Off the Road for 11 Long Years: 1946 Chevrolet Fleetmaster

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Eleven years off the road can be a long time for an old car already dealing with the negative effects of neglect.  This 1946 Chevrolet Fleetmaster coupe is a car that, after eleven years of being parked, is in a sort of limbo.  While it is solid enough to be a good restoration candidate, there is enough rust and deterioration to scare off a large segment of the potential market for this car.  While we are not told how this car has been stored over that time, it sure looks like it was left outside either al fresco or under the dreaded tarp.  Do you think this car could be a good restoration candidate?    If it were yours, how would you proceed with this project?

Let’s start with the basics.  Immediately after the war, Chevrolet essentially resumed production of the 1942 Chevrolet design.  The company offered two lines of automobiles.  The Stylemaster was the value-priced version, while the Fleetmaster was more luxurious and priced accordingly.  During those times, more luxurious meant having additional chrome trim and slightly more luxurious accommodations inside.  The 216 cubic inch inline six-cylinder “Stovebolt Six” and the three-speed manual transmission were the only drivetrain choice for both cars.

This 1946 Chevrolet Fleetmaster coupe is described by the seller to be an all-original car that is very complete.  A look at the pictures shows that most of the car is covered with surface rust that has a few dents, scrapes, and dings.  However, rust through isn’t evident except for in the driver’s rear fender where it meets the body.  There may also be some underneath the wide pieces of chrome at the bottom of the body, as this is where a lot of moisture gets trapped on cars of this vintage.  Looking inside shows that the interior is intact and anything that is not cloth is in good shape.  The mat is still on the floor and there is even a neat clock on the right side of the dash.  That may even be a radio at the bottom center of the dash.

Opening the hood reveals a dusty, but likely original “Stovebolt Six.”  The seller tells us that they didn’t bother to try to start it.  The statement that it needs a new battery in the ad is a bit of an understatement, but it would be nice to know if the engine rotates or if it is frozen up solid.  We are also told that the car still retains its original 6-volt electrical system.

As you can see from the picture above, the surface rust extends to the underside of the car.  Yet, once again, the rust damage is unsightly but still not terrible.  To sweeten the deal, we are told that the car comes with a trunk full of parts and there is a picture in the ad that depicts precisely that.  What is in all of the packages in the trunk is not discussed.

The seller suggests that the car could be a good hot rod project and is so eager to make a deal that they will deliver the car to you if you live nearby.  While it might make a good hot rod due to its good looks, this is a car that could be restored.  The problem is that the costs of restoration are out of balance with the value of the car.  This is a familiar refrain, but the market for this car is quite small in the condition revealed by the photographs in the ad.  Hopefully, someone will see the potential in this Chevrolet and bring it back to its showroom appearance.

If you are looking for an immediate postwar project car, then you might want to inquire about this 1946 Chevrolet Fleetmaster coupe for sale on Craigslist in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.  This surface rust-covered Chevy comes with a trunk load of parts, the body is solid and original, and the asking price is a reasonable $4,100.  Thanks to Mitchell G. for the tip!

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  1. David Cook

    I don’t think that $4,100 is unreasonable at all. I wouldn’t want it and I certainly couldn’t afford to restore it. If I wanted one, already restored is the only way for me to go. Even in Concours condition a car this would probably cost less than a new SUV.

    Like 1
  2. EhlerDave

    This is the type of car I would grab up if it was just closer to me. Myself I would work on getting it drive-able then one section at a time make it look nice while driving it all over the place. :)

    Like 0
  3. Johnmloghry johnmloghry

    This appears to be a very nice candidate for any directions the buyer wishes to go. If I were in the market I’d make an offer of about half the asking price and see what happens. For me it would be going original but I realize that reduces todays market of potential buyers. get that old stovebolt six running and get the old rig to stop, redo the seat and new coat of bright black paint and new tires and just roll with the highway. Maybe not highway 66 but a Texas F.M (Farm to Market} country highway taking in all the small towns and roadside stops.

    God Bless America

    Like 5
  4. CarbobMember

    It’s a coupe so it’s got that going for it. And it’s solid, complete and comes with some mystery parts. What more could you ask for? My car restoration days are pretty much over. But if I still had the gumption I’d get it running and stopping; replace the hoses, fan belt and tires and drive it as is at least for a while. Do the Mexican blanket seat cover thing so you can keep your pants clean. Maybe try giving the body the steel wool and shine juice treatment just to spiff it up. The conundrum is that to properly restore the car with today’s prices you’d be way under water really quick. Chrome and paint are stratospheric. Too bad because this could be a really good looking car all done up. GLWTS.

    Like 2
  5. stillrunners stillrunnersMember

    Looks like a nice one – maybe Cali bound….

    Like 0
  6. Rustomodrob

    Clean her up with some linseed oil, tidy up the interior get her road worthy mechanically and just drive and have some fun…like Rod Roddy use to say….
    “If the price is right”

    Like 1

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