This was the last full-production 'model year' before the US became directly involved in World War II as a result of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor on the 7th December. Although military vehicle production was on the increase, more civilian vehicles were sold than in 1940, namely 3,779,682 cars and 1,060,820 trucks and buses. Canadian plants were engaged on production of military vehicles for the British Commonwealth. In the US, at least three car makers broke production records. Ford produced its 29-millionth unit, Dodge its 5-millionth, Plymouth its 4-millionth. The number of commercial trucks and buses sold was the highest ever.
More prototypes for the 'Jeep' had been produced by Bantam, Ford and Willys, and they each received contracts for 1500 units for further evaluation and field trials. Chrysler, General Motors and others received further contracts for military trucks from the US Government and several other nations.
American Bantam went all out on production of their ¼-ton 4 x 4 and endeavoured to join forces with Checker Cab, but in the end Willys and Ford with their much higher production capacity were awarded the contracts for mass production of the Willys design.
Cadillac announced production of 150-bhp V8s only. The V16 and LaSalle were discontinued. All body interiors were now styled by Fleetwood. Hydramatic drive was optional on all models. Model ranges: 61,62, 63, 60S, 67 and 75. Pictured left is a Series 62 Convertible.
Chevrolet Series AG Master DeLuxe had 116-inch wheelbase and new body styling which was retained until 1948 (with slight detail changes). The Chevrolet Series AH Special DeLuxe had more luxurious trim than Series AG.
This right-hand-drive Convertible pictured left served with the British RAF in Singapore in 1948. Australian Chevy's were designated Special DeLuxe 1000 (4110S), Ridemaster 1200 (4112S) and Special DeLuxe (4115S, 4120S).
Walter P. Chrysler died on August 18, 1940, after two years of illness, just as preparations were underway for the 1941 model year. A new semi-automatic transmission called Vacamatic was made available as an extra cost option. The Chrysler could be purchased with or without running boards. Fluid Drive was standard in all Chryslers. Shown left is the Chrysler Saratoga Model C-30K Sedan. Fluid Drive was standard, Vacamatic semi-automatic transmission optional. The complete range of Chryslers for 1941 included the Royal C-28S and Windsor C-28W with 121-inch wheelbase and 6-cyl. engine, Saratoga C-30K and New Yorker C-30N with 127 ½-inch wheelbase and 8-in-line.
Ford also had new body styling and like Chevrolet this was retained, with minor detail changes, until 1948. There were five basic models: 11A Super DeLuxe, 11A DeLuxe, 11 A Special, 1GA DeLuxe and 1GA Special. All had a 114-inch wheelbase. 1GA models had L-head six-cyl. 90 HP engine; the others had the 90 HP V8. There were 15 body styles.
During 1941 Ford USA produced Its own ¼-ton 4 x 4 design, designated Model GP (pictured left). From 1942 the Willys MB design was manufactured in large numbers as Model GPW (W for Willys). Picture shows Edsel B. Ford (on back seat) and General Charles H. Bonesteel during a cross-country demonstration with the first production GP.
The Graham Hollywood Sedan was one of the last Grahams produced. Bodywork was similar to that of the Hupmobile Skylark.
The Hudson Super Six Sedan had 121-inch wheelbase, 102-bhp L-head six-cyl. engine. An eight-cylinder engine was also available. Body styling was not very different from the 1940 model. A smaller model, the Hudson Six, had a 116-inch wheelbase and a 92-bhp engine, but looked similar.
The Mercury 19A had 95-bhp V8 engine. The body styling closely followed that of the Ford but the wheelbase was four inches longer, at 118 inches. There were seven body styles, including a station wagon.
The Nash 600 was a new car, featuring unitary body-cum-chassis construction. It replaced the earlier LaFayette series at the lower end of the Nash range Pictured left is a Model 4140 Sedan, one of eight body styles. Wheelbase was 112 inches, price US$870.
The Nash Ambassador Sedan was available as Six (Model 4160, shown) or Eight (4180). Several other body styles were also marketed. General appearance was not unlike 600, major exceptions being bumpers and rear fender (wing) cut-outs.
Oldsmobile in 1941 produced 230,703 cars (its highest figure so far), of which no fewer than 113,690 had Hydramatic drive. 1941 also saw the completion of the 2-millionth Olds. There were five series: 66, 68, 76, 78 and 98 (second figure indicated number of cylinders). Pictured left is a Series 98 Custom Cruiser Sedan.
The Packard 110 was restyled and now featured built-in headlights. There were Special and DeLuxe versions. In April the Packard Clipper was la nched, with 'fade away' front fenders. In September this new styling was extended throughout the range, with conventional styling optional on Senior cars.
The 1941 Plymouth featured battery in engine compartment, oil bath air cleaner. floating-type oil pump intake, door checks. and counterbalanced trunk lid. Two series: P-11 DeLuxe and P-12 Special DeLuxe. Two-tone paint finish was becoming fashionable.
Pontiac Custom Torpedo Eight Series 1941-29, Four-Door Four-Window Sedan had 248.9 CID engine and 122-inch wheelbase. Bodywork was by Fisher and also used for some other GM cars. There were also DeLuxe (119-in) and Streamliner (122-in) models. All were available with 6 or 8-cylinder engines. Production for 1941 totalled 330,061, making Pontiac the fifth largest car producer in the US.