1941 Chevy Fleetline Convertible / The Car That Wasn’t Made

The only 1941 Chevy convertible available in 1941 was available on their top of the line Special Deluxe model and it was a fine looking automobile with great smooth lines. Both the Special Deluxe and Master Deluxe were introduced in 1941. Both of these models had similar body styling in 1941.

1941 Chevy Convertible

1941 Chevy Convertible

A 1941 Chevrolet Fleetline Convertible

The automobile shown in this article is a 1941 Chevrolet Fleetline Convertible which classifies as a Phantom Car. These are automobiles never built by the factory, but made to look like they could have been built at the factory. This one surely does.

The way this is accomplished is by mixing and matching parts to eventually create a car that you want. In this case it was transforming a 41 Chevy Fleetline into a convertible. In the case of this particular automobile the project began with a 41 Chevy parts car and the project took five years to complete. Chevrolet produced their Fleetline models from 1941 to 1952.

At first glance you may seem to be looking at a Chevy Special Deluxe Convertible although the one we're seeing here is a four door sedan convertible Fleetline model. Fleetline models from the factory did not include convertibles and the Special deluxe Convertibles were coupes.

chevy fleetline convertible

1941 Chevy Fleetline Convertible

For the purposes of this article we are covering the design and specifications for Chevrolet's only 1941 factory convertible, the Special Deluxe Convertible.

The 1941 Chevy Special Deluxe

Plenty of changes were instituted for 1941 by Harley Earl's Art and Color Section.  The car was bigger. Both it's wheelbase and overall length were increased. The car's size even reminded some of the Buick. The automobile was longer by 3½ inches and about 100 pounds heavier than its predecessor.

The 116-inch wheelbase was 3 inches longer The 1941 Chevrolet Super Deluxe had more space in the interior as well with three extra inches of hip room.  Headlights were blended into the fenders and all Chevy models had new independent front suspension. The 41's sported new grilles and were the first Chevys without running boards.

The 41 Chevy Special Deluxe Convertible had a power top operated by a vacuum system.

For 1941 Chevy also made major engine revisions to this model. Cylinder heads were redesigned and new pistons were introduced. The engine's horsepower was raised to 90 from 85. The engine took on the name "Victory Six" referring to the war going on in Europe.

1941 Chevrolet Special Deluxe Convertible Specifications

As mentioned above, the 1941 Chevys came with improved engines. These were 216 cubic inch straight sixes that delivered 90 horsepower.

Transmission on the 41 Chevy was a vacuum column mounted three speed manual Synchromesh. It's said that the vacuum took about 80% of the effort away from shifting gears. Some referred to it as "fingertip shifting".

Brakes were hydraulic four wheels drums.

Suspension was front independent with a semi-floating rear axle.

The 1941 Chevrolet Special Deluxe Convertible had a 116.0 inch wheelbase and an overall length of 195.75 inches. The height was 65.375 inches and the width 70.875 inches.

The Special Deluxe Convertible sold new for about $1,000. The Special Deluxe Business Coup was at the bottom of the line and sold for about $775.

41 chevy convertible

Rear view of the 41 Chevy Fleetline Convertible Phantom Car.

In 1941 a bit over one million Chevrolet passenger cars were produced. This was the first time Chevrolet topped one million passenger cars. This number made Chevrolet number one for the year. Out of that number there were only 15,246 Convertibles produced.

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chevy fleetline convertible

Dashboard on the 1941 Chevrolet Fleetlline Convertible

The 1941 Chevrolet Convertibles are rare cars in as much as only a bit over 15,000 were produced. These were refined automobiles with great new styling and with a revamped engine. We also believe they are milestone cars in as much as they represented the last full production year model prior to the U.S. entering  World War Two.

They were also the first Chevys without running boards.

Restored excellent condition 41 Chevy Convertibles command good auction prices. As of this writing we see a non-restored example with an asking price of $14,000 or best offer. We also see a modified 41 convertible with an asking price of $33,000 or best offer. Another Chevy 1941 Special Deluxe Convertible fully restored in mint condition sold at auction for $52,250.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)

 

 

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