Vintage Pin Up: David Wright

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Saturday Car Post: Wartime Fords

Reader Question:

Have you ever heard
that 
there were
American-made

cars that were registered
and titled as 1943,
1944,
and 1945 Fords?

Yes, indeed.

And, you’re probably
wondering how such
a thing could be –
considering all the
major U.S. automakers
stopped making civilian
cars in early 1942 for the
duration of World War II,
and didn’t resume until
the 1946 models.

Still, both facts
are true –

Because a large number
of the 1942 Fords made
were held back for U.S.
government use and
for other “war-essential”
personnel.

And some states issued
the titles on those cars
based, not on date of
manufacture, but on the
date it was first registered.

Also, certain Ford plants
continued to produce
military ‘staff cars’ based
on the 1942 model
(mostly 4 doors-
the ‘Fordor’, but also
pickup trucks ) all the way
up to the end of the war.

Other manufacturers
were making staff cars
during this period
as well —
for example,
General Eisenhower
had a Packard Clipper,
Buick made such a car
called the Century
Series 60, and Plymouth
made the P-11.

The cars were equipped
with basic equipment,
and then modified for
their specific use, so it’s
not uncommon to find
a large variance in their
options and interior layouts.

One of my favorite features
on the Fords made at that
time was the manual start
mechanism – usually, the
car would be started with
the electric ignition- but
in case of a flat battery,
a crank could be inserted
into the front engine
compartment and fire the
car.

This feature was discontinued
after the war.

Thanks for your question !

.

Propaganda Perspectives

It’s easy to forget,
sometimes that other
societies have a perspective
on things that is very
different from our own.

It’s probably a major reason
why we have so much conflict
in the world.

One way to understand
(of course, that doesn’t
mean you’re going to
agree with it ) things
from the other guy’s
viewpoint is to look at
his sources for information.

If he really doesn’t like you,
based on cultural reasons
alone, there’s a good chance
that he’s been taught that
you’re a big fink by the
educational and political
institutional media of his
society.

Some of the references
are rather random,
but most of it is part of
a larger and tightly controlled
frame of reference-
— a plan, if you will.

That ‘planned’ part is what
we call propaganda.

Most of us are familiar
with our own U.S. propaganda,
some of it made by Disney
Studios, during World War II.

And while we might look back
on it with considerable concern
about the stereotyping and
hate-conjuring that was being
reflected in similar publications
and media, we also should
remember our enemies were
doing likewise –
— and in many cases,
much more so.

The idea is to keep both the
warriors in the field and the
folks on the home front
completely sold on hostile
actions and/or a war effort.

Vilifying the enemy can
take many forms – and one
effective method is by
illustrating the peace-loving,
purely defensive and innocent
nature of ‘our side’ – and a
malevolent, aggressive and
monstrous face representing
the other.

An excellent example of this
can be seen in the Japanese
print art genre known as
‘ Shou Kokumin ‘ –

— very loosely translated
as ‘ Children Playing Soldier ‘ .

There were numerous pieces
produced, and both the term
and the genre was very often
utilized in pre-1945 Japan.

Take this card
for instance:

It was released
commemorating the
Russo-Japanese War and
the Battle of Mukden,
and was part of an effort
to justify the invasion of Manchuria.

The fact that the Japanese
during the Imperial Period
gave children extensive
military style training makes
the image even more startling
to us, and more effective as a
piece of domestic propaganda.

Another example features
a child soldier in samurai
costume standing guard
at the border of the newly
created Japanese puppet
state of Manchukuo –

— a result of the aforesaid
Japanese invasion of
Chinese Manchuria after
the Battle of Mukden.

It’s a distinctive and appealing style, that completely belies the
implications regarding children
and warfare.

Which, of course,
makes it very effective
propaganda, indeed.