C. Harold Wills

Inducted 1970

Helped Henry Ford build the famous “999” and “Arrow” racers in 1901

Engineered and manufactured Ford Models A,B,C,F, and T between 1903 and 1919

Formed the C.H. Wills Company in 1921 to build an auto of fine design and workmanship

C. Harold Wills had a way with metal and a love for cars. Trained as a machinist, Wills worked during the day at the Boyer Machine Company and in 1899 began moonlighting for Henry Ford — for free. Like Ford, Wills learned by doing. But unlike Ford, who worked instinctively, Wills worked effectively with blueprints and was a brilliant draftsman. Together they made a perfect team. Following the success of the “999” and “Arrow” race cars, the Ford Motor Company was founded in 1903 with Wills as chief engineer. Wills’ continued studies and experiments led to new steel alloys, allowing Ford to make lighter, smaller and stronger parts. Wills even designed the script for Ford’s famous company emblem. Eventually, Wills’ earnings at Ford enabled him to found his own company in 1921. Wills’ company survived only six years, but left behind some important legacies including the V-8 engine and the overhead cam, along with 16,000 examples of the Wills-Sainte Claire…a car still that is praised as a masterpiece on wheels.

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Class of 1970

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