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The anti-hot rod: One man’s quest to preserve history in a ‘41 Chevy


#1

It was never my goal to own a ’41 Chevy coupe. It was Martha Wilson’s goal, though, and I’m so thankful for that. Martha was ahead of her time. I think “progressive” is probably the right word to describe her. She was a young, single woman who walked into Stuart Chevrolet in San Francisco on July 24, 1941, and put down $340 on a brand-new Chevrolet Master Deluxe. Not a lot of women did that sort of thing back then.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/01/21/mans-quest-to-preserve-history-in-41-chevy

#2

Wonderful story, and a perspective often lacking when one does a cold assessment of a vintage car’s “value”. It’s as much about the people who owned and lived with the machine as the machine itself. Thanks for sharing.

My opportunity to do something similar came by accident, and I am so glad to have our 1957 Pontiac Chieftain in our family now. It was a one owner car, and while not rare, highly desirable, or particularly “valuable”, we enjoy it’s history as much as its present.


#3

My Mother had a 41 when I was 11. She, my sister & I drove it to Miami from PA, and later drove it to San Diego, CA. Only problem I can recall was a flat tire. She drove it for a few years after that. Ended up with a mechanic because she couldn’t pay for some repairs.


#4

Enjoyed the story about the 41 Chevy. I owned a 51 Belaire hardtop in the 80s. People would pull up alongside at a stop light and start telling me about the one their dad had that was just like that, etc. Drove it every day for several years, rain or snow or shine. Shine was best with those vacuum wipers. Went through two or three sets of wide whitewall bias 2ply tires from Sears. The man I bought it from had re-cored the radiator and heater, reupholstered it with pretty close to the original fabric, and repainted it. I got the engine overhauled when that splash oil lubricattion failed me. The machinist said the cylinder walls were still smooth as glass. The radio quit working and I thought that was the end of that, but my neighbor who was a retired USAF electronics tech had a few hundred tubes in his workshop, found the right one and the old radio worked again.


#5

Bravo what a wonderful history and a compliment to a progressive young woman of so long ago I am not anti- Hot Rod But the great est pleasure comes from a vehicle patiently returned to stock and original and to relive what that car meant to someone so long ago and to relive the exhileration of the days when such vehicle was new I have a Maroon Coloured 1948 Dodge Deluxe Coupe ( all original) and when I get behind the wheel of this Machine I am young again Less my beautiful shock of black hair No hotrod can convey that feeling Hurray for Stock Oldies


#6

Absolutely love the story!
Most have been quite the journey to take factory delivery and drive across country.
Bonus cool points for keeping the original in-line 6!


#7

I believe these cars should be kept original . For the history and future, to let people know what it felt like to drive and hear these cars. It’s like when you go to these historical places and they show you what it’s like to live back then. We can’t destroy our history.


#8

My father purchased a 1941 Chevrolet Coupe while our family was living in Japan in 1949. The car came back with us on the Brewster in June of 1951. After it was unloaded in San Fransisco, we drove it to
New Jersey on US 40 without any problems. As we neared PA, I remember us stopping along the road late at night to get some rest
before the final push to N.J.
One thing I don’t remember is a spot behind the back seat. The only thing I recall was the Trunk which could only be accessed from the outside.


#9

This story is a real inspiration! Although I’d never fault anyone for modifying or hot rodding a car if that makes them truly happy, keeping an old car original like this original is one of the greatest things a collector can do. I wish him and the car many more years of happy motoring.


#10

The spot behind the back seat could have been what was called the package shelf. Today, if a child was found on the package shelf in a moving car, the driver would probably end up in prison.