1941 Master Deluxe (MD)


1963 unleashed me on the driving public. Dad was a traveling salesman and had a company car, a 1960 Corvair, and Mom drove a 1954 Mercury. When they drove to another couple’s house, one car stayed home. My birthday was not until September, but I knew HOW to drive! Unfortunately, one time their host got sick and they got home before I did.

Grounded, burdened with close scrutiny and threats of delaying my license until I was eighteen! Fortunately my other escapades distracted them and I went to the Drivers License Bureau on the sixteenth anniversary of my birth and passed. Charm helped me pass, because I had missed a sign! The instructor held the sign up and asked what was. I replied and she said, then why did you write the wrong answer?

Maiden great aunt Nona lived in a big old house in what used to be the upscale part of town. In the garage out back, sat her 1941 Chevrolet Master Deluxe four door sedan. The body was painted midnight blue and the top was grey. Well, the right front fender was black, but we’ll get to that.

Chicago Motor Club had notified her that they were no longer going to insure her Chevy. Nona was getting old and kept hitting things. The autobody shop (Shop of Thieves) told her that the blue paint was old and discontinued and painted it with black.

Nona had a car. I wanted one. We swapped for $100. One of my buddies’ father owned an auto body shop and two days later the fender matched the car.

Hot Rod Magazine was my bible on what to do, where to get the parts and how to do it. Of course no cash was available. Lawn maintenance and snow shoveling monies paid for the car. First order of business was tunes. Junk yards had several models of radios, and I installed the best.

Gas was only a quarter a gallon at Clark Super 100. Same price as a pack of Lucky Strikes. Four ways to split a dollar.

We could get twelve cases of empty beer bottles in the back of MD. Drive into alleys behind a bar, steal what we could and drive to a liquor store. Turned them in for cash and at some stores we used the money to buy booze. Extra people could hide in the trunk or under the back seat when we went to the drive-in. Very profitable automobile.

Life moved on and I wanted a four-barrel. Somebody turned me onto a '55 salmon/gray four-door Belair. Only a two-barrel, but there were possibilities. The Master Deluxe became my best friend’s first car. His dad brought him over, paid the $100 and gave the car to his son to drive home. Half a block away smoke billowed from under the dash. The lead to the radio shorted and started a fire. We cleared the problem and off they went. He soon sold MD for a '56 Fury with gold side stripes. My next car was an blue/white '56 convertible, 283, with a Hearst Mystery Shifter.