Original Paint: 1949 Chevrolet Deluxe Fastback

When World War II drew to a close, American automotive manufacturers restarted civilian vehicle production with cars that were essentially their pre-war offerings with some minor trim updates. It wasn’t until the late 1940s that new cars started to break cover. While the 1949 Chevrolet Deluxe represented a major restyling exercise, the company carried over many of its underpinnings from its predecessor. However, that didn’t prevent the Deluxe from achieving respectable sales figures, with 180,251 buyers choosing to park the Fastback version in their driveway. This Deluxe is a tidy survivor that remains unmolested to the point where it still wears its original paint. It has 83,000 miles on the clock, and in an era of instant gratification, it is ready to hit the road with a new owner behind the wheel. Located in Littleton, Colorado, the owner has listed the Chevy for sale here on Craigslist. You could park it in your garage by handing the seller $19,000. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Gunter K for spotting this fantastic classic for us.

By the end of 1948, the Chevrolet Deluxe carried styling that was already eight years old. For 1949, the company restyled the car, and while the rear fenders retained a separate appearance, the rest of the car developed a more integrated look. While it wasn’t quite as modern as the legendary ’49 Ford Shoebox, it still marked a distinct change that was working its way through the American automotive industry. This Deluxe is a survivor that still wears its original Monaco Blue paint. When you consider that the finish is 72-years-old, the shine that it retains is impressive. There are a few minor flaws and marks, but if the buyer wanted to maintain the car as a survivor, there’d be no shame in that. Rust is not an issue, with a life spent in drier climates allowing the vehicle to remain structurally sound. The glass is in good order, as is the trim and chrome. The narrow whitewall tires add the perfect finishing touch to this classic’s exterior.

The drivetrain for the 1949 Deluxe was little changed from its predecessor, with a 216.5ci six-cylinder motor and a 3-speed manual transmission finding their way into the engine bay. With 90hp on tap, the Deluxe provided respectable performance, but it still lagged behind what Ford could provide with its V8 offering. Pointed at a ¼ mile, the journey in the Chevrolet would take 22.2 seconds. The same trip in the Ford would take around 20.8 seconds. That’s not a huge difference, but it was enough to give Ford bragging rights in a car that many perceived as more modern than the Chevrolet. However, horsepower and outright performance only told part of the story between this pair. Torque figures were almost identical, but the Chevrolet delivered its peak at nearly 1,000rpm lower than Ford’s V8. That meant that the driving experience in the Chevrolet, especially in heavy traffic or climbing steep hills, was a more relaxed affair behind the wheel of the Deluxe. Our feature car is an original survivor that has 83,000 miles showing on its odometer. While the owner doesn’t hold documentary evidence, he believes those miles to be genuine. He has recently updated the carburetor and air cleaner, although he does include the original components in the sale. He has also fitted a new fuel tank, fuel lines, a fuel pump, and an exhaust. With the cooling system recently flushed, the buyer has no mechanical work to perform on this classic. It is in good running order and represents a turn-key proposition for its next owner.

The tidy survivor theme continues when we turn our attention to this Chevrolet’s interior. Don’t be fooled by the blankets over the seats because it appears that they are there to protect the original upholstery. The remaining upholstered surfaces look in impressive condition, and I can’t spot any problems with the headliner beyond the type of discoloring that can develop with age. The owner has fitted aftermarket carpet, and I don’t feel that its color does the interior justice. I would probably swap that, but there’s not much that I’d change. There are a few other items that the buyer might choose to tinker with to occupy their time during the winter months. The original AM radio doesn’t operate, nor does the clock. Neither issue impact the vehicle’s running or driving, but it would be nice to get them working to make this classic a complete package.

I have never shied away from my love for cars that wear the blue-oval badge, but I can’t help but like this 1949 Chevrolet Deluxe Fastback. Finding a 72-year-old survivor like this is a treat, and while there’s little doubt that it could make an easy restoration project, I wouldn’t change a thing. I know that the phrase “they’re only original once” gets used more than is necessary, but I think that it holds true in this case. Now you know what I would do if I were to buy this classic, but I’m interested to know what your approach would be.

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Comments

  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    When you find them that nice leave them that nice.

    Like 20
  2. geomechs geomechs Member

    Sometimes you luck out and get a car that is a real gem. This Fleetline is no exception. I sure wouldn’t do anything with it other than drive it and enjoy it. GM used good paint back in the day. My Styleline also wears its original paint. And while it’s accumulated some badges along the way, I have no intention of changing it. 19K miles when mine was pulled out of the shed and 43K on it now, it’s going to be with me for a spell before it goes onto another caretaker…

    Like 39
    • Rick

      I agree geomechs. Keep them original. I love these cars. Why mess with perfection? Yours is a beauty. I wanted to post a picture of my ’52 Styleline, but couldn’t figure out how to do it.

      Like 6
    • Stevieg Member

      Nice car Geomechs!
      I’d love to get my hands on the pretty old lady! These fastback body’s look so right with fender skirts. The only thing, in my opinion, that would make it better is if it had 2 more doors. But I would drive her with pride as she sits.

  3. KC John

    Just gorgeous. I like to modify stuff but not this little angel. Might be as close to time travel a person can get. Drive, preserve, and enjoy.

    Like 13
  4. Taco

    Make it better.
    Make it a Low rider !

    Like 9
    • Joe Machado

      Gravity sucks lowrider cars

      Like 6
    • Tito G.

      This old girl is too nice to modify in ANY way mi amigo…..

      Like 9
  5. Phil

    What a gem. Don’t change a thing.

    Like 2
  6. CFJ

    My Dad had a Deluxe Model similar to this Chevrolet only a black four door sedan. Same drive train, 6 cylinder, 3 speed standard transmission. Many carefree pleasurable miles. Passed on to my brother who drove it several more years.

    Like 5
    • Dickie F.

      Dad had the 4 door. Also had 6 kids, so as the youngest in the family, I sat in the middle up front. I then had to operate the large valve radio.Took a while to boot up and was shortwave only.

      Like 3
  7. Tort Member

    19K seems alot but how many are out there that are still original and in this condition. Great car to leave as is and occasionally get out and enjoy.

    Like 4
  8. Larry D

    @Tort

    I agree that $19k does seem a lot for this car. I also agree about how many this original are out there.

    But I have a friend who is a true old-Chevrolet expert. He is in his early 80s now. He’s had so many early Chevrolets, especially Tri-Fives.

    But he also always had a soft spot for 1949-50 Chevrolets, especially ’50 Bel Air 2-door hardtops.

    So, to put things in perspective regarding the price on this car, my friend had a ’50 Bel Air 2-door hardtop with 100% light green original paint with a dark green original-paint top. It had always been garaged and the paint was very good for its age. Interior also was all original and very good. The car had around 80k original miles.

    He advertised that car nationally last year at $19,900 and got no bites. He kept dropping until he got down to $16,500. And finally a man made him an offer on it and my friend sold it. I’m assuming maybe he sold it for around $15k.

    So, comparing his car to this car makes it seem they are close to the same in originality. But I would have to give the nod to my friend’s car in price since the ’50 hardtops are rarer and more desirable than a ’49 Fastback.

    But once again, as they say, a car is worth whatever someone pays for it!

    Like 7
  9. Ken Carney

    Hi geomechs! I had one just like your
    car only bottle green with a grey broad
    cloth interior. It was a drivable project
    that I got to enjoy for 5 years or so. When my 1st wife and I split up, I wound
    up selling it to my future FIL who sold it
    to get money to help him buy a Kenworth cabover tractor to start his
    trucking business. And though I liked the 235 over the 216, the 216 would do
    whatever you asked of it with no trouble
    at all. Seeing your car makes me miss
    mine all over again!

    Like 3
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      It’s always a heart-breaker to think about giving it up. I know the entire history of mine plus it came from my hometown so I’m really trying to hang onto it. A couple of times I almost caved in and let it go, but then I would feel like I had betrayed the original owner…

      Like 2
  10. Denny

    geomechs is right, the proper model designation is Fleetline, not Fastback with a capital “F”.

    Like 2
  11. John Vahey

    Love old Chevrolets, I have a 1954 Bel Air, 2door hardtop Sport Coupe, SURVIVOR, all original including the paint. Horizon Blue, under India Ovory top. The car is Beautiful, 64,000 miles 235ci, 115Hp, 3on the tree, only thing replaced is fuel tank and fuel pump, the interior is Beautiful all original also. The trim on the car is all Stainless Steel. I love my car. Shure I’d like power steering, power brakes, power windows, air conditioning, a nice AM- FM radio, 12volt battery, and alternator, but I’m keeping mine a Suvivor, all Original.

    Like 1
  12. charlie Member

    As for “all original” I bet you have replaced wear items, like tires, and belts, and hoses, and that is all fine and good, but think about a dual master cylinder for the brakes, just to be safe. Yes, the “emergency” brake on these will stop the car (unlike many today), but brakes lines failed on my ’56 Chevy 3 times when I was driving, and each time I got it home, and to the repair garage, using the “emergency” brake, but I was 16 – 19 at the time and clueless. You can put the original in a box in the trunk.

    Like 1
    • John Vahey Vahey

      Charlie this is John with the 54 Chevy I appreciate your comment. I had my mechanic go all over the car. I had seat belts installed, 4 sets.

      • charlie Member

        I did put lap belts in my ’56 Chevy, 4 sets, but no shoulder belts since they were not available yet (1959), I got them from Sears with backing plates and all, and it was an easy install. I am not sure they would have held, in a major crash, the floor pans through which they went, then to the backing plate which was about 4″ x 6″ were solid, no rust, so they were better than nothing and were never needed.

  13. Rich

    Love the lines of this car. Leave it as is. From the first picture, the left front fenders is a slight bit different shade. Maybe from an older inci-dent. LOL

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