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.




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Thursday, January 2, 2014

1932 Chev Moonlight Speedster (original posting 1st May 2012)

Below is an update from a posting I originally listed on 1st May 2012, with some great news that a surviving car is now a club car of the Veteran and Vintage Chevrolet Association of Queensland.

What a beautiful machine, and based on my favorite, the 1932 Chevrolet.

From the website of the Veteran & Vintage Chevrolet Association of Australia (Qld)

http://www.vvcaaqldinc.org.au/1.php



Club Member Darryl Stark's unique 1932 Chevrolet Moonlight Speedster

Much has been researched and written about this head-turning Chevrolet.  Journalist Murray Hubbard who writes for Mister Cars www.mister-cars.com has contributed the following review and history of this most interesting car.

In 1977 what is believed to be Australia's only surviving 1932 Chevrolet Speedster was a car looking for a new owner.  It was in need of TLC and a full restoration.  Darryl Stark of Ipswich, Queensland recognised the car's potential and swapped a restored 1934 supercharged Graham, along with some cash for the Moonlight Speedster from the previous owner, the late Nick Nalywajko.
 


Looking at the car now it is evident it went to the right home.  Previously Darryl had restored many Vauxhall Vagabonds, a 1930 Chevrolet tourer and the supercharged Graham..  Many parts were missing, badly damaged or incorrect for the Moonlight Speedster so Darryl needed to locate or remake these in order for the restoration to proceed.  Another previous owner, Ron McCann was able to pass on some parts to Darryl from a scrapped Moonlight Speedster. This car was body number 6 and Ron recalls that it was a 1932 model, while our featured car is body number 10.



The windscreen frame and posts from number 6 were used to replace the screen damaged on Darryl's car from a crash it suffered in the 1950s. There is some significance in the fact that this car is number 10.  Darryl has owned the car now for 36 years and this is the highest number Speedster body he has been able to locate.  This begs the question: were there only 10 Chevrolet Moonlight Speedsters built by GM Holden in 1931 - 32? We know from newspaper "for sale" advertisements there were only four Moonlight Speedsters in New South Wales in 1934.  In a 1943 advertisement there are claimed to be three in NSW.  These low figures support the view that few Chevrolet Moonlight Speedsters were built.



Moonlight Speedster body numbers date from 1931, but it is believed that GM Holden did not start the count again in 1932 and simply continued on from 1931.  It is thought that all the Moonlight Speedster bodies were probably built in 1931.  We know from 1931 newspaper reports that five Moonlight Speedster cars were built as the 1931 Chevrolet models were launched around the same June day in the five major capital cities: Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane and each capital city had a Speedster on display.  This means there were at least five additional Moonlight Speedsters in storage at GM Holden's Woodville factory in South Australia awaiting new buyer orders.



With Moonlight Speedster sales stalled - we believe the car was never going to be a huge seller, we know that it took until 1933 to sell a new 1931 Speedster to Colin Wade from Narracoorte in South Australia and this Speedster was returned from Perth to Adelaide and discounted to clinch the sale.  The car's primary role was to highlight the 1931 Chevrolet range under the new GM Holden merged Company, a Hero car in today's terminology.  It's role was simple: get buyers into Chevrolet showrooms.  It achieved this by it's dramatic and sporty design.  So it seems likely there were at least five Moonlight Speedsters released in 1931 and any remaining bodies were used to continue the model range on in to 1932.



It is probable the Speedsters not sold in 1931 were fitted to the 1932 chassis as the wheelbase and body mounting points were the same and they were updated with the 1932 Chevrolet grille, bonnet and headlights...the key identifying changes between the 1931 and 1932 models.  Supporting this is the view that this featured 1932 Moonlight Speedster was found by Darryl to have a 1931 firewall. The two firewalls are easy to identify: on the 1931 the throttle and choke cables came through the firewall on the lower left hand side for the updraft carburettor while the 1932 has one elongated grommet in the centre for routing the cables to the new downdraft carburettor, manifold heat cable and the oil prerssure and temperature capillaries on the one on Darryl's car was roughly fitted with a series of holes drilled behind the grommet.



From the firewall back the Moonlight Speedster bodies are hand formed aluminium with the standard firewall steel pressing bolted to the cowl by two timber frames.  Moving back, the boat-tail is constructed of 17 pieces of welded aluminium fitted with a timber frame.  The small ridge in the centre of the boat-tail continues down between the seat as shown above.



The Chevrolet Moonlight Speedster design was copied from the 1929 - 30 Vauxhall Hurlingham.  Vauxhall was also a GM company as is Opel of Germany.  It seems likely Vauxhall took out a registered design on the Hurlingham's shape and why not as it is quite stunning.  The Vauxhall Hurlingham was also being sold in Australia in 1929 - 30.  While GM Holden refers to the car as the Chevrolet Moonlight Speedster, a Holden body tag nailed to the floor (above) of Darryl's Moonlight has "CHEV HURL RDSTR" (above) stamped in to it.  Both the printed GMH Technical Specification and the body plate refer to the Chevrolet as a "Hurlingham" in what could be construed as acknowledgment of Vauxhall's registered design.



On June 4, 1931 as the new Chevrolet range was being released the Perth Daily News correspondent "Servo" referred to the fact the Chevrolet Moonlight Speedster......."shows very sporting and attractive lines which reflect the influence of the Hurlingham Vauxhall sports model seen several times at shows in other parts of the Metropolis".  The Hurlingham was a slightly larger car, sitting on a 123 inch wheelbase compared to the Chevrolet Monnlight Speedster's 109 inch wheelbase.  Opel also produced a similar shaped car in 1932, the Opel Moonlight Roadster with a 1.8 litre six cylinder engine.



While the Chevrolet Moonlight Speedster is a simply beautiful car, they were not user-friendly for taller or larger drivers.  The doors are small and do not open all that widely and the floor is lower than the door opening.  Seating position is very low to the floor, like most sports cars, which can deplete large or tall drivers of some leg room.  For those of shorter and smaller stature, the car is a delight to drive.  The yacht-like air vents on the cowl funnel air to the cabin's footwell, but if it's raining they can be turned around to stop the air flow and keep your pinkies dry.  We think they add significantly to the car, adding a "Great Gatsby" era appeal.  The dicky seat could also be called the tricky seat as it is difficult to get in to and out of and when in there, large or tall passengers' faces gain no protection from the small windscreen.  Once again though, it adds character to the car, as do the twin spare wheels mounted on the front mudguards.  The generous use of chrome on the car's fittings gives the Chevrolet more the look of an Auburn, Stutz or Packard.



The Moonlight Speedster shared mechanicals with the other 1932 Chevrolet range namely the Stovebolt Six, a straight-six Chev OHV engine displacing 194 cubic inches with minor changes, such as counter balanced crankshaft, rubber engine mounts, the new downdraft carburettor and increased valve opening pushing performance up to 60 HP.  This is the family of engines that replaced the four cylinder engine used in Chevrolet cars until 1928.  The 1932 model also took on board a new 3-speed gearbox with added free-wheeling and synchromesh on second and third gears. The 1932 Chevrolet range has semi-elliptic leaf springs on each corner while the brakes are four wheel mechanical.  The 1932 model had heavier axles than earlier models and rode on 18 inch, 6-stud spoke wire wheels.  The spare wheels on Darryl's car are fitted with genuine accessory tyre locks.

History


It is thought this car spent it's early years in Sydney.  However, nothing is known of the car prior to late 1952 or early 1953 when this red car was first advertised with it's later model 16 inch wheels fitted.  There was a black 1932 Speedster advertised in Sydney along with a red one in Melbourne around the same time both with 16 inch wheels which suggests 18 inch tyres were not readily available.  This is when Dale Fisher purchased the car from McConnell Motors Pty Ltd of 164 Parramatta Road, Ashfield.  It was advertised in the Sydney Morning Herald on October 11, 1952 for 195 pounds.  Soon after the purchase the car broke down and was re-sold to the same car yard.  The car's history for the next few years is unknown but this is when it was involved in an accident. In 1955 it was discovered in a Hurstville timber yard and rescued by well known Sydney motor trimmer George Lane and his apprentice panel-beater son, Dennis.







This is when this factory red car, still with it's later 16 inch wheels was painted white.  This was to be the first car for Dennis.  In reality it is likely this Moonlight Speedster would not have survived without this family getting it back on the road.  Dennis Lane and Dale Fisher actually worked together at one stage and the car was loaned to Dale for a day.  In 1957 Dennis sold the car to an unknown person.  It was next discovered in 1958 and bought by Darryl Griffiths from the Dandenong in Victoria from a Melbourne car dealer.  It is not known how the Speedster made it's way to Melbourne.  The car now had a hood and side curtains fitted and engine changed to a more powerful 1934-35 Master Chevrolet.  This work was done after the car left Sydney and re-registered in Victoria by an unknown person.  When Darryl Griffiths bought the car in 1958, he received paperwork of numerous Victorian owners of this car which were kept by Victorian Transport.  Mr Griffiths thinks the first owner was from Werribee.  Could the feature car be the red Victorian Car that moved to Sydney in late 1940s or early 1950s?  Mr Griffiths, in late 1961 sold the car to a car yard on the Princes Highway between Dandenong and Springvale.  The history of owners from now on is unknown until it turned up back in Sydney.



It was then that Ron McCann purchased the car from Atom Motors of Victoria Road, Gladesville in Sydney in 1965.  By now the car had deteriorated but still wore the white paint job applied by the Lanes.  Ron, who now runs Brisbane's classic car dealership "Undercover Cars" kept the car for several years, gradually upgrading it before selling it to the late Nick Nalywajko.



If you know of the car's history in the missing years, we would love to hear from you. eMail Murray Hubbard at mister-cars@optusnet.com.au. We would also like to hear from anyone who knows of any other Moonlight Speedsters or has any sales literature and information.

We are also aware of two replica Chevrolet Moonlight Speedsters, a 1931 and 1932 model.  Both are based in Auckland New Zealand. (See article below)

Owners of this 1932 Chevrolet Moonlight Speedster have been:

1932 - 1952 Unknown but most likely in Sydney (possibly Melbourne)
1952 - 1953 Dale Fisher, Sydney
1953 - 1955 Unknown
1955 - 1957 Dennis Lane, Sydney
1957 - 1958 Unknown
1958 - 1961 Darryl Griffiths, Melbourne
1961 - 1965 Unknown
1965 - 1971 Ron McCann, Sydney
1971 - 1977 Nick Nalywajko, Sydney
1977 -         Darryl Stark, Ipswich, Queensland

The above dates are approximations so may differ slightly to actual date.  Much of the information contained in this report has been generously provided by the Moonlight Speedster's owner, Darryl Stark and Michael Ferguson, both members of the Queensland chapter of the Veteran and Vintage Chevrolet Association of Australia.  Without their help this report would not have been possible.


Below is my original posting from 1st May 2012


From the website of the Veteran & Vintage Chevrolet Association of Australia (Qld)

http://www.vvcaaqldinc.org.au/1.php


There is much debate about the actual number of 1932 Moonlight Speedster survivors. Here is a definate that did not survive! This beauty was photographed on the side of the road in Sydney in 1962 by early V.V.C.A.A. Member, Bill Spraggon. The car CJT-691 was for sale at the time but apparently did not sell and was in the scrap yard two weeks later!






 

2 comments:

  1. A magnificent beauty and fascinating style just like the Danish built speedster from 1931.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks very much Erling,

    Would you have a picture you could send me.

    Regards

    ReplyDelete