Guest Post – When Making A Car Was Illegal – GPCox

 

This is the latest Guest Post from gpcox all about the vehicles in service during World War II and a little about what the American Family had to sacrifice back home.

When Making a Car Was Illegal

After Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt ordered all car manufacturers to cease the production of private automobiles and convert the factories to produce military

Utility Truck

Utility Truck

vehicles, weaponry, airplane engines, parts, etc.  But, this would not put an end to man’s love affair with the automobile.  A car manual became priceless to a private owner and a truck manual was an absolute necessity for a farmer or businessman.  With the rationing of gasoline in the U.S., the “National Victory Speed” was 35 mph and driving clubs were encouraged. (Our modern day car-pools).

Automobiles were produced in massive quantities before the Great Depression and this brought the price down considerably.  Then, the stock market crashed and many people were unable to afford the fuel for the cars they already owned.  There were some that removed the engines from their vehicles and had a horse pull them.  These were nicknamed “Bennett Buggies” in some areas.

FDR gave a long-winded speech on 28 April 1942 called the “Call for Sacrifice,” where he stated, “…Not all of us have the privilege of fighting our enemies in distant parts of the world.  Not all of us can have the privilege of working in a munitions factory or a shipyard, or on the farms or in oil fields or mines…  There is one front where everyone is in action and that is right here at home and that is the privilege of denial.”  (Can any of us even imagine what would eventuate from a statement like that today?)  It was not until June that civilian truck production ceased, except some tightly government controlled heavy trucks produced during 1944 by GMC.

A quote from the Random Memories of Cedric Duryee Guion – “We had a 1927 Packard Touring car. I guess this was when Lad was working at Well’s Garage and he was making a little money there. He saw a 1929 Packard Touring car – it was a beauty – and he asked my Dad if he could trade in the old Packard and my Dad told him “OK”. We didn’t like that because then it was Lad’s car. I think that’s the Packard with the hidden compartment that Lad found while cleaning it out. We figured it must have belonged to some rum-runners”

Packard

Packard

Packard was known as a “company of premier luxury cars.”  In 1937, they introduced their first 6-cylinder engine since 1928 – right in time for the ’29 Depression, so they designed the “110” model in 1940-41 to serve as taxi cabs.  With the onset of war, air plane engines, such as the Merlin that powered the P-51 Mustang fighter were produced.  Many American and British PT boats were equipped with the Packard 1350-, 1400-, and 1500 horsepower V-12 marine engines.  During this era, the company also produced ambulances and other military vehicles.  All in all, 60,000 combined engines were built by Packard.

GMC had produced nearly 584,000 multi-drive vehicles for use in WWII, the first of which was the amphibious 6×6 “Ducks.”  These were sent to the Army for island landings

1943 "Duck"

1943 “Duck”

and river crossings.  Over 21,000 of these unique vehicles were produced.  GMC also built the first 2 ½ ton 6×6 trucks powered by a 270 cid engine which became the famous “workhorse” of the Army.

The Ford Corporation during 1942-45 built approximately 8,600 of the Consolidated B-24 Liberator bombers.  They also produced aircraft engines, M-4 tanks, spare parts

WWII Jeep Ambulance

WWII Jeep Ambulance

and the ever-famous Jeep.  In England, the Dagenham plant built the Ford military trucks, Bren-gun carriers and more than 30,000 super-charged V-12 engines for the Mosquito and Lancaster bombers.

The transportation department of the U.S. Army performed monumental feats during WWII.  They moved tons of food, weapons, equipment and men despite gasoline, oil and lubricants being in short supply.  If one delves deeper into this research, we find that Congress was not always willing to loosen the government’s purse strings.  As I have mentioned previously on my site, http://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com, Europe received the majority of the supplies since their slogan at the time was, “Europe First.” (But, even the ETO had shortages.)  I have two specific reports stating that my father’s unit, the 11th Airborne Division while fighting in the Pacific, could not reach the city of Manila before the Sixth Army due to the lack of trucks.  (We once again see why the Technical Forces were so important to the Ground Forces.)( See Guest Post – gpcox –   Technical and Ground Force Coordination, published here Feb. 12, 2013)

Since the first automobile sputtered down the street and caught up to a horse, men have defined themselves by their vehicles, showing their cars off with pride and affection.  They wash them, wax them and individualize them.  It becomes an extension of himself – whereas a woman does the same routine for her home.

The ever-reliable car manual during the WWII era was a lifeline keeping farmers connected to markets, businessmen to their offices and factory workers to their jobs.  What you had, you were forced to maintain or learn to do without.  Just try to picture it – a world without rent-a-cars or gas stations at every intersection, no leasing contracts for new cars, no power windows or GPS or Blue Tooth… What do you see?

Judy and I enjoy these guest posts and want to hear how this situation affected your family or give us suggestions for future articles.

Research & Photo Resources:

Military History Online

Internet History Sourcebooks

Ford Corp./history

History of Packard

From the Great Depression to WWII

Wikipedia

Classic Car History

Fine Art America

Lopez Transport 1941

Surrey Vintage Vehicle Society

GMC Trucks

Please leave a comment and let us know what you think of these Guest Posts. Tomorrow, I’ll begin a week of letters from 1944. All five sons are in the service of Uncle Sam. Grandpa is holdong down the fort with Jean, Dick’s wife, and Aunt Betty, his mother’s sister.

Judy Guion

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Special Picture # 246 – Lad’s Trip to Florida With Friends – March, 1936

I knew that my father had taken a trip to Florida with these guys because Art Mantle’s niece, Cindy, (my friend from childhood) sent me a couple of pictures of my Dad. A while ago,I was looking for a particular picture and I came across this picture. A few weeks later, I was looking for the same picture and came across this letter that I don’t ever remember seeing. Some additional information on that trip.

 

Art Mantle, Carl Wayne, Arnold Gibson and Lad Guion

I had thought this trip had taken place in 1935 because that’s what my Mom had written on the back of this picture. The letter below is postmarked March, 1936. 

 

 

 

 

Thursday

SARASOTA

FLORIDA

Dear Dad:

        How do you like our new stationary. We  got some  from   each of  the  numerous  Hotels  here, but I think this is the best. We  are here  in  Sarasota  visiting  some  distant  relatives  here of Carl’s.  It is really a very pretty place and  the  weather is  fine. The  biggest trouble  is  the  sulfur  water  but  we  are  beginning  to  get  used  to  it.

        If  you  want  to  write  you  can  send  it  to  general  delivery, Miami. We  are  leaving  here  tomorrow  afternoon  for  the  last  leg of  the  trip  in  a  southern  direction.  Everything  is  fine  except that  after  leaving  Aunt  Anne’s  * Monday  afternoon  and stopping  at  Silver  Springs  for  a  short  visit, a bearing  burned  just  outside  of  Ocala. This  time  it

was  number one. But  again  the  Ford  is  running  fine. Now I have  invented  an  oil  pump to  keep oi l  in  the  front  of  the motor  to  eliminate  the  trouble  of  overheated  bearings.

        We  all  went  swimming  this  afternoon  and  got  slightly burned  on  the  beach. The water was  cool  at  first  but  after  the first  dip  it  was  pretty  good.

        We  are  going  to  look  the  town  over  tonight  and  I still have  to  get  shaved  and  dressed  so  as  much  as  I hate  to,  I will have  to  let  it  go  until  some  other  time.

        Hope  to  hear  from  you  in  Miami.

                                                                       Love

                                                                           Lad

* Lad and his friends, Art Mantle, Carl Wayne and Arnold Gibson stopped to visit Grandma Arla’s youngest sister, Anne (Peabody) Stanley in St. Petersburg, Florida. This is where Elizabeth (Biss) went during her Junior year in High School to help Aunt Anne care for her two children, Don and Gwen Stanley, in 1934. This story is told in the Category, “St. Petersburg, FL”.

Tomorrow, I’ll begin posting letters written in 1942. The year is just beginning and Draft Boards are getting busy.

Judy Guion

Early Memories of Trumbull (15) – Young People

The following are memories that Ced, Dick and Dave have about things they did with other young people in town and how many activities revolved around the Trumbull House.

DAVE – in Trumbull, behind MacKenzie’s (Drug Store) and a bunch of other stores, there used to be an open lot we used to play football and baseball there. We had a team called the Trumbull Rangers. We would play basketball and – – I say we – – they would play basketball football and baseball. We had a regular club and I was the President. I wasn’t worth a darn as an athlete so… Besides: we used to meet in the barn at the Big House. I became the President. That ran for several years. We played other Trumbull teams, we played Bridgeport teams. For a lot of years we never got together. Now, on the first Wednesday of the month we get together.

We had one fellow, of course this was during the war, we had one fellow who usually was the pitcher and he so badly wanted to go into the Air Force. Whenever a plane flew over, he would stand there holding the ball until the plane got almost out of sight, then he resumed the game. It was kind of like commercial breaks, I guess.

Unfortunately, this same fellow – – three years before that – – was up at the Trumbull reservoir. There was a cliff up there. He and a couple of other fellows were at the bottom of this cliff. Some kids from Bridgeport – I say this because kids from Bridgeport were bad – either accidentally or on purpose threw or kicked a rock off the top of the cliff and it hit him in the head, so he had a metal plate in his head. When it came time for him to go into the service, he wanted to fly and of course, they wouldn’t let him. So he left in the Navy. I got a letter from him when I was in Okinawa and it had been written maybe two or three days before that, so I said, “My God, he’s got to be here.” As soon as I got a chance, I went down to the Harbor Master and found out that his ship had just left, so I missed it.

Dick, Ced and I, when I could get them to drag me along… There was a whole gang that used to do things together. I couldn’t understand why they didn’t want to bring me along all the time. Now, I don’t know how they put up with me at all, any time. I used to go do things with them. Sometimes we’d go for a walk in the woods, we go to Helen and Barbara Plumb’s house and play tennis. One of the fellows that was part of the gang was a guy by the name of Don Sirene. His father was an architect and he lived in the house that my older siblings went to school in. I remember one day, we were at his house, and we were having hot chocolate. I guess it was Don Sirene who was sitting right across from Dick. Somebody said something funny and Dick had a mouth full of chocolate. Whether it was Don or someone else, I don’t remember, but whoever it was across from Dick got really sprayed. Dick could you hold it in.

DICK – Lad did some wrestling for a while… He was extremely proficient… He could beat guys older and heavier than he was.

Art Mantle, Biss and Lad Guion, with Model T - 1932

I don’t know who’s car this is but I can picture driving it around with a tire tied to the back.

The people are Art Mantle, Biss and Lad Guion

Lad and Gibby had an old model T Ford. They’d tie a rope to the differential, tie a tire on 10 or 15 feet back, and ride it like a surfboard or sled.

CED – We used to play the piano. We had a player piano, we got it from Aunt Anne, she had it in new Rochelle. They didn’t use it anymore so we got it.

Player Piano - Purchase order - 1913

This purchase Order shows Grandpa buying the Player Piano in 1913, the year he married Arla and set up their own apartment in the Bronx.

DAVE – The big draw was the player piano. Each one of us, as we got to a certain age, would have people over and we’d stand around the piano, play a few songs and sing to them, singing to the music.

CED – The Young People’s Group at the church was led by Doug and Emily Chandler. Long after Chandler left, we kept on with the Chandler Chorus. The only two people who ever directed the Chandler Chorus were Doug Chandler and Laura Brewster. He was good, very good with young people. It must’ve been 17 or 18 kids. He played the piano beautifully and we’d have these meetings once a week. He played really jazzy music for us, too. He was very fond of music, good music, and started the Chandler Chorus. We had everywhere from 10-year-olds to 60-year-olds, maybe higher. Maybe not 10-year-olds, but we had young people. We sang quite frequently. We went all over the place, up to Shelton. We were good. In fact that’s where Fannie and I bet.

The Gang at the Trumbull House - 1934

The Gang at the Trumbull 
House – @ 1936

Anyway, then there was this young group, as I said, our house was the center of activity all over town and practically everyone in the town of Trumbull. Mother said every Tuesday night we could have an open house for all the young people. We played the piano, and we’d sing. We just had a ball, and then we’d have cookies and cocoa or something. That was so much fun.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting letters from 1942. Lad and Dan are in the Army and close enough to come home on many weekends.

Judy Guion

Friends – Dear Sourdough From Charlie Hall – Feb., 1941

Cindy - Charlie Hall - formal shot in uniform

Feb. 27, 1941

Hello Sourdough,

Greetings and salutations, Merry Xmas, Happy New Year, and Happy Fourth of July; I guess that should take care of all the time since I’ve owed you a letter and all the time it will probably take you to answer this. If I thought sure I was going to see your kid brother on his way to your frontier paradise (?), I’d save three cents and let him bring this, but he’d probably lose it anyhow, so here you are.

For your information, you prejudiced old banshee, my Ford is still in one piece, and doing very nicely, averages 1 quart of oil every 950 miles, and that’s not just for one 950 mile hop, it’s for a total of 10,000 miles, so there, too. Of course, I’m not at all prejudiced when I say that a Ford is perhaps the most marvelous of all modern petrol consuming vehicles, and all it needs to start on a cold morning is a whisper uttered in a seductive manner under the hood (it must be under the hood) to this effect, “Turn over Lizzie and let’s get started.”

Is your flying progressing any better than it was around Christmas time? I knew your dad said that you’d been having a little trouble with coordination. I’ll bet that by now you’ve had it disappear, all at once, no doubt. It seems that for a while, you fly (?) and fly, sloppily and rotten, then one nice (?) Maybe I mean fine, day, your troubles all disappear, and you find to your amazement, but not chagrin, that you can land the damn thing, no? I’ve got my private license now, but haven’t had the time, OR MONEY, to do any flying since I passed the flight test; at six bucks an hour, it gets pretty expensive.

Some of the fellows and I went on a toot on the night of the day I passed my flight test, we go on the slightest provocation, and had quite a time. Wound up in a dive in Des Moines, picked up some nice-looking dames and damn near got beat up when their husbands came out of the back room after having hit the jackpot’s on all the slot machines in the joint; I think I filled one of ‘em. The next day we had guests for dinner, the director of housing and the chief dietitian, no less, and I had to act as chauffeur (?) and bring them over. All went well until a bump knocked the empty whiskey bottle out from under the front seat, and oh my, tch, tch, didn’t I get glared at. I had to do quite a little explaining because drinking here at dear old I.S.C. means the boot; evidently, my explanation was good, because I’m still here.

I’ve got to go bowling now – big tournament, may not get any more written for a month or two, will file this for future typing practice, and stuff.

Friday:

Don’t know if I can write this and listen to Sherlock Homes too, but it’s almost over now, and the crooks will soon be in the jug. Yep, just caught ’em. Just heard they’re having a blizzard in N.Y. tonight, tsk, tsk, and here it’s almost spring. How did you and Dan survive the winter, any frozen digits?

I guess I should have closed last night, this is all a lot of b.s., And I’m up to my elbows in it now, so will quit before it gets up on the keys of this contraption.

Charlie

P.S. Hope you feel inclined to write sooner than I did.

Charlie Hall grew up with the boys in Trumbull. I believe he was closer in age to Dick, possibly because they got into trouble a few times, but here he is writing to Ced.

The rest of the week will be devoted to two letters from Grandpa to  Lad, Dan and Ced, those sons away from home right now.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Bits of Poetry (2) – Automobiles and Investments – Dec., 1940

Page 2 of B-106

Lad's Ford - 1941

Lad’s Ford

AUTOMOBILES: My bashed in right fender, according to Banthin Body’s estimator, will cost $21 to put back into condition again. Lad has not said much about his Ford of late so I suppose it is running along in good shape. Being jefe of his garage I suppose he can see that it is kept in good repair, although he did mention that on return from his trip to Cubagua he had trouble with his gas line getting clogged. As to the Alaskan car, Dan has already over $150 to his credit which ought to be enough to take care of a first payment on a $400 car. My plan is to wait until after the holiday season has passed with any artificially high market it might create among dealers who might hold out with the idea of getting a premium on cars intended for Christmas gifts, and also the fact that after the first of the year an old model becomes a year older automatically without any actual change in the mechanical condition of the car itself, but still carries a lower valuation on dealers books. Then I will contact the three or four dealers Ced has mentioned, have a talk with Arnold and see what he has in mind and in general keep my feelers out for something good.

Packard and Mack

Packard and Mack

Dick spoke of writing Dan or Ced (probably he has not yet done so) telling them he needs a closed car to get back and forth from work. He now gets up before daylight and meets a man down the road who takes him to Bridgeport and has some other arrangement for getting home nights. The Packard is too cold and costs too much to run, so he has been trying to sell me on the idea of buying your car as soon as possible so that he can run it long enough before his trans-continental journey to discover any weaknesses or peculiarity it might have and be sure of its performance before he starts on the long trek. I told him I would rather have you boys pass on the point rather than look to me for a decision.

INVESTMENTS:  Lads Fairbanks-Morse stock, due to war orders, seems to be advancing in price. They have just paid an extra dividend, making the last quarterly payment $10 to his credit. Dan’s Commonwealth Edison has also just paid a dividend which is deposited to his credit. As for the effect possible inflation will have on peoples savings, it seems to be the impression that the purchase of common stocks now is the best hedge one can have in that event, because inflation means that the dollar is worth relatively less, and a dollar in the savings bank now will only by say $.50 worth of goods during an inflationary period, while stocks or real estate, like food or clothing or anything which has a quick market, will immediately rise in price as the value of the dollar falls and will thus compensate itself maintaining the same real value. As soon as prices start to rise, which is another way of saying the value of the dollar falls, you will see a rush to buy stocks before they go up, and this in turn will tend to increase the price of stocks, so rather than the value of your stocks declining, the probabilities would be just the opposite. I wish I had a sizable sum of money I could invest in stocks right now and I’d feel I was gambling on a pretty sure thing.

ADJOINING TOWNS: Lad, I am enclosing tracing from my Venezuelan map and hope you will show on it, so that I can in turn copy on my map, those towns, roads, etc., which are not shown but which you frequently mention. Ced’s letter refers to Eklunta. Dan also mentioned it sometime ago as an electric generating plant location. Have they a storage space in the camp? Is it an Indian trading post?

CLIPPINGS: A few enclosed for each of you which might have some interest.

Well, God rest ye, merry gentlemen, and may your Christmas in your far-off land be as merry as you have ever had in the old home.

DAD

More Special Pictures for tomorrow and Sunday.

Next week, I’ll be posting letters from 1941. Lad is back from Venezuela and Dan has returned from Alaska. They are both wortking in Bridgepoort at Producto and worrying about their draft situation. Ced and Dick are still in Alaska and are concerned about the same thing.

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 48 – Florida Trip – 1936

I believe these pictures, from Cindy Hall (a lifelong friend and daughter of Charlie Hall) were all taken around a trip to Florida that several guys took in the mid-1930’s. There may have been two trips and those who took the trip(s) were Art Mantle (Cindy’s Uncle, brother of Jane Mantle, wife of Charlie Hall), Arnold Gibson, Carl Wayne (future owner of The Red Horse Service Station), and my Dad, Lad Guion.

Art Mantle, Biss and Lad Guion, with Model T - 1932

This is Arnold Gibson’s Model T camper,maybe a 1924.  

It’s the car Art Mantle, Arnold Gibson and
Carl Wang(Wayne) drove to Florida when Art was home on boot camp leave in about 1936.
l to r : Art Mantle, Biss Guion, Lad Guion.
APG - Arnold Gibson's Motel T Ford Camper before FL trip - 1936
Arnold Gibson’s Model T Ford Camper, possibly a 1924 model.
APG - Lad resting on beach in FL - @ 1936
Lad Guion resting on beach in Florida @ 1936.
Cindy told me a story about this trip that she had heard about for years. It seems that, on the way home, they stopped for gas. One person was asleep in the back of the car, the others went in to the restroom, came out and hit the road again. The person who had been sleeping in the back had gotten out and gone inside the gas station, but no one had noticed. By the time they figured it out, apparently the person who’d been asleep had hitchhiked and had gotten home before the others.
Judy Guion