Motor Car Division of General Motors in World War Two / WWII
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The Cadillac Motor Car Company originally
began as Henry Ford's second attempt to start a car company.
However, when investors hired Henry Leland to come in as a consultant,
Ford left the company and under Leland's leadership it became Cadillac.
This 1903 Cadillac is on display at the Gilmore Car Museum.
Cadillac Motor Car Division
World War Two / WWII Production Numbers
/ Statistics: (1,824) M5 Stuart tanks, (4,726) M5A1 Stuart
tanks, (175) different parts for the Allison V-1710
aircraft engine including crankshafts, camshafts, connecting rods and
piston pins, supercharger rotator vanes and gear reduction assemblies,
(1,778) M8 3 inch howitzer motor carriages, (3,592) M24 Chaffee tanks and at least
(10,632) V-8 engines to other manufacturers of armored vehicles.
Cadillac built all (1,824) M5 Stuart tanks and
(3,530) of the M5A1 Stuarts in its Detroit plant. The remaining (1,196)
M5A1 tanks were built in the borrowed GM South California Division plant
in South Gate, CA. The (1,778) M8s were built between September of
1942 and January of 1944 in the Detroit plant.
There were another (2,074) M5A1 Stuart tanks
built by Massey-Harris and American Car and Foundry. Cadillac
supplied the (4,148) V-8 engines for these. Cadillac also supplied
500 engines to Massey-Harris for the (250) M5s it built along with an
unknown amount for its share of the M26 production. For the
Borg-Warner built LVT(3) it supplied (5,924) V-8 engines. It also
supplied 60 engines to GMC for its construction of the T18E2 Boarhound
Cadillac was located at an original 47 acres
complex at Clark and Scotten Streets in Detroit and was known as the
Clark Street Plant. Construction began on the four story 2.7
million square foot assmembly and administration buildings.
Construction at the complex was completed in 1927 with a foundry added
in 1923. When complete it was considered to be the world's most
modern car plant. Bodies were supplied by the Fleetwood Plant of
Fisher Body which was three miles away. The complex was closed in
March of 1994. Today all of the buildings are gone.
Cadillac won the Army-Navy "E" award on
January 13, 1943. It later added three stars for a total of four
This is 1938 Series 75 Cadillac Limousine has the distinction of being
the car that General George S. Patton was in when he had his fatal
accident. Built in Detroit and then sent to France before the
start of hostilities, it was used by the Gestapo during the occupation
of France. Liberated by American troops of the 5th Army in 1945,
it was presented to General Patton to use as his staff car. Today
it can be seen at the Patton Museum at Fort Knox, KY. Author's
After the accident the vehicle was rebuilt using with a Cadillac V-8
engine from a M24 tank replacing the original damaged power plant.
After continued use as a staff car in Europe it came to the Patton
Museum in 1951. Author's photo.
This 1930 Cadillac V-16 engine was a
predecessor to the V-8 engine that would power the M5 Stuart Series and
M26 Chaffee tanks in WWII. It displaced 452 cubic inches and
produced 165 hp. Author's photo from the Gilmore Car Museum.
An M5 Stuart tank in action during a re-enactment at the 2013 Thunder
over Michigan Airshow. The M5 was powered by two Cadillac V-8 engines of
110 hp each and two GM Hydra-Matic Transmissions. Author's photo.
The Cadillac World War Two body shop as an
M5 hull is welded together.
Here one of the Cadillac V-8s is installed
in an M5. Note that the transmission faced forward as the tank
treads are powered from the front axle.
This looks to be towards the end of the
assembly line as the M5s look complete.
A Cadillac built M8 with 3 inch howitzer.
Three Cadillac built M-8 prepare to fire an
artillery barrage from their 75mm howitzers.
This 1944 Cadillac built M24 Chaffee tank can be seen at the Ropkey
Armor Museum in Crawfordsville, IN and was on of 3,592 built by the
Division. Author's photo.
The M24 also was powered by twin Cadillac V-8 engines and Detroit
Transmission Division Hydra-Matic
transmissions. Author's photo.
Here is a Series 42 Cadillac V-8 346 cubic inch tank engine. At
4,000 rpm it could produce 110 hp and at 1,200 rpm could produce 244
ft-lbs. of torque. Two each were used in the M5 and M26 Series
tanks. Author's photo at the Ropkey Armor Museum in Crawfordsville, IN.
This LVT(3) (Landing Vehicle, Tracked) was one of 2,962 built during the
Second World War for the US Marine Corps. Each of the series was
powered by two Cadillac V-8 engines. Author's photo at the
National Military Historical Center, Auburn, IN.
One can see the panels off on the right side where one of the Cadillac
engines is located. Author's photo.
Author's photo of the right side Cadillac engine in the LVT(3).
The total 220 hp provided by the twin V-8s gave the LVT(3) a top speed
of 5.2 knots on the water and 25 mph on land. The LVT(3) first saw
combat at Okinawa. Author's photo.
Author's photo of the left side Cadillac V-8 engine.
One can see the Cadillac name on the engine head. Author's photo.
Cadillac V-8 Engines coming down the
assembly line during the Second World War.
photo M24 Chaffee light tanks are coming down the Cadillac assembly
Here is a General Motors Allison V-1710 V-12
Aircraft engine that contained up to 175 parts manufactured by Cadillac
in Detroit. Cadillac began supplying parts for the Allison engine
in 1939. Author's photo at the Museum of the United States Air
This T18E2 GMC built Boarhound was powered
by two Cadillac V-8 engines and was photographed at the GM Proving
Grounds on January 19, 1943.
This photo at the Museum of the United
States Air Force has an Allison engine in front of a Lockheed P-38.
This shows the entire P-39 drive train with
General Motors Divisions' components. On the left is the Allison
V-1710 engine, then the Oldsmobile built 37mm cannon, the Cadillac gear
reduction unit and then the Aeroproducts propeller. The engine was behind the pilot and the
driveshaft went between the pilot's legs and allows the cannon to fire
out center hub of the prop.
Author's photo from the National
Museum of the United States Air Force.
This gives a closer look at the cannon,
Cadillac gear reduction unit and prop. Author's Photo.
Note that while the cannon fires through the
center hub of the Aeroproducts propeller but does not go through the
center of the gear reduction unit. Also the brass input propeller
shaft is off centered also. Author's Photo.
The Bell P-39. Author's Photo.
This drive trail unit for a Fisher Body XP-75/P-75 fighter has two
Allison V-1710 married together designated as a V-3420 with two
drive shafts inputting into a Cadillac rear reduction unit. Author's
The Fisher Body Division of GM's XP-75.
On the left hand side of the ad is an
M5/M5A1 tank and on the right side is an M8 3 inch howitzer motor
This ad implies that Cadillac built its own
Hydra-Matic transmissions which is incorrect as they were built by the
Detroit Transmission Division. See my Detroit Transmission page
for more information.
This very colorful World War Two ad shows an
GM Allison powered Lockheed P-38 wrecking havoc on Japan. Cadillac
made 175 different parts for the Allison aircraft engine.
Cadillac Military products after WWII
Three hundred and sixteen M37 105mm self
propelled howitzers were produced by Cadillac on Chaffee frames starting
in October 1945. The M37 on display at the AAF Tank Museum in
Danville, VA is very rare example of this Cadillac built self propelled
howitzer. Author's Photo added 12-22-2015.
Cadillac also produced along with
Massey-Harris 300 M19A1 40mm Gun Carriages. While the chassis were
built by August 1945 the twin 40mm an-aircraft guns were not added until
after WWII. This rare M19A1 was photographed by the author at the
2016 Virginian Museum of Military Vehiles Open House. Photo added
The following items were produced at the the
former Fisher Body Aircraft plant #2 at the Cleveland, OH airport.
This was a US government built and owned building that returned to the
control of the government after WWII. When the Korean War broke
out, the plant was opened back up and became the Cleveland Tank Arsenal
under Cadillac management. Cadillac was back in the business of
making light tanks!
Starting in mid 1951 until mid 1954 Cadillac
produced 3,729 Walker Bulldogs like this one on display at the Ropkey
Armor Museum in Crawfordsville, IN. Author's Photo added
Author's Photo added 12-22-2015.
M56 "Scorpion" anti-tank guns were
also produced by Cadillac at the Cleveland tank arsenal from 1953 to
Armed with a 90mm gun, the M56s were used in Vietnam as point defense and
as artillery. Author's photo from the Ropkey Armor Museum.
Cadillac started building M42 and M42A1s
Dusters in 1953. The twin 40mm tracked anti-aircraft gun carriage
was based on the chassis of the M41. This M42A1 is on display at
the AAF Tank Museum in Danville, VA. Cadillac built approximately
3,700 of the Dusters. Author's Photo added 12-22-2015.
This Cadillac built 105mm M108 self
propelled gun was built in 1963 and is one of only a few built.
This rare example is on display at the AAF Tank Museum. Author's
Photo added 12-22-2015.
Author's Photo added 12-22-2015.
Cadillac... From Peace to War