International Willys club holds meet-up in Dubois County


Sourced from Dubois County Free Press

Dave Liepelt cranked the Willys Overland’s engine to life at Huntingburg’s City Park Monday afternoon.

The six-cylinder engine purred quietly thanks to the special sleeve valves common in the cars produced from 1903 to 1941 by Willys in Midwestern factories — including one in Terre Haute. The quiet engine was somewhat unheard of at the time, according to Liepelt, which made them popular for those less than impressed with the roaring nature of other vehicles built in the same era.

In fact, in the early 1900s, Willys was only second to Ford in regards to vehicle manufacturing.

Liepelt from Milan, Mich., is in the area as part of the 56th Annual Willys Overland Knight Registry International Meet Up. About 160 members of the international group, including some from England and Canada, have set up a car show and museum in the back parking lot of the Jasper Days Inn.

When not touring the region, the cars are parked out back along with other interesting exhibits open to the public to stop in and check out. It’s pretty easy to get one of the enthusiasts to give you a tour and talk about the revered antique cars.

The group arrived over the weekend and will be making trips to attractions throughout the region. On Monday, the group visited Clem Lange’s home. The former president and owner of Best Home Furnishings has a collection of more than 50 antique cars.

After touring Lange’s collection, the group ended up at Huntingburg City Park where they toured League Stadium and held a cookout.

Other destinations this week are the Lincoln Pioneer Village, West Baden, French Lick, Sisters of St. Benedict Monastery, Brew Works, Jasper Engines and the Dubois County Museum.