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)

1968 Jeepster Convertible / Model History, Specifications, More

The vehicle featured in this article is a terrific looking 1968 Jeepster Convertible. The Jeepster can be an off road vehicle but it also is truly a street vehicle. What you had here was a vehicle that could be used off road with carpeting, seating for four and air conditioning. Something you wouldn't see in off roaders at the time although it didn't take long for competitors to come up with similarly appointed off road vehicles.

1968 jeepster specifications

1968 Jeepster from Kaiser-Jeep

For the 1968 model year there were three Jeepster models available. These were the Jeepster Hurricane Convertible with a 134 cubic inch four cylinder engine delivering 75 HP. The Jeepster Dauntless Convertible V-6 with 160 HP and the Jeepster Dauntless Convertible V-6 with 160 HP and with a three speed automatic.

Jeepster From the Jeep

One of the most versatile and long lasting automotive brands that has survived the decades, and continues to be very popular, is the Jeep. The Jeep brand itself had it's start around 1940 as one of the most popular US military vehicles ever built. The Jeep brand has changed ownership several times over the decades, changed designs many times as well, and continues to be one of America's top selling brands.

The term "Jeep" was used to describe The Jeep MB or Willys MB. As is the case with some other car nameplates, the term "jeep" has a few different versions as to how it was arrived at. The first version is that army mechanics at one time used the term "Jeep" to describe any new untested vehicle.

1968 jeepster

The off road Jeepster

It was after the war that Willys-Overland Motor Company began building the new Jeep civilian model which they named the Jeep CJ. The company also came out in 1950 with their new Jeep military version which was called the M38. The new M38 was designed off the 1949 civilian jeep. With a reputation of building military vehicles during World War Two, it's no surprise that the Jeep name had car buyers thinking of ruggedness and durability.

Willys-Overland, Kaiser-Jeep and American Motors Built the Jeepster

Willys-Overland produced the Jeepster from 1948 through 1950. During those three model years 19,100 Jeepsters were built. The original Jeepsters were positioned to fill the gap between the post war Jeep CJ and the one ton family wagon. They were designed by well known industrial designer Brooks Stevens. The company was said to have failed to market the Jeepster effectively including little advertising and which led to the production stop after the 1950 model.

The Jeepster name came back in 1967 being produced by Kaiser-Jeep which had taken  over Willys-Overland back in 1953. American Motors took over Kaiser-Jeep in 1970.

1968 Jeepster Specifications / Kaiser-Jeep

Base models came with a 75-horsepower F-Head 134 cubic inch four-cylinder engine. This wasn’t a lot of power, but neither was it unusually low for this model segment, and the Jeepster wasn’t considered heavy. For those willing to spend a bit more, there was the 155-horsepower, 225 cubic-inch Dauntless V-6 brought over from Buick.

This engine allowed the Jeepster to hit 60 mph in 12.6 seconds and a top speed of 87 mph.

When American Motors began Jeepster production in 1972 all engines were Inline Six Cylinders.

off road jeepster vehicles

The outside mounted spare tire differentiates the model from the Commando

Gearbox was a three speed manual.

Leaf springs comprised the front and rear suspension.

Overall length was 175.3 inches, width was 65.2 inches with a wheelbase of 101.0 inches. Curb weight was 2,835 lbs.

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1950 Willys Station Wagon

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Reference material and good reading about the Jeep and Jeepster includes...The Story of Jeep..1st Edition by Patrick R. Foster.....Jeepster and Commando..Road Test Limited Edition by Brooklands.

kaiser Jeepster

Jeepster dash

Jeepster Collector Cars

The Jeepster has been a very popular vehicle and collector values for the earlier models are strong. As an example, restored 1950 Willys Jeepsters are currently in the $30,000 plus price range. Interestingly enough, you might find prices a bit higher on the later model Jeepsters in the same restored condition. The Jeepster model itself is considered a true piece of automotive history and this should go a long way in keeping it's popularity high.

Most of the Jeepsters produced were Commando models and the non Commando Jeepster more luxurious model is identified with the spare tire mounted on the rear outside the vehicle. Commando models had the spare tire inside. The non-Commando models are indeed much more rarer.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

1955 Chrysler 300 / Specs, Photos, Model History

In 1955 Chrysler restyled it's models and a great example of this restyling is the 1955 Chrysler 300 featured in this article. The model is also referred to as the C-300 designating the coupe. The 1955 Chrysler 300 is what writer, Karl Ludvigsen, called the "Beautiful Brute". Karl Ludvigsen had a 50+ year career as a journalist, historian, consultant and author on the automotive industry. He also did a stint in the 1950's  as a designer at GM.

1955 chrysler 300

1955 Chrysler 300

The Powerful 1955 Chrysler 300

The story of the 1955 Chrysler 300 is an interesting one. This automobile delivered 300 horsepower.

While Chevrolet had their Corvettes and Ford their Thunderbirds, Chrysler put so much of their resources into new styling and did not put out a two seater like those from GM and Ford. What they did introduce was America's first 300 horsepower automobile. The last vehicles to deliver that kind of power were limited production 1930's Duesenbergs which were only affordable to the very wealthy.

The Chrysler Hemi Engine

When car enthusiasts speak about Hemi engines they most frquently refer to Chrysler. Other automakers did have Hemi's but Chrysler is the one that marketed the name most.

The 1955 Chrysler 300 was powered by the most powerful Hemi V-8's to date. Chrysler produced three types of Hemi engines with the first being designated FirePower which ran from 1951 to 1958. When the 1955 Chrysler 300 was introduced it was the most powerful production car in the United States.

1955 chrtysler hemi

Chrysler 300 had Imperial grille

Hemi engines essentially are built with a hemispherical cylinder head. There are two valves per cylinder with intake and exhaust stems pointing in different directions. One attribute of the Hemi is minimal heat loss and better compression ratios from higher octane fuel.

Chrysler Engineering and Styling

Chrysler had a reputation for solid engineering and the Chrysler 300 was a perfect example of that. This model increased dealer showroom traffic which was the intention and therefore helped sell all models of the Chrysler line. Here you had a muscle car for the older generation which offered a luxurious interior with leather upholstery. This was something unique.

The Chrysler 300 was really created for NASCAR racing an it dominated that venue for several years. In 1955 Chrysler won the NASCAR Grand National and the AAA Championship. These kind of successes really helped push sales.

Credit Virgil Exner's design team for fine body styling. The goal for the design team working on the 55 models was to achieve a complete break from the past. As a result, the Chrysler 300 was somewhat a combination of a New Yorker Newport hardtop body with an Imperial egg crate grille. The Imperial grille helped give the 300  a different look from the New Yorker and Windsor models. While the 55 Chrysler 300 is noted for it's power and competition successes, as stated above, it was also luxurious inside with leather seating and other luxury appointments.

1955 Chrysler 300 Specifications

As mentioned above, the 1955 Chrysler 300 was equipped with the most powerful Hemi engine to date. The engine was a Chrysler FirePower 331 cubic inch Hemi V-8 delivering 300 HP. As a side note, the 1955 New Yorker had a 331 cid Hemi which put out 255 HP. Not the 300 HP you'd attain from the C-300 but a very respectable horsepower for it's year.

Transmission is a two speed automatic. Brakes are four wheel hydraulic drum.

Dimensions included a wheelbase of 126.0 inches and an overall length of 218.6 inches. Vehicle weight was 4,150 lbs.

As another side note, the Chrysler 300's length was increased to 220.4 inches in 1956 and the horsepower was also increased up to 355.

chrysler 351 hemiProduction numbers for the 1955 Chrysler 300 was 1,725 units making the automobile quite rare today. Today there are something over 200 that are registered.

New car price was about $4,100.

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Reference materials include...Chrysler 300 "America's Most Powerful Car" by author Robert Ackerson.....The Chrysler 300 Anthology by Harry W. llaeia...Complete Book of Collectible Cars by the Editors of Consumer Guide.

chrysler 300 dashboard

55 Chrysler dash

The 1955 Chrysler 300 Collector Car

These original models were fast cars and fun to drive and popular with collectors.

The 1955 Chrysler 300 was a excellent dealer showroom attention grabber. With it's powerful 331 Hemi engine the car dominated NASCAR until 1957 when most automakers pulled out of racing competition.

Current valuation for a fully restored pristine original is in the $125,000 to $135,000 range.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)