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   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
Manufacturers:
  Firestone Tire and Rubber Company
 Updates and Additions  
Links

 

Chevrolet Anderson, IN 1945 Open House   Chevrolet World War Two Truck Database
Chevrolet Division of General Motors in World War Two / WWII
 Flint, MI
1911-Current

This page updated September 13, 2016.

Chevrolet presents somewhat of a challenge to fully represent its contribution to the American Defense during WWII.  In spite of being the largest of GM's car divisions, information and production statistics are meager or non existent.  Compared to Olds, Guide Lamp and Fisher Body Divisions of General Motors, Chevrolet itself did not do a very good job providing production numbers and plant locations for historical purposes at the end of the war.  What is provided below is the best I have been able to obtain with the limited information available.  I have been able to determine the number of Pratt & Whitney Radial aircraft engines built in Tonawanda, NY, but not the split between the R-2800 and the R-1830.  R-2800s went on fighter aircraft and Chevrolet R-1830s went to power both the C-47s and B-24s.

The Chevrolet Aviation Plant No.2 in Tonawanda, NY won the Army-Navy "E" Award five times.  
The Chevrolet Aviation Plant No.1 in Buffalo, NY won the Army-Navy "E" Award five times.
The Chevrolet Motor and Axle Plant in Tonawanda, NY won the Army-Navy "E" Award five times.
The Chevrolet Motor Plant in Bay City, MI won the Army-Navy "E" Award two times.
The Chevrolet Motor Commercial Body Plant in Indianapolis, IN won the Army-Navy "E" Award three times.
The Chevrolet Gear and Axle Plant in Detroit, MI won the Army-Navy "E" Award four times.
  


Chevrolet World War Two / WWII Production Numbers / Statistics:  (439,893) Chevrolet and GMC trucks (See below for the details.), (2,583) Passenger Sedans, (3,844) Staghound Medium Armored Cars, (60,766) R-2800 and R-1830 Pratt & Whitney Radial Aircraft Engines (17 Chevrolet Plants involved with final assembly at Tonawanda, NY.  R-1830 engines were used on C-47s, C-53s, and B-24s.  Production of R-2800 was project started in 1944 and the engines were for the P-61 and P-47.), 75mm armor piercing and high explosive projectiles, 3 Inch armor piercing and high explosive projectiles, (2,000) 90mm Anti-aircraft gun tubes, breech ring and block, and recoil rails, 200 million pounds of aluminum forgings included forged aircraft propeller blades from four plants, making it the second largest producer of Al forgings in the world, 5.7 million pounds of magnesium castings, and two billion pounds of grey iron castings and aluminum castings.

Trucks:  A total of (281,570) Chevrolet name plated trucks consisting of:

(55,579) 1/2 ton 4x2 trucks
(128) 3/4 ton 4x2 trucks
(52,568) 1-1/2 4x2 trucks
(173,295) 1-1/2 4x4 trucks
(See my Chevrolet WWII vehicle production page for more details.)

(158,323) Chevrolet built GMC named plated trucks consisting of:

(151,575) CCKW 6x6 2-1/2 ton trucks.  This was 30% of all of the CCKWs built.  (149,135) were built at the Chevrolet St. Louis, MO plant and (2,650) in the Baltimore, MD assembly plant.  At the end of the war all CCKW production had shifted to St. Louis and in 1944 and 1945 the daily run rate for CCKWs was larger at St. Louis than at the GMC plant in Pontiac, MI.  Therefore, while all of the nameplates on the CCKWs are GMC, if the truck was built in 1944 or 1945, there is a greater than 50% chance that it is the Chevy built version.  All CCKWs built in St. Louis, with the exception of the last (1,000) units, had Chevrolet axles on them.

Chevrolet built both the CCKW-352 and 353, former being the 145 inch short wheelbase version with a nine foot bed, and the later being the 164 inch long wheelbase type with a twelve foot bed.  Both types came with or without a front mounted winch.

(6,748) of the GMC designed 6x6 Amphibious Trucks (DUKW) were assembled by Chevrolet in its St. Louis, MO plant.  This was 32% of the total of (21,147) built.  GMC supplied the sheet metal "boat" section pre-assembled from its plant in Pontiac, MI.  GMC sub-contracted the work to Chevrolet and all DUKWs built were carried a GMC ID tag, even though the final assembly was carried out by Chevrolet.  Therefore it is impossible to determine whether a DUKW was built by GMC or Chevrolet, just as with the CCKW.

Chevrolet components on GMC Trucks:  Chevrolet supplied the original closed passenger cabs, then the open soft top cabs, many of the axles, which were the same as the ones used on its 1-1/2 ton truck, and the engine cowlings for not only the CCKW, but other GMC 2-1/2 trucks.  St. Louis also helped build 37,803 cargo dump trucks, of which the last forty units built at St. Louis were cargo dump trucks.  Chevrolet also built (3,330) cab and chassis only for F3 750 gallon fuel tankers and L1 660 gallon lubricant tankers for the Army Air Corps.  The bed portion was provided by a third party.

For British:  (3,844) Staghound Medium Armored Cars. ( (2,844) were T17E1 with 37mm cannon and (1,000) were T17E2 with twin .50 machine gun anti-aircraft units.) 

During WWII Chevrolet had ten assembly plants building the 1-1/2 ton trucks.  Each one had a code which was the first number in the serial number. 

Chevrolet Vehicle Assembly Plants
Plant Number Location
1 Flint, M
2 Tarrytown, NY
3  St. Louis, MO
5 Kansas City, KS
6 Oakland, CA
8 Atlanta, GA
9 Norwood, OH
14  Baltimore, MD
20 Van Nuys, CA
21 Janesville, WI


A 1941 Chevrolet 4x4,1-1/2 ton cargo truck with a winch as seen at the 2013 Houston Airshow.  Author's photo.


Referencing the tables on the Chevrolet WWII vehicle production page, it can be determined this is a type ZM truck and that (6,770) were built in 1941.  Author's photo.

 
Author's photo.


In the same display at Houston was this 1943 GMC CCKW-353 2-1/2 ton truck with winch, which very well may have come off the Chevrolet St. Louis production line.  During 1943 GMC Pontiac built (78,432) CCKWs and Chevrolet (51,715).  Note the similarity in the engine cowling and grill with the previous Chevrolet truck.  They look very similar as they came off of the same Chevrolet presses in Flint, MI.  And Chevrolet supplied many of the axles for the GMC also, which were the same as that it used on its own 1-1/2 ton series. 

Starting in 1943 Chevrolet St. Louis would have started building the open cab versions of the CCKW like this one until the end of the war.  Previous to that time it was building the closed cab like the one below.  Author's photo added 12-24-2014.


The original CCKWs came with the closed cab, which the Chevrolet Division supplied for all of the CCKWs built by both itself and GMC in Pontiac, MI.  Chevrolet produced (40,070) of the closed cabs type CCKWs like this CCKW-353 with no winch seen at the 2014 Columbus, IN Airport Appreciation Day.  Author's photo added 12-24-2014.


Seen here at the 2014 MPVA National Convention is this 1944 F-3 Army Air Corps 750 gallon Aviation Fuel servicing truck built on a CCKW-353 chassis and cab.  Chevrolet St. Louis provided all of the (3,330) cab and chassis for these type vehicle.   Author's photo added 12-24-2014.


Over 70 years after being built in 1942, this Chevrolet 1-1/2 ton dump truck is still used occasionally by owner Rob Ellert for odd jobs.  Note that this model has the front winch.  Photo courtesy of Rob Ellert.  Photo added 2-14-2015.


This nice looking example of the NL series of dump trucks was one of 5,098 built by Chevrolet for the military in 1942.  After being built for the Army, it eventually was obtained by the Navy.  Photo courtesy of Rob Ellert.  Photo added 2-14-2015.


This is a 1942 Chevrolet 1/2 ton pickup truck and shows the styling of this type vehicle by Chevy at the time.  This is rare due to production being stopped of civilian vehicles in early 1942.  As seen at the National Automotive and Truck Museum (Natmus) in Auburn, IN.  Author's photo.


This is a 1946 Chevrolet half ton also at Natmus which shows the same basic styling as the prewar model.  Author's photo.


This is example of one of the (7,857) Chevrolet built 1-1/2 ton 4x4 bomb service trucks for the military during WWII.  As seen at the National Automotive and Truck Museum in Auburn, IN.  Author's photo.


Author's photo.


Note that there are three seats for crew members to ride in on the passenger side of the vehicle.  Author's photo.


Author's photo.


A build date of May 1943 at the Chevrolet Norwood, OH as designated by the first number 9 in the serial number.  "NQ" designates it is a bomb service truck.  Author's photo.

The next set of period photos show Chevrolet 1-1/2 ton trucks being used to train Army Air Force aircraft turret gunners, allowing the trainees to shoot at targets while moving on the bed of the vehicles.  A little known but important use for Chevrolet trucks during World War Two.  The Army Air Force des


The Army Air Force designated the turret mounted truck as an E-5.  The air gunnery ranges were located at Buckingham Army Air Field, FL, Harlingen  Army Air Field, TX, Las Vegas Army Air Field, NV, Lowry Bombing and Gunnery Range, CO, Matagorda Island Bombing and Gunnery Range, TX, Tonopah Bombing and Gunnery Range, NV, Tyndall Army Air Field, FL and Williams Army Air Field, AZ.   Photo added 2-12-2015.


This photo of the E-5 gun trainer was taken at Buckingham Army Air Field that was located east of Fort Meyers, FL.  Photo added 2-12-2015.


Photo added 2-12-2015.


Chevrolet built (6,748) GMC designed DUKWs at its St. Louis Plant.


This DUKW is on display at the National Military History Center in Auburn, IN.  Author's photo.


Author's photo.


In this WWII photo the DUKW shows its versatility in a river crossing.


This DUKW is on display at the Indiana Military Museum in Vincennes, IN.  Author's photo.


 Author's photo.


This is another example of the Chevrolet 1&1/2 ton 4x4 trucks built for the military in the Second World War.  This one is a telephone pole setter at the National Military History Center in Auburn, IN.  Author's photo.


Chevrolet built (1,719) of these during WWII.  Author's photo.


Here is a 1943 Chevrolet 1-1/2 ton fire truck as seen at the annual MVPA Convention at Louisville, KY in June of 2014.  Author's photo added 9-2-2014.


Author's photo added 9-2-2014.


Author's photo added 9-2-2014.


Author's photo added 9-2-2014.


Author's photo added 9-2-2014.


This Chevrolet built 1-1/2 ton 4x4 crash truck actually served at George Army Air Field in Lawrenceville, IL during WWII.  The truck belongs to the Indiana Military Museum in nearby Vincennes, IN eleven miles away from the old air field.  Author's photo added 9-2-2014.


Through the end of 1942 Chevrolet provided (306) of these crash trucks for the Army Air Corps.  Author's photo added 9-2-2014.


Author's photo added 9-2-2014.


Author's photo added 9-2-2014.


This derelict Chevy 1-1/2 ton truck was seen at the Fort Economy Museum in Hallsville, OH.  Author's photo added 9-2-2014.


This Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial aircraft engine is on display at the GM Heritage Center in Sterling Heights, MI and represents the R-2800s that were built by Chevy at Tonawanda, NY during the war.  Author's photo.


Chevrolet Tonawanda, NY production of Pratt & Whitney radial aircraft engines.  Seventeen Plants in the Chevrolet Division were involved in the making of these aircraft engines.  The Chevrolet Tonawanda plant is still in production today and is right along the Niagara River south of The Falls and north of Buffalo. 


A Pratt & Whitney R-1830 engine as seen at the WWII Museum in New Orleans, LA.  Chevrolet Tonawanda built this aircraft engine also and they were used on such aircraft as the C-47 shown next.  Author's photo.


Chevrolet Tonawanda, NY built Pratt & Whitney engines went into the Douglas C-47, the workhorse transport aircraft for the United States during WWII.  Author's photo.


This Fox Armored Car seen at 2009 Windsor, Ontario Airshow was designated as a GM MK.1 but Chevrolet was the Division that designed the chassis.  Final assembly was done by GM of Canada.  Author's photo.


Author's photo.


This photo of a T17E1 "Staghound" armored car appeared in the GM 1944 annual report.  According to the annual report the Staghound was a closely guarded secret for three years.  There was also a T17E2 which replaced the 37mm cannon shown here with two .50 caliber M2 machine guns in a Frazier-Nash turret as an anti-aircraft mount.  Chevrolet also produced thirty T18E2 "Boarhounds" that was an eight wheeled vehicle and mounted a larger 57mm cannon.


This Chevrolet ad makes known it known the Staghound was a secret weapon that it produced.  Not only was its production a secret but due to the fact that it was not used by US forces during the Second World War, it has been overlooked and somewhat of a secret since then.  Staghounds were used by British Commonwealth nations, especially the Canadians, during World War Two, while Polish forces in Italy were the biggest user of it.

Chevrolet Staghound and Boarhound World War Two Production
  T17E1 Staghound T17E2 Staghound Comments
1942 157   Production of the T17E2 started in October.
1943 2,687 211  
1944   789  
Totals 2,844 1,000 Chevrolet produced a total of 3,844 of the T17armored cars between October, 1942 and April, 1944 when production of all types ceased.


This Chevrolet built T17E1 Staghound is on display at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, ONT.  Author's photo added 9-13-2016.


 Author's photo added 9-13-2016.


 Author's photo added 9-13-2016.


What a cool photo!  Nine of the ten persons working on the first two Staghounds in this photo are women as the armored cars are being prepared for shipment overseas.  Photo courtesy of the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.


Here a Staghound hull is being welded up. 


Chevrolet built 2,000 gun tubes, breech ring and block, and recoil rails for 90mm anti-aircraft guns like this one seen at the Indiana Military Museum in Vincennes, IN.  Author's photo.
 

On the Job - Chevrolet Volume Production for the Nation's Needs
This gives an excellent overview of what Chevrolet did by those who worked there during the Second World War.  This was dated September 11, 1944. 


Note in the top half of the photo there are both 2 and 4 wheel rear drives on the trucks.


Chevrolet along with Buick supplied the Pratt & Whitney R-1830 engines for the B-24.

 

 

 

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