Willys was the brand name used by Willys-Overland Motors, an American automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 company best known for its design and production of military Jeep
Jeep is an automobile marque of Chrysler . The first Willys Jeeps were produced in 1941 with the first civilian models in 1945, making it the oldest off-road vehicle and sport utility vehicle brand. It inspired a number of other light utility vehicles, such as the Land Rover which is the second...

s (MBs) and civilian versions (CJs) during the 20th century.
In 1908, John Willys
John Willys
John North Willys was an American automotive pioneer and statesman.Born in Canandaigua, New York, as a young man he began selling bicycles in his hometown and within a few years eventually expanded into manufacturing his own line of bicycles...

 bought the Overland Automotive
Overland Automobile
-History:The Overland Automobile "runabout" was founded by Claude Cox, a graduate of Rose Polytechnic Institute, while he was employed by Standard Wheel Company of Terre Haute, Indiana, USA, in 1903. In 1905, Standard Wheel allowed Cox to relocate the Overland Automobile Company to Indianapolis,...

 Division of Standard Wheel Company and in 1912 renamed it Willys-Overland Motor Company. From 1912 to 1918, Willys was the second largest producer of automobiles in the United States after Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker based in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The automaker was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. In addition to the Ford and Lincoln brands, Ford also owns a small stake in Mazda in Japan and Aston Martin in the UK...


In 1913, Willys acquired a license to build the Charles Knight
Knight Engine
The Knight Engine was an internal combustion engine, designed by American Charles Yale Knight , that used sleeve valves instead of the more common poppet valve construction.- History :...

's sleeve-valve
Sleeve valve
The sleeve valve is a type of valve mechanism for piston engines, distinct from the usual poppet valve. Sleeve-valve engines saw use in a number of pre-World War II luxury cars and in USA in the Willys-Knight car and light truck...

 engine which it used in cars bearing the Willys-Knight
Willys-Knight is an automobile that was produced between 1914 and 1933 by the Willys-Overland Company of Toledo, Ohio.John North Willys purchased the Edwards Motor Car Company of Long Island, New York, in 1913, moving the operation to Elyria, Ohio, where Willys owned the plant that had previously...