The U.S. / American Automobile Industry in World War Two / WWII
An American Auto Industry Heritage Tribute
By David D Jackson

Overview
The U.S. Auto Industry at the Normandy Invasion, June 6, 1944
    Automobile Manufacturers:  American Bantam Car Company   Checker   Chrysler   Crosley   Ford   General Motors   Hudson
   Nash-Kelvinator   Packard      Studebaker    Willys-Overland
General Motors Divisions
(Undergoing development)Aeroproducts   Buick   Cadillac   Chevrolet   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   Inland   New Departure   Oldsmobile   Packard Electric   Rochester Products
Truck Manufacturers:   Autocar  Diamond T   International Harvester    Mack Truck
   Pacific Car and Foundry  Reo Motor Car Company   White Motor Company    
Updates and Additions  
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Delco Products Division of General Motors Corporation in World War Two / WWII
Dayton, OH
1929-1992

Delco Products became as Division of General Motors in 1929 and then was rolled into the newly formed Delco Chassis Division that also included Delco Moraine.  Surviving portions of the division were sold to the Chinese around 2009.


This is a rare but interesting of a Delco Products manufactured nose strut for a North American B-25.  Rare in that normally 70 years after manufacture the ID tags have disappeared off of the aircraft after many owners, rebuilds and restorations.  Interesting in the fact that in the Delco Products "War Diary" below there is no mention of making landing gears for the B-25.  While the "War Diary" only show production through early 1943 General Motors Divisions were part of the B-25 program from early in the war.  Author's photo.


Here is more of the nose landing gear on the B-25.  Author's photo.


This is B-25N was built in 1944 at the North American's plant in Fairfax, KS and is currently operated by the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, OH.  Author's photo.

Delco Products Division of GM World War Two / WWII Production Numbers / Statistics:  (40,000,000) 20mm, 37mm and 40mm projectiles and fuses, (7,000,000) shock absorbers for army trucks, gun carriages, tank destroyers and other armored vehicles, (1,000,000) electric motors to include windshield wiper motors for US aircraft, fuel booster pumps for aircraft, Selsyn motors for anti-aircraft guns and truck steering gears, (2,500,000) link assemblies tank treads, (23,000,000) spark plug shells for AC-Sparkplug (This must have been production after April of 1943 as it is not mentioned in the "War Diary" below, (6,500,000) miscellaneous items to include shafts and gears for the Allison V-1710 aircraft engine, (250,000) units of hydraulic actuating devices for Grumman aircraft, (25,000) generators to include those for large searchlights and applications on navy ships, (24,000) sets of aircraft landing gears for B-24, B-25 and B-26, (250) electric actuators. 


This is the B-24 that is on display at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH.  There is a good chance that the landing gear on this was built a few miles away during WWII at Delco Products or at the borrowed Fisher Body plant in Norwood, (Cincinnati) OH.  Author's Photo.


The left main landing gear on the B-24. Weight of the gear without tire and wheel is 425 pounds.  Author's Photo.


On the opposite side one gets a better view of the main gear.  Author's Photo.


Author's Photo.


Delco Products also built landing gear for the Martin B-26 also at the Air Force Museum.  Author's Photo.


Delco Products built shafts and gears for the Allison V-1710 aircraft engine.  Author's Photo from the Air Force Museum.


Delco Products built Selsyn motors for the remote control of anti-aircraft guns.  It would be for weapons like this 40mm Bofors gun as seen on LST-325 in Evansville, IN.  The motors would rotate the gun's position to the same position as that of a remote gun director.  It could be the motors pictured here are from Delco Products.  Author's Photo.


Delco Products built 7 million shock absorbers for all sorts of vehicles during the Second World War such as this Chevrolet 1.5 ton truck as seen at the 2013 Houston Airshow.  Author's photo.


250,000 hydraulic actuators were supplied for Grumman aircraft such at this TBM Torpedo Bomber.  Author's photo from the 2009 Chino Airshow.

Below are chronological dates of production of war goods starting in 1940 and ending in February of 1943 from the Delco Products "War Diary" as shown below.  The information below helps to define the production numbers shown above that I found on "Dayton History Books Online".  Between both sources we get a clearer picture of what Delco Products produced during the Second World War.  Unfortunately "War Diary" ends in April of 1943 when there was still over two years of war remaining.  Products could have been added during that time that was unrecorded
SOP = Start of Production
More information the dates below can be found on page 6 below.

1940
June - SOP of Aircraft fuel booster pump motor
September - Tail bomb fuses ordered - SOP date?
December - SOP of 37mm shells
1941
February  - SOP of shafts and gears for Allison V-1710 aircraft engine.  Delco Products was one of many GM Divisions that manufactured components for 
July - SOP of 20mm shells.  This would be a Navy order as the Army did not use 20mm cannon
August - Naval generators for sub chasers, Q boats, landing craft ordered - SOP date?
August - One million 37mm shells.  The first million of 40 million total of all sizes.
November - SOP of landing gears.  This was in the new Building Seven for production.  This starts the production of 24,000 sets.  November 1941 production was for landing gear sets for the Consolidated B-24 bomber. 
December - SOP of check valves for Bendix.
1942
January - SOP of Selsyn motors for anti-aircraft guns - The literature below states they were for the 20mm anti-aircraft cannon.  However, that was a manually controlled weapon.  The Selsyn motors were used for remote control rotation of a weapon making it more likely it was for a the 40mm cannon which were remotely controlled on Navy ships by gun directors.
January - SOP of aircraft windshield motors.
January - SOP of tail fuses for both 2,000 and 4,000 bombs.  This is interesting in that the US Army Air Force normally used 500 lb bombs.  Actually the B-17 did not have a big enough bomb bay for these size bombs.  This may have been an order for the British that did use these sizes.
January - SOP of tank tread parts.
February - SOP of generators for searchlights.
April - SOP of 40mm cannon shells.  Part of the 40 million of all sizes.
April - SOP of hydraulic actuators for Grumman aircraft.  This may actually have been for Eastern Aircraft Divsion of GM that was formed about this time for the manufacture of Grumman TBM Torpedo Bombers and FM-1 and FM-2 Fighters.
April - SOP army truck steering gear motors.
April - Awarded the Navy "E" for Excellence Award.
May - Delco Products takes over the Norwood (Cincinnati), OH Fisher Body plant for the production of aircraft landing gears.
September - Awarded the Army-Navy "E" for Excellence Award.
September - SOP for bomber landing gears at the Norwood (Cincinnati), OH Fisher Body plant.
November - SOP for army truck shock absorbers.
December - SOP of Martin B-26 landing gears at Norwood, OH.
1943
February - SOP of shock absorbers for gun carriages, tank destroyers and other armored vehicles.
April - Last entry in Delco Products War Diary.  It appears to have been published not long after April of 1943. 


War Diary of Delco Products - 1933, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943
 Reading the 1943 Delco Products story of its participation in WWII is most informative to the historian and those interested in what this division of GM built during that period. The book is 50 pages plus front and back cover.  Pages 10 through 32 are most informative as to the products built by Delco Products.


Page 6.


Page 10.


Page 11.


Page 12.  Picture (d) is not a 20mm Oerliken but a 40mm Bofors.


Page 13.


Page 14.


Page 15.


Page 16.


Page 17.


Page 18.


Page 19.


Page 20.


Page 21.


Page 22.


Page 23.  Once again the photos do not match up with the text.  All the aircraft here are B-25s, not B-24s which were four engine bombers. 


Page 24.  Note that the B-24 main landing gear produced by Delco Products weighed 425 lbs and the nose gear 114 lbs. 


Page 25.


Page 26.


Page 27.


Page 28.  Note the size of the Martin B-26 Marauder landing gears in comparison to the young lady.  She is standing next to a nose gear.  These were produced at the borrowed Fisher Body Plant in Norwood (Cincinnati.), OH. 


Page 29.


Page 30.


Page 31.


Page 32.


 

 

 

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