World War II dominated American culture. Although the war began in 1939 in Europe, the United States did not get officially drawn into it until December, 1941. Once that happened,
1945 Dodge Pick-Up
- The Dodge brothers, Horace and John, began producing engines and chassis for car producers in 1900 (including Ford and Olds) making the first car with the Dodge name in 1914.
- The Chrysler Company purchased Dodge in 1928, and introduced the half-ton pickup truck in ’29. Ten years later, they introduced their WC (half-ton) pickup, striking with its sleek, streamlined Art Deco grille design.
- Few modifications were made on the Dodge WC during its production run from 1928 to 1947, including the years of World War II, when volume production was considered the priority over design.
Jeep (1941 to today)
- In 1941, the U.S. Government approached 135 automotive companies to design a 4-wheel drive renaissance vehicle for the military. They needed it to weigh less than 1,300 lbs. and be able to endure harsh conditions. They also needed it in only 49 days. Only two companies responded: Bantam and Willys. The government commissioned both and recruited Ford, too.
- Over 700,000 of Bantam’s BRC, Willys’ Quad and Ford’s Pygmy Jeeps were produced during the war. They became so popular that production continued after the war and to this day.
- Willys sold Jeep to Kaiser in 1950. Kaiser sold them to the American Motor Company (AMC) in 1970, and Chrysler bought AMC in 1987. Fiat took over Chrysler in 2007.
1949 Hudson Commodore
- The Hudson Motor Car Company was established by department store entrepreneur Joseph Hudson in 1909. Produced continued under the Hudson name until 1954, at which time it became part of the AmericanMotors Company (AMC). Chrysler absorbed AMC in 1987.
- The Commodore was the largest and most luxurious line that Hudson produced. Introduced in ’48, it had a ‘step-down‘ design, which means the passenger compartment was within the frame of the car. This improved safety and comfort.
- Betty Thatcher was an automotive designer for Hudson from 1939 through 1941 - the first woman ever hired to that position.