Philip Stewart's Chev trio - Reader's Rides

By: Guy Allen - words & photos


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philip stewart philip stewart

Once workhorses, now classics: 1947 Stylemaster utility, 1948 Stylemaster van, 1948 Fleetmaster wagon

I’ve got three Chevrolets. My father Keith started our business, Stylemaster Panels, in 1959 and was looking for a name. Chevrolet at the time had a Fleetmaster and a Stylemaster and he picked the latter.

Back in 1991, I purchased the utility, which is a 1948 Stylemaster that was originally sold in Australia. Both sedans and coupe utilities were made at Holden’s Fishermans Bend plant.

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Then there’s a 1948 delivery van, another Stylemaster, I purchased that in 2013 with the 1947 woodie station wagon. The woodie is a Fleetmaster, which was the premier model. The big difference between the two was you got two sun visors in the Fleetmaster, a radio, a heater and bumper over-riders.

They only made the woodies out of the Fleetmaster. I’ve put it in a couple of shows and it won best car at a Chevrolet club show.

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The woodie was out of Florida and the delivery van was out of Los Angeles. I bought both over the internet and it all looked pretty good.

While a lot of the detail in the wagon was good, it was full of rust – it was shocking. So we spent 500 hours getting rid of it. It was tricky, as we had to make panels. I’ve got a fantastic tradesman who did a lot of the work.

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Woodie wagons always turn heads

As for the van, it came in as a dark green body with black guards and that’s how we left it. I’ve got two children in the business with me and they reckon when I fall over they’ll press it into service as a hearse!

The van has a 350 Chev with auto and power steering and air, so it’s fairly modern to drive.

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Before the Holden ute, there was this

As for the woodie and the utility, they’re in original trim, with six-volt electrics and no airbags! They’re both running 216cin (3.6lt) straight sixes, rated at 90hp, (66kW) with three-speed column-shift manual transmissions.

The timber in the woodie is fantastic, particularly inside the roof which looks like a boat. You get noticed. I took my grandson for a drive and he asked, "Pa, are you famous?" I said no, but he had noticed that people were staring and waving.

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From Unique Cars #467, Jun/Jul 2022

 

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