1948 Chevrolet Fleetmaster Coupe / Photos, Specs, More

Featured in this article is a good looking 1948 Chevrolet Fleetmaster Coupe. When the Chevy Fleetmaster was introduced in 1946 it was a top of the line Chevrolet model that replaced the Chevy Special Deluxe.

chevy fleetmaster coupe

1948 Chevy Fleetmaster Coupe

The Chevrolet Fleetmaster

Chevrolet produced it's Fleetmaster model for the 1946, 1947 and 1948 model years. The post war Fleetmaster was styled from the prewar 1942 Chevys and had little changes between 1946 and 1948.

Some exceptions were that the grille was made full width in 1947 and in 1948 added a center vertical bar to the grille. There was a sub series Fleetline offered that included both two and four door fastback designs.Beginning with 1949, the Fleetmaster was replaced by the Chevy Deluxe which had sub series of Fleetlines and Stylelines.

Post War Chevrolets

When the war ended in 1945, automakers had much of the tooling still in place that was used for the 1942 models. The fact that civilian car production ended in February 1942, designing essentially ceased and when the war did end the models turned out for 1946, 1947 and 1948, in the case with Chevrolet, looked very similar to the 42's.

1948 chevy fleetmaster

Vertical center bar added to the 1948 Fleetmaster grille

The first entirely new post war Chevrolet appeared for 1949. Production totaled over 400,000 vehicles. This big bump up in sales no doubt had to do with the new post war design introduced that year.

Interestingly enough, with four years of no civilian U.S. auto production due to the war, demand for new cars immediately after the war was off the charts and the fact that the design had no major changes since 1942 did not effect sales. If the car was new it sold fast and this probably kept the automakers from making significant design changes sooner.

The 1948 Chevy Fleetmaster Advancements

The 48 Chevy Fleetmaster was the last of it's line and while the basic design was years old this model did benefit from advancements made since 1941. This included advancements in both materials used and engineering.

As an example, the inline six engine in the 1948 Fleetmaster was built with precision type main bearings. The three speed column shifter was given a vacuum assist.

1948 Chevy Fleetmaster Specifications

As mentioned above, the 1948 Chevrolet Fleetmaster had a 216 Cubic Inch Inline Six engine rated at 90 horsepower. Remarkably this 216 inline six was Chevrolet's only engine from 1929 to 1954 when at that time they offered a small block V-8. While this was Chevy's sole engine for several decades, improvements to it were made. As an example, in 1941 with the Chevrolet Special Deluxe, cylinder heads were redesigned and new pistons were introduced. The engine's horsepower was raised to 90 from 85. In 1941 Chevy did build a 235 cubic inch version of the 216 inline six that was used in large trucks.

Transmission was a synchromesh three speed manual column mounted.  An automatic was offered as an option beginning with 1950 Chevrolets.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drum.

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

Wheelbase was 116.0 inches...overall length was 197.75 inches... width 73.4 inches...height 66.1 inches. Curb weight estimated at 3,330 lbs.

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chevrolet fleetmaster design and styling

48 Fleetmaster dash

Reference material for the Chevrolet Fleetmaster includes the Complete Book of Collectible Cars by the editors of Consumer Guide and GM/Chevrolet Archives.

Chevrolet Fleetmaster Collector Cars and Values

The Chevy Fleetmaster is a relatively popular collector car.From the three model years that the Chevy Fleetmaster was produced, the 1948 model was considered the best of the three. This is mainly because of the engine improvements and more ornate grille styling for the 48 models. While the same basic styling was beginning to get old for 1948, the cars had a reputation of being quite well built.

Collectors that have interest in early post war classics would find the Chevy Fleetmaster a so,ewhat inexpensive way to start a collection. As of this writing, values for restored 1948 Chevrolet Fleetmasters average from about $16,000 to $20,000. To be sure, there are variances to these values based on mileage, originality and date of restoration.

chevy fleetmaster specificationsVintage Chevrolet Club of America is a great source of information for all early post war Chevys and much more. They are a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of all years of Chevrolets. One of the best benefits of belonging to the VCCA is taking your vehicles on tours. The Touring Committee is dedicated to the promotion and enjoyment of owning and driving Chevrolets, social interaction and fellowship among members, and increasing awareness of the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America in the general public. Their website is  www.vcca.org

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

Classic 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air / Specs, Photos, Model History

The Car of the Year for 1955

The 1955 Chevrolet was a milestone car and represented a major move forward for the Chevrolet Division of General Motors. The automobile featured in this article is a 1955 Chevy Bel Air. This model which was new from the ground up was named car of the year for 1955. Marketed as the "Hot One" to appeal to America's youth, the 1955 Chevy was an instant success.

1955 chevy bel air specs

1955 Chevy Bel Air

It was in 1955 that the Chevy Bel Air was equipped with a V8 engine, and won the reputation of “The Hot One” among car enthusiasts. The style of the 1955 Chevy Bel Air  is what makes it one of the most sought after classic cars  today. The design of the 1955 Chevy was considered by many to be far superior to any Ford or Plymouth produced at the time.

For 1955, buyers had the option for a new and smaller 265-cubic-inch overhead valve V8 Turbo Fire if they wanted something more than the 236 Cubic Inch Six, Chevrolet built a 150, 210 and Bel Air model.

The history of Bel Air started in 1953 when he became the new name for the high-end line of Chevrolet cars. It is in these first models appeared the unique characteristics of the car body.

The 1955 Chevy Bel Air

Collector cars from the 1950's are thought to be the most coveted by many classic car enthusiasts. Many cars from that decade remain popular with collectors fifty years later. Among the top of that list is certainly the 1955 Chevy Bel Air, one of the most iconic cars of the era. Some would say that the 1955 Chevrolet is THE car of the 50's.

chevrolet bel air specificationsWhen the 1955 Chevy was introduced, certain auto people were fixing up cars from a generation ago, such as the Model T, as a hot rod or track car. To compete with these improved retro cars, the major car companies had to come up with equally impressive automobiles. Thus, the 1955 Chevy was born.

The 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air is today an iconic vehicle many times referred to simply as the '55 Chevy. This 55 Chevy remains a sought after Chevrolet model for car collectors.

The 1955 Bel Air was not the first model year of the Bel Air. Interestingly enough, Often, it in many cases the first model year of a new vehicle ends up being remembered the most. In the case of the Chevrolet Bel Air things were different. The Bel Air was first produced by Chevrolet in 1950 however the 50 Bel Air was not the hit that the 55 ended up to be and therefore doesn't have nearly the the collector demand the latter model has.

Chevrolet's 50's Tail Fins

The 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air represents the first model year of a redesigned second generation. It introduced many features that would become popular in cars from the 1950's. One of the things that the 1955 Chevy Bel Air did was add tail fins to the Chevy line. These fins were not nearly as large as fins would eventually get. The model years afterward would see car fins become much larger. The stylish tail fins of the 1957 Chevrolet make it a real competitor for the top spot with the 55 model.

The Bel Air design was so strong and popular that the line itself would sell in the United States until 1975. Much of the Bel Air's appeal throughout the years had it's roots going straight back to those second generation Chevy's.

1955 Chevy Bel Air Specifications

Available engines on the 1955 Chevy were a 235 cubic inch Inline Six and two V-8's, one with a double barrel carburetor and one with a four barrel. The Bel Air model came only with a V-8. Horsepower in that order was 123, 162, 180.

1955 chevy bel air dashboard

55 Chevy Bel Air dashboard

Transmissions available were a three speed manual and a Pwerglide automatic.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drum.

Dimensions included a 115.9 inch wheelbase, an overall outside length of 195.6 inches and a weight of about 3,300 lbs.

New car price range for the 1955 Chevy Bel Air (excluding wagons) was $1,950 to $2,300.

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The 1955 Chevrolet Collector Car Popularity and Values

Nostalgia is one big reason that the second generation Chevrolet Bel Air's are some of the most popular with collectors. Many of these owners are people who grew up during the 1950's.  Some will also tell you that they believe that automobiles in general were made better during that era. Many old cars, including the 1955 Chevy, were bigger and had bigger engines. This is a big plus for collectors.

55 chevy bel air

The 55 Chevy's small rear fin

As far as design goes, most automobiles produced during the 1950's have very distinctive. styling. Today, many automobile models look visually the same as their competitors. In many cases today styling takes a back seat to fuel economy. The decade of the 50's, before safety regulations and emission controls were mandated, was an era of very creative design innovation by some top stylists, such as Harley Earl and Virgil Exner to name just a few, and as a result most people can identify a 1950's brand automobile by simply looking at the car from a distance.

As of this writing, top valuations for the 1955 Chevy Bel Air ranges from about $25,000 to $95,000. This is for a professionally restored model. The much higher valued Bel Air would typically be the two door convertible.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

1957 Chevy 210 Station Wagon / Specs, Photos, History

Chevrolet's 1957 models were and still are very popular automobiles and are often referred to as 1950's icons. They were statements at the time of a new modern design. The 57 Chevy 210 Station Wagon featured in this article is a real beauty. Those famous 1957 Chevy tail fins add to the great look of this vehicle. These cars were noted for their sporty and stylish look. It was during these Tri_Five Years (1955-1957) where Chevrolet made major design changes and gave both Ford and Chrysler a real run for their money. In 1955 Chevy outsold Ford by a quarter million vehicles.

Three models of Chevrolet automobiles were offered for 1957. These were the top of the line Bel Air...the mid range 210 and the lower trim 150.

1957 chevy station wagon

1957 Chevy Station Wagon

1955 Chevrolet Design

All of this began with the all new design of the 1955 Chevrolet whose design team was led by GM's legendary Harley Earl. This was an all new look for Chevrolet. Gone was the bulbous hood sitting between two wide fenders. Essentially, rounded lines were replaced with a straighter flatter look.

Visibility was improved with a wider windshield. Ventilation was improved greatly and air conditioning could be enjoyed for the first time as an option. 1955 was also the first year of a 12 volt electrical system. Each year during the 1955-1957 run the design was reskinned but the general design remained the same with flatter straighter lines. A good example are the famous fins put on the 1957 models.

Several Station Wagons Available for 1957`

Chevrolet actually produced several varieties of station wagons for the 1957 model year. These included the two-door station wagon (with a sloped pillar behind the hardtop door and sliding windows at the rear seat) Nomad, the four-door, six-passenger station wagon, and the four-door, nine-passenger station wagon.

tri-five chevy cars

All new styling that began with the 1955 model. The 57 Chevy is part of the famous Tri-Five Chevys

Color combinations for the 1957 Chevy Wagons were ivory and charcoal, beige and copper, two tone green.

The Chevy design team for 1957 added an egg crate anodized grille to the 210 model and a gold anodized grille for the Bel Air.

1957 Chevrolet Station Wagon Specifications

There were three Chevy engine options available for 1957 but several additional configurations could boost horsepower significantly. The three engines were the 235 cubic inch Inline Six, the 265 cubic inch V-8 and the new 283 cubic inch V-8.

Horsepower varied greatly depending on add-ons. The 235 was rated at 140 HP, the 265 at 162 HP. The new 283 could be had in several Turbo configurations with top horsepower rated at 283. This top horsepower was accomplished with fuel injection. Many would say that this Rochester fuel injected 283 made the car a hot rod right off of the assembly line. This configuration came with a manual gear box only.

Four transmissions were offered for 1957. These included three speed Synchromesh manuals, one with overdrive. Automatics included a two speed Powerglide and a Turboglide variable speed.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drum.

Front suspension was independent coil springs with rear being longitudinal leaf springs.

Dimensions for the 57 Chevy Wagon included a wheelbase of 115.0 inches...overall length 200.0 inches, height 60.5 inches, width 70.9 inches. Weight averaged about 3.425 lbs.

New car base price for the 1957 210 wagon was about $2,400.

Production numbers for 1957 Chevrolet Station Wagons were 14,800 for the 150 trim...166,500 for all of the 210 variations and 33,500 for the two Bel Air models.

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References for this article include GM Archives and Complete Book of Collectible Cars.

1957 Chevrolet Station Wagon Collector Values and Popularity

The 1955-57 Chevys, those of the Tri-Five Years, are among the top collector automobiles from the 1950's. The 1957 model in our estimation the most popular.

chevy 210 station wagon specifications

Great styling and those famous 57 Chevy fins

Chevrolet station wagons in 1957 came in the 150, 210 and Bel Air trims. As of this writing, the top value range, according to several sources, are as follows...the Chevy 150 range is about $22,000 -$32,000. The 210 model about $24,000 to $35,000 depending on exact model, and the top of the line Bel Air about $27,000 to $40,000. The 210 wagon generally would cost you less than the Bel Air but gives you essentially the great 57 styling. The 57 Nomad is valued significantly higher at about $60,000 to $80,000 plus. Again, the aforementioned values are for fully restored top condition and/or show cars.

The Tri-Five Years were great one's for Chevrolet and made their cars icons for the decade of the 50's. When 1958 came around, the Chevy was completely redesigned and looked closer to a Cadillac than it did to a 57 Chevy. The year 1957 was also the last year for the popular Chevy Nomad Station Wagon.

(Article and photos copyright 2016 Auto Museum Online)