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Family Heirloom: 1936 Chevrolet Master

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This 1936 Chevrolet Master Sedan has been in the same family since new and has been garaged its entire life. Appearing in solid condition, and looking to be mostly original, we are certainly intrigued by this classic Chevrolet. The seller’s mother-in-law is looking to sell the car and we suspect that is her in this first photo with this Chevrolet. Offered at $6,000 we think this looks like an awesome opportunity for an unrestored classic. Find this heirloom here on craigslist out of Vancouver, Washington.

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The 215 cubic inch engine looks clean and complete, although there is no indication as to whether this Chevy runs or not. It looks as if a little elbow grease would go a long way. The body looks solid only appearing to have surface rust in a couple of areas. The rear driver side fender looks to be mildly dented, but it really adds to the character of this cars originality. We think this car could be a good preservation candidate, and that most of the rust could easily be arrested. Although on the other hand it could be a good restoration candidate as well. Suicide doors really add to the cool factor of this classic Chevy.

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We love the peanut butter and forest green plaid on the front seat. The interior looks complete and a little dusty, much like a time capsule. The condition isn’t terrible and some cleaning would go a long way.

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We love family kept cars like this. There is usually an awesome history with them, and sometimes photos surface piecing together the cars history with that family. We love the level of originality to this Chevy, and it looks to have solid bones to be a preservation project. Would you take on this Chevrolet Master Sedan, and what would you do with it if you did? Preserve it, restore it, or perhaps something else?


  1. Dan Skopp

    My first car was a 1935 Master with the soft top and knee action joints!! I would bomb around town in the late 60’s I and everybody loved it. If I was ion the market for this kind of auto I would get this in a heart-beat!!!

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  2. geomechs geomechs Member

    Nice car! And a family history to boot; it should be a great project to restore. I have my doubts if that is the original motor; it seems to me that the 216 didn’t come out till ’37; this one would likely have been the 206(?). It would’ve still ran only three mains while the 216 ran four. Of course, as crazy as I am for originality, the 216 is a much better choice and it’s very similar in appearance…

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    • DrinkinGasoline

      Sorry Geo…unless this was a much later (why I don’t know conversion), it would certainly would not have been a period conversion given the slim financial situation of the era. Imagine yourself in 1936, working to barely feed your family, let alone looking to do an engine swap in a Chevy that you could barely afford. In the 60’s….maybe, but not in the late 30’s or 40’s.

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      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi D-G. That was simply the impression I got. A lot of vehicles were patched up with bandaids from new till the end of the war. But by the end of the 40s a lot of engines were pretty well used up and got replaced by either rebuilt units or something salvaged. My ’35 Ford pickup was bought new by a farmer about 10 miles from where I was raised. That truck was used/abused and patched throughout the war, and even after the war because of the post war shortage. It was parked in a shelter behind the trees in ’49 and might have gotten started once in a while. It came out in ’81 and even though the son of the original owner said it was the original motor you can tell (by the cover plates on the front of the block) that it’s been replaced with an LB block. Regarding this particular Chevy, it wouldn’t surprise me if the motor got replaced after the war; there were lots of 216’s around by then…

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  3. DrinkinGasoline

    With the entry of the U.S. in WWII, in ’41, these Chevy’s were only a few years old and were diligently maintained by their owners through the war years out of necessity. Many local business owners registered these vehicles for commercial use in order to garner the “A” Fuel Ration Sticker. If original, it is highly suspect that the original owner would have NOT had the means, or reason to upgrade the engine unless there were hauling requirements involved for the war effort. Changes since, are subject to speculation.

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  4. Bingo

    Maybe I’m a simpleton but it’s not a family heirloom if it’s for sale. It’s a commodity plain and simple.

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  5. grant

    This is a great car, and fairly local to me. If only!

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  6. Gerry

    Selling for his mother-in-law but will trade for a street rod or a drag car?

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  7. arno huberts

    I have a 1934/35 Master sedan, complete history from day 1 onwards. I met the children born in 33 and 35 wich grow up with this car and other owners,

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  8. Chris A.

    My Dad had one of these from the late 30’s through to 1948. Due to his second wartime job he had a “B” sticker. Even so, his driving was very restricted as access to lubricating oil, anti-freeze, batteries, parts and especially tires was difficult. Tires had to be approved by the ration board and were retreads. Dad did almost all of his own maintenance. Were these Chevy engines known as the “Stovebolt 6”? For the most part the Chevy was used only for family grocery shopping and Dad’s government work, otherwise Dad rode the bus or in good weather, his bicycle. Very few miles were put on the car. My new born sisters did come home from the hospital in it though.

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  9. Doug Towsley

    Cool car, I just love the front end body styles on these years. I have a pair of fenders for a 37 Chevy master sitting here, Might use them on another project. This body style is less likely to get hot rodded but dont rule it out. Price seems reasonable for the condition however prewar cars needing work seem to be in a funny market place. Stuff that I think SHOULD go for a lot more goes cheap. Based on local prewar vehicles for sale in the last year it MIGHT be a bit high but hard to say what a cash offer might net. I am not far from the seller either but luckily I am full up on projects. I hope it finds a good home and new owner.

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  10. RoughDiamond

    That old Chevy has class. What does the seller mean by “Or possible trade of ‘more value’, street rod , Drag car”. Does that mean he will consider paying some boot for either a street rod or drag car that an owner of either values at more that $6,000.00?

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  11. Chuck Foster 55chevy Chuck F

    I had a 37 Chevy 2 door for a while, amateur resto, rode like a log wagon, I traded it for a 55 Chevy 2dr ht and $2500 in late 90s, a resto mod would be the only way I’d want a 30s car to drive, but mine may have needed shocks and a sway bar. The 36 was still a wood body car, 37 went to mostly metal, although it seems it had some wood somewhere. The 34/35 pictured by Arno is a lot better looking to me than a 36 or 37.

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  12. Doug Towsley

    I doubt the old lady is looking for a 60s or 70s muscle car, But its probably a family car and while i dont know perhaps the rest of the family enjoys hot rods and vintage vehicles and instead of hot rodding or customizing this one is willing to consider a trade or other options. While very cool this is not something you want to commutte to work in or take for a long drive 3 states away in its stock configuration.
    I dont think there is any harm in asking.

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  13. Gorzor

    Really good looking car.

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  14. Loco Mikado

    Looks to be a ’36. No road draft tube visible. Top pict is ’36 bottom is ’38.

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  15. Tony

    My first car was one of these but it was a RHD 1938 Vauxhall (same body) the difference being the Bedford 6 cylinder 25HP truck engine and the chrome strips along the hood. I think it was called a Y series.

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