Historic Truck Brands



The little known Manchester truck brand was the result of a joint venture between the UK’s Crossley Motors and the USA’s Willys-Overland. Several Manchester trucks made their way to Australia in the 1920s.


Willys Overland Crossley was a company jointly owned by Crossley Motors and Willys-Overland, with factories in England, Germany and Belgium. The company was formed in 1919 and continued until 1934, manufacturing cars, buses and trucks.

Car production started in 1920, with the assembly of kits bought in from the Willys-Overland Canadian plant. Sales did not reach expectations and the joint company reported large losses, so Crossley Motors had to sell the Avro aircraft company to keep going.


1927 Willys-Overland Crossley – Geni


Truck and bus production was more successful and the first light-truck models were built on Model 4 chassis. Garford vans were sold from 1920 until 1924.

In 1924 came a one-ton model using mainly Overland parts and it was replaced in 1926 by an upgraded 1.5-ton version. 

In 1926, a new range using the Lycoming 2.5-litre, 16hpRAC, four-cylinder, side valve engine was announced and branded ‘Manchester’. Initial models were rated at 25 and 35 long hundredweight (1300 and 1800kg) and were joined by a 2-long-ton (2200kg) model. 

WOC also assembled Willys C101 trucks, sold as Willys-Commercial, but they quickly gained a reputation for poor engine reliability.

John North Willys sold his shares in the company in 1929 and resigned from the board. 

Car production halted in 1929, following continuing losses and the firm concentrated on its profitable commercial vehicles. 

However, the Great Depression intervened and, in 1932, Crossley Motors dissolved the partnership with Willys-Overland. Truck and bus production limped on for another two years, until the factory was sold to the Fairey Aviation Company, in 1934.


1928 Manchester – Beaconsfield Mine Tasmania


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