Owner got lucky buying a 1950 Chevrolet convertible
Chevrolet has a long and interesting history. The founder, Louis Chevrolet, was a Swiss racing car driver and engineer. Along with his brother, Arthur, William Durant and others formed the Chevrolet Motor Co. in 1911 and were very successful. Chevrolet joined General Motors in 1918, making GM the world’s largest automaker.
After World War II, the American public was very anxious about new cars. No civilian cars had been made from 1942 until the end of the war in 1945. Initially, after the war, from 1946 to 1948, Chevrolet and other automakers built as many pre-war style vehicles as possible, although in some cases not all of the parts needed to complete the job were available. For example, steel was hard to come by, so at least one automaker sold the cars with 2 by 4 wooden bumpers and then replaced the wooden cars with steel later. Apparently, customers were just happy to finally have new cars.
The 1949 model year was when the Big Three car manufacturers presented the first fully restyled cars after the war. These were major changes, and the public bought them. In general, the 1950 models were the same as the 1949 models, but Chevrolet had some significant improvements that really changed the industry. Most importantly was the introduction of the Power Glide automatic transmission with the 1950 Chevrolets. Not only was it a convenience, but it was also a status symbol, with “POWER GLIDE” in bold letters above the trunk handle so that everyone can see it. The other big thing was the introduction of the two-door hardtop model that was designed to look like a convertible without the pillar side windows and sold for a hefty price tag.
The car in this issue is a gorgeous 1950 Chevrolet Deluxe convertible owned by Rodeo resident David Orsi. When new this car had a base price of $ 1,847, but this car also has the Power Glide transmission, an option for $ 159 (around $ 1,762 in today’s dollars) for a total of around $ 2006 (approximately $ 22,230 today). The Chevrolet d’Orsi has the factory AM tube radio, which still works, and a heater which would have been an option as well. The top is power, but nothing else is. The convertible is powered by the reliable 235 cubic inch inline six-cylinder “Blue Flame” engine with 105 horsepower which was in use from 1941 to 1962. Orsi has owned this car for almost two years.
âI was actually looking for a 1954 Chevrolet,â he says. âI had one when I was a teenager, but then I met someone, got married and did the family thing, so I had to get rid of it. I didn’t think I could find a convertible of the car I was looking for, but I went to Hemmings (magazine) and found this. I remember one of my neighbors had a yellow one a year older than this, and I’ve always loved this car. I wanted it, but he didn’t want to sell it.
Orsi has never forgotten this car. Even though this one was a little older than what he was looking for, he decided to give it a go. The car was in North Carolina and he made an offer over the phone. He had seen photos and videos, but had never seen the actual car. He did not want to disclose the purchase price, but estimated the current market value to be between $ 40,000 and $ 50,000. Often there are costly surprises after buying a 70 year old car even though it can be inspected, so there is uncertainty. With the previous owner deceased, Orsi was unable to learn any history of the vehicle.
âI was lucky,â he says. âI will probably never play again. I took the risk and came out okay. It was presentable, about like that. It just needs some tweaking, but nothing major. “
Orsi added front disc brakes and turn signals for added safety. He loves the style of his Chevrolet – the fender skirts, the shape of the body with the fenders being part of the body make this car an eye-catcher. The two-piece curved windshield was a stylist. The front seat is a very comfortable 5 foot long bench seat – especially nice for his girlfriend to slip in and sit next to you. One item that the owner said is in the future of this car and is correct at the time is a “neck button,” a device that attaches to the steering wheel so the driver can put his arm around his girlfriend and , allegedly, directing the non-power- driving the car safely.
This car is a show car and a driver. Orsi tries to drive the car every week, and if the weather is bad, he starts the engine at least twice a week to keep all parts lubricated. Owning this car is Orsi’s dream come true, and he has no plans to sell it someday.
Do you have an interesting vehicle? Contact David Krumboltz at [email protected] To see more photos of this vehicle and other issues, or to learn more about Dave’s Chronicles, visit mercurynews.com/author/david-krumboltz.