Chevrolet Series C Classic Six

Last updated
Chevrolet Series C Classic Six
1912 Chevrolet Series C Classic Six.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Chevrolet
Production1911-1914
Assembly Flint Assembly, Flint, Michigan
Designer Etienne Planche
Body and chassis
Class Full-size
Body style 4-door touring
Layout FR layout
Related The Little Automobile
Powertrain
Engine 299 in3 40 hp, T head I6
Transmission rear-mounted 3-speed, with a cone clutch
Dimensions
Wheelbase 120.0 in (3,048 mm)
Curb weight 3,500-3,750 lbs.
Chronology
Successor Chevrolet Series L
Chevrolet Series H

The Chevrolet Series C Classic Six is the first automobile produced by American car manufacturer Chevrolet. It is one of the few Chevrolets made while record-setting Buick race car driver Louis Chevrolet was with the company. This Brass Era Chevy was much larger, more powerful, more stylized and therefore more expensive than the cars that would ultimately replace it. Louis Chevrolet loved it, but William Durant had a cheaper car in mind.

Contents

The first Chevrolet

The 1912-14 Chevrolet Type C also called the Chevrolet Classic Six (Series C), Chevrolet Model C, Classic Six or, at the time it was new, simply the Chevrolet (since there were no other models to confuse it with until 1914 when the Model H and L were released), was the first Chevrolet, and was also sold by other makes. It was a well constructed car and had a 6-cylinder engine up front with a cone clutch and a three-speed gearbox mounted at the rear axle. Henry Ford had been selling his much less expensive Model T for three years, in six models by the time Chevrolet entered the market. The Chevrolets that followed, under the management of Durant, would be much cheaper 4-cylinder cars that competed directly with the T. The Series C Classic Six, however, was capable of 65 mph and competed against the more high-performance cars of that time. Standard equipment included a starter, four doors, a folding top, a tool box, cowl lights, and electric headlights. The 1914 Classic Six was in essence the 1913 model with a few slight changes.

Design

Penned by Etienne Planche under direction from Louis Chevrolet, [1] the Chevy with its low running boards had a design more resembling European cars. [2] Radiator shell and Chevrolet nameplate on the dashboard (the "bow-tie" emblem did not appear until the 1914 Chevrolet Series H and L models) were polished metal, the body, chassis and wheels were only Chevrolet blue. The hood, fenders, and splash aprons were black. Light gray striping was found on the body and wheels. The first prototype car appeared in late 1911, and Louis Chevrolet himself tested it on the back streets of Detroit. Throughout 1912 refinements were made to the design. Later in that same year the new 1913 model was released at the New York Auto Show.

The T-head engine

Chevrolet's first engine was a liquid-cooled 299-cubic-inch, six-cylinder cast-iron block cast in three groups of two, with a T-head configuration, that produced 40 horsepower. The T-head engine is a side valve engine that is distinguished from the much more common L-head engine by its placement of the valves. The intake valves are on one side of the engine block and the exhaust valves on the other, making dual camshafts necessary. Seen from the end of the crankshaft, in cutaway view, the cylinder and combustion chamber resembles a T - hence the name "T-head". The 299 was a very large engine at that time and the only engine in the C Series. In 1913 the ignition was a Simms magneto with a compressed-air starter. For 1914 the ignition was now a Simms High Tension Magneto and the starter used was a Gray & Davis. This was the biggest Chevy engine until the 1958, 348 cid V-8.?

Production notes

YearProductionBase PriceWeightNotes
19111N/A3,500 lbs.prototype, no windshield or top
1912(See text below)$2,2503,000 lbs.
1913(See text below)$2,2503,500 lbs.
1914(See text below)$2,5003,750 lbs.

The prototype of Planches design was built in 1911. After several improvements were made to the car, they began production for commercial sales in late 1912. Production continued through 1913 and was stopped in 1914 [1] The base price was US$2,250 ($61,738 in 2019 dollars [3] ).

Production Amount

It is unclear due to conflicting production records as to how many were actually made. Total Chevrolet production for 1913 was 5,987. But this figure included all Little Motor Car Co. production (The Little Motor car was made in the same factory) and could also have included all the 1914 models produced in 1913. It is doubtful given the high price of the car that many were made and sold. The serial number of the below listed existing cars at the Sloan Museum and the Reynolds-Alberta Museum in Canada may or may not be indicative of the exact number built.

Surviving Examples

1913 Chevrolet Classic Six at the Sloan Museum Sloan Museum at Courtland Center December 2018 14 (1913 Chevrolet Classic 6).jpg
1913 Chevrolet Classic Six at the Sloan Museum

There are only 2 Classic Sixes known to exist. The oldest example is a 1913 model, serial #93 located in the Reynolds-Alberta Museum in Canada and is an unrestored partial car. The other is also a 1913 model, serial #323 located in Flint, Michigan at the Alfred P. Sloan Museum (shown above). This car is the only complete and fully restored running example.

The Sloan Museum car was first purchased in southern Texas, the Classic 6 was driven daily until 1936, when it was bought by the Aldenhaven Family in Ft. Worth (who owned a Chevy dealership). It remained part of their collection until 1964, when it was placed up for auction. The Sloan Museum had been following the car for some time, and sent two employees to Texas with a signed check. The Chevy was twice bid up beyond the Museum's offer, but the Aldenhavens accepted the Museum's offer any way, as they knew the car would be appreciated and well kept. [4]


William Durant assembled these three companies to form Chevrolet:

Louis Chevrolet left Chevrolet Motor Car Company in 1915, and by 1916 had started a race car company with his brother Gaston Chevrolet.

See also

Related Research Articles

Chevrolet American automobile division of General Motors

Chevrolet, colloquially referred to as Chevy and formally the Chevrolet Division of General Motors Company, is an American automobile division of the American manufacturer General Motors (GM). Louis Chevrolet and ousted General Motors founder William C. Durant started the company on November 3, 1911 as the Chevrolet Motor Car Company. Durant used the Chevrolet Motor Car Company to acquire a controlling stake in General Motors with a reverse merger occurring on May 2, 1918, and propelled himself back to the GM presidency. After Durant's second ousting in 1919, Alfred Sloan, with his maxim "a car for every purse and purpose", would pick the Chevrolet brand to become the volume leader in the General Motors family, selling mainstream vehicles to compete with Henry Ford's Model T in 1919 and overtaking Ford as the best-selling car in the United States by 1929 with the Chevrolet International.

Buick Mid-level luxury division of General Motors

Buick is a division of the American automobile manufacturer General Motors (GM). Started by automotive pioneer David Dunbar Buick, it was among the first American marques of automobiles, and was the company that established General Motors in 1908. Before the establishment of General Motors, GM founder William C. Durant had served as Buick's general manager and major investor.

GMC (formerly the General Motors Truck Company, or the GMC Truck & Coach Division, is a division of the American automobile manufacturer General Motors that primarily focuses on trucks and utility vehicles. GMC currently makes SUVs, pickup trucks, vans, and light-duty trucks, catered to a premium-based market. In the past, GMC also produced fire trucks, ambulances, heavy-duty trucks, military vehicles, motorhomes, transit buses, and medium duty trucks.

Louis Chevrolet

Louis-Joseph Chevrolet was a Swiss race car driver, co-founder of the Chevrolet Motor Car Company in 1911, and a founder in 1916 of the Frontenac Motor Corporation.

The Chevrolet straight-six engine was an inline-6 engine made in three versions between 1929 and 1988 by the Chevrolet Division of General Motors. It replaced the Chevrolet Straight-4 engine171-cubic-inch (2.8 L) inline-four as the maker's sole engine from 1929 through 1954, and was the company's base engine starting in 1955 when it added the small block V8 to the lineup. It was completely phased out in North America by 1990; in Brazil, GM held on to its fuel-injected version through the 1998 model year. It was replaced by more recently developed V6 and four-cylinder engines. Chevrolet did not offer another inline-six until the 2002 General Motors Atlas engine's debut in the Chevrolet TrailBlazer.

Oakland Motor Car Company Michigan carmaker and division of General Motors, active 1908-1931

The Oakland Motor Car Company of Pontiac, Michigan, was an American automobile manufacturer and division of General Motors. Purchased by General Motors in 1909, the company continued to produce modestly priced automobiles until 1931 when the brand was dropped in favor of the division's Pontiac make.

Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Motor vehicle

The Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost name refers both to a car model and one specific car from that series.

General Motors companion make program Automotive marques

In the late 1920s, American automotive company General Motors (GM) launched four companion makes to supplement its existing lineup of five car brands, or "makes". The companion makes were LaSalle introduced for the 1927 model year to supplement Cadillac, Marquette introduced in 1929 for 1930 to supplement Buick, Pontiac introduced for 1926 to supplement Oakland, and Viking introduced for 1929 to supplement Oldsmobile. GM's fifth existing make, Chevrolet, did not receive a companion make. With the exception of Viking, each of the companion makes were slotted below their "parent make" in GM's pricing hierarchy.

History of General Motors Aspect of history

The history of General Motors (GM), one of the world's largest car and truck manufacturers, dates to more than a century and involves a vast scope of industrial activity around the world, mostly focused on motorized transportation and the engineering and manufacturing that make it possible. Founded in 1908 as a holding company in Flint, Michigan, as of 2012 it employed approximately 209,000 people around the world. With global headquarters at the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan, United States, General Motors manufactures cars and trucks in 35 countries. In 2008, 8.35 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under various brands. Current auto brands are Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, and Wuling. Former GM automotive brands include La Salle, McLaughlin, Oakland, Oldsmobile, Opel, Pontiac, Hummer, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall, Daewoo and Holden.

The Little were two automobiles built in Flint, Michigan, from 1912 – 15 and the company, Little Motor Car Company, founded by William H. Little and William C. Durant that built them. It was incorporated into the current Chevrolet Motor Company.

Scripps-Booth

Scripps-Booth was a United States automobile company based in Detroit, Michigan. Established by James Scripps Booth in 1913, Scripps-Booth produced motor vehicles and was later acquired by General Motors, becoming a division of it, until the brand was discontinued in 1923.

Buda Engine was founded in 1881 by George Chalender in Buda, Illinois, to make equipment for railways. Later based in Harvey, Illinois, Buda from 1910 manufactured engines for industrial, truck, and marine applications. Early Buda engines were gasoline fueled. Later, diesel engines were introduced, utilizing proprietary Lanova cylinder head designs, injection pumps and nozzles. These were known as Buda-Lanova diesel engines. Buda Engine Company was acquired by Allis-Chalmers in 1953. The Buda-Lanova models were re-christened "Allis-Chalmers diesel".

Chevrolet 400 Motor vehicle

The Chevrolet 400 was a compact car made by Chevrolet in Argentina from 1962 to 1974. The "400" was General Motors's reply to Ford and Chrysler after those companies introduced the first compact cars to Argentina, the Ford Falcon and Valiant II respectively.

Chevrolet Series D Motor vehicle

The Chevrolet Series D is an American automobile produced by Chevrolet between 1917 and 1918. Over 4,000 Series D cars were manufactured in the 1918 model year, and it was the first Chevrolet car with a V8 engine. It was not until 1955 that Chevrolet made another V8.

Traffic Motor Truck Corporation

The Traffic Motor Truck Corporation (TMTC) was a St. Louis truck manufacturer from 1917 to 1929. It used Continental engines chiefly, and sometimes Gray Victory engines. The company was based at 5200 North Second Street. Guy C. Wilson was TMTC's president and Theodore C. Brandle was its vice president. Stephen W. Avery was the company's advertising manager.

Chevrolet Light Six Motor vehicle

The Chevrolet Light Six Series L was an American car produced by Chevrolet in 1914 and 1915. The famous Chevrolet 'Bow Tie' emblem made its grand debut in 1914, and has been used on all Chevrolet cars and trucks since then. When the Classic Six ceased production at the end of the 1914 model year the Light Six replaced it in 1915 as Chevrolet's top-of-the-line car.

Flint Wagon Works of Flint, Michigan, manufactured wagons from the early 1880s. One of the world's most successful horse-drawn vehicle makers they formed with their Flint neighbours a core of the American automobile industry. In 1905 Flint was promoting itself as Flint the Vehicle City. The former site is now located in the neighborhood of Flint as "Carriagetown".

The Model 42 was an entry-level four seat passenger car produced by GM's Oldsmobile Division in 1914, offered as a replacement to the Oldsmobile Curved Dash runabout when it was discontinued in 1908, and was the junior platform to the Oldsmobile Six introduced in 1913. GM had acquired Elmore Manufacturing Company, Oldsmobile and Oakland Motor Car Company in 1908 and Cartercar and Rainier Motor Car Company in 1909 as their entry-level models, and Oldsmobile products were being repositioned in their new hierarchy as GM began to consolidate operations after William Durant had left.

Oldsmobile Six Car model

The Oldsmobile Six, also known as the Model 53, 54 and 55 (1913-1915) then a brief cancellation until it reappeared as the Model 37, 37A and 37B (1917-1921) was a top level sedan along with the Oldsmobile Series 40 junior vehicle produced by GM's Oldsmobile Division and was manufactured at Lansing Car Assembly in Lansing, Michigan. It replaced the Series 28 also known as the "Oldsmobile Autocrat" and was replaced by the Oldsmobile Model 30 in 1927, and shared wheelbases with the Buick Six.It continued to use the T-head engine for two years. The various bodystyles were supplied by Fisher Body of Detroit, MI. It competed with the Chevrolet Series C Classic Six as Chevrolet was an independent company before becoming a division in 1917. Oldsmobile also shared technology with GMC for commercial and industrial products.

References

  1. 1 2 bearnest (2014-02-25). "Car of the Week: 1913 Chevrolet Classic Six". Old Cars Weekly. Retrieved 2019-12-04.
  2. "1911, 1912, 1913 Chevrolet Series C Classic Six". HowStuffWorks. 2007-08-01. Retrieved 2019-12-05.
  3. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–" . Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  4. Bryant, Jefferson. "This is the oldest running Chevrolet". Jalopnik. Retrieved 2019-12-04.