Buick Remembers M18 Hellcat Tank - “Hot Rod of WWII” [Video]
Probably most of you didn’t know that Buick’s production line helped deliver a different type of vehicle during World War II. If that’s not enough for a hint, then we’re talking about a tank. And not just any tank, but the infamous M18 destroyer, better known as the Hellcat.
Engineered after sketches that originated in the design studio of Harley Earl, the “Seek, Strike, Destroy” Hellcat tank was powered by a nine-cylinder, 450 HP radial-type aircraft engine mounted to a three-speed transmission. Since it was capable of traveling with speeds of up to 60 mph (96 kmh), the Hellcat was called the “hot rod of World War II”.
“The Hellcat was considered the hot rod of World War II,” said Bill Gross, a historian who restored an M18 now on display at the Sloan Museum in Flint, Michigan. “To give perspective, most German tanks of the day were capable of just 20 mph and even today’s M1 Abrams tank is outpaced by the Hellcat.”
In addition to the 2,507 M18 tank destroyers built between mid-1943 through October 1944, Buick factory workers produced nearly 20,000 powertrains, a half-million cartridge cases, 9.7 million 20-mm shells, and a number of other war goods during WWII
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