January 1, 1942 – Ending civilian auto production for WWII

An order from the US Office of Production Management issued on this day in 1942 put a freeze on the production and delivery of civilian automobiles in the United States as part of the national war effort. Civilian production would end completely on February 22 that year, leaving a stockpile of 520,000 cars that would be available for purchase to those the government deemed as essential drivers. Vehicles produced in January and February were to limit the use of brightwork, such as chrome, as these materials was necessary for war production. This resulted in vehicles that are often called blackout cars, where moldings were painted rather than finished with bright metal.  A 1942 Chevrolet blackout sedan. Chromium was needed for the war effort so automakers had to curtail the use of brightwork, resulting in painted finishes on most of what would normally be chrome trim. By Brian CoreyA 1942 Ford featuring painted finishes instead of chrome.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
Close Menu

If you enjoy This Day in Automotive History, please consider making a fast and secure PayPal donation. Thank you for visiting!