Happy Thoughts: I took a trip down memory lane and I realized that I have a major attachment to Chevrolet.
It was an early relationship. Then we broke up. Now we’re back together, again.
When I was quite young, my father worked for Chevrolet and my earliest car memory is of our 53 Bel Air and the time my dad brought home a new 53 or 54 Corvette. Our family had chevrolets all the way through my high school career. I remember our 61 Bel Air, 65 Impala, 68 Impala, and later my dad’s Blazer, Citation, my sister’s Corvair ( Monza convertible 4-speed, fun to drive )etcetera.
My first and last (for many years) “Chevrolet” (Isuzu) was a 76 Luv truck (long story). Then I left Chevrolets until I researched used cars four years ago and bought a 2001 Impala for my son (He’s still driving it.) and because of that experience I bought an almost new Impala for the wife’ daily commute.
Chevrolet, I’m back !
Take a look at the photos of the top 10 Chevrolets shown in The Detroit News. I’d be interested in anybody’s memory lane thoughts. What’s your favorite Chevrolet ?
Here’s some ads from years past. My computer’s so slow I haven’t been able to look at many, yet.
My dad owned two Chevrolets which were both purchased new. One was a 1938 Chevrolet and the other was a 1939 Chevrolet. He hadn’t intended to buy the 1939 Chevrolet, but he and my mother had just gotten married and my mother was teaching in a small town about 40 miles away from where my dad was teaching. The town drunk in the small town where my mother was teaching hit the 1938 Chevrolet in the middle of the night when it was parked on the street. My dad had the car towed back to the dealer where he bought the car. The dealer called him in the late afternoon and asked my dad to come down to the agency. When my dad got there, the owner of the agency, the body shop man and dad’s insurance man were there. The car could be fixed, but the frame had been bent. However, if my dad would sign over the title and the insurance check, for $50 he could drive away in a new 1939 Chevrolet. My dad decided that the 1939 Chevrolet had some features he wanted–a bench seat instead of bucket seats and a gearshift on the column instead of the floor, so he traded cars. The 1939 Chevrolet is the first car I remember that my parents owned. They kept the car until 1950 when they traded it. The 1939 Chevrolet had 105,000 miles at the time. It had been overhauled at 70,000 miles. My dad didn’t purchase another new car until 1960. He bought used cars, but since Chevrolets held their value so well, he got better prices on other makes.
You Obviously Remember When Cars Needed Overhauls At 60 Or 70 Thousand Miles. Many People Who Remember Just “The Good Old Days,” Forget About That Part.
I was 5 years old when my dad took the 1939 Chevrolet to the dealer to have the engine overhauled and a new paint job. This was right after WW II. The mechanic couldn’t believe the car had gone 70,000 without major engine work. In those days, the norm was about 40-50,000 miles. Paint didn’t hold up as well in those days either. I also remember my dad converting the headlights to sealed beam lights. Sealed beam headlights weren’t available until the 1940 models and were considered a big improvement.
My dad had a 1937 Chevrolet. Our family went for a long distance, 400 mile one way, vacation trip in that car when I was very young, about 9 years old. The car made no mechanical problems along the way. We went 50 mph max on the highway. Chevrolet 6 cyl engines from the early 1950s (I’m not sure about late 30s Chevrolets) would go about 70,000 miles before typically needing a valve grind. The car never broke down for us during shorter trips too. Those old Chev stovebolt 6 engine were easy and cheap to overhaul compared to complicated engines now. There was no power steering, power brakes, emission control, no air conditioning parts to interfere with engine access. In addition, the engine hood that extended over the sides of 1930s era cars made better engine access too. Chev 6 engines of that era typically burned a little oil but that was accepted as normal. In the winter, the engine would usually start but when it was extremely cold, my dad would use a crank which never failed to get the engine going.
One more thought: People have forgotten how much rear seat legroom 1930s and 1940s cars had. That, unfortunately has been lost in most modern cars and I don’t know why it has to be that way. One modern car that has good rear seat legroom is a Malibu Maxx.
Those Chevrolet stovebolt 6 engines had splash lubrication rather than full pressure lubrication until full pressure lubrication was adapted in 1953 for models equipped with the Powerglide automatic transmission. In 1954, all the Chevrolet engines had full pressure lubrication.
By mid 60’s Chevrolet was making fantastic engines…I had two engines from that era that lasted well over 250k miles…Wish I had them today.
Our first car was a 1929 Chevrolet 6, and we only had it for one year before it was scrapped. Our next one was a 1941 Stylemaster Deluxe in green. After that the next one was a 1951 Pickup with the corner windows. The one after was a 1969 Chevy 6.
When I left home, my first car was a 1948 stovebolt 6. Others included a 1966 Chevelle Malibu, a 1984 Impala, a 1988 Caprice. Since I’ve owned 6 other brands, I can’t say I’m a Chevrolet guy.
One of the first times I floored a car was a 70’s 3spd Nova my dad had, I was probably 8 at the time. That car was bullet proof-at least for us. Had an axillary AC added on top of the original. We also had a Chevy Impala at some point, I guess 1972, but that was brief. I took a tree down in that one.
My dad bought a new 1958 chevy impala with the sideways fins, first new car he ever owned. It was totaled while parked on the street in the first month of ownersihp. I think that is as sad as I ever saw him. I do not remember what replaced it. I have ended up in Chevy’s and fords since then, Bought the Trailblazer because our vacation home boat died, and decided to be a one boat family. I looked at all the non truck vehicles towing boats on the 10 hour ride home, and Trailblazer won so I bought one. We go with 2 kids, 2 dogs and 2 cats so a pickup was not an option. I have been happy with the Chevy.
I remember any noteworthy Chevys in our driveway since we had a revolving door of vehicles at our place. Sometimes we would have a car for a couple of weeks and if Pop found someone who wanted his car bad enough he would sell it. He made a lot of money that way.
My first Chevy was a 87 Celebrity wagon Euro. We had 2 child seats and a booster in it and it was a great car. Bullet proof, good mileage and it would really take off with the 2.8
IMOO, those who claim Chevys quality is poor is stuck in the 70’s-80’s and won’t let go of bad memories. From beginning to the early 70’s and the past several years the quality is there. As far as styling there have been some GREAT Chevys, IMOO.
Two Chevys we had growing up I remember most. My bro’s 57 white over red 283 hardtop whose rear leaf spring I broke on a muddy road and, my dad’s 60 6 cyl Biscayne he never let me take out alone til graduation night. I was picked up for speeding. He knew his four sons alright. I got my other brother’s VWs to drive which I hated but liked dad’s Chevy the best. To this day, my “favorite” cars are 6 cyl rwd because of the family Chevy “wagon”.
Let me add, in my later married with children years we had a couple of late 80’s Chevy Nova’s and a 2001 Chevy Prism. They were all as good a car in their time as was my dad’s. They were American made and just as much a Chevy as any another make they put a bow tie on. Our local Chevy dealership was good as was their service through GM. To me, that’s just as important as the product and why I liked the Chevys I had.
My dad was a Ford man all the way. I guess that’s why I love Chevy’s. I have owned 3 '57 Chevy Belairs, 1 '58 Impala (just like Ron Howard’s ride in American Graffiti) 2 '62 SS Impalas (1 convertible-1 hardtop) and 2 '64 SS Impalas. When I got married my wife talked me into buying a 3 year old '69 Caprice because it drove better than my '57 Belair. I’m still kicking myself over that deal. I even succumbed to the early 70’s desire to get better gas mileage with a new '73 Vega GT with a 4 speed. That car got me into building V8 Vega’s because most early models had blown or locked engines by 1976. You could pick up a new looking Vega for less than $200 in Georgia where I was stationed. I built 12 of them before the state of Georgia DMV shut me down. They wanted me to get a dealer’s license or cease and desist (They sold like hotcakes). The Air Force said no because I was on active duty. A 350 equipped Vega was a joy to drive because they could outrun almost anything on the road. I’m just thankful I never wrecked one though because they had weak bodies and no frame to speak of.
Chevrolet trucks were rugged and reliable back in the 1940s and 1950s. I bought a 1 ton 1950 Chevrolet 3800 series pickup truck back in 1972. I paid $115 for the truck. I could haul 50 bales of hay at a time on that truck. I stretched fence with the truck. It was a real workhorse. I sold the truck in 1975 for $110–it depreciated $5 in 3 years. I rode to school in a school bus that was on a 1946 Chevrolet chassis and had a Superior body. That bus never had a breakdown. No matter how hard I prayed for the bus to quit running on mornings I had a test, it never failed. Buses on other chassis than Chevrolet broke down in our district, but the bus I rode wouldn’t quit.
That car got me into building V8 Vega’s because most early models had blown or locked engines by 1976.
I rebuilt my Chevy Vega engine…had the cylinders steel sleeved…new 11:1 compression ration pistons…and then after that was up and running put on dual holly carbs. The stock GT Vega put out 120hp…Mine was putting out over 200hp…No where near your V8…but a lot better then the stock Vega.
I agree Mike. Chevrolet would have sold a lot more Vegas and their reputation would not have been tarnished so much if they would have simply started out with steel sleeves. The silcone/aluminum bore was a disaster just waiting to happen. It must have been designed and approved by management types. I really can’t see a reputable engineer putting his stamp of approval on that nutty idea. Chevy should have learned their lesson on the Corvair failure.
Vega had other problems too…They rusted out too quickly…premature transmission failures…Fun car to drive though…And I loved the look of them too.
As for the silicone/aluminum…Other companies (like Porsche) has successfully designed an aluminum engine with silicon lined aluminum cylinder walls.
Uh, Uh, Uh, . . . Hey Guys, Come On, Please . . . I Said “Chevrolet Lovers Only” And “Happy Thoughts”. This Is A Birthday Party !
Light Those Candles ! iiii Happy Birthday, Chevrolet ! iiii Let’s Eat !
Seven of the vehicles I’ve owned were G.M. Of those seven, three have been Chevys, including my current vehicle, a 2002 Silverado pickup truck. My other two Chevys were a 1978 Impala sport coupe and a 1985 C-10 pickup truck, and I have liked all three. The first car I remember my parents owning was a 1957 Ford Custom 300 sedan, which was almost identical to the Fairlane; my dad said before that he’d owned a 1950 Chevy coupe that he bought just before going into the Army; now, more than 50 years later, he’s gone back to Chevy; he and my mom now have a 2011 Equinox and they really like it. Long live Chevy!
My favorite that we owned was a Malibu coupe. It was around 1970. It had a 307 engine and while not hugely powerful, it certainly didn’t get in it’s own way. It was a great looking car with a sky blue body, white vinyl roof, and white vinyl interior.