THE KRAMERS’ AWARD-WINNING 1932 CHEVROLET DELUXE SPECIAL SEDAN
Recently I covered and participated in the spectacular MAIN STREET AMERICA People’s Choice Charity Car Show, in Embarcadero Park North, near Seaport Village in San Diego.
That huge park, with its gently rolling green hills, overlooks the beautiful San Diego waterfront.
I will cover the rest of this car show in a future AutoMatters & More column but, while I was there, one car in particular caught my attention.
I photographed it and then moved on, but I just could not get it out of my mind. I was so captivated by it that I felt compelled to learn more about it — and so I did. After the awards presentation…
… as the show was wrapping up, I returned to this car, where I found the couple that owned it. I spoke to Chuck Kramer for almost an hour before they drove away.
Their car is a 1932 Chevrolet Deluxe Special Sedan. It will be 90 years old next year.
Chuck told me: “The original price was $630, but they were only making 79 cents an hour back then. It took like 800 hours, if a person put all his money out, to pay for it back in 1932.”
“I had a parts catalog on a ’37 pickup. If you wanted windshield wipers: 25 cents. If you wanted an extra mirror or something like that, that might be $1.50.” We both had a good laugh about that.
Speaking of mirrors, in addition to the car’s standard accessories, he added such necessities as better-positioned side-view mirrors — to supplement the mirrors that are strapped onto the tires. He said: “I had to have mirrors that I could see with.”
Chuck was careful with the money he spent restoring his car. For example, when he got it the car was all white. The beautiful paint job that you see here now was done at Maaco — a place that has long been known for its affordable auto painting. As another example: “See the arm cushions? La-Z-Boy rocker.”
He replaced or re-chromed all of the chrome. The small, chromed doors on the side of the hood open one at a time. “They used them a lot in Cadillacs and Buicks, but they only did it two years in Chevrolet. When you close those, they snap closed. You’d better not have your fingers in there. The 1933 has three doors — smaller doors. On the ’33 they’re actually like a ratchet, so you can close them and set them wherever you want them.”
Ever wonder why cars had flower vases like this one has inside? “You fill the car full of people and things could get a little — unpleasant, so by having the flowers in there, that would supposedly freshen up the air a little bit.”
The car had air shocks when he got it. “They stuck out in front — really ugly, so they had to go. I cut them out and put in some regular shocks. It probably had, back then, what they called ‘knee action shocks.’”
The original engine was likely a 6-cylinder. “They would probably get up to about 55-60 (mph).”
Have you ever wondered why a car’s trunk is called a trunk (except in the UK, where it apparently is called a boot, for some reason which I do not know)? My ‘aha moment’ came after I asked Chuck the following question, while I was standing near the front of this very large, Rolls Royce-looking car: “So, what’s the trunk like? How big is the trunk space?” Seemingly taken by surprise by my question, Chuck replied: “Oh, it just has that trunk in the back. I’ve never really measured it.”
Still not getting the silliness of my question, I went on to ask: “Pretty big?”
Chuck added, while taking me to the rear of the car: “Well here, look at it.”
As I saw the trunk I felt a little foolish, and exclaimed: “Oh, it is literally a trunk!!!” I never realized that is where the name of the car trunk came from, did you? We both laughed again, as I added: “I’ve got to get a picture of that!”
Well, that’s all for now. I look forward to visiting Chuck and his wife at their home someday soon, where I will take photos and learn more about their historic auto collection for an upcoming AutoMatters & More column.
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