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   Serial Numbers for WWII Tanks built by 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   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   United Motors Service

Truck and Implement Manufacturers:   American LaFrance   Autocar  Diamond T   Caterpillar   Clark Equipment Company   Cleveland Tractor Company   Federal Motor Truck   International Harvester    Mack Truck
   Marmon-Herrington Company   Massey-Harris   Pacific Car and Foundry  Reo Motor Car Company   R.G. LeTourneau   Seagrave Fire Apparatus   Ward LaFrance Truck Corporation   White Motor Company

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


 Ward LaFrance Truck Corporation in World War Two / WWII
Elmira Heights, NY

Rest in Peace!

This page added 6-12-2017.

Ward LaFrance is named after Addison Ward LaFrance, who initially worked for his father as an engineer at American LaFrance, where he designed a spring raising aerial ladder for fire trucks.  As a reward for successfully completing this project, his father awarded Addison with a car dealership.  In 1916 Addison then expanded the dealership into the manufacture of trucks which he named the LaFrance Truck Manufacturing Company.  Due to the similarity of the name to his father's company, American LaFrance, he renamed it the Ward LaFrance Truck Company. 

Today Ward LaFrance is most well known by fire apparatus enthusiasts for its P-80 Ambassador Pumper which was produced during the 1970s.  The most famous of the P-80s started in the 1970's TV show "Emergency" as Engine 51.  Ward LaFrance also built over-the-road trucks, vans for UPS, dump trucks, cement trucks and chassis for busses and trolleys.  During WWII it produced 1,552 M1A1 6x6 six ton wreckers.  In 1953-65 Ward LaFrance produced another 1,072 M1A1 Wreckers.  Other military produced for the US military after WWII included a 6 ton 6x6 Bridge Erection Vehicle, (662) CW750 fire trucks, and (139) MB-5 Crash Trucks for the US Navy. 

Ward LaFrance World War Two / WWII Production Numbers / Statistics:  (1,552) M1A1 6x6 six ton wreckers.

This is a Ward LaFrance 6x6 six ton wrecker owned by the Virginia Museum of Military Vehicles at Nokesville, VA.  This was photographed by the author at the Museum's annual open house in September 2016.

This Ward LaFrance Series Five M1A1 was delivered to Army Ordnance on February 8, 1945.  This delivery date contradicts other sources that state Ward LaFrance only built the M1A1 between 1941 and 1943.  The ID tag looks original, as opposed to many reproduction ID tags seen on WWII vehicles.  This was Ward LaFrance serial number 55771.

Another interesting aspect of this vehicle is the War LaFrance nametag on the hood.  The Army Ordnance Department did not allow company names on vehicles purchased after 1942.  This would therefore appear to be a post war addition. 

This Ward LaFrance 6x6 six ton wrecker was photographed at the 2016 WWII Weekend in Reading, PA.

The Ward LaFrance wrecker returned for the 2017 World War Two Weekend, and towed a GMC 2-1/2 ton truck during the show.  Author's photo added 6-12-2017.

It was also on display with its boom extended.  Author's photo added 6-12-2017.




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