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      Car History: Car History Year 1941
    Posted on Sunday, September 26 @ 23:36:40 UTC by Cars
      Cars By 1941, most of Europe was under the German jackboot; only Great Britain stood defiant, but bloodied, refusing to be subdued. Through the lend-lease scheme, America was providing military equipment and supplies to the embattled British, despite officially being non-belligerent. As an explanation, President Roosevelt argued that if there had been a fire in his neighbor's house he would have lent that neighbor a hose to put it out. In addition to against the German forces. He needed the USA to declare war on Germany, but America had not been attacked, nor were there any treaties that bound her to come to the aid of any victims of German aggression. That situation would change at the end of the year.

    At the start of 1941, despite the ominous rumblings from across the Atlantic, it was business as usual for Detroit. At Chrysler, it was a face-lift year, the new models being similar in appearance to the 1940 offerings, although the bodies were wider and the cars had a lower stance. A six-bar grille replaced the previous year's nine-bar unit, and the cars could be ordered with or without running boards. Ever since the lack of success achieved by the radically-styled Airflow model which appeared in 1934, the overall styling of Chryslers had been conservative and, for 1941, the cars followed their rather staid image. However, in engineering terms, the company was always innovative. The '41 models had a similar mechanical specification to their predecessors, the standard transmission being Chrysier's Fluid Drive, which had been in production for a couple of years. This was an unusual three-speed, semi-automatic transmission that incorporated a clutch mechanism. The clutch was used to select first gear, after which the pedal was released fully, then the accelerator depressed to move off, just like a normal automatic. Once on the move, the driver selected second gear by simply lifting his foot from the accelerator, yet when shifting into third, the clutch had to be used in the same way as with a manual transmission. Down-shifting was achieved in a similar manner. Although the technique sounds confusing, at the time Chrysler advertised Fluid Drive as being the transmission you could not make a mistake with. Obviously, plenty of people agreed, as the cars sold well. Chryslers offered in 1941 were available in two basic series: 28 and 30. The former was powered by a new "Spitfire" sidevalve in-line six engine, which had a capacity of 241.5 cu.in. and came in low- and high-compression versions that produced 108 and 112 horsepower respectively, although the latter was increased to 115 horsepower later in the year. The 30 series models were equipped with a sidevalve in-line eight cylinder engine, which displaced 323.5 cu.in. and produced either 137 (low compression) or 140 horsepower (high compression) at 3400 rpm. The hood of these eight cylinder cars was slightly longer to accommodate the engine. Within the two series was a wide range of styles, including coupes, convertibles, 2-door broughams, 4-door sedans, station wagons and long wheelbase limousines. These were sold as Royal, Windsor, Saratoga, New Yorker and Crown Imperial models. Among the options available was a striking upholstery pattern, which cost an extra $20 and was similar to Black Watch tartan. This fancy stitchwork led to a completely separate series of Windsor and New Yorker models, known as Highlanders. To distinguish them they carried Highlander emblems on the dashboard and hood. Despite Chrysler's less-than-flamboyant image, buyers in 1941 could choose from a list of 13 colors and 27 upholstery options. Also included in the list of options was a four-speed, semi-automatic transmission known as Vacamatic, and power-operated windows, although the latter were only available on the top-of-the-line crown Imperial. Compared to their poor performance during the recession of 1938, Chrysler were doing well in 1941, having more than tripled their sales. They were ranked eighth in the US auto industry that year, but still fell a long way behind Oldsmobile in sixth place, who had built their 2,000,000th automobile in 1941. The Oldsmobile range of 1941 comprised three series - 60, 70 and 90 - as it had done in 1940 and, while they appeared similar in styling, they were all based on longer wheelbase chassis. The bottom-of-the-range 60 series cars grew 3 inches to 119 inches, while the 70 and 90 series shared a 125 inch wheelbase, from 120 and 124 inches respectively. All three series of cars could be specified with either a 238 cu.in. in-line flathead six or 257 cu.in. eight, being designated 66 or 68, 76 or 78, or 96 or 98 as appropriate. In fact, 1941 was the only year in which a top-of-the-line 90 series car could be ordered with a six, but few buyers took up the option and it was not offered again. What they did go for, however, was the Hydramatic automatic transmission. The three series offered a range of body styles, including convertibles, business and club coupes, 2- and 4-door sedans and station wagons. An unusual offering was a 4-door phaeton, which had been introduced in 1940, but would be discontinued after 1941. 1941 was a good year for the auto makers and few realized what was in store for them. Indeed, few Americans had any inkling of what was to come until December 7, when the Japanese launched a devastating surprise attack on the Pacific Fleet, based at Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands, In a furious air assault, they virtually destroyed the Pacific Fleet, torpedoing five battleships and two cruisers within the first few minutes. Fortunately, two aircraft carriers were at sea when the attack took place and would prove to be a valuable nucleus around which a new fleet could be built. In the meantime, however, Japan would be almost unchallenged in her conquest of much of the Pacific. America was now at war with Japan, and because the latter was part of a tripartite pact with Germany and Italy (the Axis powers), she was also at war with those countries too. The Japanese also struck at British-held Singapore, while the Germans gave up trying to crack Great Britain and turned their attention east to the Soviet Union, ignoring the non-aggression pact they had signed with that country. All the elements were in place for a world conflict, but both Germany and Japan had awakened sleeping giants which, ultimately, would cause their downfall. Now all of American industry had to turn its attention to the war effort. Automobile production was cut by 20 as the factories began producing military equipment. Soon they would be making nothing else, as America concentrated her entire might on the common cause. Specification CHRYSLER SERIES 28 Engine Cast iron - 6 cylinders in line Displacement 241.5 cu. ins Bore and stroke 3 3/8 x 4 1/2ins. Horsepower 108-112 Body styles Coupe; Brougham; Sedan; Convertible; Limousine; Town & Country station wagon No. of seats 2-8 Weight (lbs) 3,170 Ibs-3,740 Ibs Price $995-$1,500 Produced 136,701     Specification CADILLAC CONVERTIBLE Engine Engine 90 degree V8 - cast iron block Displacement 346 cu. ins Bore and stroke 3 1/2 x 4 1/2ins. Horsepower 150 Body styles Numerous, by Fisher & Fleetwood No. of seats 2-7 Weight (lbs) 3,950 Ibs-5,000 lbs Price $1,696-$4,000+ Produced 29,258 (series 61)     Specification CADILLAC SIXTY SPECIAL Engine Engine 90 degree V8 - cast iron block Displacement 346 cu. ins Bore and stroke 3 1/2 x 4 1/2ins. Horsepower 150 Body styles Sedan by Fleetwood No. of seats 5 Weight (lbs) 4,230 Ibs - 4,290 Ibs Price $2,195-$2,345 Produced 4,101
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