One of my favorite cars of all time, the 1948 Chevy, is 60 years old this year. This post is about the ’48 Chevy.
the 1948 Chevrolet-
Model year was introduced in February 1948 with 775,982 units sold during the calendar year. First year for precision interchangable main engine bearings replacing poured babbitt bearings. The business coupe had a front seat only, the Fleetmaster station wagon was a true ‘woodie’. Chevy dealers could install a woodgrained ‘Country Club’ trim package on the Fleetline Aero Sedan and Fleetmaster Town Sedan for $149.50, but few were ordered.
All models had a 116 inch wheelbase, three-speed manual transmission with a 4:11 rear axle ratio, and 16×6 tires. The engine in all cars was the 216.5 cubic inch stovebolt six that produced a blistering 90 horsepower.
Standard radio, deluxe push-button radio. Standard below-dash heater and defroster, deluxe in-dash heater and defroster, and deluxe under-the-seat heater. White sidewall tires, spotlight cowl windshield washere, low-pressure tires on wide rim 15-inch wheels, bedford cord Fleetmaster upolstery, front and rear bumper wing guards, chrome plated gravel shields, radio antenna, clock in the Stylemaster, cigarette lighter in the Stylemaster, engine canister-type oil filter, oil-bath air cleaner Country club trim package (mentioned above), wheel trim rings, directional signals, and windshield visor.
GM also toyed with the idea of a compact, along the lines of the bathtub Nash, called the Cadet. After designing a smaller stovebolt 6 and millions of dollars in investment, the idea was scrapped. Chevy found it would cost almost as much to make as a standard Chevy, and there was no market.
Being the proud owner of a 1948 Fleetmaster Sport Sedan, I did some checking. According to our files the list price of our vehicle was $1,345. For that grand sum the car came with a 90 day or 4,000 mile warranty, and did not cover the tires.
Breaking-in went as follows; not over 40 miles per hour for the first 100 miles, not over 50 miles per hour for the next 200, and not over 60 miles per hour for the next 200 miles. And you were warned not to attempt continuous high speed driving until the car had been driven 2,000 miles.
This car also had a manual choke and a throttle control. To start the vehicle, you would turn the key on, pull out the choke, and step on the starter button next to the accelerator pedal. On colder mornings you’d also want to pull the throttle control out a little because stovebolts don’t like cold weather.
We also like the vacuum windshield wipers, and the cowl vent. Oh yeah, these cars also had wing windows in the front and a split windshield. There was a choice of Methanol antifreeze or Ethylene Glycol, which was more expensive. The car rode on 16 inch rims with 6-ply non-radial tires with 26-28 psi. Why’d we ever change?
Our ’48 is by no means stock anymore, but still has the 6-lug hubs, and torque-tube drivetrain. It has a ’53 235 stovebolt in it with a solid cam, two carburetors, and dual exhaust. We did keep the vacuum shift, starter button, and 6-volt electrical system. So there’s the nickel tour on 1948 Chevrolets, and why we love em. I also like the fact it’s a couple of years older than I am. Comments on any subject are welcome.