AACA Grand National

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    The AACA Grand National was held yesterday in Gettysburg Pa.   PAS 2020/21  Annual Meet hosts Karl and Mary Krouch showed their 1926 Wills Ste Claire Convertible Coupe.  Karl and Mary received their Grand National First Place Award in a crowded field of very nice cars.

    Their Wills is equipped with a Philips body which is the same body used by Pierce on the 1928 Series 81 Convertible Coupe.  Sinclair Powell owned one of these for many years.  That car is now owned by Don Benham in California.

    Congratulations Karl and Mary.


    I know I would like to see a picture of the Wills posted here…..



    Terry, No photos in my phone of my car from Saturday, but here is one from Thursday when I said it was ready for the trailer. I will post a shot from the show field after I download my camera. Karl



    Congrats Karl & Mary!!  Beautiful car and award is well deserved!


    Great looking car Karl and Mary! Sure looks familiar! I want to see her in person! Congratulations on your award!

    Don Benham




    Nice job Karl, great looking Wills!


    Looks good…..and I like the color.


    How does it perform may be an unusual question to ask a show winning car owner, but I’ve never had the opportunity before. I know a straight engine has more ability to generate torque than a V engine. Wills Ste. Claire started out with a V8 overhead cam engine. They dropped it to bring out the straight 6 overhead cam engine. Did they do it to cut expenses? Was the 8 giving them problems? Is the 6  more powerful? Was Wills in his right mind?

    I bought a house off an old timer. We got talking about old cars. He related a story about waiting for a ferry that crossed the San Francisco Bay. He had a  long wait as it was a weekend. Along came a Wills Ste Claire with a young boy who was injured in a bad accident. Part of a windshield stantion was sticking out of a part of his body. It had been sawed off to free the boy. The car was moved up to the front of the line and loaded onto the ferry. The ferry departed with the one car to cross the bay and seek medical care in San Francisco.


    Stories like Anthony’s are why safety glass, seat belts and the other automotive safety features were invented and then made mandatory! One of the best things that AACA did for our hobby many years ago was to make safety glass and fire extinguishers mandatory for all cars exhibited at their shows, which set the standard for everyone else.

    I have installed seat belts in cars from the 1950’s & 60’s that I fixed up as daily drivers, and will probably also add them to my Pierce this winter. However, the wooden floorboards will require a bit of careful engineering and reinforcement to get sufficiently strong attachment points, as the inertia loads of our bodies during a crash can be very large. Many years ago during Engineering school (1974), I had a summer job testing seat belt anchors in new cars and several failed by peeling up the sheet metal of the trunk floor, as the test load of about 600 pounds was applied to each belt.

    Our cars are beautiful artwork, but some things about “the good old days” weren’t really all that good. Preserving and enjoying historical equipment is indeed a very enjoyable hobby, but learning how to make transportation safer and better is more important for society in the long run.  Herb



    In my opinion, Wills built the W-6, and the T-6, 6 cylinder engines to save money.  They generated similar horsepower, so two less cylinders and reduced manufacturing costs was needed by 1925.  By the end of 1926 they closed the factory, producing 12,104 cars.

    Karl’s car is one of only 4 remaining Phillips bodied cabriolets.  1 is in California, and two of them are in the Wills Sainte Claire Museum in Marysville, Michigan.

    Off hand I can think of 3 Pierce owners that also own Wills cars.



    The bevel gear driven, overhead valve V/8 engine made for no chance of “side of the road” valve grinding on the Wills Ste Claire. The W-6 and T-6 still requires removing removal of cam tower assy. (upper 6 inches) , then the head, before any common valve repairs. Like many 20’s cars, Wills is made to climb mountains, the norm for the day. In 1926 they drove a 26 roadster coast to coast in under 90 hours. A new record for the time. First gear is used to move the car ten foot and shift to second, wind out first and you will never get 2nd gear! The engineering is what drew me to Wills many years ago. It was Wills owners who also owned Pierces that talked me into then looking at Pierce-Arrows for the “over engineering” of this marque.  Karl

    26 willst6

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