These are the type of photos that we could literally stare at for hours. All of the images you will see below were found in the Library of Congress digital photos archive and they were taken in 1942 at a Dodge plant that was furiously cranking out trucks for the Army. The size and scale of the operation is something to behold. This factory was making the WC series trucks as it looks and they were making them in versions like weapon carriers, telephone installation trucks, ambulances, reconnaissance vehicles, mobile workshops and command cars. More than a quarter million WC Dodge trucks were produced and of that production number thousands were shipped to Russia as part of the Lend-Lease program that helped the Allies win the war.
The trucks used a flathead engine that produced 76hp, had a top speed of 54mph, and could travel almost 250 miles (unladen) on a tank of gas. You have undoubtedly seen them in parades, musuems, or car shows as their iconic looks and tough reputation have made them favorites among collectors and military vehicle enthusiasts.
Outside of all the technical munbo-jumbo these photos provide an amazing look into the ever evolving world of an auto plant in the early 1940s. If the war taught America anything on the industrial side it was how to better refine practices and plants to increase production and meet the demands of the Army which would then transition to the demands of a hungry public that wanted new cars, trucks, and something to spend the money they had been saving for years on. If you look at how these plants operated before the war and how they operated after, there are marked differences. Some are shown here with examples of guys spot welding panels that would have been riveted previously and other line improvements that added mechanization to speed processes that were typically done by people before. Of course the fact that many workers were off fighting and the machines NEEDED to replace them was a big factor as well.
From the photos of trucks being disassembled to be shipped to Russia (the first one) to the photos of them slogging through the mud, climbing hills, and testing their mettle, this is great stuff. True American gearhead history right here.