Originally designed as a biplane, the Wildcat was converted on the drawing board to a mid-wing monoplane when it was found that the competitor’s airplane was to be a monoplane. The airplane has some decidedly prewar flavor, such as its unique looking landing gear (which was raised and lowered with a hand crank). The type was a front line carrier-based fighter when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and there were many in combat service when the War ended. Some three quarters of the Wildcats constructed were built by the General Motors Eastern Aircraft Division factory. Outclassed by the Japanese Zero, the Wildcat still put in a good showing in the early years of the War. They were used by the British (as the Martlet), and other Allied Nations as well. The F4F Wildcat led to the F6F Hellcat and on through the series that has had a Grumman airplane in U.S. Navy service for over sixty years.