The purpose of this Blog

This blog is to detail my 43 years (1973 - 2016) with a 1928 Chevrolet tourer, affectionately called "The Red Chev".

The acquisition, restoration, improvements and my experiences over the years are covered in as much detail as I can remember.

Some of the later postings include car club outings and other vintage car items that I hope will be of interest to people.

If you have the time, scroll back to where it all began in 1973 and follow the journey so far.

Thanks for dropping by.

Regards Ray Dean

See my new section "The Red Chev - Repairs, Improvements, Maintenance and Technical Details" located on the left hand side of the screen.


Monday, April 30, 2012

1927 Chev Ute

Some great photos here.

The following is from  the "Maybe We Can Help" section of the Veteran & Vintage Chevrolet Association of Australia (Qld) website.

I am researching an unusual Chev I have recently encountered. At present I have no photos, just a description, although I have seen it, about 20 years ago. (later sent pics)
It's a 1927 Chevrolet chassis, with wooden spoked wheels. The bodywork incorporates a steel utility back, complete with rear tailgate, like an early GM Holden ute. I think the bodywork may have been done by Trevans in Lismore NSW. Trevans have been in business since 1905, principally as a Ford dealership. The vehicle is in original used condition, and has been stored under cover since the late 1970's when it was taken off the road because of a blown head gasket. When were the first factory utility's sold? Was the bodywork built by Chevrolet, or Holden, or were they "custom built" by companies like Trevans? How unusual is this vehicle? Any information will be most welcome?

The Club replied:
Dear Colin, Your enquiry re the 1927 Chevrolet utility has been passed on to me for reply. Original ute's were available from the early 1920's, built by large body works such as Holden Motor Body Builders in Adelaide and Miller's in Sydney as well as local body shops such as Trevans in Lismore. A Queensland body builder was Hope and I have seen ute's with the Hope body badge. A wide variety of styles was available to suit different purposes, including vans for butchers, bakers etc (not sure about candle stick makers).

Chevrolets sold in Australia normally had Australian-built bodies.

Certainly "factory" Chevrolet utilities were available in 1927, sold through General Motors Australia dealers, but were a minority compared
with car sales so such vehicles are much rarer today. They are also generally much sought after by enthusiasts. However, these have timber trays not the metal body you refer to. I suggest that this would increase the liklihood that it was built by Millers or a local builder. Chances are that it would carry a body builder's plate somewhere on the vehicle, possibly in the cabin, on the door sills, or on the firewall, if you are able to get a good look at it.

Hope this helped - contact me if you get any more info.

With the help of a Club Member , we later located these photographs of a specially-bodied Chevrolet utility - body builder's name-plate "John H Miller" on the door sill and at the rear of the vehicle below the drawers:

A contributor from Lismore has been following this article and has added the following first-hand information:

"as I was not born when all this car body activity was going on in the family business, I can only speak of it as heresay - it was often said that during the 1930's recession that a big part of the survival of the Trevan family motor business was attributed to converting the farmers' tourer cars into utes. This was done for various reasons - one being that poorly built Australian bodies on the 1920's cars just fell to pieces on the then roads and as very few people at the time could afford a new car due to the 1930's recession, it made logic to convert the family car with it's now sad body into a ute to firstly still keep it working and also still give the family a means of going to town and take animals to sell and bring back supplies.
Apart from Trevans doing work to the farmers' vehicles, there was an opening for business to bring back to life the traded-in cars with their sad bodies by converting them in to utes or panel vans to sell to business houses that also could not afford to buy a new vehicle at the time.

Although the Trevan garage body building operation in Lismore was big enough to have a separate body paintwork and trimming building, the other branches in Casino, Kyogle, Ballina, Mullumbimby & Murwillumbah also had the need to handle all this body building activity of the time. To cope with all this body building needs, the Trevan branches farmed out the work to body builders like Dolph Schaeffer in Lismore together with the Barnes body builders in Bangalow doing most of the work for Ballina, Mullumbimby & Murwillumbah branches.
Below are photos of Lismore bodied utes which I found in the Trevan archives.
Hope this info is of some help in the Trevan Body Building activities in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales".

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