Heavy Patina: 1949 Chevrolet Fleetline Sedan

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If it’s patina you want, this 1949 Chevy Fleetline sedan listed here on eBay has it in abundance. Rehab of this post-war example could go several directions, but light sand and buff, followed by a layer of clear coat, would produce a stunning survivor that could be the starting point for a clean street mod or even a radical rat rod.

One of the things that makes the old car hobby great is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I can appreciate events like the Pebble Beach Concourse, but local Saturday night car shows are more my style. So if this 1949 Chevy sedan is your thing, I say, go for it.

Only warmed-over versions of Chevy’s 1942 models were offered post-war from 1946-1948, but that mattered little to a public ready to get back on the road. And when the all-new 1949 Fleetline hit showroom floors, buyers went gaga. Though stodgy in retrospect compared to offerings to come, it hit the spot with exuberant Americans who had just taken on the world, and it seemed to hint at even more modernism to come. Chevy carried this body style through 1954 with only slight modifications while the tech and design units at GM got themselves back up to speed.

Offered for sale in West Hollywood, California, this car has seen better days. But it is described as “very solid with the exception of front floorboard section and a few small holes.” Some bubbling seeps through long-ago repairs, but the original undercoating is visible on the underside of the chassis. The owner just previous to this seller removed the interior and installed new carpet and claimed NOS seat covers. These have been removed in other photos to show floorboard condition.

The dash, gauges, and door panels appear to be in reasonably good, restorable condition. Several accessories, including the hood bird, gas door chrome, rocker moldings, rock guards, radio, clock, and bumper guards are included, and photos indicate that exterior brightwork is mostly in surprisingly good condition.

According to the description, the engine was pulled sometime back when the owner at the time heard a knocking noise and then left the car in a barn for years. When that owner passed away, his descendants couldn’t locate the original drivetrain, but this probably matters little to most purchasers who would install a more modern setup. A later model small block could be fitted easily, and the lack of a transmission allows the buyer to choose between an automatic or row-your-own gearbox.

The good parts remaining on this car provide the basis for an interesting project. With an opening bid of just $500 (with reserve not disclosed), it will be fun to see where this one winds up. For not a terrific amount of cash, a little DIY know-how, and a lot of time and effort, this car could be a real showstopper at any small town cruise night.

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  1. nomader 55

    Appears to have a 1950 grille.

    Like 0
  2. r s

    Darn, they blacked out the license plates and thwarted my evil plans to steal it, file off the VIN and run it through the Barrett Jackson auto auction for big bucks.

    Like 6
  3. Kenneth Carney

    Had a ’49 Styline 4-door sedan and you
    couldn’t ask for a better car. No, these
    cars were not fast, but they were super
    reliable and easy to service. I’d drop in
    a later model 6 (235, 230, or 250) and
    a Powerglide tranny so Mom could drive and enjoy it too. Then, I’d upgrade the
    brakes using pendulum pedals and a
    more modern master cylinder. Patch the
    floors, freshen up the interior, and by all
    means, repaint the damned car! Woild
    be a fun project if I had the space and
    the cash to make it happen. Whoever
    does buy this car will have a solid start
    on a really nice project the will be quick
    and easy to finish. Wish it was me!!

    Like 6
    • geomechs geomechsMember

      I have a ‘49 Styleline and I agree with you on all aspects. It isn’t fast but it will get you there. I would have no problem dropping a 216 back in although a 235 would probably be more practical. Of course I would keep staring at the oil pressure gauge and thinking something was wrong because it would be over 30 psi instead of the anemic 10-12.

      Like 2
  4. Chuck

    Gm was behind the styling 8 ball a couple of years and were knocked for rude awakening when Studebaker introduced their vehicles in 47. Even Ford saw the beauty in the post war Studes. They hired one of the designers from Lowery camp. GM was too big then to change that quick. They hadn’t learned the lesson from Exners boys which is how we got the 58 Chevy design. Caught off gaurd.

    Like 1
    • edh

      That’s the story of GM, always late to the party.

      Like 1
    • Bob C.

      GM always had the best overall quality though, period.

      Like 0
  5. geomechs geomechsMember

    The rear is definitely a ’49 but the front is ’50. Going to be an involved project. First need to get an engine installed and go from there…

    Like 1
    • bob

      Several vertical bars are missing from lower part of grille, if present would positively identify ’49 or ’50.

      Like 1
    • Johnny

      I have a 49 Fleetline and the only thing I see on the grill. Is the bars are missing.The back looks the same too Geomech. They are dependeable old cars. Have to watch the front -end on slick streets.If you cut off a street onto another,.You better be going real slow or it will keep going straight. I guess is because the front-end in so heavy. Spent many of nights in mine in my younger days-out running around.haha. I,d like to find a rear -driver side fender for mine.

      Like 0
  6. Jack Quantrill

    You got to love these “Torpedo-Backs”!

    Like 3
  7. RoughDiamond

    I love this Chevrolet Fleetline sedan and don’t remember too many cars where the rear fenders were part of the passenger rear door.

    Like 1
  8. deak stevens

    Chevy did not run this body style through 1954, someone does’nt know their cars.

    Like 0
    • Marty Parker

      49 through 52.

      Like 1

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