So I'm reading a Time magazine article from October 26, 1942 (when the USA was gearing up for all-out war against Germany and Japan), and I came upon a really confusing (confused?) piece (reprinted from the Journal of Commerce and the Chicago Tribune). See what you think:
Here's my problem with this article. There are so many falsehoods and bafflements in this piece that I wonder if it is an intentional fake placed in Time by the military to confuse our then-enemies. (If you're not familiar with the lengths to which the U.S. government went to deceive the Axis powers, go to "Operation Fortitude" and learn all about an important part of it.)CHRYSLER BELIEVES AIR-EEL TO MARK NEW MOTOR ERA
Detroit, MICH., Oct.2 - Chrysler division of General Motors Corporation today announced its line of 1943 models, featured by the radically new Air-Eel, a car which is expected to revolutionize motor design and engineering of the future.
The new Air-Eel is powered with a seven-cylinder Pratt and Whitney motor, or may be had with the Allison curd-cooled engine at the option of the buyer. The model is comparatively light, weighing less than 4,000 pounds. It has been engineered for complete comfort and safety, as well as pleasure, one of its innovations being a built-in radio and record-changer.
"We believe the new Air-Eel is destined to mark a new era in motor transportation and travel," declared William G. Knudsen, president of General motors' Chrysler division.
Stockholders of Chrysler will meet in Briggs Stadium, Detroit, on October 11 to vote upon a divident [sic] for the preferred stock, for the fourth quarter. Dividends of 22 cents, 39 and 44, were declared upon common stock arrearages for the first three quarters of this year.
Mr. and Mrs. Knudsen are leaving Detroit shortly for an extended tour, during which Mr. Knudsen will carry the gospel of big business to many Chrysler agencies throughout the country.
Mrs. Knudsen is author of the popular war song, "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition, " which she is expected to sing at plant rallies in her honor during the tour.
Was this an effort to deceive? Or just a big journalistic mess?
Here are some of the oddities that leaped out at me:
1. "Air-Eel"? "A car which is expected to revolutionize motor design and engineering of the future"? Why haven't I ever heard of it? And why hasn't Google ever come across it? And what kind of bonehead would come up with that name for a car? (OK. Maybe the same guy who came up with Volkswagen's "Toureg.") If this car was to revolutionize the industry, where did it go?
2. "Chrysler division of General Motors Corporation today announced its ..." Chrysler was never a division of General Motors. What's up with that?
3. "The new Air-Eel is powered with a seven-cylinder Pratt and Whitney motor ..." Seven cylinders? Pratt and Whitney? I got to wondering at this point if the article was referring, perhaps, to an aircraft engine. Though few people know it, Chrysler was, in 1942, actively involved in developing an engine for the four-engine B-29 Superfortress, as was Pratt and Whitney. But the article specifically refers to a car. How could the author confuse a car with a monster bomber?
4. "The new Air-Eel ... may be had with the Allison curd-cooled engine at the option of the buyer." Okay, this just jumped off into silly land. A curd-cooled engine? Made by Allison,(another aircraft engine maker)? (Just to be on the safe side, I googled "curd-cooled engine" and came up with zilch.)
5. "The new Air-Eel [has] a built-in radio and record-changer"? Boy, I'd like to see that.
6. ""We believe the new Air-Eel is destined to mark a new era in motor transportation and travel," declared William G. Knudsen, president of General motors' Chrysler division." I've mentioned the fact that Chrysler was never a part of GM. I should also advise that William G. Knudsen, president of that non-existent division of General motors wasn't with either Chrysler or GM in the Fall of 1942. By then he was a Lieutenant General in the United States Army.
7. "Mrs. Knudsen is author of the popular war song, 'Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.'" That can only be the case if Mrs. Knudsen's maiden name was Frank Loesser.
These errors are too glaring - and too numerous - to be ... errors. Yet nothing in the piece - or around the piece- gives an indication that it was a spoof.
Could it have been an effort to somehow deceive the Nazis and the Japanese? If so, how? And why?
A mystery goes unresolved ...