1923 Willys-Overland Model 91

Fort Worth, TX 76137
United States

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Category  Classic Cars

Folks forget that in the early days of motoring, there were a lot more cars than just the Model T. This handsome 1923 Willys-Overland Model 91 Sedan is far more advanced, powerful, rugged, and stylish than the venerable T, all for a price that's about the same. If you like the idea of primitive stagecoach machines that still work as intended, this Overland 4-door is a great find.

With so few of these of these Willys-Overlands left on Earth (there were never all that many produced at .....
the Toledo, Ohio plant to begin with), this is a very special car. It's not quite original enough to be called a survivor, as it was obviously restored at some point many years ago. Nevertheless, it has great patina that seems to work especially well on vehicles from the early 20th century. It's a substantial car, far bigger than a Model T, but you don't realize that until you're right next to it. Bright blue paint on a car in the '20s was a sign of great wealth, and along with the black hood, fenders, and running boards it's a popular color combination that still looks great today. The Willys-Overland line of vehicles was very upscale, and these 4-door Touring cars with their black vinyl roofs chauffeured around our betters throughout the Roaring Twenties. Couldn't you see a gaggle of flapper girls spilling out of this beauty after pulling up to the Cotton Club? F. Scott Fitzgerald himself would be moved to write a masterpiece after seeing one of these puttering by the Hamptons. The contrasting black paint highlights the shapes of the hood, fenders, and running boards, really dressing the car up and calling attention to its many wonderful curves. The early-'20s weren't big on brass or nickel trim quite yet, so most of it is painted to match the body, although you do get a moto-meter on the radiator and a single taillight out back. Bright bumpers fore and aft really dress things up and add a modicum of safety, while the fender-mounted headlights are positioned right where every car had them in 1923, but in addition this beauty got a set of auxiliary lights at either side of the cowl.

The interior has obviously been restored, as the itchy mohair has been replaced with high-end velour-style upholstery finished in correct patterns and materials to closely duplicate the original look. The wide bench seats are comfortable and offer a commanding view of the road, while the floors aren't just basic wood planks, but are rather lined with dark carpets that insulate the cabin from the outside world. A fat, four-spoke wooden steering wheel provides plenty of leverage to maneuver the tall front wooden wheels and the control layout is a twist on today's setup, with the throttle being between the brake and clutch. Original Stewart gauges (must've been before he met Warner) cover the basics and there's a beautiful Overland badge over on the passenger's side dash, showing that artistry mattered even when the transportation was basic. Rear seat space is expansive and there are useful map pockets on the doors and a robe rail behind the front seat. And because these Touring cars were all class, you get vase holders for the fresh flowers the chauffer would cut each morning (a precursor to our Big Gulp cupholders of today), a neatly lined headliner up top, and vanity shades over the windows to protect the precious cargo from making eye contact with the unwashed masses that pass by.

This Overland uses a 3.0L cubic inch 4-cylinder engine that makes somewhere around 40 horsepower. Now that may not seem like a lot, but with clever gearing and lots of low-end torque, it feels peppy around town and happily cruises at about 35 MPH, so it's not a rolling roadblock. The engine is quite sophisticated for the time, using a familiar distributor ignition system and a vacuum tank to deliver fuel to the upgraded carburetor that's been topped with a shiny air cleaner. Starters and generators were still a relatively recent invention in 1923, and the big generator/starter unit looks to be combined with the water pump on the driver's side of the engine. The transmission is a typical 3-speed manual that needs little more than a quick double-clutch between gears and the buggy-spring suspension is designed for the rough roads of the time but still feels smooth today. Brakes are rear-wheel only, so plan your stops accordingly, and it stands proud on those 20-inch woodspoke wheels (that's right, we liked big flashy rims even back then) and proper 4.75/5.00-20 whitewall tires.

We hope the fans of these cars will continue to keep the torch burning, because there's just so much fun to be had in this Willys-Overland's simplicity. Call today!

Fort Worth TX 76137
United States
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