1922 Wills Sainte Claire
Childe Harold Wills left the Ford Motor Company in mid-1919 after making a million dollars for his revolutionary work in the engineering of the Model T and other Ford vehicles. Wills and partner John R. Lee felt they were ready to produce an eight-cylinder car that they believed was, “10 years ahead of its time”.
Forming the C. H. Wills and Company, they opened their new plant in the model industrial community of Marysville, Michigan in mid-November, 1919 on the banks of the St. Claire River. However, the first Wills Sainte Claire was not delivered until the spring of 1921 as Wills' perfectionist approach delayed production. The “Gray Goose” symbol was chosen for the emblem of the new vehicle. Wills managed to produce 1,537 cars in 1921.
2,736 cars were made in the 1922 production year. More cars could have been sold in 1922 but Wills’ desire to shut down the assembly line anytime he thought a car needed any improvement delayed production and cost the company much needed revenue. Wills' unbending obsession with perfection was creating chaos in the company. By December of 1922, all of the officers in the company, including John Lee, deserted him. The company quickly folded thereafter. Wills was in trouble.
Following this breakup, with the help of a Boston bank, Wills reorganized as the Wills Sainte Claire Motor Company. He resumed production of the V-8 and began development of a six cylinder engine as an answer to the V-8’s high price tag and the complexity of repair for an average garage. Wills struggled on, but the company simply faded away in 1927.
This 1922 Wills Sainte Claire model A-68 is a 7-passenger sedan. It is powered by a 4 liter, 265.5 cubic inch, V8 engine with a 3 ¼ inch bore and 4 inch stroke. It featured a twin overhead camshaft design which produced 67 Hp at 2,800 rpm. The car sits on a 121 inch wheelbase and had a factory price of $4100.