Moving into the 1940s was a good year for Chevy. As the decade switched to 1940, General Motors sold car number 25 million moving the large car manufacturer ahead of Ford Motor Company. One of the biggest reasons that Ford moved into second place in 1940 was due to the fact that cars were advancing past the coach-look of the Model-T into the integrated sedan-look of the Chevy Master Deluxe. Ford just could change with the times fast enough.
The Chevy Master Deluxe was exactly what it sounded like, an upgraded version of the Chevy Master that was designed to compete with the high-end Cadillac. It is interesting to watch the evolution of the trunkless coaches to the fully integrated cars through Master Deluxe. In 1937, the Master Deluxe had separate headlights that were attached to the long hood along with big fenders that covered most of the tires. The 1938 model had smaller fenders, but the same separated headlights. In 1939, Chevy moved the headlights to the front fenders and continued to expose more of the large, whitewall tires. In 1940, the headlights started to integrate into the fenders and in 1941, the headlights were completely integrated into the body of the car.
Before World War II, Chevy built the Master Deluxe as a convertible and a sedan. The exciting new convertible helped the car maker sell over one million cars, making it the best selling car of 1941. Comparably, fewer than 80,000 Master Deluxe 1942 models were sold due the war restrictions placed on car makers. The last Master Deluxe models sold for under $900 new.
By the time that World War II was over, the Master Deluxe changed names and became the Stylemaster. Buyers did not have new cars for several years because of the war, so they were clambering to buy. Most car makers did not have the time to make brand new models, so they updated the nameplates instead. Buyers were satisfied and scooped up the new cars as quickly as they hit the lots.
Once car companies could make engineering changes, one of the most creative updates was the addition of wood to the side panels. The “Woodie” aerosedan was marketed as a Fleetmaster and sold for around $1,800. Today, if you can find a Master Deluxe from any years, expect to pay upwards of $50,000 for a nicely restored model.