Throwback Thursday: 1946

Of course, 1946 was the first full calendar year after the end of World War II. It was also 75 years ago for those of you who are mathematically challenged.

On January 10, 1946, the scientists of Project Diana bounced radar signals off the Moon. The exact distance between the Earth and the Moon was measured and, in essence, the project marked the beginning of the Space Age.

On March 5, 1946, in a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, Winston Churchill used the phrase “Iron Curtain.” Here is the part of the speech where Churchill used the phrase, with some accompanying words for context:


“It is my duty however, for I am sure you would wish me to state the facts as I see them to you, to place before you certain facts about the present position in Europe.

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow.”


On October 16, 1946, the last remaining ten Nazi war criminals sentenced to death at the Nuremberg trials were executed by hanging. Never Forget! Never Again!


While US auto production actually resumed in calendar year 1945 after the end of the war, only about 83,000 cars were built. While the auto industry struggled with labor unrest and supply shortages, automobile production soared in 1946 as a population that had suffered for more than 15 years with an economic depression and world war was eager to buy any new car it could. I have been unable to find figures for calendar year 1946 production, but for the 1946 model year, production reached about 2.25 million units. That figure was still well below the 1941 number of about 3.7 million cars, however, perhaps testimony to the effects of the labor and supply difficulties.

General Motors, in particular, was hit hard by a strike that lasted 113 days from November, 1945 to March, 1946. The strike helped Ford lead in model year production at approximately 468,000 cars. Chevrolet built 398,000, but Plymouth and Dodge were third and fourth, respectively.

Ford’s most popular 1946 car was the Super DeLuxe Tudor sedan. I hope this picture (from is one of those:


See the source image


Yes, a “Tudor” sedan. While today we classify almost all four-door cars as sedans and almost all two-door cars as coupes, I think the original definition of those terms had to do with total interior space and not with the number of doors.

Of course, 1946 model year cars looked like prewar cars. Studebaker introduced an all-new car in late spring 1946, and new company Kaiser-Fraser began production about the same time, but these were, technically, 1947 model year cars. Is this a 1942 Chevrolet or a 1946? (Picture from Pinterest…)


See the source image


This is actually a 1942 Master DeLuxe town sedan, Chevy’s most popular car in the truncated 1942 model year. For 1946, its most popular offering was the Stylemaster sport sedan, which accounted for 19 percent of Chevrolet sales. Stylemaster was simply the new name for the Master DeLuxe line, which was the entry-level Chevrolet.

Of course, this post could not capture the entirety of world and automobile events for 1946. I encourage you to do some research on your own.









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8 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: 1946

  1. My father’s first post-war car was a 1948 Ford two-door coupe in Tucson Tan. My parents took my sister and me to Yellowstone National Park in that car. Naturally, I date things from 1947, the year of my birth. When I found the genesis of my truck project, it intrigued me because as a 1948, it was the first year of the new post-war Ford truck design. That was significant because starting in 1948 Ford’s pickup trucks were no longer based on the car frames as had been the pre-war pickup. My truck is just one year younger than I. Of note the 1948 Ford F-1 pickup grille was painted Tucson Tan. Starting in 1949 the grille was painted in Argent (silver). I have diligently searched for the automotive paint codes for Ford’s Tucson Tan so that I can soon find a local painter who can paint my reproduction grille, in Tucson Tan.


  2. Over the winter of 1974-75 myself and 2 friends rebuilt (not restored) a 1941 Master Deluxe sedan that was owned by one friend, Sam. Three days after high school graduation in June, we left on a trip to “see the country.” Our parents agreed to the trip because “at least we weren’t going to be hitch hiking”, like many did back then. Between us we had amassed a fortune of just over $400. For a 2-3 month trip. As we planned to camp we were certain that would be PLENTY of money. We made it to Boulder Colorado before we ran out of money, at about 8 weeks into our adventure. So we each got jobs for 2 weeks, I was a pump jockey at a Texaco station, Dean worked at a tire shop, and Sam worked as a laborer on a construction job. From there we started heading towards home.

    We were approx 20 miles from home before we had our first and only breakdown. The fuel pump gave out. At that point we had $4.00 left so I ended up calling my dad to get him to borrow my uncles truck and trailer to come rescue us. An inglorious end to an otherwise excellent trip.

    Overall, the Chevy did great. Not much top speed, but plenty of torque. We didn’t “beat” on it (surprising for teenage boys) and the ride was actually pretty decent (from what I remember). If I were to ride in one today, I might change that opinion though.Something neat about the car; it had a factory “suicide knob” built into the steering wheel. In the years since I have found that to be quite a rare option.

    Good times in a simpler time.


      1. Something, anything, with an engine has been a major part of my life since age 8 when I got a go cart. Then a mini bike. Then a dirt bike and a field car. Then…….

        It’s been a downhill run ever since. 🙂


  3. Interesting history of post-WWII return to automobile production, my friend.
    And thanks to Mr. McGee, I learned that a wheel spinner was a factory option.


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