Recently my neighbor, Bud Herbert and I were just discussing the idiosyncrasies of the modern day automobiles, and during the conversation the Whippet was mentioned. The Whippet was a product of the Willis-Overland Co. that later became American Motors, and is now owned by Chrysler Corp. I guess that the last Whippets were produced in about 1930.
As I remember, they were all painted yellow and they had a very unique control system, except for the brakes and they were almost non-existent. At the top of the steering column, in the center of the steering wheel, was a button that, if properly manipulated, did just about everything that was required. Pull it up and it was the starter, push it down and it was the horn. If you turned it the head-lights usually came on, and those were about the only things that could be controlled, anyway. Modern day automobiles are right back to the same thing, except control is now provided by levers on the sides of the column instead of by a button at the top.
My parents had one of those Whippets that was repossessed during the depression because they couldn’t make the payments, which were probably $10.00 or $12.00 a month.