Vintage PR Photos: 1956 Chevrolet 150 Utility Sedan – And A Brief History Of Chevrolet Business Coupes/Utility Sedans – Who Needs A Back Seat Anyway?

The strictly two/three passenger coupe/business coupe style petered out in the late forties and early fifties, depending on the brand. It was no longer was worth the investment in body tooling for the small numbers bought. Some were replaced by a club coupe, that was shorter than the two-door sedan, and could be had with or without a back seat (called business coupe in that case). But even that went by the way, as it made no sense to have two two-door sedan/coupe styles, and Chevy made the last one in 1953.

So starting in 1954, the two door sedan was also offered in a utility sedan style, minus the back seat. And this one even made it into this fine PR photo shoot, decked out in whitewalls, no less.

Let’s go back and take a brief look at the evolution of Chevy’s business coupes to utility sedans.

1938 was the last year for the true 2/3 passenger coupe at Chevrolet. This is the Business Coupe, which apparently had a fixed rear seat back, but a very long trunk to compensate.

The Sport Coupe had divided seat backs, allowing easy access to the luggage area. That’s because it had a rumble seat and continental spare tire, and thus no external trunk opening.

These coupes shared much of their lower body with the Cabriolet, including the rumble seat, so strictly speaking, these are four seaters. In good weather, that is. Must have been a trip, riding in the rumble seat.

The new 1939 Chevrolet coupes had a longer greenhouse. That created the first storage area for the business coupe on the inside, in addition to the trunk.

And in the Four-Passenger Coupe, that area was used for seating. But instead of a bench, there were two fold-down seats facing each other.  Quite curiously, there was no 1939 Chevrolet cabriolet! How odd. Hard to imagine, actually, but there really wasn’t one.

The Cabriolet reappeared in 1940, and now as a 4-6 seater with a rear bench seat.

And the Four-Passenger Coupe got the same back bench seat too. The Business Coupe was essentially the same inside as before. These same basic bodies were built through 1948.

The new 1949 models (1950 shown) continued that, although the rear seat area looks to be a bit larger thanks to a longer roofline.

This coupe body style had its last year in 1953.

It was effectively replaced in 1954 by the new Utility Sedan, a two-door sedan minus the rear seat.

The 1955 brochure is the last one that bothers to give space to the Utility Sedan, as sales were modest and it wasn’t exactly very sexy.

The two-door Utility Sedan continued through 1961, as can be seen here. What’s curious about this brochure page is that there’s a separate Biscayne Fleetmaster series, of two and four-door sedans, specifically targeted to fleets. How much could they strip from the regular Biscayne? Obviously every penny counted with large fleet orders.

The Utility Sedan was gone in 1962, since there was now a cheaper Chevy II two-door sedan. And it came with a back seat!

Speaking of dollars and cents, our featured 1956 Utility Sedan listed for $92 less than the regular two-door sedan. That’s $890 in today’s dollars, so it was not exactly insignificant.