Bringing Vintage Aircraft to Life since 2010

General Motors FM Wildcat

 Jump to: Technical Details : Photos : See This Aircraft
Home  >  Aircraft Database  >  American Aircraft  >  General Motors FM Wildcat

The General Motors FM Wildcat was essentially the Grumman produced F4F Wildcat but built by General Motors. In total over 4,500 General Motors FM Wildcat aircraft were produced by the end of August 1945, nearly two thirds of the total production run of Wildcats.

Quick Facts
Sorry, no image available
First flight
1st September 1942
Entered service
Late 1942
Total built

Front view
FM Wildcat front view photo
Side view
FM Wildcat side view photo
Rear view
FM Wildcat rear view photo

With Grumman working on their new carrier fighter the F6F Hellcat but with demand for its predecessor the F4F Wildcat still high, the decision was taken to out-source production of the F4F. This led to a contract being agreed on the 18th April 1942 for 1,800 F4F Wildcats to be produced by General Motors' Eastern Aircraft Division and the aircraft built by General Motors would be known as FM-1. The 1st September 1942 saw the first FM-1 fly although this had been produced from parts which Grumman had already manufactured.

Unsurprisingly the FM-1 Wildcat was the same as the Grumman produced F4Fs with the one change occurring with the aircraft's armament. Whilst Grumman produced aircraft had six 0.50-in machine-guns the FM-1s produced by General Motors only had four, however this was offset by an extra 20% of ammunition.

Development of the Wildcat continued and a pair of Grumman built prototype XF4F-8s would provide the basis for the General Motors FM-2. This new version had its fin and rudder made taller and featured a lighter airframe to help take-off performance. The biggest change was the introduction of the Wright R-1820-56 cyclone engine which featured a turbocharger, indeed later FM-2 production aircraft had a water-injection system.

Serving with the United States Navy a number of General Motors FM Wildcats were provided to the United Kingdom under Lend-Lease. These were originally called Martlets before reverting back to the American name of Wildcat.

With a total of 4,777 aircraft being delivered by August 1945, when production ceased, it meant that over 7,500 Wildcats had been built by Grumman and General Motors Combined.

Technical Details

Click on the aircraft image to view a larger version.

Top Speed Range Service Ceiling Armament
FM-1 318 mph 770 miles 39,400 ft four 0.50-in machine-guns
two 1,000lb bombs
FM-2 332 mph 900 miles 34,700 ft four 0.50-in machine-guns
and either two 1,000lb bombs or
four 5-in rocket projectiles


Click on a photo to view a larger version.

See This Aircraft

(C) = Cockpit only exhibit. (F) = Fuselage only exhibit. (R) = Remains of an aircraft.

FM-2 Imperial War Museum, Duxford

Back to American aircraft

Click here to view a range of Spitfire experiences

Click here to view a range of flying experiences

Quick Search

Spitfire Messerschmitt Fairey Bristol Avro North American Hawker Curtiss Grumman

New on Classic Warbirds


Spotted an error? Or just have a comment or suggestion about Classic Warbirds? Please let us know.

Click here to view our museum guide