Detroit Diesel's history began in 1938 when General Motors formed the GM Diesel Division, the origin of today’s Detroit Diesel Corporation. With World War II heating up, GM Diesel produced its first model: the Series 71. Tanks, landing craft, road building equipment and standby generators needed compact, lightweight, two-cycle engines. During this epic time, a tradition of strength, quality and dependability was born. By 1943, GM Diesel employed 4,300 people, more than 1,400 of them women. Together, these employees produced 57,892 engines in 1943 alone.
After the war ended, GM Diesel recognized the growing opportunity of the on-highway truck market. The company developed heavy-duty engines to meet these commercial needs and began selling to clients other than GM in 1955. GM Diesel also began to focus on developing a worldwide distribution network of independent, authorized distributors and dealers to provide parts and service. In 1957, GM Diesel introduced the Series 53 engine, and put the Series 71 engine into use for both on-highway and off-road use. Click here to read more.
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