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January 1, 1942 – Ending civilian auto production for WWII

Blackout 1942 Chevrolet (note the painted grille)

An order from the US Office of Production Management issued on this day in 1942 announced an impending 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 by 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 used limited bright-work, such as chrome, as these materials became necessary for war production. This resulted in vehicles now known as blackout cars, where moldings had painted finishes rather than bright metal.

Blackout 1942 Ford Truck

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