Chevrolet Series 490

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Chevrolet Series 490
1922 Chevrolet 490 Touring.jpg
1922 Chevrolet 490 touring car
Manufacturer Chevrolet Motor Car Company (pre GM)
Chevrolet Division, GM
Also called Chevrolet Four-Ninety
Production 1915-1922
Body and chassis
Class mid-size
Body style 2-door roadster
2-door special roadster
4-door touring
chassis "cowl" truck added (1918)
Layout FR layout
Engine 171 in3, 26 hp (19 kW)(1916), I4
Transmission Selective-sliding 3-speed cone clutch[1][2]
Wheelbase 102 in (2,591 mm)[1]
Predecessor Chevrolet Series L
Successor Chevrolet Superior

The Chevrolet Series 490 (or Four-Ninety) is a Brass Era American automobile, made from 1915 to 1922. The June 1915 introduction of the $490,[3] Chevrolet 490 was an immediate success and established the brand as a big player. The name would not denote the price for long (in 1921, the average price was $820[4]), but it would stay low enough to take a chunk out of the Model T market. The Model T started at $495 at the time. Chevrolet was soon so profitable that Billy Durant began buying shares of GM stock with his Chevrolet stock. Electric horns were standard.[3] And by 1921, standard equipment included a speedometer, and ammeter, dome lights (closed-body cars only), and headlight dimmers.[5]


All 490s were only offered with the Overhead Valve 171-cubic-inch (2.8 L) four cylinder, producing 26 hp (19 kW). This would be Chevrolet's main engine until the "Stovebolt" straight six replaced it for 1929.

The first Chevrolet trucks[edit]

The same year Chevrolet merged with GM, Durant wanted a pickup to compete with the new Ford Model TT. The answer was two models, the first 1918 Chevrolet Series 490 Light Delivery chassis cowl rated at half a ton and based on the auto. The second, not based on the 490, was a one-ton 1918 Chevrolet Model T (oddly enough) "Ton Truck". It had a payload capacity rating of 2,000 lbs and sold for $1245 retail. Much like the chassis cab of today, they gave consumers a cheap, flexible platform to build on. Its steering wheel and gear shift lever, along with the instrument panel and gauge cluster, were also lifted from the passenger car. A chassis cowl included the chassis with engine, transmission and the front sheet metal which comprised the hood, front fenders, headlights and grille.[6]

Production notes[edit]

Year Production Price Weight Notes
1915 $490
1916 70,701 $550–$750 1,820-2,500 lbs
1917 100,000th Chevrolet, Chevy takes over GM
1918 95,660 $660–$1,060 1,890-2,160 lbs chassy/"cowl" truck added
1919  149,833 (approx.) $715–$1,185 1,820-2,160 lbs
1920 150,226 (approx.) $795–$1,285 1,820-2,160 lbs
1921  76,370 (approx.) $795–$1,375 1,820-2,160 lbs
1922  243,479 (approx.) $510–$875 1,435-2,150 lbs

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kimes, Beverly (1996). standard catalog of American Cars 1805-1942. Krause publications. ISBN 0-87341-428-4. 
  2. ^ "Directory Index: Chevrolet/1916_Chevrolet/1916_Chevrolet_490_Brochure". Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Directory Index: Chevrolet/1916_Chevrolet/1916_Chevrolet_490_Brochure". Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Directory Index: Chevrolet/1921_Chevrolet/1921_Chevrolet_Data_Sheets". Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Directory Index: Chevrolet/1921_Chevrolet/1921_Chevrolet_Data_Sheets". Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  6. ^ HowStuffWorks