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1940 Chevrolet Convertible Build Question

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1940 Cabriolet Chassis Question...

 

I am new here but have been gathering information for an academic book on the design and development of vehicle chassis for the past 9 years. The '40 Convertible fame has been a puzzle for me and hope historians or those who own them can help solve this one?

 

We know that there was no 1939 Convertible offered in the states but there was one exported to Australia. The frame had a conventional X brace added to it by Holden prior to assembling the kits. The '40 models were also delayed.

 

The chassis design is a one year, one model only design not shared by any other GM line and is a bit awkward and overbuilt. Even though GM had been using some form of X bracing since 1933 and even Chevrolet used it on their 1935 Standard models (another one year only frame).

 

It is known that Marvin Coyle "Mr. Facts and Figures" was a penny pincher and as soon as he took over the Chevrolet helm, ordered the new KY design frame to be redesigned since it was costly in many ways to produce. So, why was this massive one year only tooling allowed?

 

The frame is not mentioned in any sales materials. Not even shown in shop manuals. I have only run across one body shims chart from a service bulletin and the layout is not 100% of what the production version ended up. I did find a mention in the 1941 Chevrolet Engineering book about how this design was a failure and the new 1941 frame, which is basically a traditional X braced style, was much stronger. Something they could have utilized in 1940 but didn't... why?

 

Who designed this frame? Who authorized it? And why was this particular oddly laid out design chosen over tried and true X bracing other GM cars were already using?

Thanks for any information!


Eric

 

Photo from Bob Johnson's online collection

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