking care of the Museum’s lawn
every year. And while I am at it, allow me to thank the Board of
Directors and all the local members who work so hard to keep our Museum
project going day in and day out!
January of 1959, Ken Caldwell wrote the first “Gray Goose News”
effectively beginning the Wills Club (which eventually morphed into the
Wills Sainte Claire Auto Museum). So raise a toast as we celebrate our 50th anniversary! I’ve included a copy of Ken’s first newsletter for you to reminisce over. As a side note, this particular newsletter was sent to Sheldon Lowenthal, who is still a member today!
And finally, if you would like to advertise in our humble publication (with superb demographics), contact me. A printed flyer inserted into the “Gray Goose” would only be $100. This would help offset our postage and printing costs. Perhaps an ad for a tire distributer or….
See you down the road.
Terry Ernest Editor/Director