BRAKE & FRONT END, April 1962
In the days before fancy die-cut vinyl signs and TV commercials, shop owners had to find interesting ways to catch a driver’s attention. Some roadside attractions were morbid, controversial and even comical.
In the April 1962 issue of Brake & Front End, editors discussed clever merchandising techniques. The Collins Brothers, George and James, in Marietta, GA, created their roadside spectacle on Route 41 with an old 1950 Ford Coupe and a discarded department store mannequin.
The original “Willie the Mechanic” was a target for local pranksters who would move him to more humorous surroundings like swimming pools or would tie him to car bumpers. In order to keep Willie’s adventures to a minimum, the brothers made an improved Willie out of old welded driveshafts.
In the article, the brothers credited the display for about three out of every five brake jobs at their shop.