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Still Original At 86! 1934 Chevrolet Master Coupe

When the subject of early ’30s American cars arises, Ford has a tendency to suck all of the air out of the room. Immensely popular, and endowed with a V8 engine, Ford was an automotive force with which to reckon in those days. But they were far from the only game in town. And today, we have an example from Ford’s biggest competitor in the form of a 1934 Chevrolet five-window coupe. It appears to be very original, so let’s take a close look at this Chevy, located in Greenwood, Indiana and available, here on eBay for a current bid of $13,500, reserve not yet met.

Ford proved to be the number one auto builder in 1934 with 564K units rolling off of various assembly lines.  Ford’s 1932 introduction of the flathead V8 engine was clearly part of their success story. But Chevrolet was running a close second with 551K copies finding new buyers that year. Nevertheless, it seems that early ’30s Fords have the following and are more than likely to be found today than their competing marques from so many years ago.

The story on this Chevy coupe is a bit light as the seller claims to have rescued this 49K mile example from his cousin who wanted to hot-rod it. The finish is believed to be original and it does still present pretty well except for some operating type of minor road rash. Actually, for being 86 years of age, the entire presentation is quite strong, this car has been cared for and well stored. It’s the same story with the chrome and trim, especially the grille, it has withstood the test of time and managed to avoid run-ins with moving and/or stationary objects.

One place where Chevrolet and Ford differed was in engine layout. While Ford stayed with a four-cylinder, in-line engine or their renowned flathead V8, Chevrolet split the difference with an in-line six, in this case, a 60 HP, 194 CI motor. The seller makes no reference to operation so it is unknown if this Chevy is a runner or not. The underhood images show a very clean and complete motor, it appears as if it, and its environs, have received some recent attention  (it’s almost too clean!) so it’s unfortunate that the seller isn’t more forthcoming about it. The sole transmission available in ’34 was a three-speed manual gearbox.

The condition of the interior is in keeping with that of the exterior, it is showing some signs of wear, the door cards/armrests in particular, but it looks good overall. The instrument panel shows well in its simplicity with nice, clear, and legible gauges. I’ll admit to some confusion with the floorboards, they appear to be new wood not original. Something is going on with the passenger-side as that piece is misaligned with a cut-out. Beyond that, and a missing steering wheel center, the interior would seem to need little attention.

My ticker skipped a beat at the suggestion of, “My cousin brought the car to make a hot rod out of it but when he had the car delivered he couldn’t bring his self to cut it up.” I review many cars from this era and this Chevy, to date, is IMHO the most complete and original I’ve encountered. It would be a travesty to alter it into something that it’s not when there are so many others still in existence that would be much better candidates. I say get it running if it doesn’t, and preserve it as is, how about you?


  1. Skorzeny

    Ok, “ he couldn’t bring his self to cut it up.”. Why would anything need to be ‘cut up’? You put a different drivetrain in it, and some new wheels and tires. No cutting involved. I’m glad it’s original still. Would be nice if it had more power but… Nice to see without whitewalls too. I love it.

    Like 9
    • Bill D

      I can only imagine that the purchaser’s original vision for the car included the sort of bodywork that was common in the 1950s-60s among car customizers, including a “chop and channel” to create a “period” appearing hot rod.

      Like 2
    • Tom Bell

      A different drive train is the same as cutting out its heart. You miss the entire point of preserving automotive history.

      Like 28
  2. Dead Man's Curve

    I love it!

    Like 6
  3. Kenneth Carney

    Wow! Haven’t seen one since the ’60s and man is this car a sight for sore eyes!
    This is exactly how we found so many
    great old cars back then. Central Illinois
    was a hotbed of barn find activity–especially the area around Bloomington,
    Illinois where I grew up. Guys back then
    were pullin’ cars and trucks from barns
    so fast it made your head spin. And yes,
    some really nice original cars were cut up by lunkheads who didn’t know or care
    just what it was they had. And I can tell
    you firsthand that it was a great time to
    be a young motorhead. Dad and I pulled
    out more than a few of them ourselves
    as well. Only thing with us was that if
    bought a car as nice as this, we got ’em
    runnin’ and drivin’ with the original parts
    and sold ’em to kids at my highschool
    who were lookin’ for something cheap to
    drive til something better came along.
    Rod & Custom Magazine fanned the fires here too. I still recall a Vintage Tin
    success story where a reader pulled a car similar to this one and airing up the
    tires, puttin’ in new points, rotor and condensor, adding fresh gas and other
    fluids and driving the car away! Other than a stuck thermostat, the reader’s trip was uneventful. And you shoulda
    seen that car after he cleaned it up!
    That’s what I think this car might look
    like when cleaned up and yes, I think it
    will fire right up with ease after new parts and fluids are added. These old
    Chevy are simple beasts that will take
    very little to make run again. Just st wish I were the one doin’ it!

    Like 7
    • 427Turbojet 427Turbojet Member

      I too remember that Vintage Tin article. In those years Vintage Tin was the first thing I looked at when Rod& Custom showed up in the mail. I remember a shot of that car pulling out of a lot for it’s “new” maiden voyage.
      The ’33 Chevy coupe above is what you make a rod out of. I dug this one out of the woods on a farm about 20 years ago. An old hot rod, it has what’s left of an Olds engine, hydromatic and mid ’50s Olds rear. Has been channeled, but not is not beyond salvation. A nephew has been hot on me for a few years, so he’ll probably end up with it. I’ve got too many projects ahead of it, but I’d love to see it back on the road.
      The car in this article needs to be saved and used as is.

      Like 3
  4. Driveby

    It would be interesting to see what condition the wood frame of the cabin is in. The reason you see so many Fords and so few Chevys from this era is because the wood framed Chevys can be tricky (expensive) to re-hab. When estimating the cost of restoration, termite damage is seldom taken into account.

    Like 5
    • jerry hw brentnell

      and for what its worth here the 1934 dodge and plymouth were about 40 miles ahead in so many ways of ford and chev ! but nobody ever thinks of that do they? for instance, open drive shaft, pressurized oiling system, better cooling system, all steel body, better charging system and more, look how long chrysler hung onto the flat head 6 engine 30s right up to1959, look around that 6 powered all kinds of industrial equipment too

      Like 8
  5. Driveby

    When I worked at Specialized Auto in Anaheim, we took our “wood-work” up to a shop in L.A. we just called “The wood guy”. It was literally, right next to “Pete and Jakes” shop in, I think, Temple City. Little did I know at the time that I was a witness to hot-rod history.

    Like 2
  6. Doug

    I would venture to say the distorted floor board is the top of the battery box

    Like 3
  7. Mike Hartman

    Dad had a 34 Chev coupe in the late 50s that he “cut-up’ with a Foyt built Jimmy, twins, cam, louvers, striping, I have a picture of it coming off the line at Houston Dragway.

    Like 1
  8. Fred

    good on him for not chopping it up thank goodness

    Like 5
  9. Brian

    One would really have to be a “Chevy guy/gal” to pick this over the Ford or a Dodge Brothers/Chrysler back then or today.

  10. charlie Member

    The next to last year of the wood upper frame Chevys – the Deluxe was all steel in ’35, the cheap one still used wood. So, if the wood is good, this is a great car and if it is not – sagging doors are the first give away – maybe not.

    Like 2
  11. Jim

    This is a Master Coupe, not a Standard Coupe

    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      OK, I had it and the standard coupe (three-window) reversed. I’ve changed the title.



  12. Jeff

    I had one of these in 1953 that was my college ride. Paid $50 for it and lost in a head on with a drunk woman in a step-down Hudson. . lots of memories (good and bad). Wouldn’t mind having another for old times sake.

  13. Craig Nicol

    As to its running condition, the ad title states: “1934 Chevy five window coupe all original runs and drives” so it seems to be a runner.

    • Jim ODonnell Staff


      You’re right it does, but I was looking for something a bit more descriptive in the text, you know, something informative. So yes, assume this Chevy runs.


  14. George Cassidy

    This is another old heap that somebody thinks is wirth more than it is. Not everything old is qorth saving. I might spend $13K for a contemporary Ford V8, but not for a Chevy lump.

    Like 1
    • Danny from oz

      I’ll take this Chev. Why would you want another belly button Ford?

      Like 2
  15. Joe Haska

    I think our memories are some what ,unreliable. Whenever a car like this shows up ,the first comment is how rare it is and please save it, drive it and enjoy it and for heaven sake, hope some one doesn’t “cut it up”. First off how rare is a 34 Chevrolet coupe and how many people even want one and have any of you who want to save it, driven a stock 30’s era car into days traffic. I would also like to know what cut it up means. Also, the reason many of these era cars are gone was because of racing ,stock cars or sometimes referred to as Jalopy’s. And probably the number one reason there are few Chevrolet’s left is because of all the wood in the body’s. I could go on ,but I am sure I have already pissed allot of you off, for being far to realistic about a car with has asking price of $13,000 dollars.

    • Mountainwoodie

      No, I for one am not pissed off. One of the reasons I read BF is the variety of experience and opinions we all have. I like nothing more when someone posts some facts coupled with a different opinion than I might have, that causes me to reconsider my own views. Besides which, many of the posters here remind me of the Letters section in the R&T of our collective Motörhead youth. First hand knowledge combined with certitude :)

      As for the Chevy, I think we all can agree that sellers ask too much for their own cars. Period. The internet and the wider exposure has only made it worse. Think back to reading an ad in Hemmings/whatever. If the ask was ridiculous in your view, in a 4 line ad, who would call?

      But now….. throw it out there see what happens

      Like 1
    • Kenn

      Please Google proper use of the apostrophe.

  16. Barry smith

    This is a Master Deluxe model. Gauge package was in center of dash for the standard. Should also have the knee action front end. Missing continental wheel cover with locking “hub cap”

    • Joe Haska

      Knee action option 1938.

      Like 1
      • Barry Smith

        Having owned and driven a 34 Master Deluxe coupe I can assure you that the 34 Masters had knee action.

        Like 1
  17. Bee's Knee's

    34 Master knee action see attached link:

    Like 1
  18. Bee's Knee's

    Knee’s are clearly visible, just peak under the skirt.

  19. Jeff

    Barry Smith is one hundred percent correct, the knees are clearly visible.

    See attached image:

    Like 1
  20. Joe Haska

    I stand corrected on the knee action, but I think there is more to the story.I know that a straight axel was available through 1937, from 38 on all were knee action. Also ,I know knee action was not available in 1932.

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