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Whippet Good: 1928 Willys Overland Whippet


Just yesterday we saw a 1926 Willys hot rod in Yucaipa, California (which sold immediately), and with another search for Willys, we’ve located this absolutely stunning 1928 Willys Overland Whippet for sale here on craigslist in nearby Riverside, California.


What a great story this car turns out to have. It’s so good, I am copying almost the whole story here straight from the ad.


Here is what the seller has to say about it – I am the second owner of this car. It was originally purchased in Los Angeles California and lived its life in Fallbrook California. It has always been stored indoors. The original owner kept meticulous care of it and if any repairs were needed, it was taken care of ASAP by a local mechanic. In 1970 it won an “Antique Automobile Club of America” award for best original. It still wears the badge proudly.


Sometime in the early 70’s the owner became ill and passed. The car was put on blocks and covered until I purchased it and brought it back to life. I was told the 67,000 miles was correct but I have no documentation to sustain that. I rebuilt the carb, installed a new fuel pump and filter, cleaned the fuel system, changed all the fluids and she fired right up.


The vacuum canister gasket is bad so I’m assuming that is why an electric 2 psi fuel pump was installed. I linseed oiled and spar varnished the wheels and put 5 new tires and tubes on it and been driving it ever since. She runs like a top! I have taken her on 30 to 40 mile trips and she ran flawlessly.


I’m selling the Whippet because I do not drive her much anymore and she needs someone who will. If you’re looking for a perfect painted restored machine then this is not the car for you, the paint has chips and cracking, (see pictures). She is an 88 year old car and wears her patina proudly.


She has linkage brakes so you need to give it a little extra time when stopping. The nickel plating has some pitting but is all in all great shape. There are no rust issues at all with this car.


The current owner bought the car in 2011. I think his use of the “P” word is legitimate in this case.


Whippet was introduced by Willys in 1926 as a new brand for light, fast, economical, stylish, and inexpensive cars. The Whippet was advanced for its time with four wheel brakes, a water pump, and forced lubrication. The body was compact but roomy, the chassis provided good cornering and the light weight of the car resulted in both good gas mileage and good performance.


With a wheelbase just over 100 inches, the Whippet was slightly larger than the Model T, but its performance was better than Ford’s aging T, and it was a more durable and reliable vehicle as well.


Whippet production reached 100,000 units fairly quickly. With the success of the four-cylinder Whippet, Willys quickly rebadged the Overland 93 to Whippet 93 for 1927 but the four cylinder continued to be the sales leader. Despite its early success, the brand was short lived –  by 1931 during the Depression, Willys retired the Whippet nameplate.


The asking price for this example is $13,500, which is way out of my price range, even though the seller is willing to negotiate. I am sure Barn Finds readers will weigh in on the value of this car. These older cars are just not as desirable nowadays, but if this car is really as original as it appears, it really is something special.

Willys Whippet Ads
Photo courtesy of eBay

No matter the price, this is just a great old car, almost the definition of what a great barn find should be. I would surely love to be the owner of this beautiful example of American automotive history.


  1. Avatar photo Marty Member

    Whippet good. Well played, sir.

    If I had proper space for yet another car, this is just how I’d want it, nice and all original, non-restored, fun, driver. Great find.

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  2. Avatar photo AMC STEVE

    What a nice car! I want

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  3. Avatar photo grant

    Wow. Out of my reach, but I would think worth close to if not all the asking. This is why I love old cars.

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  4. Avatar photo DRV

    My first old car love was a ’26 whippet rumble seat roadster in the early 60’s . It was in my uncles garage as his first restoration and I would play in the drivers seAt the whole time the family would be visiting. The stick shift knob was an 11 pool ball because the body red matched it.
    It’s still on the road in his sons care and is shown an driven to many shows within a few hundred miles of Columbus Ohio. It probably has been on 25 Glidden Tours.

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  5. Avatar photo Dutch 1960

    Actually the Whippet engine, designed for the 1926 models, had severe durability problems. The initial big sales of the Whippet, then the quick drop-off, was probably in part due to the engines not lasting very long at all. Materials quality, variations in manufacturing and assembly tolerances, and some basic engineering issues doomed this powerplant to consistent unreliability. The Ford Model “T” had an excellent reputation for durability, as Ford used only the finest materials and demanded production accuracy. Time did move on, however, as the Whippet was a step up in comfort and appointment from the “T”, and was somewhat competitive in its overall package with the Ford Model “A”, which was soon to be rolled out.

    This engine was the basic Willys four cylinder engine for years, but it was thoroughly reengineered in 1938 and at that time it became much more durable. A few years later, it became the WW2 Jeep engine, and variations of it continued to be installed in Jeeps until the early 1970s.

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  6. Avatar photo Bruce E

    I think this is the first time my ass didn’t grab the fabric of my chair when I saw the word “patina” !!! THIS is the correct use of the word in the auto world !

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  7. Avatar photo Wayne S.K.

    Just curious. What’s with the French themed lunch box on the driver’s side running board? Or is it a mailbox? A toolbox? A squirrel carrier? Questions! So many questions…
    (Oh, and by the way David Wilk, thanks a lot! Now that song will be stuck in my head all DAY! GRRRRR!)

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    • Avatar photo K.C.

      The running board lunch box (etc.) is three separate containers most likely for gas, oil, and water. Different colors so that you don’t put the wrong fluid into an opening. Many old cars had similar containers on their running boards, but not necessarily all three. This might have been a Whippet or aftermarket accessory.

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      • Avatar photo Wayne S.K.

        Thank you K.C. Never saw anything like it before…

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  8. Avatar photo davy beam

    My great-grandfather Shafer won a 1928 Whippet in a poker game in 1928. He was an executive at GM in Dayton Ohio at the time, so there was no way he could drive it or even be seen in it, according to the legend.
    So he signed the car over to my Grandmother, who was twelve. She learned everything about it almost overnight, mostly from my Grandfather (her fourteen year old “boyfriend” at the time, they met that year) showing her everything to do.
    She drove to Cincinatti Reds games all summer long, among other errands and trips to a local swimming place. She used to regale me with her tales of daring do at such a young age driving a car. Once, she and her friends were driving to a picnic and slid off of the country road and bumped a tree that had a huge beehive hanging from the tree. She used to say it took three days, my Grandpa, and some farmers to get the car back from the bees safely.
    Sadly, my great-grandad lost the car in another poker game in 1930.

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  9. Avatar photo David Member
  10. Avatar photo Robert Reed

    My Dad found this Willys in a barn in Virginia. Hoping someone with knowledge of these cars cam help answer some questions.

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    • Avatar photo Doc Stevens

      As of 9/5/2020, I am attempting to make an offer on one in Ohio. Pristine.

      Like 0

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