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Old 04-20-2018, 07:54 AM   #1
Bob Bidonde
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Default Where Have All of The Chevrolets Gone?

The sales lead flipped back and forth during the Model "A" production years. Chevrolet led in 1928, Ford led in 1929 and 1930, Chevrolet again led in 1931-34 and Ford in 1935.

Where have all of the Chevrolets gone? Why is it that so many Model "A" Fords have survived, and most 1928 - 1931 Chevrolets have not?

What flaws in design and or quality sent the preponderance of the Chevrolets to the scrappers?
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Old 04-20-2018, 08:15 AM   #2
steve s
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Default Re: Where Have All of The Chevrolets Gone?

dumb answer deleted

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Old 04-20-2018, 08:26 AM   #3
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Default Re: Where Have All of The Chevrolets Gone?

What hydraulic brakes are you referring to steve s? I had a 1933 Chevrolet Master 5 window coupe in high school and it had mechanical brakes. My own guess is that the wood in the bodies caused much more deterioration. Then again I wonder if the Chevrolet's or any GM car for that matter were as indestructible and cheap to maintain as the Model A was?
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Old 04-20-2018, 08:27 AM   #4
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Default Re: Where Have All of The Chevrolets Gone?

I have read accounts that a Model A Ford front axle contained enough steel to make five Chevrolet front axels. Also the fact that there were so many more Chevrolet's made than Model A's, they were of inferior quality and ended up in the scrap yard early on. Now the Model A is still going strong and the Chevrolet, if you ever see on is a rare and valuable collector's item.
That's the way I heard it anyway. Sorry
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Old 04-20-2018, 08:34 AM   #5
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Default Re: Where Have All of The Chevrolets Gone?

I don't know the answer, but I can remember my family had a 1940 Mercury and my mother used to say "we got a Mercury because that 'Knee-Action' on the 1934 kept breaking."
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Old 04-20-2018, 08:57 AM   #6
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Default Re: Where Have All of The Chevrolets Gone?

Once the water got in to the wood on those wood framed bodies they were pretty much history.Who really wanted to fix a wood framed body?I've owned both a 30 Chevrolet and a 34 Chevrolet at the same time I've owned A's,one appeared to be as good as the other underneath material wise.The cable brakes worked fine,a little simpler to fix than the A.When I was a kid the scrap guy told me that he scrapped everything but A's during the war.Compared to an A most all other cars were gas hogs,and with rationing gas mileage was important.
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Old 04-20-2018, 09:13 AM   #7
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Default Re: Where Have All of The Chevrolets Gone?

Chevs' broke a rear axle on every 3rd BACK UP. Many hauled spare axles. "Wunder" if Left & Right were interchangeable? At least, they were EASY to change. Chief wuz an artist @ removing the broken stub, with his wire "TRICK"---Chief wuz a genius fixer & could even fix ODDBALL CARS! I MARVEL at his, mostly self learned, SKILLS!
BUT, Chevys were very smooth & fairly dependable. We went from California to Oklahoma, in a '35 Chev Flatbed & a '29 Chev Fordor & only suffered the loss of a front wheel bearing, in the '29---That was quite common, with the BALL type wheel bearings. Later, you could buy ROLLER bearing changeover kits.
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Old 04-20-2018, 09:13 AM   #8
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Default Re: Where Have All of The Chevrolets Gone?

I have heard the same on the wood frame bodies. A friend has one in his grove. A pile of sheet metal with some wood mixed in.
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Old 04-20-2018, 09:36 AM   #9
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Default Re: Where Have All of The Chevrolets Gone?

The big reason was wood frame bodies.

I am an old timer and I have seen doors fall right off old Chevys. Also the late 1920's Chevys often had broken rear axles with the cost to repair exceeding the cars value.

By the late 1930's values of the Model A and other old cars of the era was dirt cheap. When a repair job cost more than the cars value they were junked. In 1937 my first Model A, a 1930 Coupe in good running condition, was bought for $10. A chum bought a Fordor Model A also for $10 in running condition about the same time. Another chum bought a late 1920's Essex in running condition for $6. Old car values were very low until our participation in WWII was on the horizon.

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Old 04-20-2018, 09:39 AM   #10
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Default Re: Where Have All of The Chevrolets Gone?

Knee-action shocks were introduced on the 1934 Chevy Master Series and they were used up until WW2. Knee-action shocks were a failure, but that does not explain why very few Model "A" era Chevrolets survived.

What follows is from an article in Hemmings about Chevrolets of the Model A era, and some of the following text is from Chevrolet ads of the day. I have emboldened certain text in red to highlight what I consider poor features of the Chevrolet:

( Re the new 6-cylinder engine) Displacing 194 cubic inches via its 3-5/6-inch bore and 3-3/4-inch stroke, the three-main-bearing engine used a 5.02:1 compression ratio and Carter one-barrel RJH-08 updraft carburetor to make 50hp at 2,600 RPM and 122-lbs.ft. of torque at 1,800 RPM. This inherently balanced engine was upgraded in 1931 with a stronger engine block, stronger crankshaft and a redesigned harmonic balancer for markedly smooth operation, and its torquey nature and flexible power band meant that fewer shifts of the unsynchronized three-speed manual gearbox were needed.

Chevrolet also differed from Ford in the way its bodies were built; while Ford's bodies were constructed primarily of steel, Chevrolet car bodies used a large proportion of wood in their "composite body" construction. Their advertising heralded this: "This is not only the strongest, safest, most durable type known, but it is exactly the same type used in the highest-priced cars. A framework of selected hardwood is fortified at all points of stress by staunch steel bracing. Over this strong framework are mounted sturdy steel panels, so that the wood reinforces the steel and the steel reinforces the wood." Ironically, this traditional method of body construction would be the Chevrolet's downfall, leading to its lower survival rate than equivalent Fords.
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Old 04-20-2018, 10:28 AM   #11
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Default Re: Where Have All of The Chevrolets Gone?

My dad's '29 Chevrolet 4-door was beginning to fall apart by the time I was in grade school. It would twist and flex when driven over bumpy roads - one bump would cause the rear door to pop open and the next bump would slam it shut. Still, it had a nice appearance with it's two-tone robin's egg blue and navy blue paint job. By then, a used Model A went for twice as much as a used Chev of the same vintage, if you could even find a buyer. I recall that nobody wanted to buy our Chev, so Dad gave it a kid down the street. He promptly snapped the axle racing it around on the beach and there she sat until the tide carried her away.
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Old 04-20-2018, 10:32 AM   #12
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Default Re: Where Have All of The Chevrolets Gone?

As a kid in the early 70s the old junk yards that remained had a lot of old chevy's from the 20s and 30s however the bodies had come loose from the wooden frames and as a young guy you would have to know a cabinet maker to build the framework back up to be able to put the body back together. All the old fords were still standing there proud and tall. It was an easy choice at the time. I guess it was me and my contemporaries in those days that could have saved them however it was too difficult and costly.
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Old 04-20-2018, 10:41 AM   #13
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Default Re: Where Have All of The Chevrolets Gone?

I believe the Chevrolet's had much more wood in them and once it started to rot they were scrapped.
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Old 04-20-2018, 10:45 AM   #14
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Default Re: Where Have All of The Chevrolets Gone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by leo View Post
What hydraulic brakes are you referring to steve s? I had a 1933 Chevrolet Master 5 window coupe in high school and it had mechanical brakes. My own guess is that the wood in the bodies caused much more deterioration. Then again I wonder if the Chevrolet's or any GM car for that matter were as indestructible and cheap to maintain as the Model A was?
Thanks! You're right. I looked it up and Chevy apparently started with hydraulics in some 1935 trucks and totally converted in 1936. I'll delete my erroneous post.

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Old 04-20-2018, 11:03 AM   #15
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Default Re: Where Have All of The Chevrolets Gone?

Chevrolet (the company) had a policy along with a few others to take in trades but not resell most of them but rather sell them for scrap to generate more new car sales. Hupmobile was another that tried this.
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Old 04-20-2018, 11:08 AM   #16
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Default Re: Where Have All of The Chevrolets Gone?

Could it have something to do with part avalibiltiy?
Look up some simple parts for a 28-31 chevy, see what you find.
If you can't get parts for your auto"mobile" it becomes a auto"stationary"
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Old 04-20-2018, 11:15 AM   #17
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Default Re: Where Have All of The Chevrolets Gone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by leo View Post
My own guess is that the wood in the bodies caused much more deterioration.
But Ford used wood in some models and plenty of them are still around. A nekked Ford Town Sedan shown...


Quote:
Originally Posted by J Franklin View Post
Chevrolet (the company) had a policy along with a few others to take in trades but not resell most of them but rather sell them for scrap to generate more new car sales. Hupmobile was another that tried this.
Now that would certainly contribute to the lack of Chevy survivors.
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Old 04-20-2018, 11:53 AM   #18
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Default Re: Where Have All of The Chevrolets Gone?

I always thought it was the rear axle. It drove the wheels and supported the weight of the car. Ford has the semi floating axle that only drove the wheels. Wonder what the guys do today who own the restored ones. They couldn’t drive them like we drive our A’s.
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Old 04-20-2018, 12:32 PM   #19
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Default Re: Where Have All of The Chevrolets Gone?

Hi Guys,
I have one of each, in very similar condition and I love them both. However, despite the obvious problems mentioned above, the Chevy is by far my favourite.
It is possibly an unfair comparison as the 28 Model A is a RPU and the other, a comfortable 29 six cylinder Phaeton.
Apart from the differences mentioned in previous posts, I would like to add, Ford built 5 million Model As, as well as spares to keep them on the road, therefor had a huge edge on the ever changing Chevys.
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Old 04-20-2018, 12:52 PM   #20
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Default Re: Where Have All of The Chevrolets Gone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BILL WILLIAMSON View Post
Chevs' broke a rear axle on every 3rd BACK UP. Many hauled spare axles. "Wunder" if Left & Right were interchangeable? At least, they were EASY to change. Chief wuz an artist @ removing the broken stub, with his wire "TRICK"---Chief wuz a genius fixer & could even fix ODDBALL CARS! I MARVEL at his, mostly self learned, SKILLS!
BUT, Chevys were very smooth & fairly dependable. We went from California to Oklahoma, in a '35 Chev Flatbed & a '29 Chev Fordor & only suffered the loss of a front wheel bearing, in the '29---That was quite common, with the BALL type wheel bearings. Later, you could buy ROLLER bearing changeover kits.
Bill Proud
I had a friend, who’s dad had a Chevy, and he told me the same thing, that just a little bump, and the axle would break. And yes, he always carried a spare axle.

I didn’t know that the Chevy axle was not a floating axle. That’s interesting. I wonder when the changed over?
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