From the website of the Veteran & Vintage Chevrolet Association of Australia (Qld)
OLD CHEV PHOTOGRAPHS AND OTHER THINGS
By Bryan Cantrell
I recently came across two photographs of my grandfather’s Chevrolets and thought that they were suitable to share with members via the ‘Royal Mail’. The first is a 1926 Superior V tourer, shown here on a family picnic at an unknown location.
The second is his next Chevrolet, a 1936 sedan, parked in their street in Brisbane with some period “Queenslander” homes in the background.
This car stayed in our family and was traded in by my father on an FJ Holden in 1954. I also enclose a photograph of the 1939 sedan that Judy and I owned in the 1970’s.
I was also spurred on by two articles in the October and December 2009 issues of the Royal Mail by Craig, which featured two Chevrolets which have been continuously registered since new. This started me thinking about Queensland car registration plates.
I believe that the longest-registered VVCAA (Qld) Chevrolet is Roger’s 1926 Superior K tourer Q64-482.
Plates of this era were hand painted, with a black “Q” on a white background and white numbers on a black background. Vehicles carried only one plate, rear-mounted on the spare wheel bracket or similar attachment point. My grandfather’s 1926 Superior V tourer had the number Q67-559, logically following on from Roger’s earlier 1926 car. I believe that the Superior V was a uniquely Australian model produced by Holden Body Works in late 1926 and/or early 1927. It featured a single body bead along the bonnet and around the body near the tops of the doors. Most old photographs I have seen indicate that these bodies were finished in two-tone paint, with a darker colour above the bead. These bodies also had external door handles. In this way, they were a precursor to the 1927 Holden-bodied Chevrolets, of which Wal and Jen have a lovely example in their 1927 Capitol tourer Q74-081.
The 1932 tourer Q158-208 restored by Noel and Edna is an example of the next stage of evolution, in which the “Q” and the numerals are cast alloy riveted to the metal backing plate.
There was still only one plate per vehicle. These plates were produced in subcontracting workshops and I once met someone who worked as a rouseabout in such a workshop. He was able to describe how the plates were manufactured, from the casting shop for the “Q’s” and numerals, the sheet metal shop where the metal blanks were cut, the paint shop and finally the production shop where the finished plates were assembled.
The change to these new-style plates was made in the early 1930’s, and the highest number on a hand painted plate of which I am aware is Q123-760, as fitted to Graham’s 1927 tourer. This is not an original number for a 1927 vehicle, but is the number that Graham says was on the car all the time he has known it. Presumably it is a replacement following the loss of the original plate.
The number of vehicles in Queensland pre-World War II was relatively small: e.g. my grandfather’s 1936 sedan Q230-879 and my 1939 sedan Q289-936.
My first car was a 1952 Holden 48-215, with the registration number Q566-218. The annual cost of registration was then £22.15.6; it is now over $800 for a 6-cylinder Holden in Queensland.
The “Q” plates continued to 1954/5, when Queensland introduced alpha-numeric registration plates in a series beginning NAA¸000. The new plates were metal stampings with a small “QLD” at the top; the black and white colour pattern was continued. For the first time two plates were issued to each vehicle. This bought Queensland into line with southern States, where front-mounted plates had been the rule for decades. Queensland still differed, however, in respect of number plate ownership. Queensland plates belonged to the Government and always remained with the vehicle to which they were originally allocated. When a car was sold, the number passed to the new owner, unlike in NSW and Victoria where owners could retain plates and transfer them to another vehicle.
Since then there have been many changes, including green on white plates with the slogan “QUEENSLAND – SUNSHINE STATE” along the bottom edge and later maroon on white plates. More recently a new era of personalised plates was ushered in as an extra-cost option to standard issue plates. Which is a long way from where we started!