There are many different ways in which you can know someone. Take Bobby. Although I went to church with him, I never knew him to be a car nut. Anyway, I was driving by this place when, suddenly, three very interesting cars aroused my automotive senses. I went up to introduce myself to the guy standing outside the shop, and who does it turn out to be but Bobby!
Since I found a ’41 Dodge business coupe a couple of months ago, I thought I’d lead off this three-part article with its Chevrolet counterpart. Not all business coupes are the same, as you’ll discover.
The most prominent feature of the Dodge business coupe was its very prominent rear end. In some instances that can be a desirable trait, but when it comes to cars it’s not one I find very endearing. I’m using a Google image to help illustrate the difference between it and the Chevy below. Obviously, the Chevy put a lot of that trunk room into the cab, so I guess I’d take the Dodge for carrying something unpleasant. On the other hand, if a car’s big rear end was what I found unpleasant, I’d go with the Chevy.
Business coupes were built on a sturdy frame. This car weighs 3,050 lbs. In contrast, my ’57 wagon, with a 283 and Powerglide, has a title weight of 3,600 lbs. In fact, its title weight is 50 pounds heavier than that of my S10–or as Ed would say, equal to 1.875 Volkswagens. Even at that not-so-svelte weight, the Chevy looks downright anorexic compared with the Dodge. Usually, early coupes were popular among drag racers because of their light weight, but apparently someone forgot to tell Chevy.
The original engine was a 90-hp, 216-cu in six, mated to a three-speed manual transmission. To get those 90 horses, the engine featured 6.5:1 compression (110 psi when running) and, for protection, 14-psi oil pressure. It was called the Victory Six, but probably not before December 1941 at the earliest.
Chevy was pretty proud of their product. At least I think so. Strangely enough, none of the ads I referenced for this article included a picture of a Chevy business coupe.
Bobby says the Goodwrench 350 and 700R4 do a much better job of moving one-and-one-half tons than the original stovebolt six–and claims he gets 25 mpg on the highway (my own truck, with its 4.3-liter engine and near-identical weight and transmission, returns 22 mpg).
Chevy’s business coupes came in two trim levels. At the bottom was the Master DeLuxe, which is what Bobby’s coupe appears to be. I can’t be certain because its trim and upholstery could well have been updated since this car was built 71 years ago. Chevy made over 66,000 of these not-so-little coupes, whose 1942 production run was interrupted by a bit of unpleasantness called World War Two.
I’ve always enjoyed cars of this era, which weren’t all that old when I was first becoming aware of cars. In fact, my second car was a 1946 Chevy with the same old stovebolt six. I’ll get to Bobby’s other cars as quickly as I can. Hope you enjoyed looking at this one as much as I did.