That's the question, how many T's and other manufactured vehicles made their way to be reproduced as tanks, guns, other parts to assist in the war???
The United States produced MOST of the ships planes trucks and ammo for WW 2. Much was shipped to our allies Great Brittan, and Russia.
I can not find an ACCURATE record of cars scrapped but estimates range into the multiple millions
People even took the bumpers off their cars to donate.
Civil war cannon were melted down
Here is a good web site
(from wikipedia ) The government managed twelve regional offices, and operated one hundred twenty field offices throughout the nation. They worked alongside state war production boards, which maintained records on state war production facilities and also helped state businesses obtain war contracts and loans. The WPB and the nation's factories effected a great turnaround. Military aircraft production, which totaled 6,000 in 1940, jumped to 85,000 in 1943. Factories that made silk ribbons now produced parachutes, automobile factories built tanks, typewriter companies converted to machine guns, undergarment manufacturers sewed mosquito netting, and a roller coaster manufacturer converted to the production of bomber repair platforms. The WPB ensured that each factory received the materials it needed to produce the most war goods in the shortest time.
A good share, at least around here, according to the ole timers. My father and uncles both told me that in the late 30's and up into the 40's it was hard to find a farm without several T's out back.
A good, usable T was worth ten to fifteen dollars and it took an exceptional one to be worth twenty. As much as we love them now, back then they were just old, slow cars that many didn't even want to be seen in.
My uncles used to have their own demolition derbies with them before they were loaded onto the train en route to the scrap yard. The only answer I ever got from them on numbers was," a lot".
Here in central Texas you can still find the remains of a T chassis that farmers used as trailers or wagons, although they aren't as common as they use to be.
When I was growing up in the 60's and if you went to the occasional farm auctions it was a sure bet that T's or what was left of them went for junk prices.
A memorable one I went to is when I bought 2 T chassis, T parts and a 38 Ford flat bed pickup for 25 dollars.
I didn't have a way to haul the 2 T chassis and parts home so I gave the 38 Ford to a guy for hauling my stuff home. I love T's but I now realize that he got the better deal!
For cars that are all around 100 years old it's just amazing to me the sheer volume of parts that are just out there on eBay, the different car forums, and at estate sales.
As for WW2 production - my dad recently completed his masters at the Air War College and thesis (I don't know/remember exactly what it was) had a big focus on WW2 production and the numbers he shared with me that he discovered during his research are just astonishing. I believe it was a captured German tank commander who was supremely frustrated because he was killing tanks left and right and doing very well except that the US just sent so many that he finally ran out of ammunition.
As comical as it sounds that at the height of production Ford was rolling off a completed Model T something like every 6 minutes we reached the same ludicrous levels of production with tanks/fighters/bombers/weapons. I take absolutely nothing away from those who fought and died but "winning" had a great deal to do with just absurdly out-producing the enemy.
Seth is correct. Our manufacturing ability was KEY to out producing the enemy for victory. SADLY our government GAVE AWAY and sabotaged our manufacturing capabilities. We simply can no longer win a prolonged war with manufacturing power house such as CHINA. As a matter of fact many of our key weapon components are MADE in CHINA (I kid you not)
I was amazed to find out how tenacious the government was during the war. Look up information on Barney Pollard. There was a good series of articles by his grandson last year in the AACA Antique Automobile. Barney had more than 1000 cars, mostly from the brass era. The government spotted them and wanted them for the war effort. Barney fought and came up with a compromise. He gave most of his tires and a lot of scrap metal he had, so he could keep his cars. He then built sheds to hide the cars from prying eyes. Interesting story. Mike
How soon we forget the Soviet Union keeping Germany busy for 4 years until we got there.
Don't forget the contributions from Canada.
How many of mr pollards cars survived to be restored, and survive to this day. His storage techinque wasnt exactly ideal
I don't know how many of Barney's cars were saved. There was a fire the destroyed a number of cars in 1976(?). Mike
When my Uncle John went off to war in 1942, he put his beloved Chrysler Airflow into the care of his mother (my grandmother).
When he returned home in 1945, the Airflow was GONE. I don't think Grandma ever admitted what happened to it, but with her 3 sons all in uniform, it's an easy guess.
Uncle John lived to the ripe old age of 97, still had his driver's license and his 26 T pickup, but what he talked about most was his Airflow.
My two oldest brothers bought a 1936 Imperial Airflow during the war. The younger had it to himself when the older one was drafted in 1943.
I used to drive it when I was about four, by standing on the seat between my brother's legs, and steering. He said in recent years we went 100mph that way. Crazy kids.
An uncle said the Ashland police chief made my father sell it, because he could not catch them in his '36 Ford.
There were 17 million tons of metal scrap generated by the WWII scrap drives. I could play with the math and percentages, but one car at 1000-3000 pounds of metal was surely a better target than the same poundage of monkey wrenches. I'd say there were easily five million cars recycled, probably more. In 1940, pre-war, there were about 4.5 million cars produced in the United States, with a total registration of 32 million cars. So, of 32 million pre-WWII collector cars (not counting the millions in junk yards), how many are left? Let's say there are 50,000 pre-war collector cars in each state, that's only 2.5 million cars. And that's just a for fun number, as the real number, I feel, is well below that. So a LOT of cars got scrapped, either during the war or after.....
I know the scrap drives in '42 claimed my Grandfather's 1910 Stanley. Fortunately he managed to remove the steam pistons and driving gear from it before putting it into storage in 1938. At least he had those to remember his beloved Stanley by...and they were the center of many memories and stories throughout my childhood.
What a waste--most of the Stanley was wood! There really wasn't enough metal to make it worth scrapping--but it made the folks then think they'd done something good to support the guys "over there"
Driving gear, eh--that was a gear on the end of the steering column that mated to a bell gear on the pittman arm in a bearing bolted to the wood frame. Kinda scarey when you realize that some Stanleys could easily do 60mph
I always heard the Ts weren't as in demand to scrap because of their light weight relative to other cars of the day.
The number of Ts lost to the scrap drive then or now is not significant compared to the one German tank that was scrapped. There is only one surviving A7V tank from WWI, it is in Australia, the example that we had in the US was sacrificed for the war effort.
Americans rarely know the role and importance of China in WW2. China's resistance against the Japanese kept 800,000 Japanese troops tied down in China. Had it not been for China, those 800,000 Japanese troop would have been available for other fronts, including the Pacific. This would have cost America many more lives, and slowed the eventual defeat of the Japanese Empire.
See "Forgotten Ally: China's World War II, 1937-1945" by Rana Miller.
What if we'd invaded via Formosa and fought up through China, instead of following MacArthur's vow to return to Manila?
David, What I refer to as the "driving gear" from what I can remember were the two pistons and kind of a rack assy they were mounted in. The situation developed because my Grandfather had stored the Stanley in a shed at a local scrapyard at a childhood friend of his in Rockford, IL where I grew up. He was one of the lucky ones who work (as an electrician) throughout the Great Depression. As his wife died in 1936, he asked other relatives to take in his kids, rented out his house, and he hit the road working on a number of government projects. I still remember the look of resignation on his face when he told me how he went to check on the Stanley at his friend's scrap yard and found it missing. Like I said previously, he was lucky he pulled the steam pistons, etc. out of it before he stored it. At least he had those. When he moved in mid-70's my family donated them to a museum in Rockford where they sit to this day, along with the rest of his "treasures".
The interesting paradox of WWII is that while we were fighting for the cause of freedom, many of the ordinary rights and freedoms of Americans were suspended, both in private life and in free enterprise. The five major tire companies were compelled to share their proprietary chemistry and technology and work together for the cause. By presidential fiat, all the manufacturing plants, automotive and otherwise, switched over to war production—and a new car, stove or washing machine couldn't be purchased until 1945. All kinds of consumables were rationed; gasoline, heating oil, tires, sugar, meat, fish, coffee, cheese, etc. Even bicycles and typewriters were rationed.
Most dictatorial of all was the internment of Japanese-American citizens into what amounted to concentration camps. They lost their homes, businesses and any possessions that wouldn't fit into a suitcase (not to mention the suffering of countless American boys then in uniform).
And yes, the government seized the property of countless Americans—and now we're talking automobiles—to smelt down for war production.
That kind of dictatorial policy is the price of victory, I suppose, but I'm very glad I didn't have to live through it—The Greatest Generation gave us one hell of a costly gift and I hope we don't squander it. I think it's important to remember that government is ever poised to compromise our freedoms, and sometimes it only takes one man to do it ("I have a pen and a phone"). Right or wrong, I get
very uneasy when the president insists he has the authority to bypass congress.
Our founding fathers fought the Revolutionary War over a 3% (or thereabouts) tax and now we pay 30% or more (My property taxes alone, on a cheaply made, postwar house and backyard pays the government enough to buy a new car every two years—something I haven't been able to afford for fifteen years), which begs the question of how much a government can confiscate from a free society before it ceases to be free (Cue the eagle and lonely-sounding bugle, please).
I remember the WWII scrap drives well and helped load several Model T's on our farm truck to haul to town and add to the huge pile of collected scrap. Also lots of horse drawn farm implements that would never again be used.
Currently the owner of a '25 Fordor, I have been interested in their scarcity. Here is an excerpt from a placard I use when occasionally showing my Fordor which addresses the scrap drive situation.
"The Fordor (Henry's designation for the four door sedan) has a factory manufactured aluminum body from the belt line up (Ford's effort to reduce weight and lower the center of gravity). Many, many Model T's were sacrificed to the WWII war scrap drives. Aluminum scrap was very much in demand for the aircraft industry and very few aluminum bodied Model T's avoided those aggressive scrap drive efforts (it's OK, we won the war). It is estimated that only .5% of the 1925 Fordors are still in existence. By any standard this is a relatively rare Model T Ford".
As an aside, there were approximately 1,000 Model T's at the Richmond Centennial celebration and I found only one 1925 Fordor. This seems to somewhat validate the above estimate of rarity.
I was only a small boy during WW II, but I can remember the rationing and the scrap drives. We used to bring newspapers to school for recycling. Even toothpaste tubes were recycled. Many of the items formerly sold in cans were then sold in jars including ground coffee.
However, I don't know just how many cars were scrapped for the war effort, but I do know that many which would otherwise have been replaced and scrapped anyway, were kept running until new cars could be purchased. The first civilian cars to be produced after the war were 1946 models. My dad had orders in for several different cars and the first one available was a 1948 Nash. It actually took 2 years of waiting. Certain people got priority, such as Doctors or others who needed the cars for their occupation. Others went to the back of the line.
I think that is really the reason the Model T's and Model A's became such collectors items, because they were already over 15 years old, some as old as 37 years,at the end of the war. Many people remember using those cars during the depression and during the war, so they got quite attached to them. And because of gas rationing and tire rationing, they didn't get very much wear for those 4 years.
I think Yamamoto said it well after Pearl Harbor:
"I am afraid we have awakened a sleeping dragon!"
I would guess that a large majority of antique vehicles that survive today, were either still on the road or hidden away during WWII.
I believe the war effort virtually emptied the nation's junk yards. Considering the fact that cars like Locomobile used cast bronze crank cases, Hudson-Essex used cast aluminum Bohnite crank cases and transmission cases.
Some Lincolns used cast bronze mid-body sections on a few of the dual-cowl open cars.
These types of highly sought-after metals , along with the usual amounts of cast iron and sheet steel, surely put these vehicles on the fast track to the smelter.
Wisconsin was particularly hard hit during the scrap drives due to our proximity to shipping at all sides and patriotic citizens.
Most of the OLD tractors I owned came from other states and it's still difficult to find old cars that have spent their lives in WIsconsin........if the scrap drives didn't get them salt did.
I'd agree with Craig's assessment of the situation in WI for old cars but with a couple of clarifications. Particularly in the northern part of the state (basically everything north of Black River Falls) didn't have many decent roads...or cars until the late 30's or 40's outside of the major cities. Farming the cut-over was a futile proposition over most of the state where it occurred. There's no doubt that farmers scratching a living out of the increasingly acidic sand would have loved a Model T, if only they had the money to buy it. That probably contributes more to the scarcity of cars than scrap drives in the northern part of the state.
I was deep into model Ts in the early '50s and would scrounge auto wreckers and junk/salvage yards here in San Jose. It was painful to see the T engines, frames and stuff headed for the scrap. Managed to get a few parts, but just couldn't carry much on my bicycle...nor did I have money to buy the things I found. Still have those visions...and savor every T part I have.