Digest>Archives> July 2009

Stock Market Crash Changed Production

By Timothy Harrison


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Little could the manufacturers of the Whippet automobile have known when they published this two page advertisement in the Saturday Evening Post in June of 1929 that the stock market crash a few months later would nearly devastate the company, as it did with so many other businesses across America.

Known throughout automotive history as Willys-Overland Motor Company, it, along with the Franklin Automobile Co., was one of the first automobile companies to use a lighthouse to help sell and promote its vehicles. The Great Depression nearly devastated the company and the Whippet automobile was discontinued in 1931. But the company survived and manufactured Willys pronounced “Will-US,” not Will-EES,” that became the Jeep and after the war they manufactured the Willys Aero. Through a combination of sales of different division and mergers the company continued as Kaiser-Jeep, then American Motors and eventually Chrysler.

But it was the sleek style of the tall solid lighthouse that was used to help promote sales of an automobile in another era of time. We can only wonder, if the company had continued to produce the Whippet would they have continued to use lighthouses in their advertisements?

This story appeared in the July 2009 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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