1938 Chevrolet Master Deluxe Sedan

Shown here is the long wheel base 1938 Chevrolet Master Deluxe Sedan. This of course was one of the Chevrolets built and sold during the Great Depression and was part of the more modernized series that began in the mid 1930′s. Like most 1930 Chevy’s it’s a great collector’s car.

chevy master deluxe

1938 Chevrolet Master Deluxe

This automobile sold new at $877. The 1938 Chevrolet was built with an 85 HP, six cylinder engine along with a 3 speed manual transmission. Both the Master and Master Deluxe models in 1938 were powered by an overhead valve six-cylinder engine that displaced 215.6 cubic inches. The vehicle has four wheel hydraulic brakes. The vehicle seats five people and weighs 2,940 pounds.

Chevrolet had used different series names until 1934. Beginning then, models were grouped into Master and Standard lines. In 1935 the term “Deluxe” was added. The year 1935 was also the model year where more modernized styling took hold. Another advantage that Chevy had were hydraulic brakes, mentioned above, beginning in 1936. Ford Motor didn’t offer these until 1939. In fact, Ford lagged Chevy in improvements throughout most of the 1930′s.

1939 chevy master deluxe sedan

Grille with horizontal bars

The Master Deluxe Series and the Recession of 1938

Chevrolet’s Master deluxe Series cars targeted middle class buyers. The country found itself back into a new recession in 1938, sometimes referred to as “Roosevelts Recession“. Because of this reversal to what had been somewhat of a steady yet slow recovery process, Chevrolet sales fell that year. In fact for Chevrolet, sales plunged about 40 percent. In addition to the recession, Chevrolet had priced their Master Deluxe about 4 percent higher than the 1937 models.

The Master deluxe advertising slogan for 1938 was “The Car that is Complete“. Aside from the fact that the slogan wasn’t actually attention getting, the 1938 Master Deluxe was little changed from the 1937 models. The most notable difference to the buyer would have been it’s newly designed grille with horizontal bars. In addition to the new grille, the Master Deluxe has a wider rear tread and larger hood louvers.

One reason cited for the few changes with the 38′s was that Chevrolet had spent more than twenty million dollars retooling for the 1937 model year. After spending that kind of money on retooling it’s not a surprise that Chevy decided to take it easy with new designing for 1938.

1939 chevy

Rear trunk area with outside latches

The plain  unimaginative ad slogan along with the price increase mentioned above plus the weak economic climate made for a tough year. Interestingly enough, despite the rough economic climate, Chevrolet did beat Ford in sales that year. While Chevy volume was down over 40 percent, Ford was down over 50 percent and Dodge over 60 percent.

1938 production totals for the Chevrolet Master was 162,400 units and the Master Deluxe 302,700 units. Out of the master deluxe totals, some 186,000 units built were 2 door Towne Sedans. Towne Sedan pricing started at about $750 and was considered the entry vehicle of the Master Deluxe series.


The 1938 Chevrolet Master Deluxe was 180.5 inches long, 70 8 inches wide and 67.8 inches in height. The fuel tank held 14 gallons. This particular model had a log wheelbase of 112.3 inches.

See our photo article on the 1939 Master Deluxe Business Coupe.

1939 chevy sedan

Longer hoods of the 1938 models

Improvements in 1939

Chevrolet made several improvements with their 1939 model year vehicles. The goal was to keep their lead against Ford. One improvement was the “vacuum gear shift“. In came with a short lever next to the steering wheel. By eliminating the floor shifter, more space was usable within the cabin. Using a vacuum cylinder, changing gears required only minimal effort. The vaccum shifting option became standard equipment in the 1940 model year and continued so to 1948.

Sales increased in 1939 over 1938 by about twenty-five percent but still didn’t reach the totals seen in 1937. The 1939 models also had slightly reduced prices from 1938, most likely due to the 38 recession. The economic climate started to once again improve as 1939 progressed.

See the 1938 Chevrolet Master Deluxe

The 1938 Chevy Master Deluxe featured here is on display at the Texas Transportation Museum in San Antonio. Chevy 1938 models are also exhibited at the Antique Auto Museum at Hershey in Hershey Pennsylvania.

(Photos from author’s collection)


Model AA

Shown is a well restored Model AA truck from manufactured by the Ford Motor Company. This 1929 Ford Model AA was arguably the most popular truck during the late 1920′s. Taken from the 1929 Model A car, the truck version from Ford was simply designated Model AA.

model aa

1929 Ford Model AA

This designation was also used with the famous Ford Model T with the truck version named Model TT. During the booming 1920′s, demand for more and better trucks grew. Ford had done an excellent job in mobilizing America. Ford’s brands were both popular and affordable and they created a way for the common man to own an automobile.

The Model AA is an example of Ford taking what they had with the Model TT Truck and making it better.

Ford Model AA as well as the Model A automobile was superior to the Model T in most respects. First of all, the Model A was so well built these cars and trucks could be seen on the road even into the 1950′s. Reports are that there are still Model A trucks in service as of this writing in several overseas countries. That type of lifespan is excellent for any vehicle. The Ford Model A’s were among the best selling cars in America.

The Model AA Specs

1929 ford model aa truck

Front end of the restored Ford Model AA Truck

Designing for the Model A was started in 1926. The Model AA trucks were basically similar to the Model A cars but with a much plainer interior. The Model AA Truck utilized the same 4 cylinder engine used in the car. This was a 201 cid 3.3 L power plant. The transmission was a manual three speed. Suspension was similar to the car counterpart with leaf springs on the front but the truck version had leaf springs shackled to the rear axle and with no shock absorbers. Four oversized drum brakes were added to the Model AA’s.

The Ford Model AA Truck was offered with a variety of options. For starters, two different wheelbases were offered. These were 131.5 inch and 157 inch lengths. Trucks were built for a large variety of purposes and the Ford Model AA came with several body options. Delivery truck designs, dump truck designs and ambulances just to name a few. The Ford Motor Company even sold a fleet of Model AA trucks to the U.S. Postal Service whose bodies were designed by an outside source.

Model AA Production Figures

ford model aa

Beautifully restored Model AA Truck bed

Production numbers for the 1929 Model AA are thought to be 156,430 units. This was out of a total of about 1,715,000 vehicles. Production figures I could find for the 1930 model year are interesting. Ford Motor Company produced about 1,250,000 vehicles with about 159,000 being trucks. Total vehicle production was obviously affected by the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Model year 1931 total production was half that figure at over 600,000 with Model AA truck production at 104,000. Truck production actually grew as a percentage of overall production during the beginning years of the Great Depression.

See our photo articles about the 1946 Ford Woody Wagon and the Ford Trucks of the 1930‘s.

Preserving the Model AA’s

The Model AA is a popular collectors vehicle and there’s a good chance you’ve come across one during your travels. This popularity covers both the Model A cars and the Model AA trucks.

restored ford model aa

Model AA restored as a Falstaff beer delivery truck

Sites around the U.S. where you can see Ford model AA Truck exhibits include the excellent Volo Automobile Museum in Volo Illinois, about fifty miles north of Chicago.

The 1929 Ford Model AA shown in this article is on display at the San Antonio Texas Museum of Transportation located on Wetmore Rd.just northeast of the San Antonio International Airport.

Also, if you haven’t already, make plans to visit the fascinating Henry Ford Museum at Greenfield Village in Dearborn Michigan. Dearborn is a western suburb of Detroit. The Henry Ford Museum is an excellent addition to any trip planner and is an educational experience for the entire family.

Another good venue to see the Ford trucks is at the Petersen Automotive Museum on Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles California. This museum has one of the largest automobile collections in the U.S. and features numerous events throughout the year.

(Photos from author’s collection)