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.

See additional AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below…

1941 Cadillac Series 62

1941 Modified Pontiac Torpedo

Location of VIN Plates and Stamps on Vintage Vehicles


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)



The 1967 Buick Riviera / Packed With Plenty of Muscle

The first series of the Buick Riviera were produced for the 1963 through 1965 model years. The design was a big hit. In somewhat of a rare feat, Buick followed it up again with another hit with the second generation 66 and 67 Rivieras. As they say, the cars turned heads. As we detail below, the second generation Buick Rivieras came with some seriously powerful engines. The car’s mechanics were good but what really stood out was the design.

1967 buick riviera

1967 Buick Riviera

The Buick Riviera Design and GM’s William L. Mitchell

The automobile featured in this article is a 1967 Buick Riviera. The car was larger than the first generation models and had razor edge flowing lines. The elimination of front vent windows and the reshaping of the roof line into a graceful fastback produced a pure hardtop look. Interestingly enough, the Riviera was first slotted to go to the Cadillac Division as a new kind of LaSalle. The fact was that Cadillac during the early 60′s had a hot streak going and Buick did not. Buick needed a facelift of sorts so the design for the Riviera was awarded to GM’s Buick Division.

The Buick Riviera was chiefly designed by GM Design Head Bill Mitchell who was a protege of the legendary Harley Earl. William L. Mitchell was only the second person to hold the position of vice president in charge of the General Motors Styling Section. A young Mitchell began his career at an advertising agency where he prepared layouts and advertising illustrations. His introduction into the auto world began when he became the official illustrator of the ARCA, the Automobile Racing Club of America. Bill Mitchell’s work eventually came to the attention of Harley Earl who hired him into General Motors in 1935.

67 buick riviera

Front view of the 67 Riviera

While Mitchell continued to use some of Earl’s design traits after earl retired he also departed from them in several areas, notably the lack of generous use of chrome and big tail fins. The most significant changes by Mitchell could be said to be the sharp edged flowing lines.

The Buick Riviera was considered at the time GM’s luxury answer to Ford’s Thunderbird. In fact, you could say that the Ford Thunderbird inspired the creation of the Buick Riviera.

The Riviera was considered by many to be the most successful attempt at capturing European styling in a large American automobile. The car’s history is that it always displayed cutting edge design styles. The Buick Riviera essentially came with every conceivable option and became the top of the Buick line.

Standard features included power steering, power brakes, tilt steering wheel, and an automatic transmission.

1967 Buick Riviera Specifications

Although the Buick Riviera was not considered a pure muscle car, as muscle cars were considered in the late 60′s, the 67 Riviera offered a 430 cubic inch  V8 with 360hp that was now the highest rated standard engine of any muscle car. Maximum speed as rated at 120 MPH. The entire horsepower race in production cars during the late 60′s was really started by the success of Pontiac’s GTO in 1964.

Transmission was a Super Turbine three speed automatic.

Brakes consisted of front discs and rear drums..

Suspension included independent ball joint with coil springs in the front and coil springs in the rear.

The 1967 Buick Riviera had a wheelbase of 119.0 inches and an overall length of 211.3 inches, a width of 79.5 inches and a height of 53.9 inches . The car’s empty weight was 4,189 lbs.

To locate the automobile’s serial number look for it on a plate on the left front door body hinge pillar post.

1967 Buick Riviera production totaled 42,799 units. The new car base price was about $4,500.

67 buick riviera dashboard

Dashboard on the 67 Buick Riviera

You may also enjoy the AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below…

1967 Pontiac GTO History and Specs

The 1968 Oldsmobile 442 Muscle Car

Serial Numbers on Classic and Antique Automobiles

 A 1972 Modified Buick Riviera Boattail

Excellent reference material regarding the Buick Riviera can be found in the following books…..Buick Riviera 1963-78 Performance Portfolio by R.M. Clarke.

Also, the book Road Hogs, Detroit’s Big, Beautiful Luxury Performance Cars of the 1960s and 1970s by Eric Peters.

Second Generation Buick Riviera Collector Cars

The 66 and 67 Buick Rivieras stand out for their sharp design looks. When looking for one of these Rivieras as a collector car the condition is what matters most and exceptional examples are rare.

second generation buick rivieras

Rear view of the 57 Buick Riviera

For those looking for a 66/67 Buick Riviera project car, finding parts for a 66/67 Riviera is somewhat of a mixed bag. The relatively low production numbers mean that specific parts for the Riviera are really not being made.

Items like tail lights and fenders will best be found on a parts car.  Ebay might be a good source for other parts. Parts for the 430 cubic inch V-8 should be relatively easy to locate. Brake parts may take longer to find although shoes and pads are readily available.

Regarding asking prices for 1967 Buick Rivieras as of this writing, non-restored examples might be found in the $10,000 to $15,000 range depending on condition, If they’re not running the price would likely be much less. Partial restored Rivieras would likely be in the mid to high $20,000 range. Show condition Buick Rivieras would likely be in the $30,000 range plus. These would be rare finds.

(Article copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline. Photos in the public domain)


The 1968 Oldsmobile Muscle Car / The 442 W-30 Convertible

Make no mistake about it, the 1968 442 was a muscle car produced by Oldsmobile. The Oldsmobile 442 was introduced as an option package for the F-85 and and the more luxurious Cutlass models sold in the United States beginning with the 1964 model year. What does the 442 designation mean? The 442 is a configuration of a four-barrel carburetor, a four-speed manual transmission, and dual exhaust pipes.

oldsmobile 442

1968 Oldsmobile 442

The First Muscle Car

While the subject of which automaker created the first American muscle car certainly can be debated, there are those who contend that Oldsmobile won this distinction when they put a Rocket V-8 engine into their 1949 Olds 88 and Super 88 models.

With that being said, Oldsmobile returned to the muscle car field in 1964 when Pontiac unveiled the GTO.

The Pontiac GTO was the inspiration for Olds to come out with their 4-4-2 package. As mentioned above, the 442 signified a four-barrel carburetor, a four-speed manual transmission, and dual exhaust pipes.

The Oldsmobile 442 W-30

The automobile featured in this article is a 1968 Oldsmobile 442 W-30. This was a year in the middle of the American muscle car era before emission and safety standards changed the landscape. It was also a milestone year where the Oldsmobile 442 became it’s own distinct model and no longer just an option. In 1968 Oldsmobile also joined forces with Hurst Performance Research Corporation to produce the Hurst/Olds shifter. The 68 Olds 442′s were built on GM’s new for 1968 A-Body platforms.

1968 Olds 442

The Olds 442 W-30 muscle car

In 1968 Oldsmobile 442′s also had unique rear bumpers with exhaust cutouts and special exhaust tips. The car included standard equipment of heavy duty springs, stabilizer bars, special shock absorbers and wheels.

W-30 Option

The W-30 designation meant Outside Air Induction System. The W-30 was an available option in addition to the 442 option and added slightly more power. Some 442′s with automatic transmissions employed column shifters instead of floor mounted shifters.

For the years 1967 through 1971 W-30′s had red inner fender wells. The1968 and 1969 models have a four inch diameter hole cut in the horizontal surface of the inner fender directly behind the head lights on each side for the ducting to the under the bumper scoops.

All W-30s had the Rallye Pac instrument panel as standard equipment.

From 1966 to 1972, a W Series Oldmobiles were produced at Olds Lansing, Michigan plant.

1968 Oldsmobile 442 Specifications

The 1968 Oldsmobile 442 had a 400 cubic inch V-8 engine.The W-30 version delivered 360 horsepower. Out of the five available engine options for 1968, the Olds 442 W-30 was the second highest in horsepower with the 455 cubic inch limited edition Hurst Olds versions claiming 390 horsepower.

In all, there were four transmissions available on Oldsmobile 442′s in 1968.

These included a Four Speed manual Wide Ratio, a Three Speed Turbo-Hhydra-Matic, a Four Speed manual Close Ratio, and a Heavy Duty Three Speed.

1968 Olds 442 dashboard

Dashboard on the 68 Olds 442

Suspension on the Olds 442 included both front and rear anti-roll bars that were stiffer than the standard suspensions.

Dimensions included a 112.0 inch wheelbase, an overall length of 204.2 inches, and a curb weight averaging about 3,560 lbs.

As mentioned above, standard equipment on the 1968 442 included heavy duty springs, stabilizer bars, special shock absorbers and wheels.

There were a total of 33,607 Olds 442′s produced in 1968. Out of that number there were 5,142 convertible models built. The largest 442 production number for 1968 was the hardtop coup at 26,773 units. As a comparison, total 1968 Pontiac GTO production came in at 87,684 units which included 9,980 convertibles and 77,704 hardtops.

New car price for the 1968 Oldsmobile 443 was about $3,100 for the hardtop and $3,350 for the convertible.

Serial numbers for the 1968 Oldsmobile can be found on a plate on the left front door hinge pillar.

You may also enjoy the related AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below…

oldsmobile 442 w-30

Rear view of the 68 Olds 442

The 1967 Pontiac GTO History, Photos and Specs

The 1969 Chevrolet Camaro

Serial Numbers on Classic  and Antique Cars

The Powerful 1967 Buick Riviera

For more information regarding the Oldsmobile muscle cars, you may want to read…Oldsmobile Muscle Cars by author William G. Holder.

Another recommended book is…The Complete Book of Classic GM Muscle by author Mike Mueller.


The 1968 Oldsmobile 442 Collector Car

The Oldsmobile 442 from the late 1960′s is a popular and can be a  valuable collector car. As mentioned earlier, the 1968 Olds 442′s became their own model in line in 1968 after being an option package for the Cutlass making the 1968 models milestone cars. The Oldsmobile 442 is one of the great muscle cars from the greatest era of automobiles.

These were Lansing’s last “golden age” muscle cars.

As always, prices for popular classic cars will vary due to overall condition, degree of restoration and particular model and engine. As of this writing, Olds 442′s are often times seen on automobile auction lists and as of this writing we see restored models priced from the mid $20,000 range into the $40,000 range. Non-restored models with stock equipment may be found for about $15,000 and less depending on condition.

The Powerful 1965 Sunbeam Tiger MK-I Sports Car

The 1965 Sunbeam Tiger MK-I is a classic and it’s rare. Only 7,083 ere built from 1964 to 1967. The Sunbeam Tiger I came with a 260 cubic inch Ford V-8 and a four speed manual transmission. The Sunbeam Tiger produced by the Rootes Group, a UK automaker founded in 1913 by Sir William Rootes, was small and powerful and was probably one of the better sports car values during the 1960′s. The 1964 Sunbeam Tiger had a base price of about $3,500.

sunbeam tiger

1965 Sunbeam Tiger MK-1

An interesting side note was that the Rootes Group also built several other automobiles including the Talbot, Hillman, Humber, and Singer.

The Carroll Shelby Touch

The case with Sunbeam was that they had a popular sports car in the Alpine which was introduced in 1959  but it wasn’t a powerful sports car. The company was well aware of the work of Carroll Shelby with the small AC Cobra and the Ford V-8. Shelby’s 1962 Cobra was really the inspiration for the Sunbeam Tiger which itself was essentially a powerful Sunbeam Alpine. Shelby developed a sports car in America that some at the Rootes Group wanted as well.

There were two prototypes constructed using Sunbeam Alpine shells. One was built by Carroll Shelby and the other by Ken Miles. Shelby’s car, after a drive by Rootes Group executives around Los Angeles, was shipped to England.  Lord Rootes after taking a test drive himself made the almost instant decision to proceed with production which was a bit out of character for him. Shelby’s prototype unlike that of Miles used a four speed manual transmission.

sunbeam tiger mk 1

Rear view of the Tiger MK-1

Carroll Shelby’s hand in designing the Sunbeam Tiger is not nearly as well known as is his work with the AC Cobra and the Ford Mustang. The biggest challenge of how to fit a large and powerful engine into a small British car body. The Sunbeam Tiger ended up being a sports car with twice the power of a Sunbeam Alpine with only about twenty-percent more weight. That’s a huge distinction between the two somewhat similar yet far different Sunbeam models.

It was reported that Carroll Shelby desired to produce the U.S. version of the Tiger himself but his close ties with Ford kept all production in Britain.

The Sunbeam Tiger II

The Sunbeam Tiger II came out in 1967 and it held a larger Ford 289 cubic inch V-8 delivering 20  horsepower. The Sunbeam Tiger II also had some design changes which included unique headlight trim, an egg-crate grille, and lower body striping.

The company was having difficulty about the time that the Tiger II came out and the smaller Rootes Group was ultimately purchased by Chrysler. The Tiger II was the last Sunbeam Tiger model built since Chrysler was not going to promote an automobile with a Ford engine and the Chrysler engine was just too big for the Tiger body.

1965 Sunbeam Tiger II Specifications

As mentioned above, the Sunbeam Tiger I was produced with a 260 cubic inch Ford V-8 engine. That engine delivered 164 horsepower. The more powerful Sunbeam Tiger II which was introduced in 1967 had the Ford 289 cubic inch V-8 putting out 200 horsepower. The Tiger MK-1 was rated with a top speed of 118 MPH.

Transmissions on all Sunbeam Tiger’s was a four speed manual.

Brakes were front wheel disc and rear wheel drum.

The Sunbeam Tiger MK-1 dimensions included a wheelbase of 86.0 inches, a length of 156.0 inches, a width of 60.5 inches and a height of 51.5 inches. Curb weight was about 2,565 lbs.

You may also enjoy the AutoMuseumOnline stories on the links below…

The Sporty 1959 Triumph TR3A

The 1959 MG / MGA Convertible

The Powerful 1974 MG / BGT V-8

A good book available regarding the automobiles produced by the Rootes Group is…Cars of the Rootes Group/ Hillman, Humber, Singer, Sunbeam, Sunbeam Talbot (Marques & Models) by author Graham Robson.

The Sunbeam Tiger Collector Car

sunbeam tiger carroll shelby

Another view of the 65 Sunbeam Tiger

As mentioned above, the Sunbeam Tiger, both the MK-1 and MK-2, did not have the publicity that the AC Cobra and Ford Mustang had in regards to their Carroll Shelby connection. Carroll Shelby was the master of fitting a powerful V-8 engine into a small British car body.

Because of this a case can be made that the Sunbeam Tiger might be one of the best 1960′s sports car collector values.

As of this writing, asking prices for original restored Sunbeam Tigers in mint condition start in the high $20,000 range into the museum quality $70,000 plus area. High priced models should have a certificate of authenticity from the Sunbeam Tiger Owners Association. Prices vary greatly due to originality and overall condition. The later Mark II Tigers that were made near the end of production are even rarer. One restored original model was advertised for $150,000.

1965 sunbeam tiger interior photo

View of the interior and dashboard on the 65 Sunbeam Tiger

A few of the Sunbeam associations and clubs include the one mentioned above, the Sunbeam Tiger Owners Association which dates back to 1969, the California Association of Sunbeam Tiger Owners, the Pacific Tiger Club from Washington State and the Sunbeam Tiger Owners Club in the U.K. Associations and clubs such as these usually offer forums and technical tips for Tiger owners.


(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)

A True Muscle Car / The 1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk


1958 studebaker golden hawk

1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk

The 1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk featured in this article was built only as a two door hard top and came with a supercharged engine.

Studebaker began their Hawk Series of automobiles in 1956 and the design represented something very different from the norm. When the Studebaker Golden Hawk first came out it was the top of the line. Models below it were the Power Hawk, Flight Hawk and Sky Hawk.

The Studebaker Muscle Car

In 1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk was competing against performance cars like the Chevy Corvette and the Ford Thunderbird. Studebaker’s answer was a larger more powerful automobile with the Golden Hawk. Many would say that the Golden Hawk and the Chrysler 300B helped usher in the muscle car era.

golden hawk tail fins

Classic tail fins on the 58 Golden Hawk

The 1956-58 Golden Hawks were an example of Studebaker’s innovative thinking and creative design work. The Golden Hawks from 1957 to 1958 were the best performing Hawks until the Avanti was introduced by Studebaker in 1963.

An interesting article from the July 1956 Speed Age magazine reported on a test of the Studebaker Golden Hawk against the Chrysler 300 B, Ford Thunderbird, and Chevrolet Corvette. The results of this particular test determined that the Golden Hawk could out perform the others comfortably in both Zero-60 mph acceleration and quarter mile times.One could say that this proved that the Golden Hawk was a true muscle car. I also heard it said that the Golden Hawk was the sexiest car ever made in America. You be the judge.

58 golden hawk

rear view of the 58 Golden Hawk

Designer Raymond Lowery

Raymond Lowery, one of the most influential designers of the 20th century,  designed the Studebaker Golden Hawk. In addition to automobiles, Raymond Lowery was also America’s most famous industrial designer whose designs included locomotives, the iconic Coca-Cola glass bottle, the Shell Oil logo, various household appliances and the stylish Greyhound Scenic Cruiser bus. This is only a partial list…Lowery designed much more.

In designing the Studebaker Golden Hawk Lowery created a masterpiece. It’s almost that the models were so streamlined that they seemed from another era.

With the 1958 models you’ll see a fiberglass overlay on the hood that was needed along with a hole in the hood underneath it to clear the supercharger which was mounted at the top front of the engine.

The Golden Hawk’s tail fins were larger and concave on the sides with chrome trim as an outline. They were also painted a contrasting color which added a lot of eye appeal. The 58 Golden Hawk had 14 inch  wheels instead of 15 inch which made the car ride lower. If the buyer wanted the 15 inch wheels he/she could still order them as an option.

The 1958 Recession and the End of the Golden Hawk

The year 1958 saw the country in a recession and it took it’s toll on most automakers especially those on the high price end and the Golden Hawk was one of those. As a result of the recession only 878 Golden Hawk’s were sold that year. Beginning in 1959 the only Studebaker Hawk model left was the Silver Hawk. In 1960 the model was simply named the Studebaker Hawk.

1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk Specifications

The 58 Studebaker Golden Hawk came with a 289 cubic inch V-8 engine with a McCulloch Supercharger that put out 275 horsepower. The car was rated for Zero to 60 in 7.8 seconds and a top speed of 125 MPH. The 1957 and 1958 Golden Hawk’s did not have the heavier Packard engine as was on the 56 models. The new 289 supercharged engine weighed some 180 lbs less than the old Packard 352 and really improved the car’s power to weight ratio.

The 58 Golden Hawk had a wheelbase of 120.5 inches. Curb weight came in at 3,470 lbs.

The new car price for the 1958 Golden Hawk averaged about $3,300.

You may enjoy the additional AutoMuseumOnline Studebaker articles on the links below…

The 1951 Studebaker Commander Convertible

The 1953 Studebaker Champion

The 1955 Studebaker President Speedster

Also see our article….Antique and Classic Car Vin’s/Serial Numbers

studebaker golden hawk supercharger

Golden Hawk hood with the fiberglass riser to accommodate the supercharger

Studebaker Golden Hawks Make Great Collector Cars

The Studebaker Golden Hawk years represented a milestone for Studebaker. Designs changed radically as did performance. The Raymond Lowery Studios did some of their best automotive design work with the Studebaker Hawks.

The 1957-58 Golden Hawks were muscle cars in the true sense of the word and this in itself make these models popular collector cars. These automobiles outperformed the Corvette and Thunderbird in certain aspects.

With this being said, as of this writing, the Studebaker Golden Hawk is a very popular collector car with plenty of stories attached to it. Restored Golden Hawks will turn heads wherever they go.

studebaker golden hawk interior

Dashboard on the 58 Studebaker Golden Hawk

As of today, Studebaker Golden Hawk models that are for sale have a variety of asking prices and they are directly tied to degree of restoration, if any, originality, mileage, possible rust and mechanical condition in general. Restored Golden Hawk’s in mint condition might be found in the $50,000 to $70,000 range.. Project cars if you can find one may be under $10,000.

The 1957 and 1958 Studebaker Golden Hawks with their supercharged engines appear to be the most in demand by collectors.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)