1908 was a pivotal year in the history of the American automobile. Events such as the introduction of the Model T Ford, the automobile that revolutionized the manufacture of the automobile and most mass marketed goods
The Model T affected all forms of industry and life in the United States. Due to the low cost of the vehicle, Americans were now introduced to a new found social and economic mobility that they had never known before. American industry was introduced to the assembly line, a revolutionary method of assembling vehicles that now had the vehicle shuttled from worker to worker, not the worker shuttling around to each vehicle. This system, based upon the "de-assembly" lines of the Union Stockyards of Chicago, speed up manufacturing, lowered costs of production and purchase, and drastically increased sales in all forms of commerce.
In Toledo, Ohio, the affect of the Model T was also being felt. In 1908, a young entrepreneur John North Willys, decided to bring his newly purchased Overland company to Toledo. This company, which would become Willys, would compete with Ford for the next half a century, staving off bankruptcy, hostile takeover, and the Great Depression before finally being sold to Kaiser in the 1950's.
1908 was also an important year in the automobile industry of Toledo, Ohio. It was in 1908 that John North Willys, a former automobile salesman, brought his automobile company to Toledo and renamed it Willys Overland.
2008 will mark the 100th Anniversary of these three important events in the history of the automobile and the city of Toledo, Ohio.
This exhibit will focus on the relationship between one of the most well known automobile company's in the world and the company that yearned for its successes throughout its short and turbulent history.