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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



From Unique Cars #467, Jun/Jul 2022


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