1927 Chevrolet Capitol By Terry Schwieters
Gympie, Queensland Australia
Having always had an interest in early motor vehicles and while working as a motor mechanic I would ask the older generation what vehicles they drove as young men? Working on a vehicle belonging to a Mr Booth I casually asked if he had any old cars. He stated he actually had one old car, a 1927 Chevrolet so questioned what became of it? He stated it was still in the shed at home so I then made arrangements with him to have a look at it.
That afternoon after work I arrived at his home to find the Chevy parked in a corrugated iron shed. On opening the doors, I thought I had found a beautiful restoration piece but my enthusiasm was soon dampened. As I worked my way forward to the front of the car I found that it was in a very poor state. The roof of the shed had rusted through and each time it rained the old vehicle was soaked with rusty rainwater. At this point he told me that “Hot Rodders” had been to view it but never returned. I asked if he wanted to sell and we negotiated on a price. On the 29-04-1971 I became the new owner of a very unloved 1927 Chevy.
A couple of workmates assisted me to retrieve the old vehicle. The shed was found to be leaning at an angle against the car. A tow rope was attached to the back end of the car and the car dragged from the shed whilst one man attempted to hold the shed up. Upon removal the shed collapsed in a heap of rubble.
On serious inspection the following was quickly noticed:
Running boards eaten away; Valance rotted away at the bottom; Front Guards almost non-existent due to rust; Radiator Cowling rotten; Wrong radiator in the vehicle; Front axle eaten away with rust; Upholstery burst open and full of vermin; Canvas roof sagging and cloth rotten; One wheel completely rotted away; Tyres and the tubes were obviously perished and the rims rotten. We managed to load the car onto a trailer and transported it to my home.
The hunt then began for serviceable parts. A front axle came from Ipswich in Queensland. A pair of front guards came from a wreck at Fruitbowl in Queensland. A bonnet purchased from a Car Swap Meet. A radiator and surround from a friend’s collection.
The original engine was in a very sorry state. A mate was at a sale and found a Chev 4 engine amongst a job lot, which he purchased on my behalf. On dismantling the engine I found that it had been fully re-built. Wondering why it had been set aside, I discovered on closer examination that it had a crack in the No. 2 cylinder, this I had bored sleeved and honed so as to fit the original piston.
The restoration began with a complete mechanical re-build from the wheels up; it took 12 months of all my spare time to complete.
Then began the Paintwork and Upholstery
After searching for somebody to do the upholstery I found a couple of older gentlemen who were about to retire from business. I approached them both, who had served their apprenticeships on Model T Fords and Horse Carriage's.
The day arrived when I had to take the car over to their workshop. Putting sacks on the bare spring seats my family, wife Daphne and our two girls Gina and Kylie, were ready to ride in the old car. What a thrill.
The two gentlemen made a wonderful job of the upholstery, everything was so perfect, what a joy to ride in the car. This was their last professional job together and it was a credit to them.
Model -1927 Chevrolet Capitol
Engine- 4 Cylinders
Wheel Size - 4-50x21 Tyres
Brakes -Rear Wheels Only
Foot Brake - External Contracting Bands
Hand Brake - Internal Expanding Bands
Gears -3 Forward and Reverse Sliding Gears
Petrol Tank Capacity - 10 Gallons
Body - British Racing Green
Guards - Black
Front and Rear Bumper Bars – Chrome Plated
The Chevs maiden run was to a camp, on a Car Club member’s property. To my horror I had to cross a running sandy bottom stream. My poor beautiful restoration!
I spent many years driving the Chevrolet. This included The Bi-Centennial Celebrations in 1988
Bi-Centennial Rally 1988
Before entering into the Bi-Centennial Rally all vehicles had to go through a vigorous mechanical check. This was carried out in Brisbane, Qld, where the car passed with flying colours.
We completed the 1988 Bi-Centennial Rally to Canberra and back to Brisbane, 2,000 miles round trip. The highlight was the crossing of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in peak hour, stop-go traffic. The rally was completed with the car running flawlessly, without any mecchanical problems.