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      Car History: Car History Year 1940
    Posted on Sunday, September 26 @ 23:34:26 UTC by Cars
      Cars As 1940 progressed, the news from Europe was increasingly gloomy; France and the Low Countries all fell to Germany. Meanwhile, the British had managed to evacuate most of their expeditionary force from Dunkirk. After a short lull, the German airforce began to attack targets in Britain in preparation for the expected invasion; the Battle of Britain had begun and would rage throughout the summer. Against all odds, the RAF inflicted substantial damage on the German airforce, such that they could not guarantee control of the air, which was essential for a successful seaborne invasion. Germany had experienced her first setback of the War.

    Roosevelt, who would be elected as President for a third term, was in constant contact with Prime Minister Winston Churchill. At his urging, America moved from a policy of neutrality to one of non-belligerence, and much of industry, particularly the auto industry, began to take on the production of armaments and other military equipment. Even so, substantial numbers of new automobiles were still produced. Buick broke their annual production record, exceeding 250,116 cars, and also built their 4,000,000th automobile. Following the recession of 1938, Buick's President, Harlow Curtice, had ordered a 10 reduction in material and component costs across the board. When it came to the chassis of the small series cars, this was achieved by removing the portion that overhung the back axle. This rear section was considered unnecessary as Buick had switched from parallel leaf springs, which needed a mounting behind the axle, to coil springs that did not. Pre-production testing had shown no problems, but once the cars began to reach the public, collapsed trunk floors and distorted bodies caused by minor parking bumps were reported. The only solution was to restore the rear portion of the frame and rush out a reinforcing framework to be fitted to existing cars. This proved both costly and embarrassing. As a result, Curtice eased financial restrictions on the 1940 models, which received even more rigorous testing than normal, covering nearly 3,000,000 miles of cross-country driving. The resulting new cars were traditional with proven engineering. The cars shared their general styling with the 1939 models, but received a face-lift that saw the head lights blended into the front fenders, and a wider grille with horizontal rather than vertical bars. In all, there were six series: Special Series 40, Super Series 50, Century Series 60, Roadmaster Series 70, Limited Series 80 and Limited Series 90. All shared the same front-end styling, but their wheelbase varied from 121 inches for the 40 and 50, through 126 inches for the 60 and 70, to 133 inches for the 80 and 140 inches for the 90. These sizes were common to the '39 models, but the Series 40 and 50 cars enjoyed a 1 inch increase to allow enough room for the front doors of cars, equipped with sidemount spares, to open fully! In addition, Series 50 and 70 cars were devoid of running boards. Buick's range encompassed mid-priced bread-and-butter models and upmarket luxury cars that encroached upon the Cadillac market, which did not endear them to their fellow GM division. However, the top-of-the-range cars gave kudos to the less-expensive models, the entire range having an air of quality. All the cars were powered by Buick's trusty ohv straight-eight engine, of either 248 or 320.2 cu.in., depending on the series. This was backed by a three-speed manual transmission with torque-tube drive to the rear axle. Oil filters were standard as were sealed-beam headlights, while a new option was Fore-N-Aft Flash-Way directional signals. Specification BUICK SPECIAL SERIES 40 Engine Cast iron - 8 cylinders in line Displacement 248 cu. ins Bore and stroke 3 3/32 x 4 1/8ins. Horsepower 107 Body styles Touring sedan; Phaeton; Business coupe; Convertible coupe; Sports coupe;Taxi No. of seats 2-5 Weight (lbs) 3,505 Ibs-3,755 lbs Price $955-$1,355 Produced 100.000+     Specification CADILLAC Engine 90 degree V8 - cast iron block Displacement 346 cu. ins Bore and stroke 3 1/2 x 4 1/2ins. Horsepower 135+ Body styles Numerous by Fisher, Fleetwood & Custom No. of seats 2-9 Weight (lbs) < 5,200lbs Price < $5,200 Produced 5,903 (Series 62)     Specification LINCOLN ZEPHYR Engine 75 degree V12 - cast iron block Displacement 292 cu. ins Bore and stroke 2 7/8 x 3 3/4ins. Horsepower 120 Body styles Coupe; Convertible; Sedan; Limousine No. of seats 2-7 Weight (lbs) < 3,900 lbs Price < $1,800 Produced 21,000  
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