Today’s photo of the Whippet agency at No. 11, The Mall in Waterford, Ireland dates from May 19, 1928. Promoted by company president John North Willys as America’s first European-type small car, the Whippet’s economical small bore thirty horsepower four cylinder engine suited Britain’s automobile tax laws perfectly. It has been reported that W-O’s English affiliate, Willys-Overland-Crossley, was primarily responsible for the design. Canadian-built right hand drive Whippets were also exported to Australia and New Zealand.
The fifty horsepower 179 cubic inch six, introduced in 1927, was advertised as The World’s Lowest Priced Six. It provided a boost in performance that was more in keeping with car’s name. At its debut, W-O set a new endurance record for cars costing under $1,000 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, averaging 56.5 miles per hour for twenty-four hours. You can watch an entertaining Australian promotional video for the Whippet here, and see other posts about early auto agencies and garages here. Poole Photographic Studios of Waterford photo is courtesy of the National Library of Ireland.