Oldsfan

WW2 "Blackout" model information

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Is there somewhere a person can go to review documents related to the government regulations involving "blackout" models at the beginning of WW2? Documents such as the actual regulations themselves, or something provided by the AMA breaking the regulations down? I've seen copies of documents related to the omission of spare tires, and the prohibition of retail sales, but they were actually incomplete pictures is a book. I would like to review copies of actual documents.

 

I am involved with the restoration of a 1942 Oldsmobile convertible. It and its associated parts car are both early January builds, by body numbers and serial numbers, but neither appear to have "blackout" trim, and I thought that took effect Jan 1st.

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 Re; Black out's,

 

 An interesting find that I made concerning vehicles during the war, I was repainting a 1939 fire truck for a local college and they asked me to remove the headlights, sirene, windshield trim etc. so that they may send it out to be chromed.

 

 I noticed that they were all painted gold many, many, years ago.

 

 A little paint remover showed that they were perfectly preserved chrome, probably from very early in it's life.

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I was able to find documents to answer my questions. General Limitation Order L-2 (issued on September 19, 1941), dealt with decreased production of passenger automobiles.  Later supplements to this Order dealt with further decreased production (L-2-a), limited use of bright work (L-2-b), prohibited use of spare tires (L-2-e), and, finally, inventory freeze and rationing.

 

Supplementary Order L-2-b (effective Oct 27th, 1941) required manufacturers to eliminate bright work starting December 15th. Production of bright work, except in amounts necessary to complete passenger car production through Dec. 15th, was suspended immediately. Manufacturers could apply to the Transportation and Farm Equipment Branch for permission to plate bumpers and bumper guards.

 

Amendment #1 to Supplementary Order L-2-b (effective Dec 10th, 1941) changed the Dec 15th effective date for elimination of bright work to December 31st and also exempted ventilator window latches, external lock cylinder caps and covers, external windshield wiper arm and blade assemblies and body trim bright screws. Stocks of bright work on hand, or in production, as of October 27th, could be used after December 31st, but only if they were permanently treated to lose their identity as bright work.

 

Manufacturers were allowed to build a certain amount of cars for each make for December and January. According to Supplementary Order L-2-e (effective Dec 24th, 1941), if a manufacturer used up their allotment for December, they could dip into their January allotment, but they would have to decrease their January production by the same amount, so as not to go over the total for December and January. If a manufacturer built less than their allotment in December, they could carry over the difference into January, BUT,  the Supplementary Order stated "in that event such "Bright Work", "bright finish", metal finish or body trim containing copper, nickel, chrome or aluminum must be applied on the first passenger automobiles produced In January, 1942." After the carried-over December allotment (with bright work) was used up, use of the January allotment could begin, including the elimination of bright work.

 

 

 

 

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Second the "great research" reply.  So, after all is said and done, where does this leave your 1942 models in terms of bright work?

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Paul,

 

At an auction on the weekend of the Olds Centennial Celebration in Lansing, I acquired a table full 40s/50s Olds trim.  Think I still have some moldings stashed away somewhere which I think are 41 or 42.  If interested, I can try to locate them though they may be for a sedan.

 

Never the less, attached is a copy of a topic discussing WWII vehicle production during the war which does not appear to be available currently on AACA.  I found it interesting and saved a copy back in the day:

 

 

WW II Vehicle Production AACA Discussion.doc

Edited by CarFreak (see edit history)

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I didn't know the government started limiting vehicle production more than two months before Pearl Harbor.  There was little doubt we'd get in the war but I'm surprised they started rationing before it was declared.

 

I've heard two reasons for blackout trim.  One is the materials were needed for war production.  The other is it made vehicles less reflective and therefore less visible to enemy eyes.  That seems less plausible but this...

 

On 8/24/2017 at 4:07 PM, Oldsfan said:

Stocks of bright work on hand, or in production, as of October 27th, could be used after December 31st, but only if they were permanently treated to lose their identity as bright work.

 

seems to confirm it.  Otherwise, why bother to "blackout" the trim if the war material has already been used in it?  Anybody know more?

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I suspect they blacked out existing stocks of trim in the interest of uniformity. If they had some trim on hand they would black it out and use it, not to have a hodgepodge of blackout and non blackout trim .

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23 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

I suspect they blacked out existing stocks of trim in the interest of uniformity. If they had some trim on hand they would black it out and use it, not to have a hodgepodge of blackout and non blackout trim .

 

 

I could understand that from the viewpoint of vehicle manufacturers.  But blacking out existing trim was part of the government's rationing order.  Would they care about uniformity of civilian vehicles?

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I recall an old Tad Burness drawing of a 'blackout' 1942 Oldsmobile, showing wooden bumpers and his comment of having no spare tire.

 

Has anyone seen ever one with the factory installed wooden bumpers?   However, I can imagine some who may have seen them on a '42 Oldsmobile were probably unaware they were a blackout item and would have thought they were owner-added. 

 

Craig

Edited by 8E45E (see edit history)

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The very first postwar models of some cars were delivered with wooden bumpers and no spare tire. This was in the interest of getting as many new cars in the hands of the public as possible in spite of shortages of rubber and chrome. They had a spare wheel in the trunk with no tire on it, and came with a voucher for the tire and bumpers. In due course, a couple of months later, they got a letter from the dealer inviting them to bring their car in to have the proper bumpers installed and a spare tire put on the rim.

 

My father told me he remembered seeing these cars on the street in late 1945 and early 1946. The bumpers were 2X6 or 2X8 planks painted black.

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On 12/28/2017 at 4:28 PM, CHuDWah said:

 

 

I could understand that from the viewpoint of vehicle manufacturers.  But blacking out existing trim was part of the government's rationing order.  Would they care about uniformity of civilian vehicles?

They would care about giving one manufacturer an advantage over another, and discouraging chiselling.

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