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Homepage. This page: A group of people photographed sat in a Chevrolet 490 Tourer of the late teens.

1916 Chevrolet Tourer.

"The car we go in", it says on the back of this early Chevrolet tourer photograph. It certainly had a full complement of passengers on board, prior to heading out for a drive. A chap with a young gal are sat up front, while in the rear two older ladies, accompanied by young children, occupy the rear seat. Their dress, plus the shadows beneath the Chevy, point to it being a warm day, the hood was no doubt left in the raised position to protect the occupants from the sun during their drive out.
The "bow tie" badge on the car's radiator can just be made out, confirming this car's factory origins, but pinning down the exact model has been more complicated. The car dates to the late teens. Most Chevrolets of this era that I've seen photos of tend to have detachable wheel rims, a feature not included on this example's wooden wheels. The car I think is a Chevrolet 490 tourer, named 490 due to its $490 original list price for the basic, undercutting the rival Model T Ford by $5. The 490 was introduced in 1916, key features of its design included the bolt-upright windscreen, and the front wings that follow a straight line from their uppermost point, rearwards. The small single window installed within the rear section of the 490's folding roof can be seen in this photo. If the aspiring motorist wished to see in the dark while driving his/her new Chevrolet, and benefit from electric starting rather than relying on the crank handle, the 490 would actually have cost $550. I did wonder if this was an example of that year's Series H, but that featured demountable wheel rims, so it ruled that one out.
The Chevrolet below had already seen plenty of action judging by its slightly grubby appearance. The stains on the bonnet side suggest that the owner had recently lubricated the bonnet's hinges. The rear wheel and tyre also look extremely unkempt, as if grease had been flailing around while the car was in motion.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
Chevrolet 490 tourer car photo
In 1917, the 490 underwent a number of alterations, not least a switch to demountable rims as standard on this model. Electric headlamps were also included on all cars, while the windscreen frame was now set at a slight angle. The Series F was introduced in 1917 as a replacement for the Series H, it too featured the type of front wing shown above, and also the previous 490's upright style of front screen.
An overhead-valve, four-cylinder, inline engine powered the 1916 490 Series, displacing 171 cubic inches within its cast iron block. Quoted power output was 24 bhp, gasoline being fed to the engine via a one-inch Zenith carburetter. A floor-shift three-speed gearbox was used, with a cone clutch, giving it by all accounts a somewhat abrupt actuation. Several options were listed for the motorist who wished to personalise his or her new automobile. These included a front bumper, a spare tyre (tire), and an outside rear-view mirror. If the standard steering wheel was not to one's taste, there was the option of the "Fat Man" wheel upgrade to consider.
Return to Page 16 in the gallery of classic vehicles.

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