Post-War Project: 1949 Chevrolet Fleetline Deluxe

For a 70-year-old car, this 1949 Chevrolet Fleetline is one solid vehicle. It doesn’t currently run, but it would seem to represent a great restoration project. Located in Ottertail, Minnesota, the Fleetline is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has currently reached $4,550, but the reserve hasn’t been met. If you are on the hunt for a good post-war project car, then this is one that needs to be seriously considered.

The owner refers to the paint color on the Fleetline as being blue, but a bit of detective work reveals it to be a color called Vista Gray Metallic. This isn’t a wonderfully preserved time capsule, and it is almost certain that the next owner will want to undertake a repaint. What this car has going for it is that it is incredibly solid. There are plenty of photos of the underside of the car, and it looks really clean. Likewise, if you look around the outside of the car, there is little to see in the ways of rust (beyond surface corrosion), dents, or dings. All of the external chrome and trim is present, and the vast majority of this is in good condition. There are a couple of cool little touches with the Fleetline. The first and most obvious is the factory optional sun-visor, which appears to be in great condition. This isn’t an accessory that you see often these days, as they were quite prone to rust. This one looks really good. Far more subtle is the dealer’s badge on the trunk lid just above the Chevrolet badge. I’ve done a bit of a search and it appears that Syl’s Ford no longer exists, but I would be interested to know if any of our readers remember the dealership. It’s kind of an irony that a Chevrolet wears a Ford dealership badge, but I guess that a business has to get advertising any way that it can.

The interior of the Fleetline is original and unrestored, and this was a nicely equipped car when it was new. Interior trim was finished in Tan Striped Pile fabric, while the dash was finished in a combination that was referred to as Medium Tan Metallic on the upper surfaces, and Dark Tan Metallic on the lower dash. This may seem at odds with what you can actually see on the dash, but those are the official color names. The front seat covers, door trims, and carpet are all going to need to be replaced, but the rear seat looks like it might be able to be cleaned okay. This car also features the original factory radio and clock, and both of these items look to be in good condition.

Powering the Fleetline is the 216ci straight-six engine, backed by a 3-speed manual transmission. That age-old line about the car running when it was parked is true for this car, but we don’t know how long ago this was. It looks like some attempt has been made to breathe some life into the car, judging by the gas can in the engine bay. I would assume that this was unsuccessful, but the owner does say that the engine isn’t locked. If the state of the tires are any indication of how long the Fleetline has been sitting, then I suspect that it has been many decades. The tires are badly perished and cracked and are fit for nothing more than rolling the car on and off a trailer. This is probably a good indication that there will be plenty of other rubber components that will be badly perished, so there might be some work ahead before the Chevrolet moves under its own power again.

Getting this 1949 Chevrolet Fleetline roadworthy again is probably going to take a bit of work, but I think that it could be well worth the effort. Like so many of the cars from this era, the challenge with the 1949 Fleetline isn’t so much finding one for sale, it is finding an unmodified and original car. The Fleetline was built in significant numbers, and while many of them have long ago gone to that great car-yard in the sky, many of those that remain have been turned into street rods or rat rods. That means that a good original example will easily fetch $16,000, while an immaculate one will sell for twice that figure. Given how solid this one is, it could easily be restored to an immaculate state, because the basics are there to do this. I think that it could be well worth the effort.

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Comments

  1. NotSure

    This would be beautiful restored to stock! However, unless you’re running a museum there’s nothing wrong (IMO) with rodding this out! You buy to drive so make it what you want to enjoy the road.

    Like 3
  2. IkeyHeyman

    Nice write-up. Like NotSure said, just get it on the road, however that happens.

    Like 2
  3. Ken

    It’s too complete not to restore to factory specs. I’d hate to see someone tear apart a restorable old car to build just another boring restomod. I’d restore it and keep it.

    Like 17
  4. Jack M.

    Somewhere along this cars journey it probably got traded in to a Ford dealership. I would doubt very much that it was sold new by a Ford dealer back then. There was no such thing as leasing or fleet departments that could purchase and sell any make or model.

    Like 2
  5. TimM

    Slam it to the ground with a small block and shoot it with some clear coat!! Do the interior nice and drive it!!!

    Like 4
    • Husky

      Why not a bore and stroked Jaguar 9 Liter V-12 engine coupled to a 5 Speed manual transmission?

      Dare to be different!

      • Kenny

        Love the Jag V12! Have a friend putting one in a Corvette-framed rod right now!

  6. bobhess bobhess Member

    I go with TimM but a shiny blue paint job would look great on this guy.

    Like 3
  7. Rube Goldberg Member

    Not to take anything away from the old Shivvy, but just look at the difference between this and the Nash. There sure was a difference in cars back then. The Chevy was for folks that were barely making it. My grandparents, who were not wealthy, had a ’51 4 door I hardly remember, but it certainly was no Nash Ambassador, but was probably half the price, as well. Nothing fancy here, but it got America to where they wanted to go, for not a lot of cash. Sure miss those times,,,

    Like 8
  8. geomechs geomechs Member

    Definitely worth restoring, and driving. I sure wouldn’t trade it for my ’49 Styleline but I wouldn’t mind something like this to have as well. Nothing like the drone of the old 216 babbit-pounder and 2 x 50 A-C, and having all the yuppies in their ‘inside-out porcupines’ line up behind you, shouting and gesturing ‘praise and encouragement’ like a flock of geese. I make sure I give them a smile and a cheerful wave when they finally blast on by.

    Like 4
  9. Jack Quantrill

    These torpedo-backs are fabulous! There was a car club in El Monte, CA, called the “Cruisers of Azusa”, which had several of these. Nice and low, and shiny!

    Like 2
  10. Miguel

    These are all over Mexico in all forms.

    They don’t go for a whole lot even in really nice original condition.

    Like 2
  11. Tom Bell

    Ken is absolutely correct. We who love cars are the stewards of the past, here to enjoy and preserve, not butcher, so cars can be passed on to the next generations.

    Like 5
  12. charlie Member

    And in LA there is a cult of Hispanics who drive more of these (4 doors included) than any other model of car. Beautifully painted/polished, and upholstered, lowered, neon lights underneath, and some exhaust modification that with the 6 sounds like a series of continuous farts. To each his own.

    Like 1
  13. Ken Carney

    My nephew says midnight blue with a black top. I showed him the car and he was really taken by it. This came after he
    found a ’47 Chevy Styline project car in
    Ft. Myers, Florida for $500! I’d rather pay
    a bit more for something, that with a little work, I could drive every day while restoring it. With my nephew’s help, I could get that old 6 humming along in
    no time flat. Gotta say, it’s a pain in the
    ass getting old!

    Like 2
  14. SC/RAMBLER

    I still prefer the 46 47 Fleetline Aero Sedan as these were known
    (according to ” special interest autos” ) they seemed to be slightly larger, more chrome and even more beautiful than this year. No matter this should be restored not modified. As noted above those of us fortunate enough to be able to purchase an antique like this are stewards charged with preserving cars like this and trying to encourage the younger generations to appreciate the history of our world as it was right after W. W. II
    I for one wish I had payed more attention to my Father with regards to living through BOTH world wars and the great depression in between.
    I realize whoever buys this has the right to do as they see fit but ask yourself how many are left that are original. When they go the way of the dodo bird then what.
    JMHO

    Like 1
  15. Mark Gretsch

    Syl’s Ford Albany , Mn . Was owned by Syl Welle

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