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Automotive Production Figures


poci1957
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The thread about early Chevys has inspired me to ask the group about production figures.

In the early Chevy thread the poster notes production figures for early Chevys seem inconsistent with survival rates. Likewise, I have been researching two assembled cars of the WWI era (Comet and Pan American of Decatur IL) and their production figures seem pretty good considering their survival rate (approximately none).

My question is, if one looks at production figures of the early days, say 1920s and before, does anyone know how they were reported? And to who, the Automobile Manufacterers Assc (AMA)? Or a trade magazine? Who compiled them and how reliable were they? What would stop an early independent with a sharp promoter (like Billy Durant) from padding the numbers to look more successful? Any thoughts? Thanks, Todd C

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Both Automotive Industries and Canadian Automotuve Trade used to quote figures, which presumably were supplied direct by the PR departments.

I have produced 1912-31 Chevy figures in an electronic format that was taken off official figures by month by plant.

Trade books such as Branham's Automotive Handbooks published from at least 1922 used to quote serial number runs. In some years Henry Ford seems to have refused to supply data though.

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I have also seen the serial number references in trade handbooks and had thought about cross referencing them. But even those serial numbers seem to be designed to be a little unclear about how many cars were produced. So Oracle, what do you think about the likely accuracy of the numbers? Todd C

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Even though early N.A.D.A. type books (Red Book, Blue Book, etc...) have VIN number brackets, I would not rely on those and some are either combined totals or open ended. I have a few but they only go back to 1923 for some and 1928 all models up to 1963 if anyone is interested in anything from these type booklets (original price, weights, specs, etc...). Just let me know.

BTW Oracle, you wouldn't happen to have any WWII production figures? It is said that there were some US made Chevrolet passenger cars produced during the 1943-1945 blackout but curious if they were recorded?

Eric

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The Branham's figures are pretty accurate. I have a 1922 edition somewhere that lists Canadian figures for Chevy...in later issues only the quarterlt supplements used to quote Canadian makes.

As regards WW11 production, refer to my colleague who has recently joined as I pointed out to him a thread on the subject in recent weeks. I have the overall Chevy 1939-42 figures though it seems that there were a few more cars built by Oshawa until July 1942 for the military.

David

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Dear Todd:

Buick kept very extensive production records in their engineering department and had a monthly report of cars built. I compilrd these into an excel spreadsheet which I could use to detect errors and correct them.

From 1904 thru 1958 Buick reported 9,634,231 cars. I was able to establish matching records for 9,634,219 cars and know of 5 cars built in engineering for a total of 9,634,224 cars. I'm willing to comcede Buick 7 more hand built prototypes that I haven't found yet.

At least for Buick, the error rate was essentially zero.

Regards, Dave Corbin

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From 1904 thru 1958 Buick reported 9,634,231 cars. I was able to establish matching records for 9,634,219 cars and know of 5 cars built in engineering for a total of 9,634,224 cars. I'm willing to comcede Buick 7 more hand built prototypes that I haven't found yet.

At least for Buick, the error rate was essentially zero.

Regards, Dave Corbin

WOW pretty good research Dave!

Actually, my thought is that the Big 3 and larger companies probably did report accurately, especially by the 1920s. My question was more about small independents from, say, 1922 and earlier. When we see production figures on them where do we think they came from? The AMA? Stockholders reports? Thanks, Todd C

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The issue of production figues gets very cloudy in the later era - say the 1960s on - in regard to homologation of certain models for competition, where the maker was required to build so many of a certain model in order for it to become eligible for racing. I am sure there are several instances of fiddles in the counting process.

In earlier times the smaller makers probably did not feel the need to keep accurate records and with frequent changes in management records that were kept may have been lost.

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Crosley Automobile Club former president, webmaster, historian, AACA member etc. Jim Bollman has posted figures from the 1953 Wards Automotive Yearbook on Crosley Production numbers. Do any of you other experts have figures that doccument Crosley production?? I am particularly interested in anything that might differentiate the production of the various models. I don't want to interfere with this thread, so if you have anything or places to look, please reply to me directly. Thanks.

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