The American Automobile Industry in World War Two
An American Auto Industry Heritage Tribute
By David D Jackson

Overview      The U.S. Auto Industry at the Normandy Invasion, June 6, 1944    The U.S. Auto Industry and the B-29 Bomber   U.S. Auto Industry Army-Navy "E" Award Winners   The Complete listing of All Army-Navy "E" Award Winners   Sherman Tanks of the American Auto Industry   Tank Destroyers of the American Auto Industry    M26 Pershing Tanks of the American Auto Industry

    Automobile Manufacturers:  American Bantam Car Company   Checker   Chrysler   Crosley   Ford   General Motors   Graham-Paige   Hudson
   Nash-Kelvinator   Packard      Studebaker    Willys-Overland

General Motors Divisions
(Undergoing development) Aeroproducts   Brown-Lipe-Chapin   Buick   Cadillac   Chevrolet   Cleveland Diesel   Delco Appliance   Delco Products   Delco Radio   Delco-Remy   Detroit Diesel   Detroit Transmission   Electro-Motive   Fisher Body   Frigidaire   GM Proving Grounds   GM of Canada   Guide Lamp   Harrison Radiator   Hyatt Bearings   Inland   Moraine Products   New Departure   Oldsmobile   Packard Electric   Pontiac   Saginaw Malleable Iron   Saginaw Steering Gear   Southern California Division   Rochester Products   United Motors Service

Truck Manufacturers:   American LaFrance   Autocar  Diamond T   International Harvester    Mack Truck
   Marmon-Herrington Company   Pacific Car and Foundry  Reo Motor Car Company   Ward LaFrance Truck Corporation   White Motor Company

Automotive Tire
   B.F. Goodrich    Firestone Tire and Rubber Company
 Updates and Additions  


Cadillac Motor Car Division of General Motors in World War Two / WWII
Detroit, MI

This page updated on 12-22-2015.

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.  Author's Photo.

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 Armored Car.

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 awards.

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 photo.

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.  

Author's photo.

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.

In this photo M24 Chaffee light tanks are coming down the Cadillac assembly line.

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 Force.

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.  Author's photo.

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.

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 Photo.

Author's Photo.

The Fisher Body Division of GM's XP-75.  Author's Photo.

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 carriage.

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 11-30-2016.

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 12-22-2015.  

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 1959.  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




Email us at:  Webmaster