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Thread: WWII (1943-1944) Production Figures Question

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    WWII (1943-1944) Production Figures Question

    OK... I have seen in books but no where online yet, figures concerning the few "manufactured" automobiles during the production freeze of 1943-1945. In particular, the auto industry says there were 139 cars built in 1943 and 610 built in 1944. These would not be the 1941-42 commandeered carryovers.

    Does anyone know the make and models of these few rare vehicles?

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    Re: WWII (1943-1944) Production Figures Question

    Does it say which company? All the major companies had their lines shut down. I find it hard to believe that they would have built a few cars, but anything's possible I guess. Certainly there were probably enough parts here and there that they could have assembled a few by hand in another location.
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    Re: WWII (1943-1944) Production Figures Question

    West, that is what I am trying to find out... make and models. the chart I have was from the Automobile Manufacturers Association and even gave the dollar amount for the worth of these odd year cars... (1943) 139 made at $102,000 and (1944) 610 made at $447,000. In comparison 1945 I haven't heard them making any except the start of the 1946 model year and a total of 69,532 made at $57,255,000. These are "model year" and not calendar year from what I remember (don't have the book in front of me right now but figures were written down).

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    Re: WWII (1943-1944) Production Figures Question

    That comes to about $730 per vehicle. I would have initially guessed Willys or Ford jeeps, but certainly a lot more than that were made. Unless they were differentiating figures for civilian use???
    West Peterson, Editor
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  5. #5

    Re: WWII (1943-1944) Production Figures Question

    My guess would be Ford. Years ago I saw a picture of a 1943 Ford in army green and I seem to recall something about Ford cars and pickups being built in 1945, before the freeze on civilian production was lifted. These vehicles were rationed out to essential civilian users, or were for military use.

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    Re: WWII (1943-1944) Production Figures Question

    See that is the problem. There were 1941 and 1942 models left over before the car sale freeze, that the military took over for staff cars and "titled" them as 1943-1944-1945 models. These were the "black out models" made towards the end.

    But these I am asking about were "built" brand new during the freeze. Something in the back of my head says some may have been from Packard but I do believe that Chevrolet may have actually made new vehicles during those freeze years but the only company?

    War Department document TM-9-2800 from 1943 authorized certain light and heavy cars for staff use.. the light ones were Chevrolet, Ford, Plymouth... while the heavy ones were Packard and Buick. But most all of these were those leftover vehicles repainted for military use.

    Eric

  7. #7

    Re: WWII (1943-1944) Production Figures Question

    What I am saying is Ford was authorized to build a limited number of cars and pickup trucks in 1943, 1944 and 1945. These were for official use by military or other government agencies, or sold to certain individuals whose job was considered vital to the war effort such as doctors and veterinarians.

    This is purely from memory and may be based on rumor. But if I was trying to track down what you are trying to track down, I would start the search with Ford.

  8. #8

    Re: WWII (1943-1944) Production Figures Question

    By the start of WWII, all surviving car makers must have been building their cars on moving assembly lines using heavy-duty specialized tooling. Did they really keep this stuff set up, but mothballed, all through the war so it would be available to build a handful of needed cars? That seems like a huge waste of space.

    Gil Fitzhugh, Morristown, NJ

  9. #9

    Re: WWII (1943-1944) Production Figures Question

    Where there is a will there is a way. Some years back I saw a description of Chrysler Corps experimental and testing department. They had a complete miniature foundry, metal stamping, painting etc facility in fact the head of the department remarked they had an assembly line that could turn out 7 cars per day.

    If there was a need for a few hundred cars they could have been built up or assembled from spare parts in stock.

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    Re: WWII (1943-1944) Production Figures Question

    Ford is supposedly the first company to resume building cars and this started about June of 1945 and actually before Japan surrendered. I was always of the belief that any cars sold during 1943-1944 were left over 1942 cars built before production was stopped in February of 1942. We have to remember that production lines were converted to building war materials and military vehicles and I can't imagine building shells or military trucks and cars on the same production line.

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    Re: WWII (1943-1944) Production Figures Question

    We worked on a Ford fire truck that was purchased new in 1944 by our fire dept and is titled as such. No chrome anywhere and some of the parts, such as the carb, use a different numbering system than their civilian counterpart. The Serial # also identifies it as a 1944 model. Presumably if they could build trucks they could build cars, likely with leftover parts.
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    Re: WWII (1943-1944) Production Figures Question

    Fred Crismon's book U.S. Military Wheeled Vehicles (Crestline Series) says that Packard was building blackout versions of the Clipper "as late as 1943" for the U.S. Army. It's probable that the big 3 were also making limited numbers of staff cars as needed, probably hand assembled.

    Also I believe that some of these "cars" may have been chassis units made for military and civilian ambulances, for which there would have been a great need throughout the war.
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    Re: WWII (1943-1944) Production Figures Question

    All existing stocks of unsold cars were commandeered by the government and put into warehouses in early 1942 when production stopped.

    These cars were rationed out to civilian and military users as necessary for the war effort.

    Some time ago there was a long thread on a Packard bbs about the "atomic Packard", a Packard limousine used by the Los Alamos laboratories. It was recently salvaged from a junkyard and restored.

    This car was one of several hundred converted by the Fitzjohn bus company. They made airport limousines out of Chevrolets before the war, during the war they made similar cars out of Chevrolet, Pontiac and Packard cars. These were used for bus type service in various war plants.

    “In mid-1942, the US Army contracted with Fitz John Coach of Michigan to take 100 Packard Clipper Sixes from government stockpiled reserves and convert them into economy-style eight door stretch “Civilian stretch transports.” These were to be similar to pre-war conversions that FitzJohn had built largely on GM Chassis. The war-era conversion had been done with what was available, including wood parts except for the metal frame extension. This would prove to be the largest single group of any type APLs [Airport Limousines] built. There is evidence that FitzJohn later converted some government Chevrolets into APLs in 1943. Some saw service in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and likely in diverse places such as Hanford, Washington, and Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where large government projects (related to the Manhattan Project) were set up in unimproved wilderness areas, which became new cities. This is not to be confused with several large direct-to-Packard military orders for 1941 and 1942 Packards for staff, general use vehicles and a number of Henney ambulances and hearses. These Packards included all types of models, many being non-Clipper One Twenties and Super-8s for the Army and Navy. Some Clippers were included and found service as staff cars for the most famous military leaders of the war.”[/font][/i]

    So it appears that they used up existing stocks of vehicles, and made a few hundred more, probably assembled from spare parts left over when the assembly lines shut down.

    Here is the full thread on the Atomic Packard at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and Industry.

    Packard Motor Car Information - National Museum of Nuclear Science & History Packard Limo (aka It's an Atomic Packard!) [Packard Forums - Pre-War (1899-1942)]

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    Re: WWII (1943-1944) Production Figures Question

    Just a thought but could the production numbers be vehicles produced at foreign subsideraries IE: Canada?

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    Re: WWII (1943-1944) Production Figures Question

    Canada stopped producing cars before the US.

    England declared war on Germany in September 1939. Canada followed suit one week later. The US kept out of the war for 2 long years, until the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

    Canada's industries were on a war footing 2 years before the US.

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    Re: WWII (1943-1944) Production Figures Question

    I recently bought a 44 chevy pickup that was built for thr U S Army. It may have been one of the last 1/2 ton trucks built with that body style. Question; Is it wrong to build this truck with a Hotrod frame and Chevy motor? I can't really drive it with that antiquated running gear. I will keep the body as stock as possible...

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    Re: WWII (1943-1944) Production Figures Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Wilson View Post
    I can't really drive it with that antiquated running gear.
    Why? Are you going to make a daily driver/commuter car out of it? Why do so many old cars/trucks have to be the 2002 Chevy S10 people really want?

    Most antique truck owners (as far as I've been able to tell) like to add an overdrive or 2 speed differential to the truck to make it more roadable over 50 mph. That's usually enough to make a truck like this safely run with traffic when it has to. Going full hot rod on this rare vehicle is effectively destroying it's historical value, and much of the financial value related to that. If you're gong to drop it on a custom frame with a generic V8 drivetrain, why keep the body stock? Keeping even a semblence of original appearance to a hot rod is just playing dress-up, it's not real (any more).

    Antique cars are fun precisely because they are not fully capable new cars. You can have a he!! of a lot of fun at 35 mph, or be bored stiff at 75 mph. It's all a matter of how you percieve the activity. People often ask me how fast my (Triumph) sports cars are, and the truth is that most V8 station wagons are faster. No station wagon is 1/2 the fun, however.

    When you have a slow vehicle (within reason) you have the challenge of driving it to it's fullest extent much of the time (again, within reason). If your car can do 120 mph and you can't, like practically anything off of today's showroom floor, where's the fun?
    Last edited by Dave@Moon; October 1st, 2011 at 23:03. Reason: typo
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    Re: WWII (1943-1944) Production Figures Question

    [QUOTE=Rusty_OToole;795646]

    England declared war on Germany in September 1939. Canada followed suit one week later. The US kept out of the war for 2 long years, until the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I always wondered why and how England, France could get around doing that.

    D.
    Last edited by helfen; October 2nd, 2011 at 04:22.

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    Re: WWII (1943-1944) Production Figures Question

    I can give you chapter and verse on Austin/Morris/Standard/Woleseley in the Austin Motors and Nuffield Groups for the UK if required and can confirm that car production continued into 1942 in some cases including GM subsidiary Vauxhalls that built 2548 cars for the Ministry of Supply. In addition we know that Rootes Groups subsidary Humber supplied handfuls of limousines for the Government and military top brass.

    Now, as regards Canada I have seen a photo of the last Ford civvy car built in Windsor and it was a Mercury but cannot recall what date was on it! I think it was April 1942 but will check another source. It can thus be seen that Canada stopped assembly after the US.

    As regards GM of Canada, I can tell you that Regina, Sask., closed down as of July 1 1941 to become a munitions plant, which left Oshawa to continue vehicle production. I know the last 1942 cars were Chevies and the last 1942 MY serial was 06028. The last civilian car was a model 1211 built Saturday morning February 28th 1942, which went straight into the Government-frozen pool...perhaps going to a doctor or police department or even the military in due course. There may then have been a few military cars that were built until June 1942. We know that civvy truck production for essential users recommenced in 1943 and then again in 1944. Civvy truck production started again in 1945.

    The first 1946 model produced was on October 30th 1945 and the 4-door sedan was driven off the line by a veteran. The trouble was that that conicided more or less with the Auto workers' strike that spread from Dearborn to Detroit and across into Canada!
    Last edited by Oracle; October 2nd, 2011 at 03:20.
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    Re: WWII (1943-1944) Production Figures Question

    i have seen pictures of a nash that was built during WWII, had four doors on each side. the last civilian car built in the states after pearl harbor, was a 1942 pontiac, built on feb. 10th, 1942. charles coker, 1953 pontiac tech advisor.

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    Re: WWII (1943-1944) Production Figures Question

    I have read that Pontiac ambulances were produced in limited numbers during 43 and 44. By late 44 - the war in Europe was considered won and they started getting ready for the 45's, but the Japan war stretched on so they became 46's.

    Ron

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    Re: WWII (1943-1944) Production Figures Question

    "X-Frame" and I are researching the use of X-frames in cars, and we've uncovered a great deal of data. His desire to find out about 1943-44-45 cars concerns discovering if they perhaps used different chassis, which they did not. I, however, study the war period for all manufacturers the world over in terms of vehicle (especially car and light truck) production, and have an interest in this subject in and of itself.

    The A.M.A. describes the 139 and 610 U.S. cars (make unknown) sold during 1943 and 1944, respectively, as cars held in factory storage, and not actually built then. There were an additional number sold from March to December 1942, and during the first half of 1945. The post-February 1942 number is unknown (but is included in the industry-wide 1942 total), but the early-1945 number was found in another source, and is an even 700. (The 69,532 1945 total includes this.) Keep in mind these paltry figures describe cars shipped from the factory during this time, only. There were another circa 500,000 brand-spanking-new 1942-built cars held in dealer storage facilities. These were doled out to essential civilian users (and surely the military got to dip into this pool) during the war years. Some states titled vehicles by calendar year of sale, so some can be considered 1943, 1944, and 1945 cars by virtue of their registrations and titles. From March to December 1942, some 220,000 new cars were registered in the U.S. The 1943 figure is about 200,000. For 1944, the number dropped to circa 65,000. During the first half of 1945, just under 8,000 were registered.

    (Sources: Automobile Facts and Figures, 1949 edition; The American Automobile, by John Rae; several issues of Ward's)

    Now, having said that, there were indeed passenger cars actually built during the war years in the U.S., for the military/gov't. The only manufacturer for which I have detailed data is Ford. These vehicles were assembled from parts in stock between March 1942 and summer 1945. They were essentially covered by 9 contracts, but there were several small orders during the war:

    12,177 Fordor sedans for the U.S. Gov't (painted in olive drab)
    104 Ford Tudor sedans for the Justice Dept. (painted in black)
    138 Mercury Fordor sedans for the U.S. Navy (painted in olive drab)
    200 Ford Deluxe station wagons for the U.S. Navy (painted in olive drab)
    3,500 4 X 4 1/2-ton pickups for the U.S. Gov't

    (In addition, From February 1942 to March 1942, there were 12,420 1/2-ton gov't/military pickups made, probably standard Ford vehicles. From November 1941 to March 1942, there were 10,476 gov't/military automobiles made, probably standard Ford vehicles.)

    (Source: Ford in the Service of America, by Tim O'Callaghan)

    It should be noted also that Ford cars of North American design were still being assembled in various countries later than one might assume; Brazil and Sweden, for example, show a trickle of production and deliveries during the entire war. Japan and Denmark register some deliveries during 1940. Fords of British and Continental European origin were also assembled in various places during the conflict.

    (Source: Ford documents obtained from Benson Ford Research Center)


    Chevrolet also built sedans and coupes during the same period, for the military, but I haven't found figures. Packard apparently supplied some 400 staff cars from 1940 through 1943, and another circa 2,500 Clippers were available to the military during 1943-44-45 from cars held in stock. Oldsmobile appears to have built some wagons during the same period. Cadillac likely assembled some cars for military staff use from late-1942 thru early-1945.

    (Sources: U.S. Wheeled Military Vehicles, by Fred Crismon; American Car Spotter's Bible, by Tad Burness; Historic Military Vehicles Directory, by Bart Vanderveen; GM 100 Years, by Richard Langworth; Setting the Pace: Oldsmobile's First 100 Years, by Helen Jones Earley and James Walkinshaw; Cadillac expert Walt McCall)

    There were also conversions of new, unsold passenger cars to wagons for war workers by Cantrell, Hercules-Campbell, etc. Monart Motors converted a number of new, in-stock, Fords and Mercurys to wagons during the 1942-43-44 period. A few professional-car builders are said to have made some ambulances during the war years from new cars and chassis in stock. Siebert, in particular, boasted that it had enough cars on hand to continue a trickle of ambulance production during the entire war. Another poster mentioned Pontiac ambulances having been built in 1943 and 1944 -- this likely occurred in the same way.

    (Sources: several books by professional-car experts Tom McPherson, Walt McCall, and Gregg Merksamer; several publications on station wagons and woodies; coachbuilt.com)

    Speaking of Pontiacs, there are figures available as to the sales of new Pontiacs taken from storage during the war years:

    1943 = 12,681
    1944 = 4,726
    1945 = 1,330

    (Source: Pontiac expert John "Gunner" Gunnell)

    For General Motors, I have industry-wide worldwide sales totals:

    1942 - 101,586 Passenger Cars (348,806 Total Cars and Trucks)
    1943 - 708 Passenger Cars (194,144)
    1944 - 79 Passenger Cars (317,032)
    1945 - 24,331 Passenger Cars (308,044)

    (Source: Christo Datini of GM Media Archives)

    In Canada, passenger cars were still being built as late as 1942 for sure, despite Canada having been on a war footing since 1939. Industry-wide production totals show small numbers being turned out for every month save August during 1942. As David pointed out, Chevrolets seem to have been built till June for the military, and Ford produced the last official car (a Mercury) in April. However, a small number of Fords and Mercs were sold during 1943-44-45; it is unsure if they were taken from storage or actually built then, since 18% of the factory was set aside for production for civilian needs:

    1943 Ford military cars: 18
    1943 Ford civilian cars: 7
    1943 Mercury military cars: 1

    1944 Ford civilian cars: 12
    1944 Mercury civilian cars: 1

    1945 Ford civilian cars: 20
    1945 Mercury civilian cars: 1

    Chrysler Canada sales sheets show a small number of cars sold mainly for export during 1943 and 1944, for all divisions. The 1942 sheets show sales for civilians, export sales, and military "war car" sales (these were still being sold late in the year). No cars are shown for 1945; only trucks.

    It should be noted that circa 4,500 Canadian cars of all makes were put into a reserve pool, and were doled out during the war years (sometimes, as in the U.S., being registered as new cars of the years in which they were sold). The last "pool" car was delivered in October 1945.

    (Sources: various issues of Ward's; GM expert David Hayward; Cars of Canada by Durnford and Baechler; Canadian Car ID Numbers by Bill Watson; Ford of Canada and Chrysler Canada sales documents in my possession)
    Last edited by Bill K.; October 5th, 2011 at 21:33. Reason: Added additional data

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