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1937-1939 Chevrolet

1937 Chevrolet Lineup

All told, the 1937 Chevrolet lineup offered a total of 12 distinct models, six each in the Master and Master DeLuxe lines. Offered in both series were the business coupe, coach, town sedan (coach with built-in trunk), four-door sedan, and sport sedan (the four-door with trunk).

Four passenger models, such as the 1937 Chevrolet convertible, used a rumble seat.
Four-passenger models, such as the 1937
Chevrolet convertible, used a rumble seat.

Exclusive to the Master DeLuxe line was the sport coupe with rumble seat, while the cabriolet -- surprisingly -- appeared only as a Master model. Once again, as it had been during 1936, the town sedan was by far the best seller in both series.

The economy was in better shape during 1937 than it had been in some time. Evidently, it was on this account that prices began to rise throughout the automobile industry. The 1937 Chevrolet Master DeLuxe town sedan, for instance, sold for $620 when it was introduced in November 1936. By spring, however, that figure had risen to $690, an increase of just over 11 percent.

By 1937, Chevrolet was already making deep inroads into the commercial vehicle market. It was hardly a newcomer to the field at that time, for a commercial chassis based on the Chevrolet 490 car line had been offered as early as 1918. But in the early days, production of the Chevy commercials had not reached high volume.

With the introduction of the Series V Superior in 1926, Chevrolet offered a smart little roadster pickup for a few years that featured a small pickup bed fitted in place of the roadster's customary "turtleback." Then, beginning in 1928, there was a handsome sedan delivery, styled to resemble the Chevrolet passenger cars.

Nineteen thirty-six saw the debut of another car-based commercial, variously known as the coupe-express, or coupe-pickup. Rooted in that year's Standard series, it was a dual-purpose vehicle derived from the business coupe, but supplied with a cargo box that could be easily substituted in a few moments' time for the rear decklid, thus converting the car into a handy little pickup truck, all for $535.

This model resurfaced as a member of the Master series for 1937, remaining in the line through the abbreviated 1942 model year. The 1936 was equipped with a fender-mounted spare tire, but for 1937, the spare was stowed on its side in a bin under the 66-inch-long pickup bed. (The bed was 38 inches wide and offered foot-high sides.)

The business end of the coupe-pickup continued virtually unchanged through 1939 while adopting sheetmetal and engineering changes common to Chevy passenger cars.

Surprisingly, it was never a hot ticket on the sales floor. After selling 3,183 units in 1936, the tally was down to just 1,264 three years later. (Fewer than 600 of the 1940s would roll off the line.)

The sedan delivery was also based on the straight-axle Master. It received a new body for 1937 with a cargo area 68 inches long, 54 inches wide, and 41 inches high. This body remained untouched until 1939, when a straighter rear panel was employed.

This change reduced load length by two inches, however. Demand for the $595 1937 model came to 9,404 units, but slumped to 5,742 in recessionary 1938, before rebounding to 8,090 in 1939, when prices were cut by $21 to $673.

Though the coupe-pickup and sedan delivery were built on Chevrolet's passenger-car chassis and styled accordingly, they were marketed among the division's truck models. So, too, were the wood-bodied station wagons, which debuted in 1939. In fact, the 1939 Master 85 wagon came in a choice of conventional two-piece tailgate or side-hinged doors.

To continue the story with the 1938 Chevrolet, go to the next page.

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