WANDERER (GE) 1912-1942
and Richard Jaenicke founded a bicycle factory in the town of Chemnitz in
1885 and sold
their products under the name Wanderer.
Machine tools were also produced, and motorcycles were added in 1902, but
in spite of some experimental prototypes the company did not venture into
car production for another ten years. Eventually a small two-seater was
put into production, which became very successful and well-known under the
nickname "Puppchen" ("little doll"). This small car
remained the basis of Wanderer's passenger car lineup until the late 1920s,
but in the meantime some larger, more conventional cars were added. The
economy crisis of 1929 left the company in severe trouble, and it was merged
with DKW, Horch and Audi to form the Auto Union in 1932. In this group Wanderer
assumed the role of providing conventional mid-sized cars, between the smaller
DKWs and larger Horchs and alongside the more progressive Audis. After WW
II the factory was nationalized and concentrated on machine tool production.
Car production was never resumed.
Brekina has made some variations of a 1930s Wanderer W 240 in H0 scale
WARSZAWA (PL) 1951-1973
The Warszawa was a licensed copy of the Russian GAZ M 20 Pobeda made
at the FSO factory in Warsaw. It was the most important Polish passenger
car until the same factory introduced the Polski Fiat 125p in 1968. That
and other licensed Fiat products eventually put an end to Warszawa production.
FSO went on to introduce an independently developed car called Polonez in
1978, which was still made when the company was taken over by Daewoo of
South Korea in 1996 and is even still made nowadays alongside certain Daewoo
H0 scale resin models of the Warszawa are available from the Polish company
WARTBURG (GE/GDR) 1899-1904, 1955-1991
The car factory of Eisenach, Thuringia, was one of the first to produce
passenger cars in considerable quantities in Germany. Its products were
originally called Wartburg but were renamed Dixi in 1904. In 1928 the company
was purchased by BMW, which was forced to give up the Eisenach factory after
WW II. The factory was then nationalized by the new East German government.
The BMW-based products still made there were subsequently called EMW and
were replaced by a new design in 1955. This was a sedan fitted with a two-stroke
engine of DKW origin, and for this car the Wartburg name was resurrected.
The Wartburg 311/312 was replaced by a new model called 353 in 1966, but
from then on any further development was stopped for political reasons.
Similar to the Trabant, the Wartburg could not compete against other manufacturers'
products after the end of the GDR. The factory was taken over by General
Motors and turned into an Opel factory.
H0 scale diecast models of the Wartburg 311 are offered under the Bub
brand (designed in Germany but made in China), and plastic Wartburgs have
been made by several German companies including Brekina.
WILLYS (US and other countries) 1909, 1916-1918, 1930-1963
In 1907 John North Willys,
a prominent car dealer purchased the Overland Co in Indianapolis IN. This
firm had previously traded as the Standard Wheel
Co and originated in Terre Haute IN in 1903. Most of the early cars produced
by Willys continued to use the Overland badge. He did attach his name for
a short time to one of his products in 1909. This was a 45 hp six cylinder
vehicle. Following 1910, Willys continued to sell and distribute the Marion
car. In 1914 he featured the Knight double sleeve valve 4 cylinder engine
on a new car he called the Willys-Knight. Production on this car ceased
in 1932. The Knight was introduced as a companion marque to the then successful
Overland. It was the successor to the former Edwards-Knight firm that Willys
had acquired. By 1920, the parent firm had become the Willys-Overland Co
and a branch was formed in England, called Willys Overland Crossley Ltd
to assemble cars for the UK market by Crossley Motors Ltd. In 1926, a less
expensive Overland marque was introduced as the Whippet. In 1928 Willys
Overland also reportedly began manufacturing the Stearns- Knight and Falcon-
Knight cars. In 1930 the Overland marque was replaced with the Willys badge.
In 1933 the company entered into financial receivership but was able to
recover in 1936. The Overland marque was resurrected in 1939 for that year
only. And in 1941 the Americar was introduced by Willys. Due to the onset
of WWII , all passenger car production was discontinued until 1946. However
Willys was given the US Government contract , along with Ford to produce
the recently designed Jeep which had originally been inspired by American
Bantam Car Co in Butler PA. Following the war, Willys continued to produce
a civilian version of this vehicle which is still in production at present;
only under different ownership. Licenses for Jeep production were then sold
to various manufacturers throughout the world including Hotchkiss in France
and Mitsubishi in Japan. In 1952 the company again began producing a civilian
passenger car called the Aero-Willys . In 1953 Willys-Overland was purchased
by Kaiser Corp and Aero production was discontinued in 1956 in the US. However,
car production continued in the Willys-Overland factory in Sao Paulo Brazil.
This subsidiary had begun operations in 1954 to produce Jeeps under license
. The first cars appeared in 1958 when the Station Wagon was offered as
the Rural-Willys. The Aero-Willys was added to the line in 1960. Renault
cars were also built under license beginning in 1959. In 1961 the Willys
Interlagos was introduced which was actually a rebadged Alpine-Renault.
In 1963, the US Jeep Division of Kaiser officially became the Kaiser Jeep
Corp in the US. But back in Brazil, the remnants of Willys were merged with
Ford do Brazil . Ford continued to produce Willys vehicles until 1971 in
Models of Willys have been made by Johnny Lightning, Matchbox and Racing
Champions. An Interlagos model was also issued by Roly Toys of Brazil. The
Jeeps will be reviewed separately as a submarque below.
'41 Willys Drag racer - Hot Wheels
WILLYS JEEP ( US and other countries) 1941-1963
This vehicle is being considered as a submarque for purposes of this
summary. As noted above, it originated as a wartime product produced in
conjunction with Ford Motor Co from a suggested design submitted to the
US Government by American Bantam Car Co . This was a last ditch effort by
American Bantam to remain solvent. And as a result this firm closed soon
after the contract was awarded to Willys and Ford. The excuse given was
that it was doubtful that American Bantam could produce a large volume due
to their small size. The Jeep was recognized to have made a big contribution
in winning the War. Some people theorize that the Jeep is a verbal abbreviation
for General Purpose Vehicle or GP. After the War, Willys elected to continue
manufacture of this 4x4 utility vehicle for civilian use. In 1948 it was
joined for a short time by a companion vehicle which was more like a car.
It was called the Jeepster. The appearance was that of a sporty car with
Jeep design features. In 1963, following acquisition by Kaiser Corp, a few
years earlier, Willys Jeep became the Kaiser Jeep Corp. Later Kaiser Jeep
was sold to American Motors (AMC) and in turn AMC was acquired by Chrysler
Corp in 1987. Now it is part of the merger of Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz,
now identified as DaimlerChrysler.
Models of Willys Jeeps have been made by many companies including Johnny
Lightning, Matchbox, Hot Wheels and Maisto . Maisto also made a Ford Jeep
and Tootsietoy made a model of the Jeepster. Mini-Lindy also made a plastic
model of the Jeepster car but it represents a resurrected design produced
later by Kaiser Jeep. We recognize that there are probably other toy manufacturers
that have produced the Willys version of the Jeep . But until fairly recently,
the design of this vehicle has not changed very much. Due to the many manufacturers
of this vehicle, it is difficult to identify only the products representing
WWII Willys Jeep - Johnny Lightning
WINTON (US) 1897-1924
Winton Motor Carriage Co in Cleveland OH was founded by bicycle manufacturer
Alexander Winton. In the early 1900s, his cars were successful in racing
on various circuits.The results were impressive to the consumer public.
Although production was successful, Winton discontinued automobile manufacture
to concentrate on production of marine diesel engines. It was reported that
the firm had later become a division of General Motors.
A model of this marque was available from an unidentified manufacturer
as a trinket in a coin operated machine according to collector Kimmo Sahakangas.
WOLSELEY (GB) 1896-1975
This Birmingham company founded by Frederick York Wolseley in 1889 produced
sheep-shearing machines originally. It branched out into car making under
engineer Herbert Austin, who left the company to found his own in 1905.
Wolseley then became a subsidiary of the aircraft company Vickers and offered
a wide range of both small and large cars. Most components were made in
house, which caused serious debt problems and led to the eventual purchase
of the company by Morris in 1927. Subsequent Wolseley models were mostly
more up-market versions of similar Morris cars. Production continued in
this manner after WW II and beyond the 1952 merger which created the British
Motors Corporation. During that era Wolseley cars were widely used by police
forces in the UK. Further mergers resulted in the creation of British Leyland
in 1968, and further rationalization resulted in the discontinuation of
the Wolseley marque in the early 1970s.
Few small-scale models exist of Wolseley cars. Charbens made a model
of an early example, Budgie did a 1950s police car, and Matchbox produced
a model of the late 1950s Wolseley 1500.
Wolseley 1500 - Matchbox (Christian Falkensteiner)