1930 Chevrolet Universal
6-cyl. 194cid/50hp 1bbl
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
After major engineering innovations in 1929, there were modest changes for the 1930 Chevrolet Universal Series AD. Most obvious was a slanting “non-glare” windshield, hydraulic shock absorbers fitted, and the gas gauge moved to the dashboard. The 194 cubic-inch six-cylinder engine remained the same with a slight power increase to 50 bhp at 2600 rpm.
The standard wheelbase remained 107 inches long, but wheel size was reduced from 20 inches to 19. Steel wheels were now standard, though wood spoke wheels and wire wheels were optional. Chevrolet finally discontinued its external contracting rear wheel brake shoes, converting to expanding shoes like everybody else.
The Depression started to bite hard this year and production dropped to 864,234 cars and trucks, though the 7 millionth Chevrolet was delivered on May 28th. The Chevrolet Universal Series included 10 models though the Imperial Sedan was replaced by the Special Sedan, which featured six wire wheels or four wooden wheels. Sidemount spares were a no-cost option.
Two-door models included the 2-passenger Roadster and Coupe, and 2/4-passenger models were the rumble seat Sports Roadster and Coupe and 5-passenger Coach, which was still the top seller at 255,027 units. Four-door models included the 5-passenger Phaeton (now the slowest seller at only 1713 examples) Club Sedan, Base Sedan, and Special Sedan. Prices were cut again to $495 for the Roadster and Phaeton to $685 for the Special Sedan.
A new model was added to the truck line. This was the Roadster Delivery – basically a Roadster Pickup with a taller windshield and a canvas top, which curiously could not be lowered. Meanwhile, Chevrolet was still proud of wood framing in its bodies even as other companies moved to steel. Nowhere was this more convenient than in the growing market for woody Station Wagons. Springfield, Hercules, Martin-Parry and others made 5- and 7-passenger Station Wagons which still appeared boxy like depot hacks. They wouldn’t smooth out until the more flowing sedan designs of the mid-1930s.
The truck field continued to expand, with lightweight models like the Sedan Delivery and Panel Delivery on the 107-inch AD chassis. The Sedan Delivery proved quite successful, with 6522 finding buyers, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture which bought a fleet as part of a fight against corn blight in the Midwest.
Meanwhile Chevrolet’s 1½-ton trucks were based on the LR Series, which was little changed from 1929’s LQ Series. Mid-year both were replaced by the LS Series which offered 131-inch and 157-inc wheelbase chassis in addition to the 117-inch model.
Once again numerous body styles were available for bare chassis/cowl fitment by such companies as Hercules Martin Parry, Proctor Keefe, J.W. Henney. They produced everything from Stake Beds, Flatbeds, Panels as big as Moving Vans, Fire Engines, Ambulances and Hearses (sometimes a combination), School Buses and Touring Coaches – even several T8 Armored Cars for the U.S. Army. Chevrolet also offered its own dual rear wheel setup for the first time.
Chevrolet trucks continued to have durable worldwide appeal, also being sold in the UK, Australia, South America and Africa.