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Chevy Salutes the Troops at Fleet Week in New York

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author photo by Autotrader May 2011

Chevrolet is honoring American heroes at Fleet Week, which runs through June 1 in New York City. Fleet Week is a long-standing tradition in the US military where ships from the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard dock for a week of festivities.

Chevrolet has a time-honored relationship with the military, dating back to its earliest days. To continue that tradition, Chevy will have the Camaro Convertible, Cruze Eco, Malibu and Equinox on display for Fleet Week at Pier 86 on Manhattan's West Side (where the historic Intrepid aircraft carrier is docked).

Chevy is also encouraging visitors to show their support by asking them to bring old cell phones to donate to Cell Phones for Soldiers (cellphonesforsoldiers.com). Military families can redeem the phones for calling cards , an economical way for families to stay connected while serving our country overseas. By the way, GM also offers vehicle discounts to servicemen and women. The website for discounts is: gmmilitarydiscount.com.

Can't make it to Fleet Week this year? We've gathered some interesting tidbits about Chevrolet and the military to help you get in the spirit.

  • In April 1940, Chevrolet negotiated their first military contact, building explosive shells. By the end of 1941 Chevrolet plants were also producing military trucks and aircraft engines.
  • More than 100 GM factories (including 17 of Chevrolet's 18 plants) were converted to produce weapons during WWII. GM's men and women worked 24/7 throughout the war to help the corporation meet its goal of producing 10 percent of all war material manufactured in metal.
  • Seven Chevrolet plants across the country were awarded the Army-Navy "E" for excellence, in recognition of their contributions to wartime production
  • Chevrolet 4x4 trucks were dubbed "Vehicles of Victor" for operating in extreme conditions. The Chevrolet Suburban was in continuous production during the war years and was used for many military purposes.
  • Chevrolet's WWII production tally included 500,000 military cars and trucks, 60,000 Pratt & Whitney engines, 3,800 armored cars, 2,000 90mm guns, eight million shells and millions upon millions of forgings, castings and other metal products.
  • The Saginaw Service Manufacturing facility was set aside to provide parts for maintaining and servicing the millions of prewar Chevrolet's that had to be kept running until peace returned. A massive "Save the Wheels that Serve America" campaign helped dealers keep service bays busy even as showrooms sat empty.
  • After the U.S. government stopped the general sale of new passenger cars on January 1, 1942, remaining inventories of unsold vehicles were warehoused. Once vehicle rationing began on March 9, 1942, the stored units were slowly released to qualified essential civilian users with established needs.
  • Chevrolet built its last WWII military vehicle on August 17, 1945. Civilian production recommenced three days later, with a limited "interim" lineup of essentially carryover 1942 commercial trucks. A full line of 1946 trucks and options became available through Chevrolet dealers in May 1946.
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Chevy Salutes the Troops at Fleet Week in New York - Autotrader