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Vintage Car Era Timeline: 1920 - 1945

This is a timeline of the history of the American automobile industry and vehicles along with a sample of noteworthy events that occurred between 1920 and 1945, during the Vintage Car Era and you can see pictures of some of the best examples from our classified ads on our Vintage Car & Truck Pinerest Board. This is intended as a sampling to give your a feel for the time period rather than a historical reference. We used a wide variety of resources that were often in conflict so you would foolish to copy or quote this information! The pictures are from our archive of past ads (with approval of the owners) but may not be reproduced.

Antique Car Era Timeline - Classic Car Era History

1920 (Return to Top)

Automobile Industry

New Vintage Vehicles For Sale

World Wide Events

  • Approximately 1,906,000 cars and 321,800 trucks were produced
  • William C. Durant was voted out of the General Motors Corporation
  • Walter P. Chrysler became president of Willys-Overland
  • Pierre duPont became president of General Motors
  • Slanted windshields, heaters and wire wheels became popular
  • Charles Kettering became the director of the General Motors Research Corporation

Number of Cars Produced
Ford = 806,000
Chevrolet = 146,250
Dodge = 141,000
Buick = 115,175
Willys-Overland = 105,000

  • Ace
  • Adelphia
  • Alsace
  • Beggs
  • Bradley
  • Cadillac Type 59
  • Cyclomobile
  • Duesenberg
  • Economy-Vogue
  • Ferris
  • Gardner
  • Gearless (Steam)
  • Globe
  • H.C.S
  • Huffman
  • Kelsey
  • Kenworthy
  • Kessler
  • Kurtz Automatic
  • LaFayette
  • LaMarne
  • Leach-Builtwell
  • Lorraine
  • Manexall
  • Marshall
  • Moller
  • Packard Twin Six
  • Parenti
  • Premocar
  • R&V Knight
  • Ranger
  • Severin
  • Shaw Colonial
  • Sheridan
  • Simms
  • Skelton
  • Southern Six
  • Stanwood
  • Texan
  • Wasp
1920 Packard Twin Six

1920 Packard Twin Six *

  • Indianapolis 500 winner: Gaston Chevrolet - Average speed: 88.6mph
  • The Nineteenth Amendment, granting women the right to vote, was passed
  • The first commercial radio station in the U.S.
  • U.S. population estimated to be 107,823,000 people
  • Babe Ruth joins the New York Yankees
  • Tornadoes killed 200 people in the U.S.
  • The VII Summer Olympics were held in Antwerp, Belgium
  • Baseball World Series was won by the Cleveland Indians
1921 (Return to Top)
Automobile Industry New Vehicles World Wide Events
  • Approximately 1,450,000 cars and 148,000 trucks were produced
  • William C. Durant founded Durant Motors
  • William S. Knudsen quit Ford and was hired by Chevrolet
  • The first Checker Cabs were built
  • Hydraulic brakes, glass wind wings and chrome plating was introduced
  • Ford cut prices and sales doubled
  • Detroit, IL, introduced synchronized street lights
  • Lead was first added to gasoline to help control the burn rate

Number of Cars Produced
Ford = 1,275,600
Chevrolet = 130,850
Buick = 82,950
Dodge = 81,000
Studebaker = 65,000

  • Adria
  • Ambassador
  • Automatic Electric
  • Birmingham
  • Bowman
  • Carroll Six
  • Checker Cab
  • Colonial
  • Commodore
  • Curtis
  • Drake
  • Driggs
  • Durant
  • Fox
  • Fremont
  • Friend
  • Handley-Knight
  • Hanover
  • Heine-Velox
  • Henney
  • Lincoln
  • McGill
  • Merit
  • Murray-Mae Six
  • Northway
  • Peters
  • Pierce-Arrow Model 32
  • Raleigh
  • Rees
  • Rodgers
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Romer
  • Sheridan
  • Spencer
  • Sperling
  • Washington
  • Wills St. Claire
  • Winther
  • Wizard
1921 Pierce-Arrow

1921 Pierce-Arrow Model 32 *

  • Indianapolis 500 winner: Tommy Milton - Average speed: 89.621 mph
  • Warren G. Harding became the 29th President
  • Harding was the first president to ride to the inauguration in a car
  • The first drive-in restaurant opened in Dallas, TX
  • Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize in Physics
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt was diagnosed with polio
  • Iowa established the first cigarette tax
  • Chanel Number 5 perfume was introduced
  • Baseball World Series was won by the New York Giants in eight games
1922 (Return to Top)
Automobile Industry New Vehicles World Wide Events
  • Approximately 2,274,2000 cars and 270,000 trucks were produced
  • Ford exceeded 50% of US car sales again.
  • William C. Durant built the inexpensive "Star" to compete with the Model T Ford
  • Balloon tries, gauges, air cleaners and rubber engine mounts were introduced
  • Henry Ford bought the Lincoln Motor Company
  • William C. Durant bought the Locomobile Company
  • Charles M. Schwab became president of the Stutz Motor Company
  • William S. Knudsen became vice president of Chevrolet
  • Most vehicle were bought on credit
  • The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) began evaluating used cars
  • An Oldsmobile averaged 67 mph over 1,000

Number of Cars Produced
Ford = 1,147,000
Dodge = 152,650
Chevrolet = 138,950
Buick = 123,150
Studebaker = 105,000

  • American (Steam)
  • Bay State
  • Cadillac Type 61
  • Coats Stem Car
  • Corinthian
  • Crane-Simplex
  • Detroit Air Cooled
  • Dagmar
  • Earl
  • Falcon
  • Farner
  • Ford Model TT
  • Frontenac
  • Goodspeed
  • Gray
  • Gregory
  • Jewett
  • McCurdy
  • Metropolitan
  • Richelieu
  • Rickenbaker
  • St. Louis
  • Star
  • Stratton-Bliss
  • Tarkington
  • Trask Steam
  • Waltham
  • Wharton
1922 Ford Model T

1922 Model T *

  • Indianapolis 500 winner: Jimmy Murphy - Average speed: 94.484 mph
  • The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was established
  • The Lincoln Memorial was dedicated
  • Prohibition law was amended to include home brewing
  • The Reader's Digest magazine was launched
  • Waterskiing occurred for the first time
  • The first U.S. aircraft carrier, the USS Langley was commissioned
  • Baseball World Series was won by the New York Giants
  • My Life and Worki> by Henry Ford was first published
  • The first suburban shopping center was built in St. Louis, MO
1923 (Return to Top)
Automobile Industry New Vehicles World Wide Events
  • Approximately 3,624,7000 cars and 409,300 trucks were produced
  • Alfred P. Sloan became president of the General Motors Corporation
  • William C. Durant produced the first station wagon in his "Star" line
  • Vacuum powered windshield wipers, headlight dimmers and 4-wheel brakes became standard
  • Car radios were introduced
  • Lead-based Ethyl gasoline was developed by General Motors and sold by Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company

Number of Cars Produced
Ford = 1,831,150
Dodge = 151,000
Chevrolet = 323,200
Buick = 201,550
Studebaker = 146,250

  • Barley
  • Cardway
  • Chevrolet Series M Copper-Cooled & Superior Series B
  • Courier
  • Deemster
  • Delling (Steam)
  • Detroit (Steam)
  • Eagle
  • Essex Raceabout
  • Flint
  • Harris Six
  • Leon Rubay
  • MacDonald
  • Princeton
  • Tollin
  • Sekine
  • Sterling-Knight
  • Indianapolis 500 winner: Tommy Milton - Average speed: 90.545 mph
  • Warren G. Harding died and Calvin Coolidge became the 30th President
  • The Teapot Dome Scandal took place
  • Time magazine was launched
  • One piece bathing suits for women came into fashion
  • The Ten Commandments and The Hunchback of Notre Dame were released
  • The town of Rosewood, FL, was burnt to the ground by the Ku Klux Llan
  • Yankee Stadium opened
  • Baseball World Series was won by the New York Yankees
  • The first portable radio was developed in the U.S.
1923 Essex Raceabout Roadster

1923 Essex Raceabout *

1924 (Return to Top)
Automobile Industry New Vehicles World Wide Events
  • Approximately 3,185,900 cars and 416,650 trucks were produced
  • Every vehicle at the National Automobile Show was gasoline powered for the first time
  • The Maxwell-Chalmers Corporation introduce the Chrysler, featuring 4-wheel hydraulic brakes
  • Straight eight cylinder engines became popular
  • Balloon tires and 4-wheel brakes became standard items
  • Lacquer paint, rather than enamel, was introduced
  • William S. Knudsen became president of Chevrolet
  • Nash Motors bought the LaFayette Motors Corporation
  • Chandler introduced the first synchromesh type transmission
  • The General Motors Proving Ground was built in Milford, MI
  • General Motors and Standard Oil formed the Ethyl Corporation

Number of Cars Produced
Ford = 1,720,800
Chevrolet = 264,850
Dodge = 193,850
Willys-Overland = 163,000
Buick = 160,400

  • Cadillac Type V-63
  • Chevrolet Superior Series F
  • Chrysler
  • Kleiber
  • Luxor
  • S&S
  • Schuler
  • Traveler
1924 Chrysler

1924 Chrysler *

  • Indianapolis 500 winner: Lora Corum & Joe Boyer - Average speed: 98.234 mph
  • Sir Malcolm Campbell set the world land speed record at 146.16 mph
  • Land speed record set in France - internal combustion engine - 145.90 mph
  • Land speed record set in England - internal combustion engine - 146.16 mph
  • The Gershwins wrote Rhapsody in Blue
  • International Business Machines (IBM) was founded
  • The first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was held in New York City
  • The U.S. Post Office started Airmail delivery
  • The Wrigley Building in Chicago, IL, was opened
  • Two U.S. Army planes flew around the world for the first time
  • Hoof and Mouth disease and Pneumonic Plague hit California
  • J. Edgar Hoover was appointed the first director what would become the FBI
  • The VIII Summer Olympics were held in Paris, France
  • The first Winter Olympics were held in Chamonix, France
  • Baseball World Series was won by the Washington Senators
1925 (Return to Top)
Automobile Industry New Vehicles World Wide Events
  • Approximately 3,735,200 cars and 530,650 trucks were produced
  • American vehicle production exceeded 25 million
  • Most car models were enclosed
  • Balloon tires, crank-type side windows, rumble seats, hydraulic brakes and bumpers became standard
  • The last Stanley Steamers were made
  • New synthetic pyroxylin paints were developed for durability
  • The first national rental car company was established
  • Popular accessories included, stop lights, cigarette lighters, mirrors, and locking radiator caps
  • A new Model T Ford was introduced for the first time in eight years
  • Lawrence P. Fisher became president of Cadillac
  • General Motors bought the Yellow Truck and Coach Manufacturing Company
  • Maxwell-Chalmers became the Chrysler Corporation
  • The Automobile Daily News publication was established

Number of Cars Produced
Ford = 1,669,850
Chevrolet = 306,500
Hudson/Essex = 269,450
Willys-Overland = 215,000
Dodge = 201,000

  • Ajax
  • Barbarino
  • Bauer
  • Buick Master Six
  • Chevrolet Superior Series K
  • Dodge Brothers Sedan
  • Diana
  • Majestic
  • Mayfair
1925 Dodge Brothers Sedan

1925 Dodge Brothers Sedan *

  • Indianapolis 500 winner: Peter DePaolo - Average speed: 101.127 mph
  • The Scopes Trial took place
  • WSM first broadcast The Grand Ole Opry
  • The first Motel opened in San Luis Obispo, CA
  • A giant tornado swept through Missouri, Illinois & Indiana
  • A Tennessee teacher was prosecuted for teaching evolution
  • Sears opened their first store in Chicago, Il
  • Calvin Coolidge started his second term as President
  • Scotch Tape was invented
  • Ben Hur and Phantom of the Opera were released
  • Baseball World Series was won by the Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Uniform road signs were established for national highways
  • The first transcontinental highway, called the Lincoln Highway, was opened
1926 (Return to Top)
Automobile Industry New Vehicles World Wide Events
  • Approximately 3,692,300 cars and 608,600 trucks were produced
  • Willys "Whippet" was the smallest American car
  • The Maxwell became the Chrysler 58
  • Cadillacs came out with safety glass
  • Hypoid gears were used to make differentials lower
  • Hot water heaters were introduced to replace exhaust-type heaters
  • General Motors bought the Fisher Body Corporation
  • Optional colors for the Model T Ford were offered for the first time in 13 years
  • Electric starters became standard on Fords
  • Chrysler introduced adjustable front seats

Number of Cars Produced
Ford = 1,426,600
Chevrolet = 547,700
Buick = 266,750
Dodge = 265,000
Hudson/Essex = 227,500

  • Cadillac Series 314
  • Chevrolet Superior Series V
  • Chrysler Imperial
  • Divco
  • Cavalier
1926 Peerless Sedan

1926 Peerless Sedan *

  • Indianapolis 500 winner: Frank Lockhart - Average speed: 95.104 mph
  • General Motors produced the first Pontiac
  • Henry Ford established the 40-hour work week
  • The first Kelly Blue Book was published
  • U.S. route 66 was opened between Chicago, IL, and Los Angeles, CA
  • The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) was founded as a radio station
  • Winnie-the-Pooh was published
  • The first liquid fuel rocket was flown
  • 27 tornados hit the U.S., including an "F4"
  • The U.S. population was 115 million
  • Gangsters like Al Capone are rampant in Chicago, IL
  • The "Great Miami Hurricane" wiped out the Miami area and killed over 1,000 people
  • Baseball World Series was won by the St. Louis Cardinals
1927 (Return to Top)
Automobile Industry New Vehicles World Wide Events
  • Approximately 2,936,550 cars and 464,800 trucks were produced
  • Alfred P. Sloan introduced "planned obsolescence" at General Motors
  • Chevrolet outproduced Ford for the first time
  • Smaller, lighter cars became the popular
  • REO introduced free-floating brakes
  • The Ajax was replaced by the Nash Light Six
  • Most cars had 4-wheel brakes, air and fuel filters, rear view mirrors and windshield wipers
  • The Paige-Detroit Motor Car Company became the Graham-Paige Motor Corporation
  • The last of over 15 million Model T Fords were built
  • Packard built a proving ground in Utica, MI
  • A Studebaker went 25,000 miles averaging 60 mph

Number of Cars Produced
Chevrolet = 1,001,800
Ford = 367,213
Hudson/Essex = 276,400
Buick = 255,150
Pontiac/Oakland = 188,150

  • Brooks (Steam)
  • Cadillac LaSalle
  • Calvert
  • Chevrolet Series AA Capitol
  • Erskine
  • FalconKnight
1927 Ford Touring Car

1927 Ford Touring Car *

  • Indianapolis 500 winner: George Souders - Average speed: 97.545 mph
  • Land speed record set in the U.S. - internal combustion engine - 203.79 mph
  • Time magazine person of the year: Charles Lindbergh
  • Sir Malcolm Campbell set the world land speed record at 174.883 mph
  • Charles Lindbergh made the first trans-Atlantic flight
  • The Jazz Singer was the first motion picture with sound
  • The Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) was founded
  • The Holland Tunnel under the Hudson River in New York opened
  • Charles Lindbergh flew "The Spirit of St. Louis" on the first solo transatlantic flight
  • The Mount Rushmore monument was started in South Dakota
  • The "Great Mississippi Flood" was the greatest natural disaster in U.S. history
  • Striking miners in Serene, CO, were massacred by machine gun fire
  • The first transatlantic telephone call between New York City and London, England
  • Pan American Airways was founded
  • The first talking movie pictures came out
  • Baseball World Series was won by the New York Yankees
1928 (Return to Top)
Automobile Industry New Vehicles World Wide Events
  • Approximately cars 3,775,400 and 583,350 trucks were produced
  • Increases in horsepower via 8-cylinder engines became more common
  • The new Model A Ford drew millions but Chevrolet continued to lead sales
  • The Dodge brothers sold out to Chrysler
  • Chrysler added the DeSoto and Plymouth to their line
  • Chandler introduced a vacuum brake system make by Westinghouse
  • Hudson was the first to produce a steering wheel with finger scallops
  • Safety glass and radios became more popular
  • Studebaker acquired Pierce-Arrow

Number of Cars Produced
Chevrolet = 1,193,200
Ford = 607,600
Willys-Overland = 315,000
Hudson/Essex = 282,200
Pontiac/Oakland = 244,600

  • Cadillac Series 341
  • Chevrolet Series AB National
  • Indianapolis 500 winner: Louis Meyer - Average speed: 99.482 mph
  • Cross country bus service was started
  • Land speed record set in U.S. - internal combustion engine - 207.552 mph
  • Time magazine person of the year: Walter Chrysler
  • Disney's first animated, Steamboat Willie, opened
  • Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean
  • The first Yo Yo factory opened
  • Alexander Flemming discovered penicillin
  • The "iron lung" was invented
  • Bubble gum was invented
  • A major hurricane killed over 500 in West Palm Beach, FL
  • The St. Francis dam collapsed in California killing hundreds
  • The IX Summer Olympics were held in Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • The II Winter Olympics were held in St. Moritz, Switzerland
  • Baseball World Series was won by the New York Yankees
1928 Chevrolet AB National

1928 Chevrolet AB National *

1929 (Return to Top)
Automobile Industry New Vehicles World Wide Events
  • Approximately 4,455,200 cars 882,000 and trucks were produced
  • David D. Buick and Walter C. White died
  • Sales of the Model A Ford overtook Chevrolet
  • Duesenberg Model J inspired the term, "It's a Duesy"
  • Front wheel drive cars were introduced
  • Running boards began to disappear
  • Chrysler first used downdraft carburetors
  • Aerocar introduced a camping trailer
  • Most all new cars were enclosed models
  • Nash incorporated dual spark plugs

Number of Cars Produced
Ford = 1,507,100
Chevrolet = 1,328,600
Hudson/Essex = 400,000
Willys-Overland = 242,000
Pontiac/Oakland = 211,050

  • Blackhawk
  • Chevrolet Series AC International
  • Cord
  • Duesenberg Model J
  • Fargo
  • Marmon Roosevelt
  • Marquette
1929 Packard 626

1929 Packard 626 *

  • Motorola Corporation produced the first car radio
  • Indianapolis 500 winner: Ray Keech - Average speed: 97.585 mph
  • Land speed record set in U.S. - internal combustion engine - 231.446 mph
  • Herbert Hoover became the 31st President
  • Time magazine person of the year: Owen D. Young
  • The St. Valentine's Day massacre occurred in Chicago, IL
  • The beginning of the "Great Depression"
  • The Museum of Modern Art opened in New York City
  • American Samoa officially became a United States territory
  • The U.S. population was 120 million
  • The Popeye comic strip started
  • The first Academy Awards occurred
  • The soft drink "7-up" was invented
  • Sam Foster came out with Sunglasses
  • Baseball World Series was won by the Philadelphia Athletics
1930 (Return to Top)
Automobile Industry New Vehicles World Wide Events
  • Approximately 2,900,200 cars 600,000 and trucks were produced
  • Cadillac introduced a V-16 as demands for more horsepower continued
  • The American Austin Car Company opened to build cars similar to the British Austin Seven
  • Ford changed the hood height of the Model A
  • Very few of the top selling automobiles used wood
  • Most of the high-end automobiles came wired for a radio
  • Cadillac adopted hydraulic lifters
  • Hupmobile was the first to use an oil cooler
  • Studebaker introduced helical gears in their transmissions
  • The Graham-Paige became just "Graham"
  • Essex and Hudson introduced new convertible tops

Number of Cars Produced
Ford = 1,140,700
Chevrolet = 650,000
Buick = 181,750
Studebaker = 123,200
Hudson/Essex = 113,900

  • Cadillac Series 353, 370, V-12 & V-16
  • Chevrolet Universal Series AD
  • Chrysler CJ
  • DuPont Speedster
  • Franklin Club Sedan
  • Marquette
1930 Franklin Club Sedan

1930 Franklin Club Sedan *

  • The Chrysler Building in New York City was completed
  • Indianapolis 500 winner: Billy Arnold - Average speed: 100.448 mph
  • Time magazine person of the year: Mahatma Gandhi
  • The first frozen vegetables packaged by Birdseye went on sale
  • The average of a new house was about $7,000 and rent was about $15 per month
  • The average annual wage was less than $2,000
  • All Quiet on the Western Front movie was released
  • 1,350 banks failed, unemployment reached 8.7%
  • Fire at Ohio State Penitentiary killed 320 inmates
  • The worst drought in U.S. history was the beginning of "The Dust Bowl Years"
  • Pluto was identified as the ninth planet in our solar system
  • Baseball World Series was won by the Philadelphia Athletics
1931 (Return to Top)
Automobile Industry New Vehicles World Wide Events
  • Approximately 2,038,200 cars and 434,200 trucks were produced
  • Chevrolet sales topped Ford again - but just barely
  • American vehicle production reached 50 million
  • Many companies added "freew-heeling"
  • Oldsmobile introduced the synchromesh transmission
  • Packard offered adjustable shock absorbers
  • The National Automobile Chamber of Commerce (NACC) recommended that manufacturers offer a 90 day, 4,000 waranty
  • The first retractable hard top was introduced

Number of Cars Produced
Chevrolet = 619,550
Ford = 615,450
Buick = 138,950
Studebaker = 96,150
Pontiac = 84,700

  • Cadillac Series 355
  • Chevrolet Series AE Independence
  • DeSoto Roadster
  • Ford Model A Town Sedan and Victoria
  • Indianapolis 500 winner: Louis Schneider - Average speed: 96.629 mph
  • Land speed record set in Africa - internal combustion engine - 246.09 mph
  • Time magazine person of the year: Pierre Laval
  • The Empire State Building opened as the tallest building in the world
  • U.S. unemployment reached 16.3 percent
  • Gasoline cost 10 cents per gallon
  • Jacob Schick invented the electric razor
  • Wallace Corothers invented nylon
  • The aerosol can was invented in Sweden
  • Nevada legalized gambling
  • The Star Spangled Banner became the national anthem
  • The George Washing Bridge opened in New York
  • The U.S. population reached 122 million
  • Work started on the Boulder Dam on the Colorado River
  • 2,500 more banks failed in the U.S.
  • The movie Frankenstein opened
  • Baseball World Series was won by the St. Louis Cardinals
1931 DeSoto Roadster

1931 DeSoto Roadster *

1932 (Return to Top)
Automobile Industry New Vehicles World Wide Events
  • Approximately 1,186,200 cars and 245,300 trucks were produced
  • Chevrolet continued to lead sales
  • Plymouth became number three in sales (after Chevrolet and Ford) for the first time, marking the beginning of "The Big Three"
  • Several companies offered V-12 engines
  • The Auburn "Boattail Speedster" was a big hit
  • Vacuum operated clutches were common
  • Automatic chokes and inside sun visors were offered
  • A riot over layoffs at Ford killed four
  • Franklin introduced the "Airman" line
  • William S. Knudsen took over Pontiac
  • REO introduced the "Flying Could"
  • The Big Three continued to lead the market in sales

Number of Cars Produced
Chevrolet = 313,400
Ford = 210,800
Plymouth = 186,100
Hudson = 57,550
Buick = 56,800

  • Chevrolet Series BA Confederate, Twin Six
  • Duesenberg Model SJ
  • Essex Terraplane
  • Ford Model B & Y
  • Nash Ambassador
  • Packard Light Eight 900 Series
  • Studebaker Rockne
1932 Packard Series 900 Light Eight

1932 Packard Series 900 Light Eight *

  • Indianapolis 500 winner: Fred Frame - Average speed: 104.144 mph
  • Time magazine person of the year: Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • U.S. unemployment reached 24 percent
  • Al Capone was convicted of tax evasion
  • The X Summer Olympics were held in Los Angeles, CA
  • The III Winter Olympics were held in Lake Placid, NY
  • Charles Lindberg's son was kidnapped
  • Baseball World Series was won by the New York Yankees
  • The movie Tarzan the Ape Man opened
  • The first parking meter was used in Oklahoma
  • Edwin Land invented the Polaroid camera
1933 (Return to Top)
Automobile Industry New Vehicles World Wide Events
  • Approximately 1,627,350 cars and 358,550 trucks were produced
  • Chevrolet continued to lead in sales
  • Aerodynamics became a selling point
  • Power brakes, independent front suspension, removable vale seats and starter buttons under the gas pedal were introduced
  • Ford began annual body style changes
  • Alfred P. Sloan forced GM dealers to sell all three lines of Buicks, Oldsmobiles and Pontiacs
  • Studebaker, Stutz and Willys-Overland faced financial problems
  • C.L. McCuen became president of Oldsmobile
  • The first NADA Used Car Guide was published
  • The Big Three continued to lead the market in sales

Number of Cars Produced
Chevrolet = 486,250
Ford = 334,950
Plymouth = 298,550
Dodge = 106,100
Pontiac = 90,200

  • Chevrolet Eagle, became Chevrolet Master
  • Chevrolet Mercury, became Chevrolet Standard
  • Chevrolet Suburban
  • Willys 77
1933 Chevrolet Master Eagle

1933 Chevrolet Master Eagle *

  • Indianapolis 500 winner: Louis Meyer - Average speed: 104.162 mph
  • Adolf Hitler ordered Ferdinand Porsche to build the "People's Car", which became the "Volkswagen"
  • Time magazine person of the year: Hugh Samuel Johnson
  • The Twentieth Amendment, making new terms for elected federal officials begin on January 20th, was passed
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt became the 32nd President
  • Roosevelt introduced The New Deal
  • The Twenty-first Amendment, ending prohibition, was passed
  • Baseball World Series was won by the New York Giants
  • U.S. unemployment peaked at over 25 percent
  • Wiley Post became the first man to fly solo around the world
  • The Loch Ness Monster was sighted for the first time in Scotland
  • The first drive in theater opened in Camden, New Jersey
  • The chocolate chip cookie and Monopoly were invented
1934 (Return to Top)
Automobile Industry New Vehicles World Wide Events
  • Approximately 2,270,550 cars and 599,400 trucks were produced
  • Harlow H. Curtice became head of GMs Buick division
  • Pierce-Arrow field for bankruptcy
  • American Austin went out of business
  • Hudson made the "Terraplane" as a new line of cars
  • Ford regained their lead in sales
  • The Big Three continued to lead the market in sales

Number of Cars Produced
Chevrolet = 563,900
Ford = 551,200
Plymouth = 321,150
Dodge = 95,000
Hudson/Terraplane = 85,850

  • Chrysler Airflow
  • DeSoto Airflow
  • Nash LaFayette
  • Plymouth Deluxe
  • REO S-4 Flying Cloud
1934 Plymouth Deluxe

1934 Plymouth Deluxe *

  • Indianapolis 500 winner: Bill Cummings - Average speed: 104.863 mph
  • The "Dust Bowl" drought in the Great Plains began
  • John Dillinger was killed by the FBI and local police
  • Time magazine person of the year: Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were killed by the FBI
  • Baseball World Series was won by the St. Louis Cardinals
  • Lindbergh was found dead
  • The Loch Ness Monster was sighted for the first time in Scotland
  • Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary was opened in San Francisco Bay, CA
  • The "Flying Dutchman" was the first train to hit 100 mph
  • The trampoline was invented
  • Donald Duck appeared for the first time
1935 (Return to Top)
Automobile Industry New Vehicles World Wide Events
  • Approximately 3,387,800 cars and 732,000 trucks were produced
  • Overall vehicle sales improved and Chevrolet took a generous lead
  • Consumers were budget minded and lower priced vehicle sold best
  • Roy C. Evans bought American Austin to build "American Bantams"
  • Pierce-Arrow found financing to continue operations
  • Paul G. Hoffman became president of Studebaker
  • Ford introduced the "Woody" station wagon
  • Graham faced financial problems
  • Packard introduced the "One-Twenty" models

Number of Cars Produced
Chevrolet = 820,250
Ford = 448,200
Plymouth = 350,900
Pontiac = 178,800
Dodge = 159,000

  • Chevrolet Suburban Carryall
  • Chrysler Airstream
  • DeSoto Airstream & Airflow
  • Ford Model 48
  • Ford Woody
1935 DeSoto Airflow

1935 DeSoto Airflow *

  • Indianapolis 500 winner: Kelly Petillo - Average speed: 106.240 mph
  • Land speed record set in U.S. - internal combustion engine - 276.816 mph
  • The first parking meters were installed in Oklahoma City, OK
  • Time magazine person of the year: Haile Selassie I
  • The FBI was established
  • Alcoholics Anonymous was founded
  • The U.S. unemployment rate began to drop
  • Temperature in Oklahoma reached 117 as "Dust Bowl" continued
  • Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in New York City
  • The first can of beer went on sale
  • Penguin Press published the first paperback book
  • The first public housing project was launched in New York
  • The first Orange Bowl football game was played
  • Baseball World Series was won by the Detroit Tigers
  • General Electric sold the first fluorescent tube light
  • Igor Sikorsky invented the helicopter
1936 (Return to Top)
Automobile Industry New Vehicles World Wide Events
  • Approximately 3,669,500 cars and 784,600 trucks were produced
  • Ford regained the lead in sales
  • Cord introduced the "Coffin-Nose" 810
  • REO switched from cars to trucks
  • The "American Bantam" minicar went into production
  • Window defrosters were introduced
  • Nash merged with the Kelvinator Corporation to become Nash-Kelvinator
  • Buick began to name their vehicle rather than numbers and introduced the "Century" and "Roadmaster"

Number of Cars Produced
Ford = 930,800
Chevrolet = 918,300
Plymouth = 520,050
Dodge = 263,650
Oldsmobile = 200,550

  • American Bantam
  • Bentley
  • Buick Century, Special & Buick Roadmaster
  • Cadillac Series 60 and 70
  • Lincoln Zephyr
  • Nash 400
  • Stutz Bearcat
1936 Ford Coupe

1936 Ford Coupe *

  • Indianapolis 500 winner: Louis Meyer - Average speed: 109.069 mph
  • Life magazine published its first issue
  • Time magazine person of the year: Wallis Simpson
  • Baseball World Series was won by the New York Yankees
  • The XI Summer Olympics were held in Berlin, Germany
  • The IV Winter Olympics were held in Germany
  • The Hover Dam (aka Boulder Dam) on the Colorado River completed
  • Magnetic recording tape was invented
  • The Zippo lighter was invented
  • Popular movies: The Alamo and The Great Ziegfeld
  • Billboard Magazine published the first pop music chart
1937 (Return to Top)
Automobile Industry New Vehicles World Wide Events
  • Approximately 3,915,900 cars and 893,100 trucks were produced
  • Pierce-Arrow filed for bankruptcy
  • Windshield washers were introduced
  • A Hudson averaged over 87 mph for 2,104 miles
  • Increased usage of safety glass and all steel bodies continues
  • Autoworkers unions took hold
  • Buick introduced the steering wheel horn ring
  • Hydraulic brakes, hydraulic lifters and independent front suspension were popular

Number of Cars Produced
Ford = 942,000
Chevrolet = 815,400
Plymouth = 566,150
Dodge = 295,050
Pontiac = 236,200

  • Cadillac Series 65 & LaSalle Opera Coupe
  • Chrysler Royal
  • Ford Deluxe
  • GMC Suburban
  • Hudson Utility Coupe)
  • Willys Americar
  • Zephry Town Limousine
  • Indianapolis 500 winner: Wilbur Shaw - Average speed: 113.580 mph
  • The first flying car was demonstrated
  • Land speed record set in the U.S. - internal combustion engine - 311.42 mph
  • Time magazine person of the year: Soong May-ling & Chiang Kai-shek
  • U.S. unemployment continued to drop, reached 14 percent
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt was began his second term as President
  • The "Dust Bowl" continued in the Midwest
  • Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first full-length animated movie
  • The Hindenburg blimp exploded in New Jersey
  • Amelia Earhart disappeared over the Pacific Ocean
  • The Golden Gate Bridge was completed in San Francisco
  • Baseball World Series was won by the New York Yankees
  • The "Memorial Day Massacre", police killed union demonstrators in Chicago, IL
  • The National Basketball League (NBL) was established
  • Joe Louis (aka The Brown Bomber) became the World Heavyweight Champion
  • Disney released Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • John Steinbeck wrote Of Mice and Men
  • The Golden Gate Bridge was opened over the entrance to San Francisco Bay, CA
  • The first blood bank opened in Chicago
1937 Cadillac LaSalle Opera Coupe

1937 Cadillac LaSalle Opera Coupe *

1938 (Return to Top)
Automobile Industry New Vehicles World Wide Events
  • Approximately 2,001,000 cars and 488,100 trucks were produced
  • Automobile sales fell 40 percent
  • Chevrolet took back the lead in sales
  • The Hudson Terraplane returned to the Hudson line of vehicles
  • Hupmobile started up again
  • Steering column gear shifters were introduced
  • Buick introduced rear coil spring suspension
  • Semi-automatic transmissions were common
  • Running boards were less evident and spare tires were no longer put on them
  • Packard renamed the "One-Twenty" the "Eight"
  • Studebaker renamed the "Dictator" the "Commander"
  • General Motors built their first experimental "Dream Car"

Number of Cars Produced
Chevrolet = 465,150
Ford = 410,250
Plymouth = 285,700
Buick = 168,700
Dodge = 114,550

  • Cadillac Sixty Special
  • Chrysler New York Special Touring Sedan
  • International Harvester Metro Van
1938 Dodge Pickup Truck

1938 Dodge Pickup Truck *

  • Indianapolis 500 winner: Floyd Roberts - Average speed: 117.200 mph
  • Land speed record set in U.S. - internal combustion engine - 357.5 mph
  • Orson Welles broadcasted The War of the Worlds
  • Time magazine person of the year: Adolf Hitler
  • Baseball World Series was won by the New York Yankees
  • The "Long Island Express" hurricane devastated the Northeast
  • The Honeymoon Bridge over Niagara Falls collapsed
  • The first "seeing eye dog" was used
  • Floods and landslides in Los Angeles, CA, killed 200 people
  • Federal minimum wage minimum was set at 25 cents per hour
  • Howard Hughes set a record for flying around the world in three days, 19 hours
  • "Seabiscuit" beat "War Admiral" in the match race
  • The RMS Queen Elizabeth was launched in Clydebank, Scotland
  • The first issue of Action Comics was published
  • Orson Welles caused panic with his broadcast of The War of the Worlds
  • Ball point pends went on sale
  • Teflon was invented
  • The first nylon toothbrushes went on sale
  • Chester Carlston invented the photocopier
1939 (Return to Top)
Automobile Industry New Vehicles World Wide Events
  • V-8 engines were favored over V-12s
  • Most cars had column shifters
  • Ford, Lincoln and Mercury were among the last to adopt hydraulic brakes
  • Headlights became part of the front fenders
  • Many companies were experimenting with methods to automatically shift gears
  • Heaters and radios were popular options
  • Packard started making engines for PT boats
  • Packard introduced the first air conditioned car

Number of Cars Produced
Chevrolet = 577,300
Ford = 487,050
Plymouth = 423,850
Buick = 208,250
Dodge = 186,500

  • Crosley Bantam
  • Cadillac Series 61
  • Chrysler New Yorker, Windsor and Saratoga
  • Hudson Pacemaker and Country Club
  • White Horse
1939 Cadillac Series 61

1939 Cadillac Series 61 *

  • Indianapolis 500 winner: Wilber Shaw - Average speed: 115.035 mph
  • Land speed record set in U.S. - internal combustion engine - 367.91 mph
  • Time magazine person of the year: Joseph Stalin
  • Nazi Germany invaded Poland starting World War II
  • The 1939 New York World's Fair
  • Baseball World Series was won by the New York Yankees
  • Albert Einstein encouraged President Roosevelt to develop an atomic bomb, leading to the "Manhattan Project"
  • The Worlds Fair opened in New York
  • LaGuardia Airport opened in New York
  • Regularly scheduled television broadcasts began in the U.S.
  • The "Dust Bowl" continued in the Midwest
  • Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz were popular movies
  • Hewitt Packard Corporation was formed
1940 (Return to Top)
Automobile Industry New Vehicles World Wide Events
  • Approximately 3,692,350 cars and 777,050 trucks were produced
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt put GM president William S. Knudsen in charge of directing production for national defense
  • Oldsmobile introduced the first fully automatic transmission
  • Sealed beam headlights became standard
  • Running boards became an extra
  • Radios, heaters and defrosters were standards
  • Walter P. Chrysler died

Number of Cars Produced
Chevrolet = 764,600
Ford = 541,900
Plymouth = 430,200
Buick = 278,800
Dodge = 225,600

  • Buick Estate & Super
  • Cadillac Series 62
  • Chevrolet Royal Clipper
  • Crosley woody station wagon
  • Dodge WC series
  • Lincoln Continental
  • Packard Convertible Victoria
  • Nash 600
1940 Buick Super

1940 Buick Super *

  • Indianapolis 500 winner: Wilber Shaw - Average speed: 114.277 mph
  • The "Great Depression" was about over and gasoline rose to 11 cents per gallon
  • The average price for a new car was $850
  • Time magazine person of the year: Winston Churchill
  • The average cost of a new house was under $4,000 and rent was about $30 per month
  • The cartoon characters Bugs Bunny and Tom and Jerry debuted
  • Billboard magazine published its first music popularity chart
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected to a third term
  • Baseball World Series was won by the Cincinnati Reds
  • The XII Summer V Winter Olympics were cancelled because of WW II
  • The U.S. started the draft in preparation for WW II
  • The U.S. established the 40 hour work week
  • The "Tacoma Narrows Bridge" collapsed in Washington state from high winds
  • Race riots occurred in Chicago, Harlem, Los Angeles and Detroit due to treatment by the military
  • Nylon stockings went on sale
1941 (Return to Top)
Automobile Industry New Vehicles World Wide Events
  • Approximately 3,744,300 cars and 1,094,250 trucks were produced
  • Buick and Oldsmobile offered "fastback" sedans
  • The Willy's Jeep was adopted by the U.S. Army
  • Packard introduced air conditioning
  • Cadillac LaSalle was replaced by the Series Sixty-One
  • All Chevrolets had independent front suspension
  • Over 650 Automotive Manufacturers Association (AMA) members joined The Automotive Council for War Production (ACWP) to support the war effort

Number of Cars Produced
Chevrolet = 1,009,000
Ford = 691,450
Plymouth = 522,100
Buick = 374,200
Pontiac = 330,050

  • Chevrolet AK Series, Fleetline, Styleline
  • Chrysler Town & Country station wagon
  • Ford Super Deluxe
  • Hudson Commodore
  • Nash 600
  • Packard 4-door Clipper
  • Willys Van
1941 Ford Super Deluxe Coupe

1941 Ford Super Deluxe *

  • Gasoline rose to 12 cents per gallon
  • Indianapolis 500 winner: Floyd Davis & Mauri Rose - Average speed: 115.117 mph
  • Time magazine person of the year: Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • NBC began television broadcasts
  • The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt started his third term as President
  • Baseball World Series was won by the New York Yankees
  • The U.S. declared war against Japan for attacked Pearl Harbor and entered World War II
  • Mt. Rushmore was completed in South Dakota
  • The fourth Tuesday of November was established as Thanksgiving Day
  • The G.I. Bill was established to help WW II veterans
  • Citizen Kane and Dumbo were popular movies
1942 (Return to Top)
Automobile Industry New Vehicles World Wide Events
  • Government forced manufacturers to build products that supported the war effort
  • Civilian car production ended on February 9th
  • Civilian truck production ended on March 3rd
  • Vehicles produced after January first were not allowed to have chrome
  • Oldsmobile became a division of General Motors

Number of Cars Produced
Chevrolet = 254,900
Ford = 160,450
Plymouth = 152,450
Buick = 92,550
Pontiac = 83,550

  • Ford 2GA
  • Chrysler New Yorker
  • Vehicle manufacturers switched to making war materials
  • Indianapolis 500 winner: No race due to WW II
  • Gasoline rose to 15 cents per gallon
  • National speed limit was set to 40mpg, then 35mph, to save fuel and tires
  • Gasoline rationing limited people to three gallons per week
  • Time magazine person of the year: Joseph Stalin
  • Japanese American internment camps were established began
  • Popular movies: Casablanca and Bambi
  • A fire at the Cocoanut Grove restruant killed 492 people
  • The "K9 Corps" was established to train dogs for warfare
  • The Alaskan Highway through Canada was completed
  • Duck Tape was developed for military use
  • The first nuclear reactor was built in Chicago
  • The Manhattan Project was started to develop a nuclear bomb
  • Instant coffee was introduced
  • Napalm was created at Harvard University
  • Baseball World Series was won by the St. Louis Cardinals
1942 Chrysler New Yorker

1942 Chrysler New Yorker *

1943 (Return to Top)
Automobile Industry New Vehicles World Wide Events
  • The Automotive Council for War Production (ACWP) reported that 1,038 automobile plants were producing war products
  • Chrysler built guns, aircraft engines, tug boats and electrical components
  • Graham-Paige produced amphibious tanks
  • Crosley built boat engines
  • Ford built airplanes
  • Studebaker built trucks and aircraft engines
  • Hudson aircraft engines, fuselages and weapons
  • Oldsmobile built aircraft and weapon parts
  • Packard built Rolls-Royce Merlin aircraft engines
  • Joseph Frazer took over Graham-Paige
  • Edsel Ford died and Henry Ford returned as the president of Ford Motor Company
(No new civilian vehicles)
  • Vehicle registration tax was introduced
  • Indianapolis 500 winner: No race due to WW II
  • The "Great Depression" officially ended
  • Time magazine person of the year: George Marshall
  • Race riots took place in Detroit, Michigan
  • The Pentagon became the worlds largest office building
  • General Dwight D. Eisenhower became the Supreme Allied Commander
  • The Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C. was completed
  • Montana Coal & Iron Company explosion killed 74
  • The first Golden Globe Awards occurred
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls was in theaters
  • Jacques Cousteau and Emile Gagnan developed the aqualung
  • Richard James invented the Slinky
  • Baseball World Series was won by the New York Yankees
1944 (Return to Top)
Automobile Industry New Vehicles World Wide Events
  • Even more automobile manufacturers supported the war effort
  • Civilian pickup trucks went back into production
  • Automakers built over a million trucks and most of the tanks used in the war
  • Over 4,000 used vehicles were scrapped every day for their metal
  • Synthetic rubber was invented
(No new civilian vehicles)
  • Indianapolis 500 winner: No race due to WW II
  • The G.I. Bill was passed
  • American forces landed in Normandy, France
  • Time magazine person of the year: Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • The Battle of the Bulge took place
  • F.D. Roosevelt was elected to a fourth term
  • 19,000 U.S. solders killed at The Battle of The Bulge
  • The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was formed
  • Benjamin Green invented Sunscreen, then founded the Coppertone Company
  • Anne Frank was captured and sent to a German concentration camp
  • Baseball World Series was won by the St. Louis Cardinals
  • The XIII Summer and V Winter Olympics were cancelled because of WW II
1945 (Return to Top)
Automobile Industry New Vehicles World Wide Events
  • The War Production Board permitted civilian automobile production to resume on July 1st
  • The Kaiser-Frazer Corporation was formed
  • Henry Ford's grandson, Henry II, became president of Ford Motor Company
  • The The Automotive Council for War Production (ACWP) was closed
  • Materials remained scarce
  • Many manufacturers put a quick facelift on 1942 vehicles
  • Chevrolet Deluxe, Fleetline & Stylemaster
  • Dodge Pickup Truck Power Wagon
  • Jeep CJ
1946 Buick Special

1946 Buick Special *

  • Automobile production in the United States for private consumers resumed
  • Indianapolis 500 winner: No race due to WW II
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt began his fourth term as President
  • Gasoline rationing ended on August 15th
  • Time magazine person of the year: Harry S. Truman
  • Roosevelt died; Harry S. Truman became the 33rd President
  • Germany surrendered ending World War II in Europe
  • Atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ending the was with Japan
  • The United Nations was founded, replacing the League of Nations
  • The Nuremberg Trials began
  • Benjamin Spock's The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care was published
  • U.S. bomber crashed into 79th floor of the Empire State Building
  • Percy Spencer accidentally invented the microwave oven
  • Only 5,000 homes had televisions
  • Baseball World Series was won by the Detroit Tigers

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