Vintage Ad: 1940 Willys – “100,000 Mile Or Three Year Guarantee”

I’ve long wanted to do a history on the pre-war Willys, which were the true pioneers of compact cars, starting with the Model 77 back in 1933. There even used to be a 1940 sedan in Eugene that I’d see regularly, but then it disappeared just before I started curbsiding. Another time.

I certainly knew nothing about this extremely generous “guarantee”. Not that many cars back then even made it to 100,000 miles. And just what did it cover?

Here’s the key details below:

It’s a bit hard to read, but in a nutshell, it has a major loophole: “Second, it includes a guarantee to make good at the factory (bold italics added for emphasis) ANY DEFECTIVE PARTS ON 1940 WILLYS MODELS…”

Aha! That works well for the good citizens of Toledo, Ohio and its environs, but not so well for those any substantial distance from there. It was way too good to be true.

But then Joe Frazer was quite the salesman, and he had an uphill battle with Willys.

This is like the sedan that was in Eugene. It had a hopped up original “Go-Devil” four, as then used in the Jeep. It sounded great through its non-stock exhaust.

Good luck finding a stock coupe; these all became “gassers” on the drag strips, thanks to their light bodies and short wheelbase.