Hard times in America and political change in Europe throughout the 30s brought new uncertainty, but GM’s commitment to innovation continued unabated. The return of peace following World War II brought a new optimism with consumers eager for goods that had been out of reach for so long. GM responded with an unprecedented string of milestone designs that continue to inspire to this day.
In addition to innovations like independent front wheel suspension unibody construction, and the one-piece steel roof, General Motors pushed the envelope in design with a succession of vehicles including the 1949 Buick Roadmaster, the Chevrolet Corvette and BelAir, and the 1959 Cadillac El Dorado. These machines were as much fun to drive as they were to see drive by.
During the war GM supplied the Allies with more goods than any other company. In 1940, former GM President William Knudsen was chosen by President Roosevelt as Chairman of the new Wartime Office of Production Management. By 1942, one hundred percent of GM’s production was in support of the Allied war effort. GM delivered more than $12 billion worth of materials including airplanes, trucks and tanks.