Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

A true delight

You CF lifers will doubtless know what a dyed-in-the-wool, bred-in-the-bone Ford freak I am. My dad was a lifelong Ford man himself, and raised me to loathe all things GM reflexively, just as naturally and unthinkingly as breathing. If I opened a vein, I would bleed FMC Blue, the resulting puddle resolving itself uncannily into a distinct oval-shaped pattern. So you guys can easily imagine how much I enjoyed this brief, partial catalogue of Government Motors perfidy.

General Motors Doesn’t Want Anyone To Know These 20 Strange Facts
Despite GM’s long history and notoriety, there are numerous things that people do not know about the company and the products it has produced. From strange business decisions to hush-hush scandals, the company has a lot of dirt hiding under the rug. Here are 20 strange facts General Motors doesn’t want anyone to know or, at least, would prefer that most people forget.

Heh. I’m smiling already over here. A lot of what follows I already knew, but the very first one in the list surprised even me.

The history of General Motors is one of acquisitions and the take-over of many well-known car manufacturers. On September 17, 1908, the day after William C. Durant capitalized GM as a holding company, he purchased Buick Motor Company and shortly after that, acquired more than twenty companies, including Oakland, now known as Pontiac, Cadillac, Oldsmobile, and McLaughlin of Canada.

What few people know (except automobile historians) is GM also wanted to take over Ford—and nearly succeeded. In 1909, Durant offered Henry Ford $8 million for his stock in the company and Ford agreed. Durant also convinced the GM board of directors to make the purchase. However, Durant’s New York bankers squashed the deal when they refused to give him the loan needed to make the purchase.

All poking of fun aside, I’ve lamented at some length here over the years the loss of the age-old Foad/Chivvy-lay rivalry that was such a central feature of my ill-spent youth. All us greasy gearheads used to have ourselves a high old time ribbing each other about who ruled and who drooled, featuring the eternally unresolved “First On Race Day” versus “Fix Or Repair Delay” squabble among other jibes. It was all in good-natured fun, the dispute easily if only temporarily settled by a trip over to Franklin Boulevard in Gastonia for a drag-race blast from Shoney’s on the east side on down to McDonald’s on the west. Rarely did the matter descend to vulgar fisticuffs, although I’ll stop well short of claiming such a thing never did happen. Because that would be a lie.

That Shoney’s is as long-gone as the Ford-Chevy controversy itself is, alas, with all that noble American iron now reduced to pretty-much-interchangeable plastic egg-mobiles—featureless and indistinguishable one from another, except by direct reference to the badging. Nowadays, the young ‘uns couldn’t care less about such arcana, a vanished slice of Americana grieved over only by the old coots who reveled in it. A shame, really; they know not what they missed. Maybe it’s understandable: with the cars themselves being rendered anonymous, how could ennui and erosion of brand allegiance not be expected to follow?

Read the rest of ’em; whether you’re a Ford man or a Chevy dupe, you’re bound to find something of interest. Number 16 was another one I wasn’t aware of, and as a bonus I’ll throw in another fun GM factoid not mentioned at the above link:

The U.S. Army Ordnance Department considered several designs for low-cost/high production-rate submachine guns fabricated from stamped and welded sheet metal. A design developed in large part by George Hyde, with the assistance of General Motors’ Inland Manufacturing Division, was given the prototype designation of T-15. It was chambered for the standard .45 ACP cartridge and featured a sliding wire stock, which substantially reduced its length when retracted. Army Ordnance Col. René Studler was an ardent proponent of the new submachine gun and was instrumental in its subsequent adoption. The T-15 prototype was refined and superseded by the T-20. Unlike the selective-fire T-15, the T-20 only fired in the full-automatic mode.

The T-20 had number of advantages as compared to most other submachine guns, including the fact that its internal parts were fully enclosed, which reduced the possibility of the mechanism being clogged by dirt, mud or sand. In addition, it was designed with rather generous dimensional tolerances to allow functioning even when subjected to extreme dust or mud conditions. The bolt traveled along two steel guide rods, which prevented contact with the inside of the receiver and resulted in increased reliability and smoothness of operation. The gun could be quickly disassembled, and the barrel and bolt were easily removed. It did not have a conventional safety, but the ejection port cover prevented accidental firing when closed.

The T-20 prototype was extensively tested at Aberdeen Proving Ground and proved to be more reliable in the mud and dust tests than any other submachine gun ever tested by the U.S. Army. In addition to the Army’s Infantry Board, the new submachine gun was evaluated by the Airborne Command and Armored Forces Board. These latter two organizations were especially interested due to its compactness, which had obvious advantages for airborne use or in the cramped confines of a tank.

After conclusion of rigorous testing, the T-20 was recommended for adoption in December 1942 as the “U.S. Submachine Gun, Caliber .45, M3.” Official approval came on Jan. 11, 1943. Shortly after formal adoption, a contract was awarded to General Motors’ Guide Lamp Division for 300,000 M3 submachine guns. The Guide Lamp plant, located in Anderson, Ind., had extensive experience in the fabrication of stamped metal components, so it was a logical choice to manufacture the new submachine gun. 

How I knew about this was, I actually fired one at Knob Creek a few times, and its proud owner told me all about Grease Gun history. The article makes a glancing comparison between the M3 and the Thompson. Having run a shit-ton of rounds through both, I can tell you there IS no comparison—the Thompson is superior in every way. At the same time, though, if I was a D-Day footslogger coming ashore with the prospect of slogging across France carrying one or the other of ’em staring me in the face, I’d probably have picked the M3. Them Tommy guns are heavy, man.

Oh, and: if you’re a shooter, live anywhere near driving distance of Kentucky, and haven’t been to the Knob Creek shoot yet, may I ask what the hell have you been waiting for?

(Via Larwyn)


2 thoughts on “A true delight

  1. 95% of all Fords made are still on the road today.

    The rest made it home. 🙂


    Seriously – fun gun story, thanks for sharing!

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