Chevrolet Canopy Express Truck

The 490 was Chevrolet’s new bread-and-butter car for 1916. Taking its name from its $490 price, it came as a roadster or touring car and established the marque in the low-priced field. In contrast to Ford’s Model T, the 490 had an overhead-valve engine and three-speed selective gear transmission, both noteworthy on an inexpensive car at the time.

Chevrolet began building trucks in 1918. As Ford based commercial models on the Model T, the first Chevrolet light delivery models derived from the 490 passenger car chassis. Rated at half a ton, they were powered by the same four-cylinder overhead valve engine, which made 26 bhp from 171-cubic inches. A heavier, one-ton truck with a worm-drive axle was patterned on the larger FB-series cars, and later, a three-quarter ton Model G combined features of the other two. The 490 truck, in its basic pickup form it is called a “Light Delivery,” was the mainstay of the commercial segment. In time, a “Canopy Express” model with covered load area was offered.

This 490 Canopy Express Truck was purchased from the collection of Harold Zulick, a Pennsylvania Chevrolet-Cadillac dealer, in 2005. It is nicely restored in green over black and is typical of a Chevrolet delivery vehicle of the era. The older restoration presents well, and the vehicle is outfitted with canvas side curtains to completely enclose the cargo area. The enclosed cab is built in unit with the express body. Though considerably more expensive than the comparable Ford T, the Chevrolet 490 was more powerful and sported modern features, like the three-speed selective gear transmission and full electric starting and lighting. This excellent example would make a great advertising or display vehicle.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in July of 2012 at The Inn at St. John's, Plymouth, Michigan.

26 bhp, 171 cu. in. overhead-valve inline four-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, sold front axle and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and two-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 102"

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Theo Civitello

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