For many kids in high school, cars become a fascination, so it came to no surprise that I was sketching cars in the middle of class (Figure 1). The “dream car” of many has been the 1942-1948 Chevrolet Fleetline Aerosedan for its sleek fastback body style and stylish trim. It has been glamorized with beautiful artwork on murals to tattoos adorned on the backs of many. And who would have known that a sketch of that dream car would become my real car project, from the frame up. ChevyBombs.com will chronicle the frame off build of this 1947 Chevrolet Fleetline dubbed, “Project 47”.
After scrolling through the Classic Car Trader on the Internet in 2003, a 1947 Chevrolet Fleetline Aerosedan was for sale in San Pablo, California located near Richmond (Figure 2). After booking a flight to Oakland from San Diego, I test drove the car and decided to purchase it. It was shipped down to Southern California. It was completely stock except for the paint and interior (Figure 3a & 3b). The car still had the original 6V system
along with the generator. After cruising it around in my hometown of Escondido, CA, in 2004, I decided to do a full frame up restoration with custom modifications to the power plant, braking system, and suspension. The goal was to get a low stance, retain its original look, and give the car an extra boost of power. At the time, I had referenced websites such as chevytalk.org and layitlow.com but I didn’t quite find the information I was looking for. ChevyBombs.com was created by my childhood friend Eddie
and I to provide a more specific venue to better represent these vintage beauties. I also found Johnny Johnson’s 1948chevy.com a valuable resource, especially with vehicle accessories and the build. With the limited information I had at the time, the inline 216cui engine was swapped out for a 350cui V8 for easy freeway driving. I later learned that all I had to do was change out the ring and pinion gears in the differential for highway friendly speeds retaining the 216cui motor; the project was too far along to go revamp the mill and therefore went forward with it.
The first thing in order was to take as many pictures as one could possibly do to keep record of how the components were assembled along with taking notes and dating the work. This was a good time for taking those “before” photos (see Figures 4 – 11). Reference books for the Fleetline are found virtually anywhere on the Internet or local book stores. There is a great online “Car Manual Project” website by Keith Hardy that is loaded with a wealth of information (chevy.oldcarmanualproject.com).
After I snapped photos of the car, it was time for the tear down. I began by taking off the sheet metal. I removed the grille, front and
rear fenders, and any sheet metal surrounding the engine. Let me warn you here…taking the car apart is EASY…putting it back together is another story! Be aware to take as many photos from various angles as you can as well as getting a small notebook to sketch out notes and dating details of the tear down. An investment in Zip-Lock bags is a must and I recommend you write a short description of the part (s) you are removing, placing the information on a piece of paper IN the bag. I advise from writing the information on the bag with a Sharpie because the information faded away as the years went by.