Even during the Depression, people who could afford a new car wanted it to have style, power and refinement – and of course, an affordable price.
At the beginning of 1932, Chevy released 20 models of cars, trying to meet all the criteria. By April, six models had already been dropped from the line for lack of positive response.
But the Chevy 2-door, 3-window coupe was clearly a winner, having been voted America’s favorite car the year of its release, no doubt because it fit all the buyer requirements.
The standard new model coupe had an improved engine, better carburetor and 60 horsepower, standard and quite good for the day. (The model in the photo has been refurbished to offer 410 horsepower).
The coupe came in the 3-window model shown, as well as a 5-window model and a “sports coupe” with a rumble seat.
Chevy’s biggest competitor was the Ford. When Chevy heard Ford would be offering a V-8 engine in 1932, they dressed up their ’32 for competition in other ways, with smoother lines and other features such as a steel body with a hardwood frame, unlike the all-steel Ford. The hardwood was fortified at all points of stress by steel bracing. Chevy claimed the wood reinforced the steel and the steel reinforced the wood.
Chevy bragged that their car was made of the “strongest steel known…exactly the same type used in the highest-priced cars.” The car was advertised as “The Great American Value” with a base price in the neighborhood of $545. It was often referred to as a “Baby Cadillac” because of its expensive look, in part due to its classy-looking radiator grille and bullet-shaped headlights.
A testament to the fact that Chevy must have done something very right with this car is the fact that many collectors today say the 1932 coupe model is their favorite Chevy of all time.