The mobilization of the American automotive industry to support the Allied war effort was a phenomenon. Although not without its trip-ups and hiccups, it was nonetheless one of the outstanding examples of corporate cooperation with government in US history.
Only General Motors, in their Eastern Aircraft Division, Goodyear, and Ford built aircraft, but many auto manufacturers built subassemblies, components, engines or engine parts for the effort.
Briggs Manufacturing Company
Prewar, Briggs had been a major supplier of stamped-steel bodywork to the major auto manufacturers. During the war they produced parts and subassemblies for A-20, B-17, B-26, B-29 and F4U.
Chrysler's Dodge Division manufactured the Wright R-3350 Cyclone 18 or Duplex Cyclone engines.
Continental Motors Corporation
Continental Motors Company was an auto-engine manufacturer who undertook to build their own line of cars in the 1930s. They developed the Continental Aircraft Engine Company subsidiary to supply aircraft engines. Their aircraft engines powered a wide variety of light planes.
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company built entire B-24 Liberator bombers at Willow Run under license from Consolidated Vultee and kits to be put through final assembly at other licensee plants. They also produced license-built Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp engines, especially at their purpose-built River Rouge plane. And Ford, at their Tafford Park facility near Manchester, England, built a large number of Rolls-Royce Merlin engines. An early announcement had said that Ford would build Merlins in the United States, but that deal fell through and the production contract went to Packard.
Ford also developed the US clone of the V-1 pulse-jet engine and partnered with Republic to produce the JB-2 Loon.
General Motors Corporation
General Motors Corporation was a large conglomerate with many divisions.
- Aeroproducts Division
Aeroproducts manufactured propellers.
- Allison Division
Allison manufactured the V-1710 series of inline liquid-cooled engines. They developed the V-3420 engine, but it never went into an operational aircraft.
- Buick Motor Division
Buick built large numbers of license-built Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp engines at the Melrose Park, IL, plant and R-2000 Twin Wasp engines at their Flint, MI, plant.
- Chevrolet Motor Division
Chevrolet manufactured large numbers of license-built Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp engines.
- Fisher Body Division
Fisher supplied components and/or subassemblies for the B-17, B-25 and B-29. They also re-engined the B-19 and developed the XP-75.
- Oldsmobile Division
Oldsmobile produced armaments. They supplied all the types of cannon used in US warplanes.
- "Fire-power and Horse-power for the Navy, too!" features a drawing of a Helldiver firing wing guns and a Corsair in flight with a fleet carrier in the background.
Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company
Goodyear was one of the primary suppliers of tires and other rubber goods.
Goodyear Aircraft Company manufactured blimps and license-built Corsair fighters. They also developed the F2G Super Corsair.
Graham-Paige Motors Corporation
Graham-Paige was one of the multitude of relatively minor auto manufacturers that proliferated in the 1920s and 30s. They had closed their doors in late 1940, but reopened the plant for the war effort. Having had experience as an engine manufacturer, they became a supplier of engine components for Wright engines.
Hudson Motor Car Company
Hudson supplied subassemblies for the B-26 and components for Wright engines.
Murray Corporation of America
Murray Corp was a significant supplier of stamped-steel bodywork to the automotive industry. They retooled to provide part for A-20, B-17, B-29 and P-47.
Nash-Kelvinator produced license-built Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp engines and Hamilton-Standard propellers. They also produced the majority of R-6A Sikorsky helicopters.
Packard Motor Company
Packard built engines. Pertinent to the aircraft subject, they built the V-1650 Merlin on license from Rolls-Royce. They also built the _M-2500 series of marine engines used by PT boats and British patrol boats.
Studebaker produced large quantities of license-built Wright R-1820 Cyclone or Cyclone 9 engines, mostly for the Boeing B-17.