In 1923, the Chevrolet 490 was replaced by a more advanced Superior with a 26 HP engine. As a result, over 480,000 copies were sold in the first year. This automobile truly strengthened the position of the brand, Challenging the market’s leader Ford and becoming a middle-class darling.
Source: Mecum Auctions
This automobile appeared on the market during the period of total Ford domination. Compared to the then-road star Ford Model T, the Chevrolet Superior was much more advanced at a marginally higher price than the Tin Lizzy. It is not surprising that the car was immediately loved and became very popular. In general, Chevrolet engineers and designers did a lot for the development of the global automotive industry. In 1923, the obsolete 490 was replaced by a modern Superior with a 26 HP engine. The arrow hit right on target: in just 12 months, the novelty was sold in the amount of 480, 000 automobiles! It just continued the success of the 490. The newly designed chassis allowed it to present a vehicle with great flexibility and conventional 3-speed transmission provided more torque and power capability in comparison with the then famous Ford Model T. Chevrolet’s new model turned out an excellently designed vehicle with maximum utility inside, becoming a middle-class darling of the 20s. Today about 12 automobiles from the first production year exist.
The American automotive industry of the 20th century was a battlefield between two rivals – Ford and Chevrolet. These two were wrestling to conquer the market and dominate with their automobiles on the roads of the US. The first brand with its practical and cheap Model T occupied the main share of the market. “Tin Lizzy” was the vehicle with which the mass-produced automotive industry emerged. It proved that an automobile could be inexpensive and of quality. No wonder, Model T “put America on wheels.” Not surprisingly, Chevrolet decided not to fall behind and produce a new low-cost 490 model, the price of which was reflected in the name. The four-cylinder 490 appeared back in 1915 and brought a good profit to the brand, which in 1917 became part of the GM empire. However, one of the brand’s co-owners William Duran retired from GM in the 1920s which caused a drop in sales of the automaker and a decrease in the value of shares. Durant was forced to sell the brand. Chevrolet remained in GM’s portfolio, however, it was decided to drop all the unprofitable brands that Duran bought at one time. In 1923, the old-fashioned 490 was replaced by the new automobile with a 26-horsepower 2.8-liter four-cylinder engine. It continued the success of its predecessor: the company managed to sell 480,000 cars in the first year of production. The brand also expanded its production and opened new plants in Europe. Moreover, the millionth automobile rolled off the assembly line in 1923.
Source: Mecum Auctions
The first Superior came off the assembly line in 1923 and was in production for four years. It is noteworthy that every year this model was assigned a new designation: Series B – 1923, series F – 1924, series K – 1925, and series V – 1926. The Superior B series replaced the 490 from the previous year, but instead of a water cooler, it got an air-slotted grille followed by an air-cooled, overhead-running four-cylinder. Linear engine with a displacement of 2212 cm³, which had a power of 26 hp (16 kW). The cylinder block was supplied with copper cooling fins. Moreover, air-cooled cars were almost 100 kg lighter than their water-cooled counterparts. The model was produced in six different body styles: a two-seat roadster, a two-seat coupe and a five-seat sedan (coach) with two doors each, a four-door version, a five-seat tourer in standard and deluxe versions, and a five-seat sedan. Admittedly, although the air-cooled cars were lighter, the water-cooled Superiors were about $200 more expensive. The selling price ranged from $710 to $1,060.
In 1923, with the departure of the 490 and the release of the Superior, air-cooled cars began to be mass-produced for the first time. This year, 480,000 vehicles were sold. The brand established production in Europe, where the Chevrolet truck appeared already in 1924.
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