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1931 Willys Six Model 97A Sport Coupe For Sale by Auction

To Be OFFERED AT AUCTION WITHOUT RESERVE at RM Sothebys' Hershey event, 10 - 11 October 2019. Estimate:$20,000 - $30,000 Rare Willys sport coupeHigh-quality restorationStaid and stylish As the Great Depression took hold, John North Willys rethought his marketing strategy. His low-priced Whippet had done well before the stock market crash, while the sleeve-valve Willys-Knight held a prestige niche. Willys’ new approach manifested itself in the smaller and lower-priced Willys 77 in 1933, but the transition trajectory was a bit convoluted. For 1929, there were Whippets with both four and six cylinders. Then, in 1930, the Whippet became, in effect, the Willys Six, Series 98B. For 1931 there were two Willys Sixes, 97 and 98D, with wheelbases of 113 and 121 inches, and sharing a 193-cubic-inch L-head six-cylinder engine. Just to make things interesting, there was also a straight eight, but it would last for only two seasons. The Willys Six carried on, however, as Model 6-90 in 1932 and 79 in 1933. Thereafter, there was but one Willys, the four-cylinder 77. The Willys-Knight had last breathed up its sleeve alongside the Six in 1933.This 1931 Willys Model 97A was purchased by the Merrick Auto Museum in 2014. Painted blue with black fenders, it is very handsome, particularly the harmony of the tan canvas roof, landau irons, cream wire wheels, and whitewall tires. The interior is upholstered in light brown mohair, while the instrument panel is a study in contrasts. Trapezoidal gauges include a drum speedometer, oil-pressure gauge, ammeter, and a hydrostatic fuel gauge, while temperature is indicated on a remote-sensing MotoMeter. Modern directional signals have been unobtrusively installed. The car has been the subject of a body-off restoration, so the quality is high. Willys-Overland, in its entirety, produced some 75,000 cars in 1931. The next year would deliver less than half that many. This is a rare car from a turbulent era.To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/hf19.
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