I’ve been neglecting the CC Cohort (among other things), but I need to share this gem of a 1950 Chevy Fleetline with you. Davo is the photographer, one of our CCC stalwarts. Now there’s several reasons why this vintage fastback Chevy speaks to me, starting with the fact that I’ve had an obsession with fastbacks since day one. And then there was one of those grade school reading books, and the family all took a ride out a farm in the back of one of these. And then there was…I could go on all night. But the current reason is that there was such a perfect one of these in Eugene, and it started a stirring in me to document it that subconsciously led to my first CC a year or two later. But by then it was gone. Slightly lowered, not much chrome, a fan-tail exhaust, and the original dun-colored paint with a nice sheen of patina (how’s that for an oxymoron?). Oh well.
It really was a curious thing that GM offered two distinct body styles on many of its cars right into the early fifties; a way to hedge their bets, to see if the fastback revolution of the thirties had real legs or not. Not, so it turned out. And the fastbacks melted away into history within a year or so after this one. By 1952, the last year, only the two-door version was available. Not until the Barracuda appeared in 1964 would a fastback be on offer again from a domestic, not counting the Sting Ray (or did I forget someone?).
It must be harder to make a convertible from a fastback, and we know how they loove rag-tops on the west coast.
I love these old Fleetlines. I would suspect that rear headroom and trunk space are compromised in these, but the tradeoff (at least for these Chevies) is that they are beautiful. It is not difficult to see how Chevrolet outsold Ford and Plymouth in those years – this was a really graceful, good looking car that was also a very good car.
Chevies from this one (the 49, actually) to the 54 (recently the subject of Laurence Jones’ CC) are the last Chevrolets that I really get enthusiastic over. I would own one of these in a heartbeat (of America?)
Someone has been busy collecting accessories for this one. Spotting them all would have made a good contest.
They used a white one of these as an unmarked cop car
in “LA Confidential”
Now That’s a Curbside Classic if ever there was one!
Hoffbrau kink, my butt – Chevy had it first!
I have a 1947 Chevy truck shop manual that would be perfect for maintaining the babbit-beater 216 under that hood!
I thought it was “Hofmeister Kink”. “Hofbrau kink” is that soreness you get in your arm from lifting one too many steins. 😉
I think the writing was already on the wall for the GM fastbacks when they decided to base the pillarless hardtop models on the notchback models, rather than the fastbacks. The first Chevy Bel Air (previewed in March or so of 1949, but not offered till MY1950) was part of the Styleline Deluxe line, not the Fleetline series; the same was true for other GM makes.
I suspect part of the problem with the GM fastbacks was that having come out just before the war, by the late forties they were familiar and passé, even though they hadn’t actually been on SALE for that many model years. I dunno — I may just be biased because I think the fastbacks look a lot better than their notchback counterparts.
Notchback? more Humpback from this era surely
The only other fastback I can think of between 1952 and 1964 would be the 53-54 Hudson sedan, but I could see an argument that it is not a pure fastback but a fastback that someone tried to make not look like one. Other than the Hudson, I think you are right, Paul.
The Hudson was of 1948 vintage, though, and the original styling target was Buick’s 1942 fastback “sedanet,” so…
Nobody sent us any fast back Chevs we got sedans and the occasional ute but not these, Plenty here now though private importers are scooping fastbacks up and shipping them Id love to get one but the prices are high for good rust free examples The old 216 still has all the marvelous features expounded in my 1937 sales data book babbitt beater indeed NZ engine rebuilders still have the technology to remetal bigends should the worst happen.
Love these, although in the “almost” a fastback category I really love the Hudson Commodore. There was one in turquoise blue down the street from the high school I did my student teaching at back in 1999. Fit my definition of BAD! Made me want to buy a zoot suit and turn it into a low rider.
There’s one around the corner from me, occasionally joined by a second (I need to contribute a CC on it, I guess). My wife accuses me of taking that “shortcut” home “just to see that old Hudson you like so much”. Guilty as charged.
All I can say is what a lovely old car!!!
Nice ride. Wonder if he’s got the blatty glasspack exhaust on it. Only thing that seems to be missing is the passenger side door add-on air conditioning unit.
Not until the Barracuda appeared in 1964 would a fastback be on offer again from a domestic, not counting the Sting Ray (or did I forget someone?).
Does the 1963 Studebaker Avanti count?
The Henry J was kept in production until 1954, though they were introduced in 1950(?). The Nashes were fastbacks too, but I can’t remember, or even google quickly, how long they stayed as fastbacks.
But these are nice. I remember a coworker of my dad’s had one of them, but some sort of low-line series. Cool.
1951 was the last year for the fastback Nashes. Actually, these were pretty humpy looking to be called fastbacks, but they did have the unbroken line all the way down to the rear bumper. Also, Packard offered a fastback two-door sedan to offset its notchback four-door, but that went away in 1950.