Why? Because in April of 1941, ground was broken for the mighty Willow Run Bomber Plant west of Detroit, Michigan. And, just three short years later, in April of 1944, Willow Run hit its amazing production peak, producing one B-24 Liberator bomber every hour!
Willow Run was truly a manufacturing marvel, designed and constructed by the Ford Motor Company to build airplanes on an automotive-style production line for the first time ever. Ground for the plant was broken on April, 18, 1941. The massive complex was to include the largest factory under one roof in the world, with a mile-long assembly line (actually two half-mile long lines side by side,) a state-of-the-art airport and two airport hangars.
Construction proceeded in record time, and just 8 months later in December of 1941, with the airport completed, the factory building still under construction, and America officially at war after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, Willow Run started producing bomber parts!
Construction of the plant, tooling of the bomber assembly line continued in the months that followed, while assembly of an “educational” bomber (built by Consolidated Aircraft and reassembled at Willow Run,) and then the first Ford-built bomber proceeded at the same time. The first complete Ford-built bomber was delivered to the US Army Air Force less than 18 months after groundbreaking, in September of 1942.
In October of 1942, 7 more bombers were built at Willow Run to follow the first one. Then, as war raged overseas, more workers were hired and the Willow Run assembly line ramped up its production pf B-24 bombers.
Just half a year later, during the month of April, 1943, 100 bombers were produced at Willow Run!
And finally… in April of 1943, just three years after ground was broken, Willow Run achieved the astonishing feat of producing one bomber every 59 minutes!
Please help us keep this history alive by helping us turn Rosie the Riveter’s famous Willow Run Bomber Plant into the future NEW home of the Yankee Air Museum… click here to donate!