The Whippet had a history of being a small, inexpensive car. Willys-Overland Corporation of Toledo, Ohio built them from 1927 to 1931. It was named after the breed of dog. The Whippet was a sporty, affordable alternative to the larger, more expensive cars of the day.
The Whippet Four sold over 100,000 units in its first year of production. It was praised for its good looks, small size, speed, and low price. The Whippet was also one of the first cars to be offered with a variety of body styles, including sedans, coupes, roadsters, and convertibles.
In 1928, Willys-Overland introduced the Whippet Six. It was powered by a new 40-horsepower six-cylinder engine. The Whippet Six was even more successful than the four-cylinder Whippet. Willys-Overland became one of the leading automobile manufacturers in the United States.
Another Victim of The Depression
The Whippet’s success came to an end with the onset of the Great Depression in 1929. Sales of the Whippet plummeted, and Willys-Overland was forced to discontinue production of the car in 1931.
Despite its short production run, the Whippet is remembered as one of the most important cars of the 1920s. It helped to popularize the small, affordable car, and paved the way for the success of later cars like the Ford Model A and the Chevrolet Corvair.
Here are some of the key features of the Whippet automobile:
Small size: The Whippet was one of the smallest cars on the market in the 1920s. It had a wheelbase of just 100 inches, and was only about 15 feet long overall.
Speed: The Whippet was surprisingly fast for its size. The four-cylinder model could reach speeds of up to 65 mph, and the six-cylinder model could reach speeds of up to 75 mph.
Low price: The Whippet was one of the most affordable cars on the market in the 1920s. The four-cylinder model started at just $595, and the six-cylinder model started at just $695.
Variety of body styles: The Whippet was offered in a variety of body styles, including sedans, coupes, roadsters, and convertibles. This made it a popular choice for a variety of buyers.
High-tech for the time: Water pump, full-pressure lubrication, and four-wheel hydraulic brakes.
Willis Overland was not the only owner of the Whippet brand. In 1936, the Whippet brand was purchased by the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation, which continued to produce Whippet cars until 1953. In 1955, the Whippet brand was re-purchased by Willys-Overland. They revived the brand for a short time before discontinuing it again in 1958.
The Whippet brand has also been used by a number of other companies over the years, including the Whippet Motor Car Company, the Whippet Manufacturing Company, and the Whippet Corporation. However, none of these companies were as successful as Willis Overland, Kaiser-Frazer, or Willys-Overland in producing and selling Whippet cars.
- Year Started: 1927
- Year Ended: 1958
- Origin Of Name: Like the Dog – Nimble and Fast
- Location Sales: Worldwide
- Brand Name Predecessor: N/A
- Brand Name Successor: N/A
- Owner Original: Willys-Overland Corporation
- Owner While In Use: Kaiser-Frazer
- Owner Successor: Willys-Overland Corporation
- Year Resurrected: N/A
- What’s Popular Today: Chevrolet
- Naics Code: 336110
- Location Headquarters: Toledo, Ohio USA