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MARCH 2017: A ’47 CHEVY STYLEMASTER RESTO MOD GRABS THE SPOTLIGHT AT A SHOW

By on March 27, 2017
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The post-war era was a recovery period for the auto industry because the manufacturers had to change gears from military production back to domestic cars and trucks.

 

The demand was high for new cars after World War Two so the car companies ran with an outdated body style from 1940 to produce more vehicles in a hurry.

 

The big cosmetic changes for cars began in the late Forties, so a 1948 Chevy had not yet undergone a major overhaul in the style department.

 

That change would come a year later in 1949.

 

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The post-war era was essentially a holding pattern for cars until the retooling began in 1949 for most of Detroit’s finest. However, there has always been a loyal following for the pre-49 cars and Dale Dahlman is one of those fans.

 

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He is the proud owner of a 1948 Chevy Stylemaster 2 door coupe for a very good reason: Dale was born in 1948 and wanted to own a car from that milestone year in his life. He bought his Chevy as a project car 13 years ago and spent the next 5 years working on it.

 

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Dale said the project “took every spare moment I had” and the result was a spectacular resto mod build. Dale was able to take a car that was essentially a placeholder for General Motors until they designed a brand new look for post-war cars-and give it a whole new identity.

 

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The result is a car with everything done right because Dale built his custom Chevy coupe via a good game plan. Post-war cars look great in solid color paint jobs and Dale chose a blue pastel for his car.

 

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The paint highlights the car’s old school body lines and minimalist factory trim. The striking blue paint also gathers plenty of attention from onlookers.

 

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Dale also found the right ride height for his Chevy and avoided slamming it too low to the ground. He wanted to build a driver and did not want to scrape his undercarriage on the pavement when he was on the road.

 

The Chevy has a Nova front clip and handles very well on the highway, according to Dale.

 

 

The wider Corvette wheels give a nice overall stance on the road, but the process required some careful custom cutting on the fenders. Dale had to radius the tops of the fender wells to accommodate the fatter tires on his customized ’47 Chevy.

 

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The result were subtle custom body changes on the Chevy that look like they were very cool factory designs that were never put on the production cars. The essence of a great custom build is to design a cooler version of the factory model that retains the lineage of the original.

 

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Dale also did an overhaul of the interior and even built a custom center console for his Chevy. The front seats are out of a 1989 Toyota Camry and the back seat is the original. The upholstery is the only thing not done by Dale.

 

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He told us the upholstery was done by his “ex-wife’s ex-husband” and it appears all parties were on good terms because the interior is done to a high level of quality.

 

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The car is a solid highway cruiser that now sports a 350 crate engine hooked up to a 350 Turbo automatic tranny. The 3:08 road gears drop the RPMs down to 2300, so Dale noted the Chevy “did not need an overdrive”.

 

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The fact it gets over 20 mpg on the highway adds strength to Dale’s point about the lack of a need for an overdrive in his Chevy.  

 

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The ’48 Chevy has been on the road for the past 6 years and Dale has put over 16,000 miles (27,000 km) on it.

 

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Dale’s car has won many trophies, including another Best of Show award when we interviewed him at a car event last summer.

 

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We rarely see cars done to this level with so many road miles on them and MSCC would like to salute Dale Dahlman because he is truly a car guy for all the right reasons.

 

Jim Sutherland

 

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