In 1947 the automotive industry was in full swing again and sold almost as many vehicles as in 1941, namely 3,558,178 cars and 1,239,443 trucks and buses. The latter figure was the highest ever, so far, 266,795 cars and 263,351 trucks were exported. Kaiser-Frazer Corporation had bought the automotive assets of Graham-Paige and produced 11,753 cars in 1946, 144,506 in 1947, thus becoming the largest producer outside the Big Three. Preston Tucker produced a few pilot models of his revolutionary rear-engined car.
Chevrolet opened new assembly plants in Flint, Michigan and Van Nuys, California, and introduced overhead assembly lines. Studebaker bought a wartime aircraft engine plant at South Bend. Two famous pioneers of the American automotive industry, William Crapo Durant (founder of General Motors) and Henry Ford both died in 1947. Canada banned import of US vehicles, but several makes were assembled or produced in Canadian subsidiaries of US companies. In the US, driving education courses were adopted in many high schools.
Next to bring out an envelope body-albeit with fender lines still accentuated, was Studebaker, when the 1947 models were presented in the Fall of '46. Those new Studebakers weren't as wide and as low as the Kaiser-Frazer cars, but they possessed a revolutionary styling concept nonetheless, with their wrap-around rear windows and crisp, uncluttered lines. The design, a portent of future styling, may be credited to an at-the-time relatively unknown designer, Virgil M. Exner, although Raymond Loewy was often incorrectly connected with its development.
Buick offered Special, Super and Roadmaster models, as in 1946. Except for the restyled radiator grille, they were substantially the same as the 1946 models. A Roadmaster Estate Wagon was added to the range, which now consisted of ten individual models. 1948 models were similar in appearance. Pictured left is a Series 40 Special Sedanet with 121-inch wheelbase.
Cadillac Series 62 was available as two- and four-door (shown) sedan and two-door convertible, selling at US$2446, US$2523 and US$2902 respectively. Largest Cadillacs, priced up to US$4887, were in the Fleetwood 75 line.
Chevrolet Series EK Fleetline differed from Fleetmaster in body styling. Pictured left is the four-door Sportmaster Sedan, Model 2113. The other Fleetline model (Aerosedan, EK2144) was a two-door fastback coupe with lowered roofline and seat height. Both had distinctive triple mouldings on fenders.
Ford 1947 models differed but slightly from 1946. The main exterior difference was reshaping and relocation of parking lights which were now circular and situated below the headlights. There were three basic series: 79A 100-bhp V8). 7GA (90-bhp Six) and 7HA (95-bhp Six) All had 114-in. wb and there were eleven body styles.
Frazer F47 Sedan was one of eight models offered by Kaiser-Frazer. This included a new luxurious model named Manhattan. Cars were of conventional design with Continental L-head Six engine but had advanced body styling by Howard Oarrin.
Hudson Super Six Sedan
Hudson Super Six Sedan. Also available were Super Eight and Commodore Six and Eight, all on 121-inch wheelbase. There were 12 models, priced from US$1628 to US$2196. Over 100,000 were produced.
Hudson Super Six Sedan
Hudson produced its three-millionth car in 1947. It is shown here alongside No. 1 of 1909.
The Kaiser K100 Special Sedan was one of two models available and sold at US$1868. Wheelbase was 123½-inches, engine 226·2 CID Six. The other model was the K101 Custom. Kaiser-Frazer Corp. employed some 21,000 people, mainly at their Willow Run plant near Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Mercury, like Lincoln, was substantially the same car as in 1946. The main exterior difference were the shorter body side mouldings with separate name plates on hood (bonnet) sides. Series designation was 79M.
The Monarch was Canadian-built version of the Mercury and differed mainly in having its own distinctive grille. It was introduced in 1946 and continued virtually unchanged until 1948.
Packard DeLuxe Eight Clipper was similar to 1946 equivalent and sold at US$2124 (Club Sedan) and US$2149 (Touring Sedan). They were designated 21st Series, Model 2111, had 120 inch wheelbase and 282 CID L-head motor. Several other models, Sixes and Eights, were available.
The Pontiac Streamliner Sedan Coupe was available as Six (6MB) or Eight (8MB), both on 122-inch wheelbase. In addition there was the Torpedo Six (6MA) and Eight (8MA) with 119-inch wheelbase. 22 body styles were listed. Chassis were offered from US$1046 (6MA). General Motors of Canada produced their own Pontiacs, using Chevrolet bodyshells (eg. the Pontiac Fleetleader Special was basically a Chevrolet Fleetline Aero Sedan with distinguishing radiator grille, emblems, etc.).
Studebaker Model 6G Champion Regal DeLuxe 5-passenger Coupe featured trendsetting 'coming-or-going' body styling by Raymond Loewy (introduced on Commander in May 1946). The wheelbase was 112 inches, overall length 192 inches, engine 170 CID Six.
Tucker Corporation's Model 48 Sedan had a rear-mounted 166-bhp horizontally-opposed six-cylinder engine, IFS, IRS, 128-inch wheelbase, and was only five feet high. The centre 'Cyclops Eye' light turned with the front wheels. A few pilot models were built for public displays. The following year it was announced that the first assembly line model was completed, but quantity production never came off the ground and in 1949 the firm was ordered by the Federal Court to return its leased Chicago plant to the War Assets Administration. The very few existing Tuckers have ever since been prized possessions among car collectors.
Willys continued production of the fast-selling 80-in wb 'Universal Jeep', Model CJ2A and the 4-63 'Jeep' station wagon which had 104-inch wheelbase. Ex-works retail prices were US$1146 and US$1625 respectively. The auxiliary (7th) seat in the latter was discontinued late in 1947, with no change in price.