Business & Finance: From Shadow to Substance

Detroit's dream—the biggest peacetime boom in all industrial history—was closer than ever to realization last week. Reporting on interviews with key automotive executives, FORTUNE said that even many of the most realistic automen expect 4,500,000 cars to be built in the first full year of postwar production, possibly 6,000,000 a year thereafter (previous top: 4,794,000 in 1929). Reason: the 5,000 U.S. cars arriving daily at "graveyards" will leave 6,500,000 onetime car owners earless a year hence, 8,000,000 others driving "junkers" (cars over 7½ years old).

First postwar cars will be 1942 models. The public's dream car is not expected to emerge for...

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