- C​huck Kramer

The Kramers’ award-winning 1932 Chevrolet Deluxe Special Sedan

T​his beautiful car really stands out among other car show cars

8w ago

Recently I covered and participated in the spectacular MAIN STREET AMERICA People’s Choice Charity Car Show, in Embarcadero Park North, near Seaport Village in San Diego.

That huge park, with its gently rolling green hills, overlooks the beautiful San Diego waterfront.

I will cover the rest of this car show in a future AutoMatters & More column but, while I was there, one car in particular caught my attention.

I photographed it and then moved on, but I just could not get it out of my mind. I was so captivated by it that I felt compelled to learn more about it — and so I did. After the awards presentation...

C​huck Kramer receiving his first place award for his 1932 Chevrolet Deluxe Special Sedan

C​huck Kramer receiving his first place award for his 1932 Chevrolet Deluxe Special Sedan

... as the show was wrapping up, I returned to this car, where I found the couple that owned it. I spoke to Chuck Kramer for almost an hour before they drove away.

Their car is a 1932 Chevrolet Deluxe Special Sedan. It will be 90 years old next year.

Chuck told me: “The original price was $630, but they were only making 79 cents an hour back then. It took like 800 hours, if a person put all his money out, to pay for it back in 1932.”

“I had a parts catalog on a ’37 pickup. If you wanted windshield wipers: 25 cents. If you wanted an extra mirror or something like that, that might be $1.50.” We both had a good laugh about that.

Speaking of mirrors, in addition to the car’s standard accessories, he added such necessities as better-positioned side-view mirrors — to supplement the mirrors that are strapped onto the tires. He said: “I had to have mirrors that I could see with.”

Chuck was careful with the money he spent restoring his car. For example, when he got it the car was all white. The beautiful paint job that you see here now was done at Maaco — a place that has long been known for its affordable auto painting. As another example: “See the arm cushions? La-Z-Boy rocker.”

He replaced or re-chromed all of the chrome. The small, chromed doors on the side of the hood open one at a time. “They used them a lot in Cadillacs and Buicks, but they only did it two years in Chevrolet. When you close those, they snap closed. You’d better not have your fingers in there. The 1933 has three doors — smaller doors. On the ’33 they’re actually like a ratchet, so you can close them and set them wherever you want them.”

Ever wonder why cars had flower vases like this one has inside? “You fill the car full of people and things could get a little — unpleasant, so by having the flowers in there, that would supposedly freshen up the air a little bit.”

The car had air shocks when he got it. “They stuck out in front — really ugly, so they had to go. I cut them out and put in some regular shocks. It probably had, back then, what they called ‘knee action shocks.’”

The original engine was likely a 6-cylinder. “They would probably get up to about 55-60 (mph).”

Have you ever wondered why a car’s trunk is called a trunk (except in the UK, where it apparently is called a boot, for some reason which I do not know)? My ‘aha moment’ came after I asked Chuck the following question, while I was standing near the front of this very large, Rolls Royce-looking car: “So, what’s the trunk like? How big is the trunk space?” Seemingly taken by surprise by my question, Chuck replied: “Oh, it just has that trunk in the back. I’ve never really measured it.”

Still not getting the silliness of my question, I went on to ask: “Pretty big?”

Chuck added, while taking me to the rear of the car: “Well here, look at it.”

As I saw the trunk I felt a little foolish, and exclaimed: “Oh, it is literally a trunk!!!” I never realized that is where the name of the car trunk came from, did you? We both laughed again, as I added: “I’ve got to get a picture of that!”

Well, that’s all for now. I look forward to visiting Chuck and his wife at their home someday soon, where I will take photos and learn more about their historic auto collection for an upcoming AutoMatters & More column.

To see the most photos and the latest text, visit AutoMatters & More at the AutoMatters.net website, and click the blue 2021 box on the Home Page for this year’s columns.

Copyright © 2021 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #702r1

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Comments (13)

  • GREAT pictures! The paint is something special. Maaco, sure. It's the color choice. Fabulous. (My Dad's award winning 74 Ghia convertible has an ORANGE paint job from Maaco - knew the owner)

    Trunk ... WOW! Learn something every day. This is fascinating!!!!! Thanks for the education. This needs an article of it's own, Jan. I'll leave it for you but this really needs to be spread around. Boot vs Trunk!

      1 month ago
    • Thanks David,

      When I went to the show, I expected that I would just write about the show, but when I saw this car and spoke with its owner, I knew that I had to write an article about it alone. When I first saw it, I assumed it was a rare, high dollar...

      Read more
        1 month ago
    • You are welcome, Jan.

      The killer is the Maaco paint job. People hear that and cringe. But sometimes you can get a really good job out of them as seen here.

      And yes, it didn't come off as a "pedestrian" Chevy. Very well presented. Props to the...

      Read more
        1 month ago
  • Such a little jewel of a car!! 😁

      1 month ago
  • This beautiful car looks like a luxury car of its day because of Chuck’s tasteful restoration. He could have done an authentic restoration to original condition but it would have been much more expensive and of less visual impact. And this way he gets some more modern components thrown in!

    The touches that set it off are the gray metallic paint with the black accents, the four chromed vents on the hood, and of course the trunk where a trunk should be. With all the chrome highlights, the car is a work of art that has to be studied and appreciated.

    A great column Jan. For a one car article, you picked the right car. I’ve taken a few peeks at AutoMatters.net and everything seems to be working well. David.

      1 month ago
    • Hi David,

      Your comments are spot-on. Chuck's smart, cost-effective restoration, while not completely authentic, vastly improved the period-correct 'look' of his car.

      It reminds me of this car that I photographed several years ago at...

      Read more
        1 month ago
    • Followed the link to your column on the Petersen Museum. Beautiful structure as well as the cars within. Has attendance suffered as a result of the Covid?

        1 month ago
  • That looks a lot nicer now then it did when it rolled off the assembly line.

    Not that there is much wrong with that.

      1 month ago
    • Ricky,

      That's a great compliment to Chuck's beautiful restoration.


        1 month ago
  • Did he buy this new? 😮

      1 month ago
    • No, and he's done quite a bit of work on it since taking ownership of it.

        1 month ago