January 31, 1942 – The last pre-war Chryslers, Plymouths and Studebakers

Under the Lend-Lease act the US auto industry transitioned from building personal and commercial cars and trucks to war vehicles, machinery and weapons by early 1942. It was on this day in 1942 that the last pre-war Chryslers, Plymouths and Studebakers would roll off of their respective assembly lines. The last civilian car produced was a Ford sedan, which would leave the factory just two days later. Due to a government ration on automobile sales, as of February 22 there was a stockpile of approximately 520,000 new cars that would be available for purchase by those the government deemed “essential drivers,” such as doctors and police officers. Following the end of civilian production nearly all automotive factories were retooled in order to build tanks, trucks, planes, bombs, boats, guns, ammunition, helmets and all other materials necessary for battle. 1942 Chrysler Town and Country 9 Passenger, produced in 1941 prior to restrictions on necessary war materials, such as chromium, being placed. By Jack Snell, CC2.0. https://flic.kr/p/pjdgod The auto industry went to war building, tanks, Jeeps, weapons, planes and so much more. While this image shows the Boeing Plant producing B-17Es in December 1942, it provides great detail into the large scale of manufacturing that occurred.
At Ford’s Willow Run, a manufacturing plant built by Ford in early 1942 strictly to build aircraft, men and women worked side by side to produce parts for the bomber planes. On average, one B-24 bomber would leave the factory every hour.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The best way to support This Day in Automotive History is to become a monthly subscriber on Facebook.

Subscriber benefits include:

  • Most importantly, you’re supporting great content about Automotive History
  • Early access to content on Facebook
  • Discounts on our store
  • Special live videos

If you learned something today, please buy me a beer!

No payment method connected. Contact seller.


This Day in Automotive History - the book!

This Day In Automotive History

By Brian Corey

This book tells fascinating tales, bringing individual days to life with short stories, photographs and illustrations.

This Day in Automotive History

This Day in Automotive History is a transportation history, car history and general automotive history website dedicated to providing informative and entertaining content.

We encourage you to share our page and connect with us on Facebook or sign up for our automotive history newsletter. If you’d like your car featured, reach out to us!


Connect with us on Facebook or sign up for our automotive history newsletter to keep in touch.

Love automotive history? Support this site!


Sign up for our automotive history newsletter to keep in touch.