As covered by Jalopnik, Jefferson Bryant was the fortunate writer that got to see the worlds oldest Chevy from behind the scenes in the Buick Restoration room at the Alfred P.Sloan Museum in Flint, Michigan. The ’13 Chevrolet is getting ready to make its debut at the up coming Centennial Celebration for Chevrolet.
This particular Chevrolet is number 323 built from Flint, Michigan plant in 1913. It was called the Chevrolet Classic Six and they were the first Chevrolet automobiles. Introduced in 1911, they had been sold to the public from 1912 to 1914. This ’13 model has a 299 cubic inch 6 cylinder engine producing 40 horsepower, and known as the series C engine. The Chevrolet Classic Six has an electric starter, something even Cadillac didn’t have until 1912.
The car has always been a driver since it was new and that says a lot for a car that is 98 years old. Purchased new in southern Texas, it was driven daily until 1936 when the Aldenhaven family in Ft Worth purchased it. They owned a Chevrolet dealership and added it to their collection until 1964 when it was put up at auction.
The Sloan museum had been following this Chevy for some time and had bid on it, but they were out bid, needless to say the Aldenhavens accepted the museums offer although lower, they knew the car would be in good hands and well cared for.
A few interesting things about the car is that it has a 20 gallon gas tank that was mounted under the drivers seat cushion, so you actually sat on the tank, and the transmission is mounted to the rear differential and controlled by long rods all the way up to the drivers compartment.
Also the clutch is made of leather, which is giving the museum a problem because when it sits for long period of time the leather swells and will not disengage. So in preparation for the drive in the upcoming Centennial Parade they are trying to address this issue and correct it without actually disassembling the car.
There is only one older Chevrolet Classic Six known to exist, its number 93 located in Canada, and it is just a pile of rust with an incomplete engine that will never run. Jefferson was lucky enough to go behind closed doors to see a great piece of American Heritage, as for the rest of us we will have to wait until July for its debut in Detroit to see it in all its glory as it drives under its own power celebrating 100 years of Chevrolet.