The Cars of the War
In the war years, the auto industry was forced to adjust its production to meet the needs of the war effort. The War Production Board granted authorization to produce cars, and set labor and material limits. Ford, Chrysler, and Nash were among the companies given the go-ahead to produce the cars. Eventually, 60 million cars were on the road in the United States. These cars opened the door to suburbs, interstate highways, drive-in movies, and restaurants. In the end, they changed the American way of life forever.
After the war, Ford began civilian car production in July 1945 with a slightly modified 1942 Deluxe. The car received a new grill with horizontal bars and a 100 horsepower engine. The model was also available as a drop-top coupe. These cars were still in production until early 1949. The 1945 Ford was significantly cheaper than the previous models.
Gas rations made it more difficult to own and operate a car. Many car owners were unhappy about the restrictions. Despite this, government officials demanded that car owners use their machines sparingly. These restrictions were often reflected on stickers placed on windshields. The biggest sticker was the gas ration sticker. Other stickers included the X sticker which allowed unlimited gasoline. This sticker was mostly used by traveling salesmen, politicians, VIPs, and others.
The government’s decision to enter World War II forced the auto industry to adjust its production for the war effort. In 1945, the US auto industry produced just $30 million worth of vehicles. That’s roughly $400 million today. Ford was also a major contributor in the war effort by producing heavy-armored trucks as well as cargo trucks. The company also produced a military jeep.
The United States had more then ten thousand R-12 cars along elevated lines by the end of World War II. New York City was short of cars by 1945. 10 R-12 cars were shipped by barge to New York City. The new cars were built to withstand the extra weight. These cars were renumbered, but they were not completely replaced.
After World War II, the IRT began to upgrade the rolling stock. The New York Times called R-11 cars the “cars of tomorrow” in 1955. Each car cost close to $100,000. They were often called the “million-dollar train”. While they were a big improvement, they never entered full service. They were also not compatible with other R types. They were rebuilt in 1964 to work with existing R types.
The production of 1946 Ford cars began in the early part of 1945, just a month before the end on the Pacific Front. Ford had to change from making civilian cars to producing war goods. Ford Motor Company produced the Ford Super Deluxe sedan, which was the only civilian car made during World War II. This meant that most of the automakers were eager to get their assembly lines back up and running again.