1938 Chevrolet Master Deluxe - $69,900
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  • Overview & History
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Fit and finish are exemplary, as you’d expect on a car at this level, and the paint is deep enough to swim in with almost zero signs of use.

The true measure of a great rod isn’t the amount of shiny stuff a builder can add on or the extreme designs that can be crafted in sheetmetal, but rather how well it works as a car. There are plenty of amazing-looking rods out there that are little more than static art, but that kind of defeats the purpose, don’t you think? Instead, a rod should be fully operational and deliver on all the promises made by its looks. If you like a vintage appearance but want a little more performance, more comfort, and more exclusivity, something like this gorgeous 1938 Chevrolet convertible coupe might be the best possible solution.

Professionally built at a cost that was deep into six-figure territory, this lovely convertible gets everything right. First, it is just heart-breakingly beautiful in every way. Visitors to our showroom stop in their tracks to gaze at the beautiful multi-stage light blue pearl paint job that recalls the great customs of the 1950s but uses modern urethane so it’ll look this good practically forever. Experts might note that this car started as a coupe, but the proportions and the workmanship (not to mention the fully operational convertible top) all make it look just as if the factory intended it to be that way. Aside from a few shaved details like the door handles and bumpers, it is very much the way the GM stylists penned it, including that awesome character line in the sheetmetal that streaks off the front fenders and through the doors. Fit and finish are exemplary, as you’d expect on a car at this level, and the paint is deep enough to swim in with almost zero signs of use. Fender skirts were not standard equipment, but now that you’ve seen them, it’s hard to imagine the car without them and they make the car look very sleek indeed. Beautiful chrome, including the wrap-around grille, hood ornament, and those custom bumperettes give it a highly detailed look and while you could have gone mad with pinstriping, only a few subtle strokes were added. This is a car that shows a master’s work from every angle and you could spend hours examining it and not see all the tricks.

Functionality matters inside perhaps most of all, and with that in mind the car was outfitted with a custom split bench that offers enough adjustment for even the tallest drivers to be comfortable. There’s more pleated upholstery on the door panels, which are accentuated by custom aluminum trim that are art-deco masterpieces all by themselves. The original window cranks now manage micro-switches to power the windows up and down and the pull handles are gorgeous little pieces of chrome sculpture. There’s a tilt steering column and a modern wheel that looks like a vintage banjo piece with a custom horn ring, and the factory dash was tweaked and modified but not replaced, so it still has the identity of a 1938 Chevy. New TPI-Tech gauges fill the original gauge pods, with auxiliary dials on the left and a big speedometer on the right, all wearing suitably vintage-looking numbers. Dark carpets help anchor the interior and the smooth dashboard has neat billet vents for the A/C and another small flourish of pinstriping for effect. In the glove box you’ll find the controls for that Vintage Air A/C system (which is fully operational) as well as the head unit for the $8000 sound system that includes an amplifier and subwoofers in the trunk and speakers stashed throughout the interior. You’ll also note there are two power points as well as connector cables for your iPod (the fellow who commissioned the car is a musician, so you can understand why a first-rate stereo was so important). The car also retains a fully operational convertible top that uses real top bows and folds easily behind the seat—not a home-built job, but a fully engineered piece with good weather seals. There’s also a fully finished trunk with matching upholstery and a bulkhead with a guitar cut-out to hide the electronics. There’s simply nothing on this car that wasn’t fully finished to a very high standard.

For functionality, this Chevy gets everything right. There’s small block V8 power under the hood, a 350 cubic inch crate motor topped by a 4-barrel carb and a color-matched air cleaner from a 1953 Cadillac. Finned valve covers are from a Z/28 and they, too, have been trimmed to match the bodywork. You’ll note the firewall is smoothed and finished in polished stainless steel and all the plumbing is wrapped in braided stainless. A custom serpentine belt drive system ensures reliability and the car is equipped with everything from A/C to power brakes to power steering, so it remains very easy to drive—that’s the point, right? Almost everything under the split hood is either polished or painted, yet it remains reliable, docile, and easy to drive. Turn the key and it fires almost instantly and idles properly, even when it’s cold. Sitting out in the heat, it never gets hot and the gauge rarely shows more than 180 degrees thanks to a giant radiator and electric fan. The A/C is cold enough to knock the edge off a hot day with the top down, and the hardware is easy to service so you’ll never be far from help. Functionality. That’s what makes this car special. It just works.

Underneath, the original frame has been heavily modified and reinforced, starting with a Mustang II style front end that features tubular A-arms, coil springs, and a rack-and-pinion steering system that makes this car feel quite modern on the road. A 700R4 4-speed automatic transmission provides quick, effortless shifts and a tall overdrive, so this car just eats up the miles on the open road, especially with a GM 10-bolt rear end full of 3.08 gears. Workmanship is first-rate and no, it isn’t flashy, but that wasn’t the point. It’s clean, tidy, and professional, and you’d better believe it works right. Ride quality is excellent, power disc brakes give it confident stopping power, and the burble from the dual exhaust is just right for a hot rod but never obnoxious. 15-inch wheels wear traditional Cadillac “sombrero” hubcaps and a set of fresh 205/75/15 front and 215/75/15 rear Goodyear whitewall radials.

The fact that this car is beautiful shouldn’t discourage you from driving it, and driving it shouldn’t convince you that it’s not a show-quality build. Instead, it’s a car that was built to be gorgeous but they didn’t forget that it was still a car. Everything works, it requires no special effort on the part of the owner, but it remains the kind of car that will draw crowds (and trophies) at the biggest shows. And even at this price, it’s a bargain, because you’d never be able to duplicate this car for the price. That’s what we mean by “getting everything right.” Call today.

Vehicle: 1938 Chevrolet Master Deluxe
Price: $69,900
Stock Number: 115055
Mileage: 2563 (since built)
VIN: 1691893
Engine: 350 cubic inch V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Gear Ratio: 3.08
Wheelbase: 112.3 inches
Wheels: 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
Tires: Front: 205/75/15, Rear: 215/75/15 Goodyear radial
Exterior Color: Light Blue
Interior Color: White vinyl
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