1929 Chevrolet Stovebolt Six Roadster Review and History - www.mister-cars.com

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» Home » Articles » Classic Car Reviews » Add - Classic Car Reviews » 1929 Chevrolet Stovebolt Six Roadster

1929 Chevrolet Stovebolt Six Roadster

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22/02/2010   By MURRAY HUBBARD  

The cut-throat nature of vehicle manufacture is as old as the industry itself. Keeping one step ahead of rivals is critical if you are going to compete. The main exception to this rule was Ford's Model T. Production started in 1908 and ending in 1927, when the Model A was launched. But in the 19 years of Model T production the changes to the vehicle were minimal. So how did the Model T survive so long when competitors were advancing in leaps and bounds?

1929 Chevrolet Roadster


Two reasons: Firstly, the Model T was, for this era, a fine vehicle. Secondly, Henry Ford believed in dropping prices. So, as the millions of Model T's rolled off the line, production became cheaper and Henry passed on the saving to his loyal followers undercutting all opposition. Buyers did not care if the vehicle was antiquated. They were familiar with the car and knew what to expect. By 1926 the Model T being was challenged by Chevrolet's Superior.

1929 Chevrolet Roadster side rear view


With the eventual demise of the Model T Ford produced the four-cylinder Model A which went head to head with four-cylinder Superior. Both sold in copious numbers. In 1929 though Chevrolet raised the stakes. The advertisements said it all: A Six for the price of a Four. The 1929 Chevrolet Six sold for a mere $10 more than the four cylinder 1928 Chevy. We now know the 1929 Chev was a pivotal car in Chevrolet's history.

Front seat and dash 1929 Chevrolet Roadster


It was Chevrolet's first six-cylinder engine since 1915 and was commonly known as the `Stovebolt' due to the design of the engine's slotted head bolts. Production of this new engine cost a fraction more than the four cylinder, but delivered 11 more horsepower. It was a 196 cubic inch engine and produced 46 horse power at 2600 rpm – some 15 per cent more than Ford's Model A. This was Chevrolet's advantage over the `new' Ford.

Instrument cluster 1929 Chevrolet Roadster


The engine was simple with overhead valves – a Chevrolet essential - cast iron block and pistons with splash-style lubrication. Sitting on top was a single-barrel Carter carburettor. Torque was delivered to the rear wheels via a three speed manual shifter. This simple system with various evolutions was to form the basis of Chevrolet drive trains for three decades. Another derivation was the engine produced for GM Holden, the `grey' motor found in Holden cars between 1948 (48 -215) `FX' and 1963 EJ Series.

Steering wheel 1929 Chevrolet Roadster


Yet, as we know, to every action there is an equal, and opposite, reaction. The Chevrolet Six sold some 600,000 in its first five months. Some of these came to Australia via Canadian production, for Holdens to fit the body. The sixes success sent shockwaves through Ford. Henry Ford pulled out all stops on the development of a V8, which hit the road in 1932. This reaction was a far cry from the Ford of old which allowed the Model T production to roll on for almost two decades for all intents and purposes ignoring the all rivals and all new technology. The V8 in turn raised the stakes against Chevrolet.

Front 1929 Chevrolet Roadster


The 1929 Chevrolet was not just an engine transplant, but a new style from GM's Harley Earl. Earl had designed the La Salle, a companion to Cadillac, at the top of the GM tree. The 1929 Chevrolet – remembering Chevrolet was GM's budget car – was a Harley Earl interpretation of the La Salle. The end result was the 1929 Chevrolet – particularly the roadster as featured here – looked a lot more expensive than it cost.

rear view 1929 Chebrolet Roadster. Note steps to Dicky seat


The new style sat on a 107 inch chassis introduced in 1928 and featured a more streamlined appearance with a slightly more rectangular radiator, reduced number of louvres on the bonnet sides, new mudguards and more aerodynamic headlight housings. The sporty roadster featured a rumble seat also known in Australia as a Dicky seat.

Radiator badge 1929 Chevrolet Roadster


Our featured car is owned by Noel and Lyn Nuendorf, who also own the 1939 Chevrolet Australian Sloper featured on mister-cars.com. The couple call the roadster `Charlotte'. Noel found the car in a paddock on the Darling Downs, outside Brisbane. It took several years to restore to it's current magnificent condition, highlighted by the fabulous use of yellow as the primary colour. The car's restoration was finished in 1988 – the year of Australia's Bi-Centenary – and Charlotte was taken on her first big outing to the Bi-centennial Hub Rally in Rockhampton. In 1990 she was driven to South Australia's Barossa Valley for the 14th National Chevrolet Festival, going via Broken Hill and returning through Victoria.

Headlights and grille 1929 Chevrolet Roadster


In 1992 the roadster was packed up and took part in the 25th Anniversary of Chevrolet rally in Cowra, New South Wales. A year later the car was on the interstate highways again, this time to Melbourne and then on the ferry, Abel Tasman, across to Tasmania for the World Fiva Rally. On this trip alone the car travelled almost 7000 kilometres. We caught up with the roadster in January 2010 at a display at Conrad Jupiters on the Gold Coast for the annual Rotary Antique Fair.

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