The Year in Cars: 1936

1936 Buicks on showroom floorIn this edition of The Year in Cars we explore 1936—a year that featured some important milestones for the American auto industry. 

 

 

The U.S. auto industry produced 4.4 million passenger cars and trucks in 1936—a huge improvement over 1932, a year of near-total economic collapse in which only 2.3 million vehicles were manufactured. Still, it was a far cry from the nearly 5.4 million units in 1929, a production level the industry would not achieve again until 1949. The Motor City was slowly and painfully working its way out of the Great Depression.

Ford led the sales charts in 1936 with nearly 931,000 units, followed by Chevrolet with 918,000 and Plymouth with 520,000. These three brands would lead the field from 1932 to 1954, forming the trio known as the Low-Priced Three. Ford and Chevrolet swapped the top spot through these years, with Plymouth perennially holding down third place.

Notable events and trends of 1936:

+   Gordon Buehrig’s groundbreaking Cord 810 was introduced, with innovative features including front-wheel drive and the first hidden headlamps on a production car.  But meanwhile, Cord’s parent Auburn brand was discontinued and the company would barely last another year.

+   Ford introduced the Lincoln-Zephyr, a future-forcing design with semi-unitized construction and streamlined styling, succeeding in areas where the Chrysler Airflow had apparently failed.

+   Reo, the venerable Lansing, Michigan automaker founded in 1905 by Ransom E. Olds, who also created Oldsmobile, ended passenger car production. However, the company continued to build trucks through 1975.

+   The all-steel roof, introduced the previous year by Fisher Body across the General Motors line, began to spread throughout the industry in 1936, with Chrysler and Hudson joining the development. The advance was more challenging than it appeared, requiring wider rolling mills, wider presses, and even wider transportation machinery.

+   Two styling trends were in full flower in 1936: the Touring Sedan body style with integrated trunk compartment at the rear; and rear fender skirts, increasingly popular as a dealer accessory. Fender skirts provided a more contemporary, quasi-streamlined, expensive look. Note all the fender skirts on display in the photo gallery below.

 

1936 Ford Station Wagon
1936 Chevrolet General Taxi
1936 Chevrolet Master Deluxe Sedan
1936 Auburn 654 Sedan
1936 Pierce Arrow 8 Brunn Town Car
1936 International C1 TWA Airport Limo
1936 Plymouth DeLuxe Rumble Seat Coupe
1936 Studebaker President St Regis
1936 Packard V12 Convertible Victoria
1936 Railton Tourer
1936 Chevrolet Sedan Delivery
1936 Hudson Eight Touring Sedan with Sir Malcolm Campbell
1936 Ford V8 Deluxe Fordor Sedan
1936 Chrysler Airflow Eight Six-Passenger Coupe
1936 Cord 810 Berline Sedan
1936 Cadillac Fleetwood Town Cabriolet
1936 Nash DeLuxe 400 Sedan
1936 Dodge D2 sedan
1936 Studebaker President Sedan
1936 Cadillac Sereies 60 Coupe
1936 DeSoto Airstream Jimmy Stewart & Wendy Barrie
1936 DeSoto Airstream Six Coupe
1936 Lincoln Willoughby Convertible Sedan
1936 Opel P4 1.1 Litre
1936 Pontiac DeLuxe Eight Cabriolet
1936 Oldsmobile Eight Business Coupe
1936 Graham Custom Series 120 Supercharger Sedan
1936 Buick Century Convertible Coupe
1936 Cadillac 85 Fleetwood Imperrial Sedan
1936 Ford Five-Window Coupe
1936 Terraplane Brougham
1936 Willys 77 Hearse
1936 Dodge Station Wagon
1936 Reo Flying Cloud Four-Door DeLuxe Sedan
1936 Chrysler Airflow C9 Coupe
1936 Chrysler Airflow Imperial 4 Dr Sedan
1936 LaSalle Two-Door Touring Sedan
1936 Pontiac Convertible Coupe
1936 Auburn 852 Sedan
1936 Buick Limited Model 91 Six-Passenger Sedan
1936 LaSalle 5-Passenger Touring Sedan
1936 Oldsmobile Eight Convertible Sport Coupe
1936 Plymouth Westchester Suburban
1936 Cord 810 Convertible
1936 Pierce Arrow 1601 Convertible Coupe
1936 Diamond T Model 360
1936 Packard 120 Convertible Victoria
1936 Lincoln Zephyr Tudor Sedan
1936 Willys 77 Coupe
1936 Hudson Eight Coach

1936 Ford Station Wagon

1936 Chevrolet General Taxi

1936 Chevrolet Master Deluxe Sedan

1936 Auburn 654 Sedan

1936 Pierce Arrow 8 Brunn Town Car

1936 International C1 TWA Airport Limo

1936 Plymouth DeLuxe Rumble Seat Coupe

1936 Studebaker President St Regis

1936 Packard V12 Convertible Victoria

1936 Railton Tourer

1936 Chevrolet Sedan Delivery

1936 Hudson Eight Touring Sedan with Sir Malcolm Campbell

1936 Ford V8 Deluxe Fordor Sedan

1936 Chrysler Airflow Eight Six-Passenger Coupe

1936 Cord 810 Berline Sedan

1936 Cadillac Fleetwood Town Cabriolet

1936 Nash DeLuxe 400 Sedan

1936 Dodge D2 sedan

1936 Studebaker President Sedan

1936 Cadillac Sereies 60 Coupe

1936 DeSoto Airstream Jimmy Stewart & Wendy Barrie

1936 DeSoto Airstream Six Coupe

1936 Lincoln Willoughby Convertible Sedan

1936 Opel P4 1.1 Litre

1936 Pontiac DeLuxe Eight Cabriolet

1936 Oldsmobile Eight Business Coupe

1936 Graham Custom Series 120 Supercharger Sedan

1936 Buick Century Convertible Coupe

1936 Cadillac 85 Fleetwood Imperrial Sedan

1936 Ford Five-Window Coupe

1936 Terraplane Brougham

1936 Willys 77 Hearse

1936 Dodge Station Wagon

1936 Reo Flying Cloud Four-Door DeLuxe Sedan

1936 Chrysler Airflow C9 Coupe

1936 Chrysler Airflow Imperial 4 Dr Sedan

1936 LaSalle Two-Door Touring Sedan

1936 Pontiac Convertible Coupe

1936 Auburn 852 Sedan

1936 Buick Limited Model 91 Six-Passenger Sedan

1936 LaSalle 5-Passenger Touring Sedan

1936 Oldsmobile Eight Convertible Sport Coupe

1936 Plymouth Westchester Suburban

1936 Cord 810 Convertible

1936 Pierce Arrow 1601 Convertible Coupe

1936 Diamond T Model 360

1936 Packard 120 Convertible Victoria

1936 Lincoln Zephyr Tudor Sedan

1936 Willys 77 Coupe

1936 Hudson Eight Coach

7 thoughts on “The Year in Cars: 1936

  1. G.M.’s styling was not to my liking and Ford was ok but Chrysler and the independents were better looking cars.

    • There’s a very interesting film on the internet showing 1936 Chevy’s being built. It appears they are all steel. It’s called Master Builders as I recall.

  2. Several front opening doors especially the independents. I’m sure in an accident drivers and passengers didn’t fare to well with that dangerous set up. The Lincoln Zephyr looks way ahead in styling for the era.

Leave a Reply