Thursday, 3 May 2012

ME AND MY CAR/MOTORCYCLE #1

In the first of a new feature dedicated to vehicle owner's with a pride in their motor, Veloce co-founder and publisher Rod Grainger shows off his 1929 Chevrolet AC International Roadster.


"A six for the price of a four!"

That was Chevrolet's sales slogan when they took the fight to Ford's then market-leading 4-cylinder Model A with the introduction of the 6 cylinder AC International series cars of 1929. The 1929 Chevys were just $10.00 more than the 4-cylinder 1928 models they replaced. Styled by Harley Earl, the new 1929 Chevrolets not only looked good, but undercut the prices of other makers' 6-cylinder models by around $100, leading to sales of 600,000 cars in the first five months of production! The new 6-cylinder engine was a very clever piece of design. Featuring overhead valves in the Chevrolet tradition, the new unit produced more power than Ford's Model A 4-cylinder, yet didn't cost much more to make than the 4-cylinder unit it replaced due to a simple engine oiling system and the use of cast-iron pistons - the latter leading to the sobriquet "Cast-iron wonder." The engine was also known as the "Stovebolt six" due to the use of slotted-head quarter-inch bolts like those found on American cooking stoves of the era. Incredibly, this engine remained in production through various evolutions until 1984 in the USA and even the late 1990s in Brazil, it also appeared in British Bedford trucks and Vauxhall cars.

Why did Veloce's automotive book publisher, Rod Grainger, buy a 1929 Chevrolet AC International Roadster?

Rod had wanted a car from the vintage era for a long time but really didn't have deep enough pockets to buy a quality British car from the period, so when he spotted the Chevrolet on an auctioneer's website with a very realistic reserve he saw a rare opportunity. Compared with European cars in the same price range, the Chevy has a fantastic specification - 3.2 litre 6-cylinder engine, four wheel brakes, overhead valves, a fuel pump, electric starter, lots of chrome and fantastic presence. Better still, as this is the Roadster model, it has a fold down top and windscreen and a dicky (rumble)-seat so can carry four passengers. But the real icing on the cake is that this car is right-hand drive! Why? Because it was assembled in Australia from a CKD kit by the Holden company. Intriguingly, the car was imported to Britain in 2004 by a Mr R F Holden suggesting that the car may have been retained/restored by the Holden company, something that, so far, Rod has been unable to verify. Once used to the centre throttle and vintage brakes, this iconic car is a delight to drive and has excellent performance for an octogenarian.

Do you have an unusual car/motorcycle with a story to tell?
We want to see it! Send photos & description to prize@veloce.co.uk
We will pick one a month, and any we feature will win an Essential Buyer's Guide (worth £9.99 / $19.95) of your choice.
Click below to browse the whole series.