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1952 Willys Signage Brochure

• CATEGORIES: Advertising & Brochures, Features This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

This rare 1952 brochure highlights the signage available for dealers and includes an order brochure. What you’ll notice is that there’s no reference to ‘jeep’ anywhere (unlike the 1946 brochure) and demonstrates Willys-Overland’s efforts to reduce the ‘jeep’ branding within the company.

You’ll also note the somewhat awkward use of “Common Sense” within the title. This may have been a nod to the “Willys Makes Sense” ad campaign during 1951.

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7 Comments on “1952 Willys Signage Brochure

  1. Bingo

    Maybe this debate has been settled on your site Dave.
    I’ve always pronounced Willys, w/EZ or ease @the end. Now I’m told by someone even older & more crabby than me, that it’s pronounced w/iss…as in piss off @the end.
    Any thoughts? Arguements? Fingers?

  2. David Eilers Post author

    Vernon: The bigger, electric signs usually cost thousands.

    Bingo: The Willeez vs. Willis debate will never be settled, though there is a right answer. If you listen to company videos from the 1940s and 1950s “Willis-Overland” is how it is properly pronounced.

    AI can attest that the Mid-West jeep folks definitely seem to be the most likely pronouncers of “Willis” (based on a large number of jeep fans that I’ve met there). I would say that along the east coast there is a little more of a mix, but still predominantly pronounced “Willis”. I would say from the Rocky Mountain eastern slope to the west coast, again based on my interactions with people, “Willeez” seems to be the most dominant pronunciation. I grew up in the Seattle area and I can’t remember ever hearing “Willis” in that area. In fact, during my first trip in 2013 to the Spring Willys Reunion in Ohio, it was a little strange to hear how many folks used “Willis”.

  3. John North Willys

    3 time rock and roll hall of famer NEIL YOUNG ( a noted willys collector ) pronounces it ” WILLIS ” <– i wont argue with him ..

  4. Bingo

    Well…too late fer this ol dog to change. I always assumed Willys was a family name. Aren’t there any more descendants left to ask? I s’pose it’s gotta be iss, if’n dat’s how it sounds in the commercials. Glad I didn’t put any money on it!

  5. Barney Goodwin

    Ron Szymanski, retired Jeep employee and curator of the former Jeep House Museum at the factory knew the family and knew how they pronounced the name with the iss pronunciation . If you insist on using the Lil Abner pronunciation, paint an apostrophe after the “Y” on your Jeep, as in “Willy’s”. The company videos should speak for themselves.
    Signage-wise, 1952 is when they dropped the Overland after Kaiser’s purchase of the company. This signage shows that Kaiser wanted the company presented as more than just a Jeep company at the time. They made cars also – at least for a while. Among collectors today, the ones with the J or ‘Jeep’ bring far more money.
    On another note, wife and I visited a very large antique mall this weekend. It was flooded with those fake porcelain signs made in India that we have discussed in other posts. Did not see one that was under $135.00.

  6. David Eilers Post author

    The Kaiser offer appeared in early 1953 (some good info on this

    Here’s a look at my take on the difficulties Willys-Overland faced by 1950 from a product portfolio stand point (they had 2WD vehicles, 4WD vehicles, and planned to produce cars). I believe it was this reality check that made W-O executives decided to making a branding shift away from “Jeep” towards Willys:

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