1934 Chevrolet DA Master Roadster
Chassis no. 434643-I
Chevrolet introduced its overhead valve six-cylinder engine in 1929, just a year after Henry Ford frantically retooled Dearborn to build the side valve four-cylinder Model A. It really wasnt much of a contest. Aside from Fords stature in the marketplace and the affection and experience millions had with the Model T, any comparison between the two vehicles came down firmly on the side of the Chevrolet.
The 194 cubic inch Chevy put out 46 horsepower and performed with quiet, inherently balanced efficiency which was balanced by the handling and ride of its 107 inch wheelbase, more than three inches more room than the Ford. Advertised as A six for the price of a four, Chevrolets first year with the six, 1929, nearly outsold Ford in its second year with the Model A. The markets judgment was clearly in favor of the quiet overhead valve six and Henry rushed again to replace the Model A with the V-8 in 1932.
Even the V-8 wasnt sufficient to overcome the advantage that Chevrolet had built up and by 1934 the tide of the sales battle had swung definitively to the side of overhead valves and six cylinders which now delivered 80 brake horsepower at 3,300 rpm. Chevrolet built 620,726 cars that year; Ford managed only 563,921.
Chevrolet continued to innovate and in 1934 was the first American low-priced car to offer coil spring independent front suspension as standard equipment on the Master line. Called Knee Action by the marketers, it was variant of the trailing arm Dubonnet system which would soon be in use across the General Motors line. Other features shared with more expensive and luxurious machinery were the synchromesh transmission and vibration isolating rubber engine mounts.
For only $540 the Chevrolet DA series Master Roadster was great value for the money.
The Paine Collections example is attractively finished in dark green with light yellow wire wheels. The interior is upholstered in brown and covered with a beige cloth top. It has a pair of chrome horns under the headlights as well as another horn protected inside the engine compartment, wind wings and a single windshield wiper. The spare wheel and tire are carried inside a metal enclosure behind the rumble seat.
It appears to be a sound and solid largely original Chevrolet which has benefited from an older cosmetic restoration. Although it shows its age and some wear and use, including a tear in the drivers seat back, the paint, upholstery, chrome and glass are very respectable and can be returned to very presentable running, driving condition with a minimum of effort and expense.
Chevrolets of this era, particularly sporty roadsters like this 1934 Master, are very rare and desirable. The Blue Flame six continues to demonstrate its quiet competence while the Chevrolets longer 112 wheelbase and independent front suspension contribute to a ride that is still superior to its contemporaries.