Automobile Companies and Disabled World War II Veterans

In honor of Veteran’s Day, today’s post examines the ways that some of America’s car brands reached out to veterans who came back from World War II disabled. The following examples are from Ford, and two branches of General Motors, Buick and Oldsmobile.

Ford’s publication for disabled veterans.

This quote from Henry Ford, printed on the brochure pictured here, sums up the approach that Ford Motor Company took to providing vehicle modifications for disabled veterans,

The least we can do for these men is to be sure that they get an even break with those who come back without major disabilities, and we do not want any profit incentive to enter into this picture. No man who lost a limb in the armed services of our country during the war is going to have to pay anything extra to drive a Ford automobile.

The rest of the brochure displays the modifications that would be made to help veterans who had lost limbs in the war. This deal applied to all Ford and Mercury vehicles from model year 1940 or later.

The next examples are two General Motors publications from Buick and Oldsmobile.  The Buick publication details the operation of the various modifications for different amputees. Like Ford, these modifications were added at no cost.  Oldsmobile called their disabled driving system the Valiant Driving Controls. This is the lengthiest publication of the group and goes into extreme detail about the operation and installation of the modified controls.

Buick's Driving Controls for Disabled Veterans of World War II.

Oldsmobile's Valiant driving controls.










All three of these items can be accessed in their entirety in the Hagley Digital Archives by clicking on the images above.

To all of our veterans out there and to those currently serving, thank you for your service!

Emily Cottle is the Project Archivist/Cataloger for the Z. Taylor Vinson Collection at Hagley Museum and Library.

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