Pearl Harbor made Detroit's 1942 a very short year, but Dodge was not alone in offering its brashest, shiniest cars ever, as seen with its 1942 Dodge Custom.

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1942 Dodge Custom
The rare Dodge Custom convertible was one of the Detroit automaker's finest.
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Detroit's 1942 model year was cut to barely seven months by America's entry into World War II and the government-ordered halt of civilian car production in February. Yet while any '42 model is a rare prize today, Dodges were more numerous at the time than some other cars, volume totaling some 68,500 units. Just 1185 were Custom convertibles, which sold for $1245.

Like other Chrysler Corporation cars, the '42 Dodges wore a heavy facelift of their new-for-1940 bodies. Custom and price-leader DeLuxe models returned with broader front fenders and a lower, more horizontal grille that bulged in the center. Customs again offered optional rear- wheel skirts, now with chrome moldings to match added brightwork on front and rear fenders. The Custom dashboard (still symmetrically arranged) was just as dazzling. In all, the '42s were the shiniest Dodges ever -- until Washington ordered chrome reserved strictly for war use. Dodge and other makes then switched to painted moldings, creating the even rarer and now highly prized "blackout" models unique to 1942.

1942 Dodge Custom, Interior
The Dodge Custom's stylish interior boasted a full
dashboard compliment and luxurious seating.

There was little unique mechanically about that year's Dodges, which continued with a trusty but dull L-head six dating from 1934. Displacement, however, was upped by about 12 cubic inches to 230, where it would remain until 1960 and the old soldier's belated retirement. Horse-power rose from 91 to 105, but Dodge in 1942 was still some years away from being a "performance car" in any sense.

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