Good ol' cars and trucks - Chevrolet

As we drive around the state, we spot some great reminders of the past, classic cars and trucks made out of "Detroit iron." We skid to a stop, and click ‘em. We’ll set this up by make, and each section will be chronological, oldest to newest, but always classics only.


Chevy, 1930. Some of these carried the spare on the driver's side, others on the rear. Some had three side windows, this one only two. This was parked at Arnie's All Season Repair (757-5528) in Greenville, Outagamie County, on route 76 just west of Appleton. October 14, 2005.



Chevrolet Coupe 400-30, 1939


Chevy Special Deluxe 1941. This year's model offered a completely new body. Safety steps replaced the running boards. You could also get a shortwave radio as an option.



She had an improved 216.5 cubic-inch six-cylinder engine producing 90 horses, and as a result, became known as the "Victory Six" as WWII loomed around the corner. The power was sent to the rear wheels through a three-speed synchromesh transmission.


Chevrolet Coupe, 1942


Chevrolet 2-Ton truck, 1946: Okay, she's not in perfect shape, but this Bubba-Joe looks like a real workhorse. This was parked on CH L off Hwy 51 south of Minocqua, Oneida County.



Chevrolet 3/4 T Pickup Truck, 1946, Prehn Cranberry



Chevrolet Fleetline 1948: I found this beauty out near Edgerton, Dane County. She's owned by David A. Johnson over at 483 Craig Rd. He painted her this Army Green in support of a parade conducted by the Edgertown VFW Post 2708. At the moment I found him, he was working on the carbeurator.



Chevrolet Deluxe, 1951. We saw this Chevy coming on Wausau's Bridge Street, had to do a "New York U-ey," and followed her to a gas station where we got some shots while she got refueled. Her owner is a member of the Wausau Antique Auto Club. This was Chevy's top seller in 1951, with 855,293 produced. This one is a four door sedan that seats six.


Now that's a trunk!


Chevrolet convertible, 1952: There's a lot to see on this car. This is a big car, with great chrome work up front.


Look at the size of that trunk, and how the rear fenders bellow outward! That is one large trunk. Also, how about those skirts?


The interior of this classic is something to behold. How do you like that stick?


Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Coupe, 1955: Chevy renamed its Deluxe model range the Bel Air, and made them from 1953-1975. The 1955 version got a V-8 engine option, and the models of that year earned the nickname, "Hot One." This and the ones to follow in 1956 and 1957 are among the most recognizable cars of all time.



Chevrolet 3100 Pickup, 1955: This was the first year for a new body style. She had a wrap-around windshield, a truck industry first, and you could get a wrap-around rear window as well. She had power steering and a 12 volt electrical system.


This was the only year the Chevy pickup had a seven foot bed.



Chevy Bel-Aire, 1956. Here's your "Body by Fisher," traditional quality, fine cratsmanship, and exclsuive with Chevrolet in its field! She's got powerglidee, overdrive, glive-ride, anti-dive braking, tubeless tires, all power options, concealed gas filler, and outrigger rear springs. What more do you want? This beauty was parked at the Reinert house in Waupaca County near Northland. October 14, 2005.


Chevrolet 210 Del Ray 1956. Introduced in the 1953 model year, this became a very popular midrange model for Chevy especially in 1953 and 1954 and was discontinued after the 1957 version.


She came with several luxury options including the Powerglide automatic transmission, power window lifts and seat adjuster as well as vinyl seats. While the Bel Air series has proven to be the most popular for collectors, this Del Ray has also proven valuable.


Chevrolet 2-door, 1957: We've shown you the 1955 above. This baby had high set rear fenders reflecting the "daring sweep" of Chevrolet's new lines. Said differently, the fin was in.



Chevrolet Bel Aire, 1957: We found this beauty at Lloyd's Auto Repair Inc. at 1815 N. 6th Street in Wausau, Marathon County. I love driving by Llyod's in the non-winter months because he always seems to get in the old jewels for some work.





Chevrolet station wagon, 1957. The 1957 marked a major change from the 1955 and '56. She had a low and longer look. I believe this is a 150 Handyman 2-door, because she has a half-length horizontal bar met by a short vertical slash molding at the beltline, and then the horizontal bar stops. It continued all the way forward on the Bel Airs and 210 series. This was located on Hwy 73 just to the north of Deerfield, Dodge County.

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The hood birds and fins were very popular.



Chevrolet 3100 truck, 1957


Chevrolet Bel Air, 1959: This is a most interesting car, seen parked at Kemp's BP Station in Wausau, Marathon County. In 1953, Chevrolet renamed its premier model series the Bel Air. By 1957 she was the most recognizable American car, perhaps of all time. In the recession year of 1958, because of the Bel Air, Chevy was the number one auto in the US in sales. In 1959, though, Chevrolet made two major changes. First, it introduced the Impala as the premium model, making the Bel Air the mid-level model. Second, the design was very different from earlier versions and from the follow-on versions. This is really a classic, one of a kind design.


As a high school kid at the time, this editor and all the rest of us saw those "fins" as a real trademark. Sleek, and, pardon the expression, sexy, real lines to her. Plus lots of chrome.


She retained the chrome spears on the front fenders from previous years and, oh boy, that grill, a real "Detroit Grill," with a little rubber on the bumpers to nudge along the jerk in front of you! This is a memorable design.


Corvette, 1961: This was a new shape for the Corvette, with more leg and trunk space. There were five versions of her V-8 engine, stepping you up to 315 horses with a fuel injection option. She also sported a brand-new three-speed synchro-mesh.



Chevrolet Corvette, 1964. The 1963 Vet made major changes, so there were few in 1964. The big deal was Chevy eliminated the split rear window. Chevy also got rid of the fake hood vents and replaced them with hood indentations.


The base engine had 250 horses, but you could go as high as 365. All then engines were 327 cubes. Top up, the storage in the rear was more than in the past.



Chevrolet Corvair, 1965, 2dr. This was an American answer to the small car market that found a home in the US by foreign companies such as VW, Renault and Fiat. For the US, this was a revolutionary design when first introduced in 1960. The engine was mounted in the rear. It was the first unibody built by Fisher Body.


The styling was rather simple. While the Corvair to many was meant to compete against the imports, the real competition was with Ford's Mustang. The 1965 edition of the Corvair has been described by some as "stunning --- one of few that looked good from any angle."



Chevelle Malibu SS 1965. At the time, the Chevelle was Chevy's entry into the then-new intermediate class. The Malibu SS was one of four trim levels. It came only in convertible and hardtop coupe forms


Holy Moley --- Rocket Fire! This is in all likelihood not the original engine. The 1965 model has a chrome-bedecked 350-bhp 327 and a rare and expensive 375-horse 396-cid V-8.


Chevrolet Corvette, 1966: Spring 2009 has popped and the beauties are coming out of hibernation. Caught this one at the B&R Tavern on the corner of 6th St. and Bridge, Wausau, Marathon County. This one had 327 cubes delivering 350 horses. back in the day, you could get one of these with a new Turbo-HJet 427 Big Block with either 390 or 425 horses. I talked to the owner, who said his had plenty of jump to her.


The owner said to his knowledge, she was all original. Here's the interior. That's a cockpit.



Chevrolet El Camino, 1966


Chevy El Camino SS 396 1967. This was a heck-uva car-pickup-wagon. She had a 396 V8, power steering, a 400 turbo automatic, bucket seats, front-disc brakes as an option, "ralleye" wheels.


The SS 396 pushed 350 horses and the axles were designed for improved handling. This was the last El Camino built on a 1964-generation A-body car chassis. The 1964-67 El Caminos owned the market for a car-based pickup.


Chevrolet Malibu 1969, re-created as a Yenko SC 427 Chevelle: Spotted this sweetheart outside Wausau. Matt, its owner, has been working on this since was 15; he's 31 now. He has re-created this as a Yenko SC 427. Don Yenko, a Corvette racer, went on to run the family Chevrolet dealership in Canonsburg, PA. He asked Chevy for 100 Central Office Production Order (COPO) 427 Chevelles which he wanted to modify into a Yenko SC 427 Chevelle, patterned after what he done for 427 Camaros. Yenko got 99, of which we believe there are about 35 left.



To the left, you see the distinctive Yenko symbol. To the right of that is the "427. Remember, this is a re-creation. It was a Chevelle Malibu 307. But Matt has done a fantastic job re-creating this. You gotta look under the hood.


This engine is white-glove clean. Let's get right in there.


Is that sweet or what. On the air filter cover, it says "427, Turbo-Jet 450 hp."


I show this because Matt pointed out to me that the Yanko is the only one to have the chrome and red reflector here. I looked inside the car, and she was as clean as a whistle as well. Matt said much of the interior was original, well cared-for. I enjoyed seeing this beast. But I have to tell you, as one who grew up when these muscle cars, the GTOs and all of them, were puffing down the street, listening to Matt drive away was like being in heaven!


Chevrolet Chevelle SS396/375 1969 --- Now here's a muscle car. Prior to 1969, this was a separate model, but in 1969 it became an option package. This was a clean looking sweet pea with a power bulge hood and prominent SS 396 badging inside and out. Five spoke mag wheels were standard. The base horsepower was 325-bhp but you could punch her up to 375-bhp. Actually, by the end of the model year Chevy cranked her up to 402-cid, but retained the 396 because it was so well known. This car came to be known as one of the sweetest muscle cars of all time.



Chevy C-10 Pickup 1972. The C/K names were used for Chevy's and GMC's full sized pickup truck line from 1960 until 1998. "C" trucks had two-wheel drive while the "K" models had four-wheel. The 1972 was not much different than the 1971. It had a new grille design known as the "egg crate" and black paint over portions of the grille. You could get In-Line 250 and 292 cubic-inch V6s and 307, 350 and 402 cubic inch V8s.


They had AM/FM radios and many comfort features inside the cabin were available.


The owner is on the left, with his brain trust on the truck --- a great crew


Corvette Stingray, 1976. We found this beauty sitting at Marathon Town & Country in Wausau. That's the owner standing in the background on the cell phone. This was the last year the Corvette would carry the Stingray title. To the chagrin of many Corvette lovers, she had a Chevy Vega steering wheel, a mistake not repeated in 1977. The design was not changed from the previous year, largely because Corvette engineers had to contend with newly emerging pollution and safety regulations. The 1976 edition broke all records for sales, despite a hefty price hike.


Sweet. One of the things that made the 1976 popular had to do with the government's anti-pollution requirements ruining performance. Muscle cars were dying. Not this one. She was not as fast as the engineers would have liked, but she was faster than most.


Chevy Chevelle SS396 1977. This was the last year for the Chevelle, which had been on the market since 1964. It was one of GM's most successful cars. After 1977, the Malibu replaced the Chevelle name entirely. The Chevelle SS became a regular series of its own in 1966 and was called the SS396. The Malibu classic was the top model in 1977.


About all I can say here is this owner has stacked a big guy in there, and she was beautiful.


Corvette L-82, 1979. The optional L-82 V-8 edition has 350 horses in 'er, a higher lift cam, special heads with larger valves and higher compression, impact-extruded pistons, a forged steel crankshaft, and finned aluminum rocker covers. We found this one in Wausau. In December 1978, Car and Driver was not especially impressed with the 1979, seeing it as little changed from previous years. But, the mag acknoweldged that not many buyers cared. Here's a great quote from the mag that makes us Boomers remember the good ol' days: "They're dumping year-old Grands Prix for Corvettes so they can live out high-school dreams before their hairlines go over the horizon. And women are making up a solid 15 percent share of the audience at last count. Freshly liberated ladies who try the pick-up ritual from the driver's seat of a Corvette find it not so demeaning after all."



Chevrolet Camaro Z28, 1980: This Z28 was parked off road along Hwy 52 in Marathon County as I was heading into Wausau. Chevy sold 152,005 of these, 66% with the V8, 33 percent with the V6. Emissions were a huge issue then, and Z28s for California differed greatly from those sold throughout the rest of the country. She had only 190 horses, but she could get to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds and, at 4700 rpm, could make it to 120 mph by maxing through four gears.