1919 Chevrolet Model 490


Early Motor Cars Vintage 1919-1927

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William Durant was pushed out of General Motors in 1910 when the company became overextended. He quickly re-entered the automobile business with racing driver Louis Chevrolet who had brought out a light car called the Little. Durant needed something more substantial. Chevrolet envisioned an even larger car, so when the Classic Six debuted in 1912, it weighed nearly 4,000 lbs. (1,814 kg) and sold for $2,250. That was not a car with which to battle Henry Ford. A program was begun for a smaller, less-expensive car. The result was the H-series Chevrolet of 1914, with a 170.9-cu. in. (2,800 cc) OHV four producing 24 hp (18 kW) designed by Arthur Mason. This engine would remain in production through 1928. The H-series, which included the Royal Mail tourer and Amesbury Special roadster, was Chevrolet’s mainstay until the arrival of the low-price 490 in 1916, which remained in production through 1922. Billy Durant was a firm believer in the OHV engine. It had been the reason for the success of his earlier automobile company, Buick, which he had taken over in 1904, and used to found GM in 1908. When he lost control of GM in 1910 Buick still had the patent for the OHV engine, but GM did not dare to sue Durant. Durant would use Chevrolet to regain control of GM in 1917, which he merged with Chevrolet that year.

Additional information

Dimensions 47.5 × 34.5 cm