January 1, 1942 – Ending civilian auto production for WWII

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 were to limit the use of bright-work, 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. The photo above depicts a 1942 Chevrolet with painted trim pieces.

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