Saturday 7th February 1942
The US federal government ordered passenger car production to be stopped and converted to wartime purposes. In spite of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s insistence that the US car industry should become the “great arsenal of democracy,” Detroit’s executives were reluctant to join the war cause. However, following the bombing of Pearl Harbour, the country mobilised behind the US’s declaration of war. The government offered car manufacturers guaranteed profits regardless of production costs throughout the war years. Furthermore, the Office of Production Management allocated $11 billion to the construction of war manufacturing plants that would be sold to the automobile manufacturers at remarkable discounts after the war. What had at first seemed like a burden on the automotive industry became a boon. The production demands placed on the industry and the resources allocated to the individual automobile manufacturers during the war would revolutionize American car making and bring about the Golden Era of the 1950s.