Danish-born William S. 'Big Bill' Knudsen helped Henry Ford figure out how to produce Model T's by the millions. In early 1924 Knudsen shocked the industry by moving to General Motors, where he took command of the Chevrolet brand and car, brought into the GM fold by Billy Durant. Knudsen immediately challenged Chevy dealers to match Ford sales 'one for one' - a seemingly impossible goal as nearly half of all new cars sold at the time were Fords.
Knudsen and a talented team of managers instituted a policy of continuous improvement for the 4-cylinder Chevy. By 1925, the aptly named Superior K Chevrolet was a worthy competitor to the Model T Ford.
The Chevrolet 4-cylinder engine featured overhead valves and produced 26 horsepower, while the Model T's L-head four was rated at 20 horsepower. Chevy had a conventional 3-speed manual transmission, but Ford clung to the 2-speed planetary gearbox used in Model Ts since 1908. Buyers noticed and Chevy sales soared to 341,281 for 1925. The battle for sales supremacy had been joined.
In 1925, a Superior K Touring such as this one listed for $525. That price included an electric starter and wood-spoke wheels. Bumpers, though, were optional. This example was found in a barn around 1970 and was subsequently restored. It is believed to have traveled only 31,000 miles since new.
The Series K Superior Chevrolet was an improved version over the prior year and brought with it many important updates and modifications. It still rode on a 103-inch wheelbase but was now powered by an improved powerplant. The 171 cubic-inch four-cylinder engine produced 26 horsepower and was mated to a manual gearbox. The gearbox had also been updated with a new single dry plate clutch replacing the old cone clutch style. The ride and handling was vastly improved by the removal of quarter-elliptic rear springs with semi-elliptic springs. The brakes measured 11-inches in diameter and operated on the rear wheels.
The cost to own a new Superior Series K Touring car was $525, nearly twice as much as the Ford Model T which cost $290.
The Touring cars, as well as the roadsters, were given wood-spoke wheels. The coupes and sedans, on the other hand, had steel-disc wheels.
In total, 519,229 examples were produced.
By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2008