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The 1949 and 1950 Chevrolets are so similar, most viewers would see them together as a package. In 1949, an impressive new styling change was made from the post-war models (which had minimal facelifts from the pre-war models) that manufacturers rushed to get to the market. The post-war public was clamoring for new cars, especially since automobile production had come to a halt to support the war effort. The look for Chevrolet was an appealing, turn-of-the decade, new roof line, and more streamlined body and fender panels. Introduced was a new hardtop design that was pillar-less, providing the open-air-like feeling of a convertible, but with a safer weather-proof top to keep out the elements. The hardtop featured a three piece, wrap-around rear window, separated with a bright chrome treatment. On the interior, was a stylish pile-cord fabric, accented with genuine leather seating material. The headliner had chrome cross bars to give the look of a true soft top convertible. The frame was strengthened to provide the support that had been lost by removing the door post pillars. Not to be missed when stepping into a new 1949 or 1950 Chevrolet was a very eye-catching new instrument panel that featured a large round speedometer surrounded by the auxiliary gauges in the same cluster. The radio push buttons and face ran vertically, with the dialing knobs horizontal at the bottom of the radio. Next, there was a brilliant chrome grille covering the radio speakers, beside an electric clock that had been finished with the same colors as the instrument panel.
Mechanically, the 1950 model was upgraded with the first two-speed automatic transmission dubbed the “Powerglide.” To compensate for power loss with the Powerglide, a new 235cid version of the truck engine was used.
Chevrolet was the first with the new hardtop design in the low-priced field as they took a risk, hoping to attract buyers. General Motors introduced the hardtop in the more expensive models with Cadillac, Buick, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac, but the Chevrolet was the production winner with nearly 75,000 units of the new Bel Air hardtop sold. Chevrolet was again USA #1 in sales for the two-year period.
- Chevrolet, Pontiac plus Olds 88 and 76 were re-styled for 1949; only minor changes for 1950
- 1950 Chevrolets were the first low-price cars with a fully-automatic transmission, the two-speed Powerglide
- Chevrolet #1 in sales at 1,371,535 cars, including 248,567 Town Sedans.
- Price new $1,482