I spent most of my life in California until in 1957 my original owner took me on a trip to Reno, Nevada. Why we came is still unknown, but never the less, I ended up in Reno. During my owners stay in this real west gambling town, someone in his family became very ill and sought medical attention. Since they were only visitors to the great town they sought the help of a local doctor, whose name I will keep a secret. After the visit and some expensive medical bills, my owner needed to somehow pay the medical debts. Not having much to his name and from what I was able to find out, the only prize position was me, the Willys Knight. Being a proud man and limited funds, the very next morning, my owner drove me to the attending Physicians home and parked me in the driveway with a note. “Since I am unable to pay my entire debt to you, I hope this car will help cover the balance.”
Being extremely surprised, I now had a new owner and a new home here in Reno. The new owners seemed to fall in love with me right off, even if I did smell like chickens. You see, my previous owner was a chicken farmer. When I wasn’t being driven, I was parked next to the chicken Coup. They cleaned me up some and decided to enjoy their new found friend ME. I spent many days driving around Reno, especially with the kids in tow in the rumble seat going around Idlewild Park. You see, I have a side golf door on my right side and the kids loved to go in and out of it. Since my new owner was not a professional mechanic and my engine can be a challenge, it is a Knight Sleeve Valve; I began to not run very well, so I eventually was parked. After being pushed here and there, I came to rest in a storage unit where I stayed for 53 years.
On September 21, 2008 the door to my dark and lonely storage shed opened. I could not believe my eyes, someone was looking me over as if they might be interested in my well being. I could tell by the look in her eye that I was once again going to see the light of day. I was so excited, I wish I could move, but having 2 front flat tires and 2 on jack stands, that was not possible. In days to come I found out I now had a new owner who loaded me up onto a car trailer and took me home. As we headed up 395, the dust layers from 53 years of sitting began to blow off of me into the wind layer by layer as if to say I AM FREE.
My new owner parked me in a nice garage and began to give me the medical attention I needed. You see, my previous owner forgot to remove all of the water from my engine, so I froze and cracked. This was a challenge for my new owner, but she was able to over come it with the help of friends and owners of AIMS Machine shop in Sparks. They fixed that crack filled me with water to check for leaks. Then my radiator began to leak. Same thing, cracked from the water left in me. With the help of Tony from A 1 Radiator, she was almost like new again. No leaks. Wow.
Ok, I am trying to end the story so as not to take too much of your time. New tires were installed and I now had a brand new set of shoes, My new owner worked hard for many months to get me up and running on my original parts so I would stay as stock as possible. Surprisingly, she did. After several attempts of trying to start me and my new owner had never worked on an engine such as mine, she sought the help from Rob at Auto Truck Electric. They spent a few days trying to get me running, but they realized that I was not getting enough fuel. Thinking it was the Carburetor, she tore into it, but it was clean. It was at that time when my owner contacted the Willys Overland Knight Registry and one of the Willys owners there said, it must be the AutoVac. Part Fuel pump, part vacuum pump. Bing, that was it, I was starving for fuel. Once that was fixed, I fired up and have been running on all my original parts that were installed in 1927.
My owner and a friend did the Convertible top and interior, so don’t be too critical, after all, she is not an Upholster.
My owner tells everyone, she’s not beautiful, but she is a Gem.