Live Auctions

Restore or Rod? 1948 Chevrolet Business Coupe

Decisions, decisions. The person who buys this 1948 Chevrolet Business Coupe will have a few to make before this classic returns to active duty. There’s no doubt that it would respond positively to a total restoration, but it would still turn heads if returned to a roadworthy state and retained as an original survivor. The seller also floats the possibility of it making an ideal base for a custom or hot rod build. Regardless of which path the buyer decides to follow, the results should be worth the effort. It appears to be a solid classic that would respond positively to a cosmetic refresh without breaking the bank. Its overall solid nature also means that it could be a strong candidate for an enthusiast considering dipping their toe in the water of a first project build. Located in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, you will find this old Chevy listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set a BIN of $16,000 but leaves the option for interested parties to make an offer.

While its Black paint may look tired, this old Chevy is loaded with good news. The first piece is that it is a complete vehicle, meaning that potential buyers won’t need to compile a long shopping list of parts to replace more obscure items. Adding to its appeal, the owner says that it has spent its life in the southern states. That means that it has managed to remain essentially rust-free, with any problems being pretty minor. When combined with the lack of significant dings or bruises, the minimal cutting and welding required to return this car to its best make it a perfect candidate for somebody considering a first project build that they could tackle in a home workshop. That would minimize the cost associated with a project of this type, which is never a bad thing. All of the external trim is present, and while some items look pretty decent, pieces like the bumpers may require a trip to the platers. One interesting touch with this Coupe is the sunvisor. It is not only a practical addition, but it adds an air of class and individuality to this classic.

I know that we will have readers who will grit their teeth when I say this, but the seller indicates that this Chevrolet ran when parked. It isn’t clear when this was, but I suspect a few years have passed since the previous owner placed it into storage. Its engine bay houses a 216.5ci six-cylinder engine that sent its 90hp to the rear wheels via a three-speed manual transmission. The car would be no jet, taking 22.2 seconds to cover the ¼ mile before winding its way to its ultimate top speed of 74mph. However, raw acceleration is not what vehicles like this are about. The manufacturer designed this car to be a practical alternative for sales reps wishing to move goods and samples from business to business. Point this old Chevy at a stretch of open road, and it should be happy to cruise along at 55mph all day. While the owner says he has not attempted to coax this classic back to life, it seems that the engine may turn freely. Reviving it might not be a significant undertaking, and with some attention to perishable components and the brakes, it could potentially be returned to active duty pretty quickly.

The interior shots supplied by the seller add to the decision-making process for potential buyers. It is complete, with none of the switches or knobs having disappeared, which is a common occurrence after seventy years. It is also in surprisingly good condition for its age, with only some upholstery staining and rips on the seat worth mentioning. The dash is in excellent condition, and the plated components may respond positively to some work with a high-quality polish. While there is little doubt that it could look stunning if the buyer treats it to a total restoration, they could potentially clean everything, throw a blanket over the seat, and use it as it stands. Due to the target market, Chevrolet didn’t load these cars up with luxury equipment. The interior features are mainly practical and include a large clock and a heater. The owner has a freshly reconditioned set of gauges sitting in the trunk. He includes these in the sale if the buyer seeks a spotless appearance.

Hypothetically, what would you do with this 1948 Chevrolet Business Coupe if you found it parked in your workshop? Would you retain it as an original survivor or treat it to a total restoration? Either path would be a viable option, or you may find the lure of a custom build too tempting to resist. More importantly, do you find it attractive enough to contact the owner and potentially make an offer? If you do and are successful, we’d love to be kept up to date with your project’s progress.


  1. Harvey Member

    Nice car.I always wonder about cars like this ,how hard is I to make it run?Should not take more than an hour or two.I would not pay 16,000 for it not running:-)

    Like 4
    • Bob

      Any idea as to how hard it would be to swap out the original motor and replace it with a more modern GM inline 6 and to convert from 6 to 12 volt system?

      Like 1
      • Duaney Member

        Yes, it is hard, nothing bolts in, it would all have to be custom fabricated. The original motor would work just fine the way it is.

        Like 4
  2. nlpnt

    A couple of nice period accessories on that one. Relatively few for a ’48 though, it was still the early-postwar sellers’ market that would make the current one seem like nothing, with the twist of WPA price controls on cars – but not accessories, which stealerships would pile on to pad the price.

    Like 1
  3. Gary

    Restore, obviously. Unfortunately the price suggests what a rodder would pay. I do understand. Us geezers who appreciate what is already here, and who remember them in the high school parking lot…well, we are here in pretty low numbers these days. I guess in the long run it is better rodded then to rot in a field.

    Like 12
    • Stu

      Have you disagree with the $16,000 price tag though.

      Like 4
      • Jqaponte

        As is $9,500.00 is a good offer

  4. Grog

    Very well preserved, I would probably upgrade the brakes to disk, exhaust and clearcoat. Maybe wheels and tires. Tune the engine and wallah! Beautiful cruiser!

    Like 5
    • Dave

      Restore it. Then when you realize what a boring mistake you made, Rod it.

      Like 1
  5. local_sheriff

    Personally I think this gen Chevs look at its very best as 2door Aerosedan/fastback. Price is simply hideous for a non-running vehicle. I can easily see some Bubba would give it the tried and true 350/350 upgrade, personally I’d be very disappointed to see such a bomb bereft of its I-6/3spd combo. Couldn’t these be had with some vacuum-operated clutch or shifting…?

    Like 3
  6. Terry J

    Those babbit banger sixes wore out pretty quickly. Then after they were worn out, they would last forever. LOL :-) Terry J

    Like 4
  7. Duaney Member

    Why does Clarke even mention “rod”? What does Barn Finds have against original cars? We have plenty of rods already and too few original.

    Like 10
    • Terry J

      Hey Duaney, Barn Finds is not a pronoun, it is a collection of thousands of individuals who like cars, but have their own opinions. Me? Like most of us I have personal history with hundreds of cars over 6 decades, both owned or known about or even just dreamed about. As such I remember my sisters black stock ’46 Coupe back in ’62, and a pals ’41 Coupe with a 327/Muncie 4 speed all in the same memory pages. I will not buy this car, BUT if I did, I’d probably drive it as it is for a couple years, then eventually update the drive train to a more modern straight six with an automatic and better brakes so I could actually drive the car other than around town or on a back country road. If you would keep it stock forever, COOL! But then again, you aren’t a buyer either. :-) Terry J

      Like 2
  8. Merrill Newman

    We had a 1933 Chevy Master Deluxe all through WW-II. Dad had his name on the waiting list at the Chevrolet dealership in Mt. Ayr, Iowa, along with many others.

    It was spring of 1947 when the dealership called and said “Hey, Art, we’ve got your new Chevrolet!”. It was a beautiful Fleetmaster 4dr. sedan (perfect for a farmer) in kind of a “robin egg blue”. As mentioned earlier, it was loaded with accessories Dad would have never ordered. But, you didn’t want to pass or you went to the back of the line!

    Like 4
  9. Steve Clinton

    Park this in East LA with a ‘for sale’ sign and it will be gone in a day (not necessarily sold, however).

    Like 5
  10. John Member

    My uncle had one of these back in the day, was a 4dr though, thee car had vacumn shift, ran well, was serviced as they had a great wrench.
    But Unk. never washed it, let alone polish it , also he had to put his dent into the front fender. Never used the tiny outside mirror, had a dent in every car he owned. But remember was a great car

    Like 3
  11. Jim muise

    My Dad’s first car a 1948 4 door Chevy with the same power train.. Wipers were vacuum driven which meant when starting off from a steep uphill in a rain storm the wipers stopped which made the whole family laugh except the driver! A reliable family hauler !


    Like 2
  12. charlie Member

    Living in rural CA with no way out of this “community” that does not involve at least 10 miles of interestate design road (they built it partially on the “old” 1930’s road, and so there are bicycles on it as well as your “acceptable” 75 mph speeds) you need to go at least 65 not to be a danger to yourself or others. With overdrive, this could do it, without, no positive oil pressure, just splash, the engine if not toast already, will be in short order. And the vaccuum clutch – when going from 1st to 2nd and 2nd to 3rd, if it is working, a big iff, you take your foot off the gas and s-l-o-w-l-y shift and then press the accelerator again. When in HS in the 50’s a friend had a ’41 and his first modification was to get rid of the vaccuum clutch, the second was outside rearview mirrors, the third install overdrive, and then, it was a decent car for around town. When we went any distance on the highways I convinced my father that our ’56 Chevy 4 door was far more likely to get us home, and, that I was a much safer driver, both true. Other buddy’s ’51 Ford, with minor modifications, was grounded after his mother, doing him a favor, by cleaning it, found condoms (which were a fond hope, the whole 3 pack was there, none used) which should have made her happy, not pissed.

    Like 2
  13. Terry J

    Good story Charlie. Keeping a completely stock car like this is a slippery slope. It begins with changing it over to 12 volts. Then a dual master cylinder, both essential updates. But the engine smokes and knocks. The tranny grinds into gear. The rear end gears are 4:11 s. Well shucks, just call the engine rebuilder and ask if they still pour babbit bearings. Huh? what’s that? How much to rebuild that old 3 speed? WHAT? $2500? Yikes! LOL. :-) Terry J

    Like 1
  14. DavidL Member

    Friend in high school had one of these. The hood was bolted on so no one would know what he had in it though rumored to be the original straight 6 with enhancements. Would turn off his headlights, use his hand break and run from the cops. Suckered one of them into broadsiding a cement shed and got away. Last I heard he was a Police Chief in one of the communities in the surrounding area.

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