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1915-1922 Chevrolet 490


MarkV
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I have been a happy owner of a ‘490’ for the last few decades and it has been in the family since 1973. When I look for parts and information very few resources pop up. Yet this was the car that put Chevrolet and GM on the map and was a direct rival to the Model T. Any idea why this could be? 
 

I took it out for a drive for the first time in two years and it still drives great! Also made a video I’ll link below.

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Nice car, looks like you have been around awhile and know about the Vintage Chevrolet Club? It is a good source of information if you haven't. There are some very knowledgeable guys in the San Fernando VCCA region, reach out to Carmine.

 

Dave 

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I bought my '21 490 in 1972 in need of a full restoration after sitting in a farm shed since 1931. It had been modified into a pickup back in the early '20's and ,since it was thoughtfully done I left it as a truck.

Parts were hard to find even fifty years ago. I like to tell people that I wore out three new cars chasing parts for it ! There were far fewer Chevies built than Fords, thus obviously fewer parts. The engines were quite reliable, and many were used as stationary power plants. Many of the internal parts of my car came out of an engine that was used on a weed sprayer. The leather cone clutch was a bit of an Achilles heal on these. Properly adjusted and oiled they worked fine, but few owners took the time to familiarize themselves with them. My '21 rarely gets out on the road and when it does go to a show it usually goes in my enclosed trailer. Most farm tractors can pass it !

I still take it for occasional drives out here in the country, and as a John Deere service truck, it also proves popular at tractor shows.

Nice to see another one.

Jim

1921 Chevrolet Roadster Pickup 002.JPG

1921 Chevrolet Roadster Pickup 004.JPG

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Very nice car with an interesting history.

Dave's advice to join the VCCA is a good one (if you are not already a member).  VCCA's four cylinder tour this year is based in Porterville on May 1st - 5th.

The tour will include a visit to a large private early Chevrolet collection.

Edited by kbeach
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I have always wondered what an early 490 would be like on the road. The first HCCA eligible car my father had was a 1915 Chevrolet Baby Grand, which by appearances is a very similar car but in reality is a lot more car (a lot more suspension anyways!).  The Baby Grand was a wonderful car with ample power and gentle handling. I have been curious if the cheaper car would feel like a cheaper car from behind the wheel or if it would behave well at speed. By speed, I am talking about something near 40mph. 

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1 hour ago, gossp said:

I have always wondered what an early 490 would be like on the road. The first HCCA eligible car my father had was a 1915 Chevrolet Baby Grand, which by appearances is a very similar car but in reality is a lot more car (a lot more suspension anyways!).  The Baby Grand was a wonderful car with ample power and gentle handling. I have been curious if the cheaper car would feel like a cheaper car from behind the wheel or if it would behave well at speed. By speed, I am talking about something near 40mph. 

Only once did I try for 40 MPH ! It felt like the top and windshield were going to part company with the car at any minute. If it weren't for the fact that I had the engine balanced, I think the whole thing might have shaken apart. It's comfortable at about 25-28 MPH.

 

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1 hour ago, J.H.Boland said:

Only once did I try for 40 MPH ! It felt like the top and windshield were going to part company with the car at any minute. If it weren't for the fact that I had the engine balanced, I think the whole thing might have shaken apart. It's comfortable at about 25-28 MPH.

 


I rather thought that might be the case. The incredibly light chassis always made me think about a 490 based speedster but the 1/4 elliptical springs on each corner don’t look like enough!

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41 minutes ago, gossp said:


I rather thought that might be the case. The incredibly light chassis always made me think about a 490 based speedster but the 1/4 elliptical springs on each corner don’t look like enough!

There were some 490 speedsters and dirt track racers built. Here's a few pictures. First is a racer that was for sale at Hershey many years ago. As I recall, it had alloy pistons from a Curtis Jenny aircraft, Winfield side draft carburetors, and a head from a 4 cylinder Olds. It supposedly could do 90 MPH ! The speedster project was recently for sale on the Smokstak forum. If I was a bit younger (and closer to CA.) I'd be tempted. The quarter elliptic springs lend themselves well to a lower profile by just inverting the brackets. Jim  

Sorry MarkV. I'm not trying to steal your thread.

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490 speedster.JPG

490 speedster 1.JPG

Edited by J.H.Boland (see edit history)
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To any interested parties, I have a 1927 Chevy chassis for sale. I had high hopes for it but I've got too many projects. I pulled the motor out and got it freed up and it does not have the ring lip at the top of the cylinders that indicates wear. This might mean it is a low mileage chassis so the parts should be valuable to anybody wanting to keep theirs on the road. I just have the frame with short block and head, trans, drive shaft, and rear end. It is in central N.C. You can contact me by email, haywood96@hotmail.com

Edited by AHa (see edit history)
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4 hours ago, J.H.Boland said:

You've got high ceilings !

 

Just shy of twelve and a half feet. The Maxwell is on a four post lift so I suppose in the current configuration I could get a fourth car in this two car garage!

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10 minutes ago, gossp said:

Just shy of twelve and a half feet. The Maxwell is on a four post lift so I suppose in the current configuration I could get a fourth car in this two car garage!

He was only asking $2500 for the project and I think the drive train is already rebuilt !

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  • 8 months later...

Hi Fellow Members 

Am a new member to this Forum 

Been trying to find wheel bearing information on  a Chev 490 and came across this forum 

 

I am based in South Africa  .

And have a clients 49p with front wheel bearing issues ..

Does anyone  have a solution to  fitting new bearings .. 

 Are the original  type available  or does one fit some other type of bearings ..

 

Many thanks 

 

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The interest in and survival rate of Model T Fords compared to its contemporaries is not only a matter of the sheer numbers which were manufactured initiallly but also the aftermarket parts support widely available even decades after the last Model T's rolled off the assembly line.  If I recall correctly, Ford Motor Company was still producing replacement parts for Model T's up to the advent of WWII.  Aftermarket parts suppliers were always a factor, became even more so with the rise of car collecting.   

A further contributing factor was the most popular Model T's body styles were largely "all-steel" construction with only minor, easy-to-replace wood whereas composite metal-over-wood frame remained the body construction method for GM cars into the mid-late 1930's.

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These hubs have the original cup bearing style bearings in them. Most people, if not all, are carrying the sizes to a modern bearing house and replacing them. I don't have the modern replacement numbers but someone will.

 

Or, alternately, these old style cups are easily machined out of semi hard material, if you have the machine to do so, and the ball bearings are very cheap. The cups will drive out like any modern bearing would.

Edited by AHa (see edit history)
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4 hours ago, AHa said:

These hubs have the original cup bearing style bearings in them. Most people, if not all, are carrying the sizes to a modern bearing house and replacing them. I don't have the modern replacement numbers but someone will.

 

Or, alternately, these old style cups are easily machined out of semi hard material, if you have the machine to do so, and the ball bearings are very cheap. The cups will drive out like any modern bearing would.

Many thanks for the reply.  

Would it matter if the new outer  cone bearing ran on the thread that normally  took the adjustable cone .. 

 

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Vintage

 

I was hoping someone more knowledgeable would jump in here. I'm afraid I don't quite understand the question. The modern bearings would be installed in the same location as the originals both in the hub and on the spindle. Some shimming may be necessary to get the hub positioned correctly and the cone on the adjustable nut may have to be cut off the nut so it turns up against the bearing housing or outer washer. You'll have to play with your options once you find the right bearings. Just mic the OD of the spindle in the flats and the id of the hub inner and outer and send those dimensions to your bearing supplier. The bearings get a radial load so the bearing have to be wheel bearings but I'm almost positive you can find a modern replacement.

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I think he is refering to the fact the outer cone is threaded on to the spindle like on a Model T Ford. It might even interchange with a Model T bearing if you are very lucky. If the Chevy version is different it will probably be harder to find. But people who specialize in obsolete Chevy parts may be able to help.

 

 

 

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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