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

Overview      Lansing Michigan in World War Two   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   M36 Tank Destroyers of the American Auto Industry   Serial Numbers for WWII Tanks built by the American Auto Industry   Surviving LCVP Landing Craft    WWII Landing Craft Hull Numbers   Airborne Extra-Light Jeep Photos  The American Auto Industry vs. the German V-1 in WWII   American Auto Industry-Built Anti-Aircraft Guns in WWII   VT Proximity Manufacturers of WWII   World War One Era Motor Vehicles  
Revisions   Links

 Automobile and Body Manufacturers:  American Bantam Car Company   Briggs Manufacturing Company   Checker Car Company   Chrysler Corporation   Crosley Corporation   Ford Motor Car Company   General Motors Corporation   Graham-Paige Motors Corporation   Hudson
Motor Car Company   Murray Corporation of America   Nash-Kelvinator   Packard Motor Car Company      Studebaker    Willys-Overland Motors

General Motors Divisions:  AC Spark Plug   Aeroproducts   Allison   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   GMC   GMI   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   Ternstedt Manufacturing Division   United Motors Service   Vauxhall Motors

 Indiana Companies:  Bailey Products Corporation   Chrysler Kokomo Plant   Continental Steel Corporation  Converto Manufacturing    Cummins Engine Company   Diamond Chain and Manufacturing Company   Delta Electric Company   Durham Manufacturing Company   Farnsworth Television and Radio Corporation   Horton Manufacturing Company   Howe Fire Apparatus   J.D. Adams Company   Kokomo Spring Company   Magnavox  
Muncie Gear Works   Pierce Governor Company   Portland Forge and Foundry   Reliance Manufacturing Company   Republic Aviation Corporation - Indiana Division   Ross Gear and Tool Company   S.F. Bowser & Co.   Sherrill Research Corporation   Tokheim Oil Tank and Pump Company   Warner Gear   Wayne Pump Company   Wayne Works

Commercial Truck and Fire Apparatus Manufacturers:  American LaFrance   Autocar  
Biederman Motors Corporation   Brockway Motor Company   Detroit General   Diamond T   Duplex Truck Company   Federal Motor Truck   Four Wheel Drive Auto Company(FWD)   International Harvester   John Bean   Mack Truck   Marmon-Herrington Company   Oshkosh Motor Truck Corporation   Pacific Car and Foundry   "Quick-Way" Truck Shovel Company   Reo Motor Car Company  Seagrave Fire Apparatus   Sterling Motor Truck Company    Ward LaFrance Truck Corporation   White Motor Company

Aviation Companies:  Abrams Instrument Corporation   Hughes Aircraft Company   Kellett Aviation Corporation   Laister-Kauffman Aircraft Corporation   Naval Aircraft Factory   P-V Engineering Forum, Inc.   Schweizer Aircraft Corporation   Sikorsky Division of United Aircraft Corporation   St. Louis Aircraft Corporation

Other World War Two Manufacturers: 
Air King Products   Allis-Chalmers   American Car and Foundry   American Locomotive   Annapolis Yacht Yard  
Andover Motors Company   B.F. Goodrich   Baker War Industries   Baldwin Locomotive Works   Blood Brothers Machine Company   Boyertown Auto Body Works   Briggs & Stratton   Caterpillar   Cheney Bigelow Wire Works   Centrifugal Fusing   Chris-Craft   Clark Equipment Company   Cleveland Tractor Company   Continental Motors   Cushman Motor Works   Crocker-Wheeler   Dail Steel Products   Detrola   Engineering & Research Corporation   Farrand Optical Company   Federal Telephone and Radio Corp.   Firestone Tire and Rubber Company   Fruehauf Trailer Company   Fuller Manufacturing   Galvin Manufacturing   Gemmer Manufacturing Company   General Railway Signal Company   Gibson Guitar   Gibson Refrigerator Company   Goodyear   Hall-Scott   Hanson Clutch and Machinery Company   Harley-Davidson   Harris-Seybold-Potter   Herreshoff Manufacturing Company   Higgins Industries    Highway Trailer   Hill Diesel Company   Holland Hitch Company   Horace E. Dodge Boat and Plane Corporation   Huffman Manufacturing   Indian Motorcycle   Ingersoll Steel and Disk   John Deere   Johnson Automatics Manufacturing Company   Kimberly-Clark   Kohler Company   Kold-Hold Company   Landers, Frary & Clark  Lima Locomotive Works   Lundberg Screw Products   MacKenzie Muffler Company   Massey-Harris   Matthews Company   Miller Printing Machinery Company   Morse Instrument Company   Motor Products Corporation   Motor Wheel Corporation   National Cash Resgister Company   Novo Engine Company   Olofsson Tool and Die Company   Oneida Ltd   Otis Elevator   Owens Yacht   Pressed Steel Car Company   R.G. LeTourneau   R.L. Drake Company   St. Clair Rubber Company   Samson United Corporation   Shakespeare Company   Simplex Manufacturing Company   Steel Products Engineering Company   St. Louis Car Company   Victor Adding Machine Company   Vilter Manufacturing Company   Wells-Gardner   W.L. Maxson Corporation   W.W. Boes Company   Westfield Manufacturing Company   York-Hoover Body Company   Youngstown Steel Door Company  

General Motors of Canada in World War Two
Vehicle production ended 2019

This page updated 2-15-2022.

From 1918 to 2019General Motors of Canada was a vehicle assembly operation for vehicles designed by the GM car and truck divisions located within the United States.  Its last assembly plant in Oshawa, ONT closed in 2019.  GM of Canada is now only a marketing organization for GM vehicles built in other countries. 

This is the GM of Canada Oshawa complex looking north.  The photo was taken while it was still in operation.  Lake Ontario is the body of water at the bottom of the photo.  Just out of sight in the lower left hand corner of the photo, or southwest of the plant, is the location of Camp X.  Camp X was a top secret location for the training of British Commonwealth commandos during World War Two.  Ian Fleming, creator of the James Bond series of spy novels, visited Camp X during the war.  He was only an observer and not a trainee at the camp.  While in Oshawa, he stayed in a hotel on Bond Street.  The Ontario Regiment Museum is afew miles north of the plant.  Several World War Two vehicles built in this plant are on display there.

During World War Two the Canadian automobile industry supplied over 800,000 trucks for Great Britain and the British Commonwealth. The Canadians not only built vehicles and armaments in GM plants, but also in Canadian Ford and Chrysler plants.  GM of Canada had plants in Windsor and Oshawa Ontario, and Regina Saskatchewan.  The Division included Canadian Modified Conventional Pattern Trucks, which were basically civilian trucks for military use, and Canadian Military Pattern Trucks that were designed and manufactured specifically for military use.

This October 1942 photo shows the street behind the GM of Canada office building in Oshawa, ONT lined with "Otter" light reconnaissance cars and Canadian Pattern Military Trucks.  Oshawa built 1,781 of the "Otters" used by the British in North Africa and Europe.

General Motors of Canada World War Two Production Statistics:  (1,506) Mark 1 "Fox" Armored Cars, (1,781) "Otter" Light Reconnaissance Cars, (3,961) GM CT15A Armored Trucks, Modified Canadian Military Pattern Trucks, (201,000) Canadian Military Pattern Trucks (CMPT), (1,032) De Havilland Mosquito aircraft fuselages, machine guns, gun sights, anti-tank gun carriages, and tooling for naval gun mounts and 3.7 cm anti-aircraft gun carriages.


Oshawa, ONT - All of the vehicles were built in this plant.  A close read of page 16 of "The Motor Car Business makes Victory its Business" below indicates that the Oshawa tool room made the tooling and fixtures for 3.7 cm anti-aircraft gun carriages, which were then supplied to another company.  It also states that Oshawa supplied tooling and fixtures to an un-named Montreal company which was first to make mounts for naval guns.

Border Cities plant in Windsor, ONT - This was a Canadian government-owned plant managed by GM of Canada.  Built in 1942, the plant produced 25,000 M1919A4 .30 caliber Browning machine guns.  

Walkerville plant in Windsor, ONT - This plant was adjacent to the Border Cities plant and was first used by GM of Canada in 1919.  During World War Two, it produced naval gun mounts.

Regina, Saskatchewan - Normally a car assembly plant, this location produced gun carriages for 2-pounder and 6-pounder anti-tank guns.  More information can be found in the "The Motor Car Industry Makes Victory its Business" below.

GM of Canada built the Chevrolet 3 ton 4x2 trucks used by the famous Long Range Desert Group in North Africa.  This particular model is a radio truck with a Boys 20mm anti-tank gun for armament.

De Havilland Mosquito KA 114 is one of 1,032 of this type built by De Havilland during the Second World War at its Downsview plant in Toronto, Ontario.  The aircraft was constructed mostly of wood, including the fuselages made by General Motors of Canada.  It is one of three flying Mosquito in the world.  KA114 is seen here at the 2013 Hamilton, Ontario Airshow.

This Mosquito's all wooden fuselage, built by the Mosquito Bomber Group, was on display at the 2006 Selfridge Air National Guard Base Airshow.  GM of Canada made 1,032 wooden fuselages like this during WWII.  Author's photo added 12-24-2015.

This GM of Canada advertisement states that it is the builder of the all wooden fuselages for the Canadian-built Mosquitoes.  It is unknown which plant built the fuselages.

This GM of Canada radio truck is on display at the Ontario Regiment Museum in Oshawa, ONT.  This truck is 3.6 miles from where it was built in 1943.  Author's photo added 1-13-2021.

This is serial number 1 of this type of radio truck. Author's photo added 1-13-2021.

Author's photo added 1-13-2021.

Author's photo added 1-13-2021.

The radio truck came equipped with a No.19 radio set.  Author's photo added 1-13-2021.

This GM of Canada General Service truck has a wireless set in the canvas covered body.  Author's photo added 2-15-2022.

Author's photo added 2-15-2022.

Besides the wireless set are two operator chairs.  Author's photo added 2-15-2022.

 This CMPT at the museum was also built 3.6 miles away, in the former GM of Canada plant.  Author's photo added 1-13-2021.

This version is a water tanker.  Canadian troops could fill their canteens or other containers from the seven spigots across the rear of the vehicle.  There was also a steel tube overhead structure for a tarp to keep the sun off the water tank.  Author's photo added 1-13-2021.

Author's photo added 1-13-2021.

One of the engine covers is off the of engine which protrudes into the cab.  This is what is known in the trucking industry as a cab forward design.  I think an " engine in the cab" is more appropriate.  Author's photo added 1-13-2021.

Author's photo added 1-13-2021.

This is a GM of Canada-built 15-CWT 4x4 General Service truck.  It was part of the reenactment of Sword Beach at 2019 Conneaut D-Day 75.  Author's photo added 8-21-2019.

Author's photo added 8-21-2019.

This photo shows how the engine is covered as it protrudes into the cab of the vehicle.  Author's photo added 8-21-2019.

This GM of Canada C8A 1C1 Heavy Utility Personnel  (HUP) is part of the many vehicles on display at the Canadian War Museum.  Author's photo added 2-15-2022.

The HUP could transport soldiers.  Author's photo added 2-15-2022. 

Author's photo added 8-21-2019.

This is a GM of Canada-built 15-CWT 4x4 armored truck.  It was on display at the Virginia Museum of Military Vehicles' 2016 open house.  Author's photo added 8-21-2019.

Author's photo added 8-21-2019.

GM of Canada in Regina, Saskatchewan produced 2-pounder anti-tank guns like this one in the American Heritage Museum in Hudson, MA.  Author's photo added 8-21-2019.

Author's photo added 8-21-2019.

This de-militarized M1919A4 was built by the Borders Industries plant of GM of Canada during World War Two.  It is on display at the Museum of the Soldier in Portland, IN.  Author's photo added 1-13-2021.

It is surprising that this is chambered for the U.S. Cal .30 rather than for British .303 caliber cartridges.  Author's photo added 1-13-2021. 

Author's photo added 1-13-2021. 

This 1941 Chevrolet three ton-truck was built in Oshawa, Ontario as a service truck for the RAF.  Due to the loss of 75,000 of its 80,000 vehicles at Dunkirk, trucks like these became very important to the British in rebuilding its national stock of trucks.  Manufacturing continued until 1943.  Because the trucks were not four-wheel-drive, many, like this one, were used by the RAF at its airfields.  

For some reason, when the truck axles were lifted off the floor for display, the truck did not end up level.

Note that this has right hand steering.

This two page magazine advertisement from 1943 shows all of the vehicles Oshawa produced at that time for the Commonwealth military forces.

Above (L-R) are water color renderings of a four wheel drive service truck, a gas tank truck, a general transport truck, a water tank purifier truck, a staff car, and an aircraft gas truck.

Starting at the top and working across and down is an army stores truck, wireless truck, collision truck, RCAF ambulance, workshop on wheels, RCAF fire truck, dump truck, broadcast and receiving truck, and then 36 others on the "secret" list.  One of those is the armored ambulance pictured below.

This armored ambulance that could carry four stretchers was built late in the war.

The Canadian War Museum in downtown Ottawa has an armored ambulance on display.  Author's Photo added 1-8-2017.

Author's Photo added 1-8-2017.

Author's Photo added 1-8-2017.

  This Fox armored car, seen at 2009 Windsor, Ontario Airshow, was designated as a GM MK.1.  It was another product of GM of Canada. Chevrolet designed the chassis, GMC Division supplied the 270 cubic inch gas powered engine from the U.S.  Final assembly was done by GM of Canada. 

The Fox armored car was built during 1943.

GM of Canada built 1,506 Fox armored cars for the Canadian Forces.  This vehicle and the Otter below are both on display at the Canadian War Museum.  Author's photo added 2-15-2022.   

Author's photo added 2-15-2022.

GM of Canada built 1,781 Otter armored cars during World War Two.  The Otter was based on the British Humbler light reconnaissance vehicle.  Author's photo added 2-15-2022.   

Author's photo added 2-15-2022. 

3,961 CT15A GM of Canada Armored Trucks like this one were built in 1944 and 1945 for service with British Empire armies.  This would have been another of the 36 "secret" trucks referred to in the 1943 advertisement above.

"The Motor Car Industry
Victory its Business"
This short eighteen page monograph, published by GM of Canada in December of 1942, gives an excellent overview of what the Canadian auto industry was doing to support the war effort.  Canada had been supporting Great Britain, which desperately needed military vehicles and weapons.  The monograph is a reprint of an article that appeared in the December 1942 issue of Canadian Geographic.  It generally describes the actions of the entire Canadian auto industry, using GM as the prime example.

The pages below provide information and photos of the Otter light reconnaissance car that was being built in Oshawa during 1942.  The article also notes that the GM plant in Regina, Saskatchewan was producing gun carriages for six pounder anti-tank guns.  The Border Cities Industries plant of GM Canada was identified as the producer of Browning machine guns.  The caliber of the weapons was not revealed, as it is considered in 1942 to be a military secret.  McKinnon Industries Limited, which was separate from GM of Canada as a subsidiary of GM, is identified as producing fuses for the war effort.

This photo shows the heavy duty front wheel drive of the Otter.

Half of the items listed on this page were built by GM of Canada.  Those known to have been built by this Division include armored vehicles, transport vehicles, Browning machine guns, fuses, aircraft fuselages, and gun carriages. 

Coming down the assembly line are two of the 1,781 Otter light reconnaissance vehicles that were produced by GM of Canada at its Oshawa plant. 

Eleven of the Otters have been equipped with their standard armament of a Bren gun.  Others were also armed with a Boys 20mm anti-tank gun.

During 1942, The Regina plant of GM of Canada produced the carriages for the six pounder anti-tank gun.  The photo below implies that the plant also built carriages for types of anti-tank gun, which could have been for the 17 pounder, among others.

The machine is either boring out the barrel or rifling the bore itself.  Using multi-spindle machines such as this one sped up production.  The last paragraph of the text introduces McKinnon Industries, which was separate from GM of Canada as a subsidiary of GM, as the manufacturer of fuses for the military.

This 1942 photo shows the fuze final assembly line at McKinnon Industries.  It had a run rate of 375 units per hour.  This is one of two conveyors producing fuses for the military at a combined output of 750 per hour. 

Truck chassis and Otters are seen here after coming off the assembly line at Oshawa.




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