American Car Spotters Guide - 1948

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During 1948 most manufacturers released their first real post-war models. Most of these were considered 1949 models but some were early enough to be shown here as 1948 models. Since no National Automobile Show had been staged since the Autumn of 1940, each manufacturer introduced its new models to the public as and when they were ready.

Total factory sales figures were slightly up on 1947, with 3,909,270 cars and 1,376,274 trucks and buses. 217,911 cars were exported and many others were assembled in Canadian and overseas plants. In August the nation's 100-millionth motor vehicle was completed. The 21-millionth Chevy and 5-millionth Buick were produced.

We all know that 1948 was the year General Motors' Australian affiliate (GM-H) introduced the Holden, Australia's first mass-produced car. It was an instant success. In addition, Holden continued assembling Canadian chassis (Chevrolet, Pontiac) fitting them with their own distinctive bodywork.

Several well-known people in the US automotive industry died in 1948, including William S. Knudsen, Charles W. Nash and Nicholas Dreystadt. Great Britain, Canada and the US signed an agreement for standarddization of threads, the ABC thread standard. Finally, 1948 is remembered as the year Goodrich introduced Tubeless tires.

While the 'Big Three', G.M., Ford and Chrysler, still clung to pre-war lines heavily loaded with chrome mouldings, a newcomer to the automotive scene, one of the smaller independents, had stolen the show and started a new trend. Slowly the 'Big Three' followed. The Cadillac Division of General Motors Corporation restyled their '48 cars with front fenders flowing smoothly into their rear counterparts, immediately below the belt line. What was to become a major styling element over the following years also first appeared on the 1948 Cadillac: tail fins. Very small, no more than an upsweep at the tips of the rear fenders, terminating in the tail lights; but fins nevertheless.

Though there was still a vertical separation bar at the centre of the windshield, the glass was curved-another innovation. The '48 Cadillac was a perfect synthesis of past and future styling, uncluttered and well-proportioned, It was, and will always be a handsome automobile.
1948 Buick Special Model 41 Sedan

Buick Special Series 40

  Also see: Buick Car Reviews | The History of Buick
Buick Special, Series 40, came in two models: 41 Sedan and 46S Sedanet (fastback coupe).
1948 Buick Super Series 50 Sedan

Buick Super Series 50

  Also see: Buick Car Reviews | The History of Buick
The Buick Super, Series 50, offered four body style options including this Model 51 Sedan. All 1948 Buicks were 'carryovers' from 1947. Brand-new models were introduced in November.
1948 Roadmaster Convertible

Buick Roadmaster Convertible Series 70

  Also see: Buick Car Reviews | The History of Buick
Buick Roadmaster Convertible, Model 76C, was one of four models in the Series 70. They were available, for the first time, with the Dynaflow hyd. torque converter transmission.
1948 Cadillac Series 62 Sedan


  Also see: Cadillac Car Reviews | The History of Cadillac
Cadillac introduced new models with distinctive rear fenders (wings). Pictured left is the Series 62 Sedan, Model 6269. It had a 346 CID V8 engine and 126-inch wheelbase, like the less expensive Series 61. Series 60S had a 133-inch wheelbase.
1948 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible

Cadillac Series 62 Convertible

  Also see: Cadillac Car Reviews | The History of Cadillac
Cadillac Series 62 Convertible, Model 6267, sold at US$3442. The convertible body style was not available in the other series (61, 60S, 75). The most expensive Caddy was the Model 7533L Fleetwood 75 9-passenger, at US$4863.
1948 Checker Cab


  Also see: Checker Car Reviews
Checker Cab of 1948/49 was sturdy, purpose-built car. The rear axle was set well back in relation to passenger compartment. It was also available as a conventional sedan. From 1921 until now Checker Motors had only produced taxicabs.
1948 Chevrolet Fleetline Sportmaster Sedan


  Also see: Chevrolet Car Reviews | The History of Chevrolet
Chevrolet had only minor modifications for 1948, including a vertical centre moulding in the radiator grille. Pictured left is the Fleetline Series FK, Model 2113 Sportmaster Sedan. Stylemaster and Fleetmaster/Fleetline Series were designated FJ and FK respectively.
1948 Chrysler Sedan


  Also see: Chrysler Car Reviews | The History of Chrysler
Chrysler 1948 models were similar to those of 1947 and 1946. Completely new models were introduced later in the year, and are listed for 1949.
1948 DeSoto S-II Custom Sedan


  Also see: The History of DeSoto
DeSoto models, too, were 'carryovers' from 1947. Shown is the S-II Custom Sedan with 121½-inch wheelbase.
1948 Dodge Sedan


  Also see: Dodge Car Reviews | The History of Dodge
Dodge, like the other divisions of the Chrysler Corporation, continued production of existing models until early 1949, (although the 1949 models were first produced in December 1948). Both 117-inch wheelbase and 119½-inch wheelbase models were built.
1948 Ford DeLuxe Sedan


  Also see: Ford Car Reviews | The History of Ford
Ford 89A (100-bhp V8) and 8HA (95-bhp Six) were similar to 1947 79A and 7HA respectively, and available in either DeLuxe or Super DeLuxe form. Ten body types were listed. Ford's real post-war (1949) models were unveiled in June.
1948 Frazer Manhattan


Frazer offered two models, the basic F485 and the Manhattan F486. Both were six-passenger four-door Sedans with 226·2 CID L-head Continental Six and 123½-inch wheelbase. List prices were US$2321 and US$2573 respectively.
1948 Hudson Commodore Sedan


  Also see: The History of Hudson
  Hudson was one of the first manufacturers to unveil post-war models, in December 1947. They featured a box-section chassis frame built into the body and extending outside the rear wheels. Called 'Monobilt', the floor was well below the door sills. Pictured left is the new Commodore Sedan being televised. Television was still in its infancy.
1948 Kaiser Custom K482 Sedan




  Also see: Kaiser Car Reviews | The History of Kaiser
Kaiser, like its companion make Frazer, offered two 123½-inch wheelbase four-door sedans, the basic K481 and the Custom K482. Mechanically all four were similar.


1948 Keller Super Chief Station Wagon


Keller was a new firm, located at Huntsville, Alabama. They offered two models, the Super Chief Station Wagon and convertible. For the latter there was a choice of engine location, front or rear. The power unit was a 49-bhp 4-cyl. Suspension was independent, front and rear, with trailing arms and rubber spring units. Later a smaller Hercules 47-bhp engine was made available on Chief models.
1948 Lincoln 9EL Sport Sedan


  Also see: Lincoln Car Reviews | The History of Lincoln
Lincoln 1948 models (876H) were in production from November 1947 to April 1948 and were similar to 1947 models. On 20th April a new range was launched, and pictured left is the 9EL Sport Sedan. V12 engines were discontinued.
1948 Mercury Station Wagon


Mercury also continued its 1947 models practically unchanged (but redesignated 89M) until new models were introduced on 29 April 1948. Shown is a 1947-48 Station Wagon that has been converted into an Ambulance. The engine was 239-4 CID V8, wheelbase 118 in.
1948 Monarch Sedan


Monarch, Ford of Canada's Mercury-based car continued virtually unchanged until later in the year.
1948 Nash Ambassador Super Sedan

Nash Ambassador

  Also see: Nash Car Reviews | The History of Nash
Nash in 1948 offered seven 600 models, eight Ambassadors (four Super, four Custom). Completely new models were displayed in September.
1948 Oldsmobile Series 70 Dynamic


  Also see: Oldsmobile Car Reviews | The History of Oldsmobile
Oldsmobile Series 70 Dynamic was available with either six-cylinder (Model 76) or eight-cylinder (Model 78) engine, both on 125-inch wheelbase chassis. The 119-inch wheelbase Dynamic Series 60 models were also offered (66 Six and 68 Eight). Hydramatic drive was optional extra.
1948 Oldsmobile Series 98 four-door Sedan

Oldsmobile Series 98

  Also see: Oldsmobile Car Reviews | The History of Oldsmobile
Oldsmobile celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1948 and introduced its new Futuramic models in the Series 98. Convertible, two-door Club sedans and four-door sedans (shown) were available.
1948 Packard


  Also see: Packard Car Reviews | The History of Packard
Packard introduced an entirely new model in 1948. New York's school of styling and design, Fashion Academy voted it its gold medal of honour for being 'new, modern, smart and yet elegantly simple'.
1948 Playboy Convertible


Playboy, produced by the Playboy Motor Car Corp (not to be confused with the Hugh Hefner empire), was 'the Nation's Newest Car Sensation'. This company was formed by Lou Horwitz, Charles D Thomas and Normand Richardson, in Buffalo, NY. The car had a metal convertible top and a Continental 4-cyl. engine. Automatic transmission was optional.
1948 Plymouth Special DeLuxe P-15C


  Also see: Plymouth Car Reviews | The History of Plymouth
Plymouth Special DeLuxe P-15C was a carryover from 1947. So was the DeLuxe P-1 5S. Their total production run was from October 1945 to February 1949.
1948 Pontiac DeLuxe Torpedo Eight Convertible


  Also see: Pontiac Car Reviews | The History of Pontiac
Pontiac offered four Silver Streak series in 1948: 6PA Torpedo Six, 6PB Streamliner Six, 8PA Torpedo Eight and 8PB Streamliner Eight. Torpedo models had 119-inch wheelbase, Streamliners 112-inch wheelbase. There were 15 body styles. All 1948 Pontiacs could be ordered with Hydramatic drive, at extra cost.
1948 Pontiac DeLuxe Streamliner Eight Sedan


  Also see: Pontiac Car Reviews | The History of Pontiac
The Pontiac Streamliners had a 112-inch wheelbase. There were 15 body styles. All 1948 Pontiacs could be ordered with Hydramatic drive, at extra cost.
1948 Studebaker Champion 7G Regal DeLuxe Sedan


  Also see: Studebaker Car Reviews | The History of Studebaker
Studebaker Champion 7G Regal DeLuxe Sedan. Compared with 1947 the new Champion had horizontal mouldings added to the outer radiator grilles and restyled bumpers. There were four DeLuxe and five Regal DeLuxe models, all with 112-inch wheelbase.
1948 Studebaker Commander 15A Regal DeLuxe

Studebaker Commander

  Also see: Studebaker Car Reviews | The History of Studebaker
Studebaker Commander 15A Regal DeLuxe featured small changes in comparison with preceding 14A (added moulding above grille, revised bumpers). The 15A Series comprised nine Commanders (four DeLuxe, five Regal DeLuxe) with 119-inch wheelbase and one Land Cruiser, with 123-inch wheelbase.
1948 Willys Model Lineup


  Also see: Willys Car Reviews | The History of Willys
Willys extended its line of 'Jeep' vehicles and displayed here around the 'Universal Jeep' in front of the Toledo administration building are, from left to right, the 4-63 Station Wagon, CJ2A Fire Fighter, 2WD Platform/Stake Truck, 4-63 Panel Delivery, 4WD Pick-up, 6-63 Station Sedan and VJ3 Jeepster Phaeton.
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