Victory Trim

the interior trim was void of ANY chrome or stainless steel.

the exterior had no trim, no special knobs, or fancy details.

this was done to conserve all the special material for the war effort.

chrome, stainless, aluminum and most exotic metals were restricted in use so the war materials could go to war production.

Automobile manufacturers stopped producing automobiles during WWII. Everything went towards the war effort. So some factories were putting out tanks, planes, etc… instead of cars.


It’s my understanding that cars supplied during WW2 did not have chrome trim, bumpers, etc. because chrome considered a strategic material.

Reportedly, some even came with wooden bumpers, but were later refitted with the conventional chromed steel bumpers after the war.

All materials went towards the war effort and this applied to things other than cars also. Most Harley Davidson motorcycles produced then went to the military and supplies to the public were very limited.

Even paint options were cut to near nothing. One had no choice of colors; it was either gray or black. Silver paint was reserved for the military and even something as small as carburetor bodies, which were previously painted silver, were now painted black as an example. The only chrome and stainless trim in use on civilian models was leftover stock that was being used up and most civilian bikes from 1943 through 1945 were pretty drab in appearance.

On a similar subject . . . an (old) friend of mine (he was a Ranger in WW2) told me that when he came home on leave he remembered that tires were in such short supply that people put ASHES from a coal stove in the tires when they no longer could hold air . . . I can’t quite figure that one out though . . . how do you get the ashes IN? Rocketman

So were private autos sold during WWII or not?

Yes, but not many.

Sure, just google 1941, 42, 43, 44, 45 ford/chevy/etc. and you will find photos.

BTW, I’m assuming you are asking about U.S. manufacturers. The german manufacturers didn’t produce much towards the end of the war and it took them (west germany) a couple of years to get back up to speed.

thanks, was curious.

Trim was painted. There were a few cars produced during the 1942-1945 years WW2 but they were dedicated to the military. 1943 pennies were made of steel due to copper shortage. The mint is agonizing again about the high cost of copper; should simply go to steel. I have a set of Snap-On sockets made during WW2; zinc, not chrome plated. They are not pretty but work just fine.

Automobile production for civilian use was halted about February of 1942. Just after the U.S. declared war in December of 1941, chromium and stainless steel were reserved for the war effort. The 1942 models that were manufactured after the declaration of war had painted trim. This was the “victory trim”.

When automobile production resumed in late 1945,and these cars were titled as 1946 models, chrome was still hard to get. Some manufacturers shipped the cars with wooden bumpers which were then replaced by the dealer after chrome became more widely available.

In 1957, Studebaker brought out a stripped down model called the Scotsman. I was a teenager at this time and the Scotsman reminded me of the “Victory Trim” cars I saw as a child. The Scotsman had very little chrome except for the bumpers and even had painted hupcaps. I rather liked the Scotsman’s simplicity.

Victory trim was a nice way to say “No strategic metals used on the car.” Times have changed: can you imagine what peole would say about the President if we had to make this sacrifice today!

I’m not certain eliminating the chrome trim is a sacrifice. When I was in high school in the 1950’s, the students who owned their own cars stripped off the chrome and leaded in the holes and then repainted the area where the chrome was removed. Later, the muscle cars came from the factory without the chrome trim and I think they did look like “Victory trim” cars. In the 1950’s, I thought that the bottom of the line models looked better than the chrome laden top of the line models.

Yup, every couple of decades that de-chrome, de-badge fad comes back. Personally I like chrome, especially chrome bumpers (anything looks better than plastic cars).

If you really like chrome, you would love the 1958 Buick or Oldsmobile. I think these cars had more chrome than painted surfaces. My first car was a 1947 Pontiac. It had chrome stripes running down the hood and the trunk lid. It also had plenty of chrome on the dashboard and a nice big chrome ring on the steering wheel to honk the horn. The Uplander minivan I own today lacks character compared to my earlier cars. I think it would pass for a “Victory trim” vehicle of the 1942 era.

“The mint is agonizing again about the high cost of copper; should simply go to steel.”

Better yet, just stop making them. Who needs them. Who needs to buy gas priced at 1/10 cent increments?

I guess we could quit minting pennies. Even the 1 cent gumball machines seem to have vanished.

That era of cars had about 10 times the character of the current ones. The world wasn’t always run by bean counters.