In what was termed the coldest year of the Depression for the automotive industry, Chevrolet managed to top the heap, proving to be the only GM division to turn a profit and outselling Ford by 100,000 units.

Despite the bleak year, Chevrolet managed to produced what is often considered among the most outstanding Chevrolets ever, the Confederate Roadster. Rather than undertake massive redesign of their 1931 model, Chevy focused on engine and styling improvements, and came up with 117 of them. Among the most important improvements was the Synchromesh transmission, which allowed easier gear changes, effected by matching the speed of the gears before bringing them into mesh. Marketing of these new cars reflected the state of the times, offering what Chevy called the Great American Value; free inspection and adjustment at 500 miles, free inspection every 1,000 miles thereafter, and replacement with no charge for parts.

Specifications: 60 horsepower, 194 cubic inch, 6-cylinder in-line engine. Price new: $485. Weight: 2,480 pounds. Top speed: 70 MPH.

Accession no. 1997L01

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