This is the 1932 Chevrolet Confederate Roadster. In early December, I had the pleasure of seeing this beautiful car parked in a local park. The result is a classic car combined with the art of modern photography.
Built as the deluxe luxury model of the Confederate BA line in 1932, Chevrolet created only 8,552 of these fine cars. A”Stovebolt Six” 194 cu. in. inline six-cylinder engine produced 455 hp thanks in part to an upgraded carburetor. The top speed was a blazing 70 mph. A special transmission featured easier shifting and a free wheeling mode rounded out the specs of the car.
The gas saving mode allowed the wheels to continue to spin when the driver released the fuel petal. The unfortunate side effect of this economic idea was a lack of engine braking.
It also supported 4 wheel brakes, a rumble seat, and a set of “Town and Country” styled horns to let people know you where there. One of the more fashionable signature features of this car was the use of louver doors and not vents on the side of the hood.
Oh, and one more fascinating historical trivia fact was that there are no turn signals. They hadn’t been introduced for use on cars yet. However, a parking light and brake lights were available for purchase .
As for the photograph itself, I decided that such a classic car needed representation in the art world the same way it was in the 1930’s. I wanted a classic film look that was both black and white and approximated the tonal qualities of a 400 Kodak film popular in the 1930’s.
The burnt edges of the picture are also something that occurred in many examples of film from cameras readily available to the public. Whether these markings were intentional or the result of unfortunate film developing I couldn’t say. In the end, I wanted the look to closely mirror what your grandfather or great-grandfather saw when they looked at their photo books.
GMC is an up close view of the front grillwork found on a 1940’s era GMC pick up truck. I found this old truck slowly rusting away in the backyard of a shopping center in Taos, New Mexico. How many cold and vicious New Mexico winters this classic grillwork and hood have endured is unknown.
I can safely assume that this forgotten legend of the past hails from either 1940-1941 or 1947-1948. Made of sheet metal, this grill became popular starting with the 1940 models. However, on Jan 1st of 1942 the federal government issued a proclamation suspending all commercial and civilian trucks. The GM and Chevrolet plants switched over to producing the famous 2½ ton and amphibious military vehicles for WWII.
While production of trucks did resume in early 1946 after the war, a lack of raw materials including chrome caused a brief change in design. By 1947, those materials finally became available and the GM plants reverted to pre-war designs like you see here.
However, 1948 models featured several upgrades, including improved heating for defrosting windows and more comfortable cabs and seats. However, in 1948 models the script design GMC logo on the front grill changed to a block one. Also, the parking lights moved to top of the headlamps. This particular truck did feature a set of parking lights mounted in this way.
The one anomaly that has given my research trouble though, is the vents on the side of the hood. GMC trucks from this time period featured a plate with “General Motors Truck” on the sides. This truck does not have that feature. Instead it has the same engine cowling vents found on most Chevrolet trucks from those same years. But this is obviously not a Chevrolet.
So, what makes this truck unique? Well, it’s a flatbed pickup truck from the 1940’s. It has the sheet metal grillwork and venting of a Chevrolet but the logo of a GMC. It also has the parking lights of a 1948 model but the logo of the 1940-1947 ones. While GMC and Chevrolet trucks featured the same parts and were interchangeable. The mystery continues.
MEYER, DONALD E. “THE FIRST CENTURY OF GMC TRUCK HISTORY.” 100_YR_GMC_HISTORY_MAR09.pdf. WWW.gmheritagecenter.com, 09 Mar. 2009. Web. 17 Sept. 2014. <https://www.gmheritagecenter.com/docs/gm-heritage-archive/historical-brochures/GMC/100_YR_GMC_HISTORY_MAR09.pdf>.