West Coast Division at Maywood, California
The main Willys-Overland automobile factory and administration
offices were located in Toledo, Ohio. A smaller assembly plant was
located in the outskirts of Los Angeles at Maywood, California.
Maywood plant first opened in early 1929 to
supply vehicles to the Pacific states and the Far East market. The
$1.5 million assembly plant employed about 900 people.
was the second major automobile manufacturer to build a factory in
area. Apparently it was more economical to ship components to the
Coast for final assembly than completed vehicles.
Ten years after
the Maywood plant opened it was still producing
new deluxe model, named the "Californian", was introduced
in July of
1939 (photo on the left). The Los Angeles Times reported
"This new car
created for California motorists..."
United States became involved in World War II, civilian automobile
production was restricted and many factories retooled to produce
war machinery. Automobile assembly at Maywood ended in November of
when Willys-Overland met their government imposed limit. Lockheed
the building from Willys-Overland for three years during the war.
Lockheed installed equipment to
subassemblies for Hudson Bombers. The Hudson Bomber was a military
aircraft based on Lockheed's pre-war Super Electra
civilian passenger airplane.
By early 1942 all civilian automobile manufacturing in the United
States had ended. Vehicle assembly at the
Toledo, Ohio plant changed over to military jeep production. Over
jeeps rolled out of the Ohio factory during the war years.
In mid 1945
started to manufacture the first Civilian Jeeps (CJ-2As) in Toledo
lifted restrictions on civilian vehicle manufacturing. Demand for
continued to increase and early in 1947 work began to recondition
Maywood plant for automobile production again. By November Willys
turning out "West Coast" built CJ-2As and had assembled 108 by the
of the month, according to the Toledo Times. A year later, at the
1948, Jeep Trucks and Station Wagons were added to West Coast
"final assemblies" production lines. Maywood was open for the
CJ-3A production span and about 5% of all CJ-3As were assembled in
California. Willys-Overland introduced a new
post-war car, the Aero, for the 1952 model year and the Aeros were
assembled in both Maywood and Toledo.
Near the end of July 1954 the Maywood assembly plant closed again.
Kaiser-Frazer had purchased Willys-Overland in April 1953 and the
resulting company, Willys Motors Corporation, was trying to
production in Ohio to reduce costs.