Chevrolet sold three different models during the 1942 model year. These were the Master Deluxe, the Special Deluxe and the Fleetwood. The 1942 models were not too much different than the 1941's although the 41's did have significant restyling. The 42's however had a longer hood, an "American Eagle" Grille and a "fadeaway" front fender. The 1942 Chevy had a starting price of about $800.
The Chevrolet Sedans were popular. The 1942 Chevy Town Sedan was a two door, five passenger vehicle with a built in trunk. The vehicle came with 16 inch wheels and two tone cord upholstery as an option over the standard gray cloth seats. Weight for the Town sedan was 3,220 lbs. Additional specifications for the 1942 Chevrolet was 195 7/8 inches in length, a 116 inch wheelbase, a maximum height of 66 1/8 inches when fully loaded and 69 3/8 inched when empty and a body width of 70 7/8 inches.
The windows on the 1942 Chevrolet Town Sedan were Hi-Test Safety Plate. These included the windshield as well as the side windows.
The 1942 Chevy Sedan had a six cylinder in-line cast iron block overhead valve engine. Displacement was 216.5 cid and could deliver 90 HP. The transmission was a standard three forward speed, one rear speed unit. Options on this car were many including white wall tires, a signal seeking radio, fender skirts, a spotlight, fog lamps and exterior sunshades.
Production on the 1942 Chevrolets began in September of 1941. Even at that date, military vehicle production was being ramped up. Production totals for the 1942 model year was 258,795 units of which 84,800 Master Deluxe models and 173,900 Super Deluxe models. All production was stopped on February 1, 1942 due to World War Two and President Roosevelt's banning of civilian car production. The low production totals for this model year were a direct result of the February civilian car stoppage. Every Chevrolet factory except the Saginaw Michigan Service plant was converted to war material manufacturing. The 1942 Chevy models were the very last prior to the war. Civilian car manufacturing didn't begin again until the summer of 1945. The U.S. automakers by the very nature of their business had a huge infrastructure in place at the time of the U.S. entry into World War Two.
They also had an in place workforce. U.S. automobile plants produced one-fifth of the total war production of the United States military. Obviously, at wars end, there was a great demand for automobiles, many of the buyers being servicemen returning home.
An interesting change concerning war time production was the building of what is referred to as the "blackout" models. This particular production type affected all automakers and only occurred during January 1942, the month before all civilian production halted. The "Blackout" was mandated to the automakers for the purpose of making things even among the car companies so that no one could gain a competitive advantage since raw materials were very limited. This historic commercial mandate prohibited exposed stainless or chrome trim except for bumpers, bumper hardware, and windshield wipers. In the case of Chevrolet, the company painted the trim on it's 1942 models that were built in January.
When the federal order to stop civilian production took effect, auto dealer showrooms would have about 340,000 vehicles stockpiled including the relatively small number of blackout models. The Office of Production Management put a freeze on all dealer inventories until a rationing program took effect in March of 1942. Interestingly enough, and probably as no surprise, used car sales prices nearly doubled.
The 1942 Chevrolet Town Sedan shown in this article is on display at the Western Antique Aeroplane and Auto Museum located at 1600 Air Museum Road in Hood River, Oregon. Hood River is located along the scenic Columbia River Gorge and makes a great stop while exploring the Columbia River east of Portland.
Other automobile museums where you can see restored 1940's Chevys include a 1942 Chevrolet Blackout model at the LeMay America's Car Museum located in Tacoma Washington. Because the production of these Blackout models only took place in January of 1942, there were only about 2,300 cars built. The LeMay Museum also has a 1942 Ford Deluxe which you can compare to the Chevy styling for that year.
For those in Brazil, the excellent Automobile Museum of Curitiba which opened in 1968 also has a fine vintage 1942 Chevrolet on display.