New Clutch Installation

By Ralph Morley

As I Have mentioned many times since I purchased my 1927 Chevrolet Capital AA on my first official drive the clutch operation was something like a kangaroo hopping and a constant vibration causing the whole car to react and shake violently, it took all my ability to operate the vehicle under these circumstances, hence after all these years, I have decided to bite the bullet and replace the clutch.

Many have advised me as to what was causing this vibration, to mention a few “The drive shaft must be loose in the spigot bearing”, The universal joint must be loose or worn ”Gearbox must need an overhaul”. I have had some say they could fix theproblem but it would “COST”.

Well recently member “Noel Kitchiner” of the VVCAA Qld branch posted an email telling how he had replaced the clutch in his Chev 4 so I contacted him, He was ever so helpful going back and forth talking me through the procedure. So armed with his wisdom and advice I set about tackling the job............

First, I jack up the front of the vehicle.

Next, I remove the floor boards. The first thing I see, is that there is a cross membermissing

Notice from the photo below which is of another vehicle.

I am beginning to think I have found a big part of the problem.

Off I go and get find a cross member. Found one.

I begin to dismantle parts like brake linkages, leads, many nuts and bolts from this and that making great time....The tail-shaft is next unbolted and pulled back a few inches then raised up and sat into a position to give me enough room to unbolt and pull the completed gearbox, bell housing “clutch cover” all in one

Next with the gearbox and clutch cover now moved back and lowered down onto the floor I now get into removing the clutch pressure plate and have a look about. 

Ok Now to remove the flywheel.

Before removing the Flywheel I marked one of the bolt holes and bolt so as it would be easier to realign the flywheel to its right position. Now I removed theflywheel and the flywheel bolts.

Note removing these bolts is quite easy once you realise the makers made provision for such to be done by providing a flat surface on the Main Bearing Cap on the Right hand Side e.g. (the Exhaust side of the motor). This may take a bit to find the exact position at which the bolts can be extracted but have patience it does work. Removing the flywheel bolts is necessary as we are going to use a different type ofbolt for the fitting of a new clutch plate.

The new Bolts are “1inch by 3/8 inch” - 25mm in length 9.5 mm e.g. 10 mm diameter and as they are assembled in reverse to the old bolts the nuts have Nut Loc applied to them.

There is a special counter sinking tool which has to be purchased, probably best to use a radial drill or milling machine for the job but a large bench drill would do thejob as well.

The flywheel is machined and ready to be fitted to the Crankshaft flange now.

Replacing the flywheel was made easier by replacing two of the old bolts to hold the flywheel in place for the fitting of the new bolts. With the flywheel lined up the marks I previously placed on the bolt holes in flywheel and crankshaft flange.

Now the new Countersink bolts proved to be a little difficult to get the nuts on but after learning to balance them in a spanner and holding them in place with a large screwdriver this obstacle proved only to be a slight inconvenience. Note I put a dab ofLocktite on each nut and bolt just for safety sake.

I installed the new Clutch driven plate fitted with no problems at all.

The plate as listed/shown below fits with a mod to the outer edge by sanding about 2mm off the diameter of the plate for a better fitment inside the flywheel. Other than trimming the clutch plate and the countersinking the flywheel bolts nothing else to do except enjoy a smooth clutch action. No more shudder!

The earlier EH-HR clutch plate will fit but is only 215mm in diameter.

I soon had the new clutch pressure plate installed and ready to be all bolted backtogether, including a new clutch throw out collar which was also easily fitted.

I purchased a new clutch throw out collar from the Filling Station in the USA.

Gearbox assembled complete with Cross member, bell housing “clutch cover” ready for installation.

With the aid of a jack, a sling and a couple of long dowels I have the gearbox inplace. Not bad for an old bloke. With a few bolts holding it up I am signing off.

Back on the job have fitted Cross member, Gearbox, along with Clutch Brake pedaland Handbrake, Won’t be long now.

Universal Joint and Housing all fitted and greased up.

Getting exciting now the floor and mat all replaced.

OK now we are ready for the test drive.


Richard from Armidale NSW has sought interpretation of the recordings on his 1954 sedan's ID plates and is interested in finding the history of his vehicle which was originally sold by Preston Motors Pty Ltd in Melbourne VIC and bears Queensland registration stickers for the years 1973 & 1974.  Club Member Bryan in response to Richard's inquiry has commented that this is the only known 1954 with two-tone paint from new and wondered that given this is a "late" 1954, perhaps the two-tone paint is connected with the introduction in 1955 of the two-tone option for FJ Holden Special sedans.  He also wonders whether if it may have been done up as a dealer "special" by Preston Motors Pty Ltd.  The paint and trim of Richard's car is original except for recovering of the seats.


Without questioning the knowledge and cleverness of other countries, the fact remains that Australia's roads and geographical conditions and the special tastes, needs, habits and preferences of Australia's public provide unique problems.  Hence the "sloper"!

With permission, extracts from the publication by Norm Darwin "THE HISTORY OF HOLDEN SINCE 1917":

The All-Enclosed Coupe evolved out of a great deal of market competition in the Sports Coupe area.  Holden designers were given the task of building a vehicle which would provide a cover for the "dickie" (or rumble) seat passengers.  Initially one body was used for Chevrolet, a second for Oldsmobile & Pontiac 6-cylinders and a third for 8-cylinder Oldsmobile, Pontiac & Buick cars.  

The 1935 Chevrolet enclosed coupe was first on display at the Melbourne Motor Show in June 1935.

The all-steel body released in 1937 provided Holden the opportunity to update styling, the rear window was enlarged and the boot lid which previously covered the spare wheel compartment was shortened and a separate door was added.  The major appearance change was the replacement of the thick centre pillar with a much thinner one which sloped rearward.

A main feature of the enclosed coupe was the folding rear seat. Once folded a large area was available for cargo.  The Chev Commercial style had no rear seat just a floor running through to the boot.

Almost 6,500 Chev slopers were made between 1935 & 1940 accounting for 13% of Chev sales for the period.


by Bryan Cantrell (50)

I recently came across two photographs of my grandfather’s Chevrolets and thought that they were suitable to share with members via the ‘Royal Mail’. The first is a 1926 Superior V tourer, shown here on a family picnic at an unknown location. 

The second is his next Chevrolet, a 1936 sedan, parked in their street in Brisbane with some period “Queenslander” homes in the background.   
This car stayed in our family and was traded in by my father on an FJ Holden in 1954. 

I also enclose a photograph of the 1939 sedan that Judy and I owned in the 1970’s.

I was also spurred on by two articles in the October and December 2009 issues of the Royal Mail by Craig, which featured two Chevrolets which have been continuously registered since new. This started me thinking about Queensland car registration plates.   I believe that the longest-registered VVCAA (Qld) Chevrolet is Roger’s 1926 Superior K tourer Q64-482.   Plates of this era were hand painted, with a black “Q” on a white background and white numbers on a black background. Vehicles carried only one plate, rear-mounted on the spare wheel bracket or similar attachment point. 

My grandfather’s 1926 Superior V tourer had the number Q67-559, logically following on from Roger’s earlier 1926 car. I believe that the Superior V was a uniquely Australian model produced by Holden Body Works in late 1926 and/or early 1927. It featured a single body bead along the bonnet and around the body near the tops of the doors. Most old photographs I have seen indicate that these bodies were finished in two-tone paint, with a darker colour above the bead. These bodies also had external door handles. In this way, they were a precursor to the 1927 Holden-bodied Chevrolets, of which Wal and Jen have a lovely example in their 1927 Capitol tourer Q74-081.    

The 1932 tourer Q158-208 restored by Noel and Edna is an example of the next stage of evolution, in which the “Q” and the numerals are cast alloy riveted to the metal backing plate. There was still only one plate per vehicle. 

These plates were produced in subcontracting workshops and I once met someone who worked as a roustabout in such a workshop. He was able to describe how the plates were manufactured, from the casting shop for the “Q’s” and numerals, the sheet metal shop where the metal blanks were cut, the paint shop and finally the production shop where the finished plates were assembled.   The change to these new-style plates was made in the early 1930’s, and the highest number on a hand painted plate of which I am aware is Q123-760, as fitted to Graham’s 1927 tourer. This is not an original number for a 1927 vehicle, but is the number that Graham says was on the car all the time he has known it. Presumably it is a replacement following the loss of the original plate.

The number of vehicles in Queensland pre-World War II was relatively small: e.g. my grandfather’s 1936 sedan Q230-879 and my 1939 sedan Q289-936.   My first car was a 1952 Holden 48-215, with the registration number Q566-218. The annual cost of registration was then £22.15.6; it is now over $800 for a 6-cylinder Holden in Queensland.   The “Q” plates continued to 1954/5, when Queensland introduced alpha-numeric registration plates in a series beginning NAA¸000. The new plates were metal stampings with a small “QLD” at the top; the black and white colour pattern was continued. For the first time two plates were issued to each vehicle. This bought Queensland into line with southern States, where front-mounted plates had been the rule for decades. Queensland still differed, however, in respect of number plate ownership. Queensland plates belonged to the Government and always remained with the vehicle to which they were originally allocated. When a car was sold, the number passed to the new owner, unlike in NSW and Victoria where owners could retain plates and transfer them to another vehicle.  Since then there have been many changes, including green on white plates with the slogan “QUEENSLAND – SUNSHINE STATE” along the bottom edge and later maroon on white plates. More recently a new era of personalised plates was ushered in as an extra-cost option to standard issue plates. Which is a long way from where we started!


By Bryan Cantrell

The caption to this photograph reads “On the western plains – when they were boggy they were just plain hell”.  I would have to agree.  It’s amazing what Chevs were subjected to when they were new!

The year was 1936 when the drought broke in Australia.  Three scientists were studying plants in western Queensland, travelling in a 1935 Chevrolet utility heavily laden with scientific equipment, camping gear, provisions and spare parts.  Swags were carried in the traditional method, wedged between the bonnet and the front mudguards.  Road conditions switched between two extremes.  All too often the road was invisible and the Chev was driven from one boggy patch to another.  Other times the road traversed rough gibber plains.  Along the way a bashed in sump was repaired and several broken springs replaced.

Later in the trip the scientists needed to cross the flooded Diamantina River to reach Birdsville.  Before attempting the crossing, the “usual precautions” were observed.  These were to remove the fan belt, wrap the distributor in a piece of old macintosh, and tie a sheet of canvas over the radiator grille.  Two scientists crossed on horseback, but the driver tackled the river, lurching over the rocky river bed and triumphantly roaring up the opposite river bank where the Chev came to rest dripping like a spaniel.  The water level had been above the seat and the driver’s trousers were well soaked.

This is a true story, as told by Francis Ratcliffe in his book “Flying Fox and Drifting Sand”, published by Chatto and Windus, London, 1939.

The photograph was scanned from the book by our daughter, Laura.  It is somewhat grainy but gives a vivid impression of the Chev with the front wheels throwing up impressive “bow waves” as it negotiates a boggy patch.



By Bryan Cantrell (050)

Leading up to the Centenary of Chevrolet, it is worthy to reflect on significant milestones in the history of Chevrolet passenger vehicles since 1911.  These include the 1913/4 “Royal Mail” in which the motor which universally became  known as a “Chev 4” was first used; 4-wheel brakes in 1928; the “Chev 6” engine in 1929; knee-action suspension in 1934; hydraulic brakes in 1936 and so on.  

The 1954 models are also noteworthy as they marked the end of an era for Chevrolet in mechanical design: the last of a long line of models with an OHV engine, a single universal joint, an enclosed drive shaft in a cast iron torque tube connecting the gearbox to the differential, and king pins in the front suspension.  It was also the last of the post WWII “new“ Chevrolets introduced in 1949.  

The “modern” Chevrolet , born in 1955, changed this forever with the introduction of an exposed drive shaft, two universal joints, ball joint front suspension and the first V-8 engine since 1918.  It was the forerunner of the Chevrolet cars we know today.

So, back to 1954.  Only a single model was available in Australia. This was the 210 series 4-door sedan, equipped with American “Fisher” bodies and exported through Canada, but partly fitted out (seats, trim, tyres and battery) by General Motors Holden (GMH) in Australia.  The cost of a 1954 Chevrolet was £1578, while a contemporary Holden sold for £1074.  The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recorded 2295 Chevrolets registered in Australia during 1954.

The GMH code for 1954 Chevrolet 210 sedans sold in Australia was 54-104B.  They featured carpeted flooring; single tone leather seats with alternating wide and 4 narrow pleats; and two-tone door trims with arm rests on all doors.  No external rear view mirrors were provided. 
Most bodies were painted in Duco lacquer manufactured by BALM (British Australian Lead Manufacturers Pty Ltd). As far as I can ascertain, no two-tone option was available - however, see Richard's car's details below - a one-off as a dealer "special"?  Interiors were painted in complimentary colours, normally darker than the body colour, except for the lower half of the dashboard which was a pale cream/off white colour. The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is stamped on a plate attached to the front passenger door pillar.

The VIN has the following elements:

54 1069 HS 51083 where 

54 = 1954,

1069 = Fisher body code number for Chevrolet 210 4-door sedans,

HS = Holden’s Sydney, and

51083 = unique identification number for each vehicle.

I assume that these plates were attached in Australia because of the inclusion of the letters “HS” in the VIN.  This assumption is an extrapolation from the similar practice used by GMH for Holden cars and utilities built between December 1950 and July 1953.  GMH used the following codes to indicate their factories: 

HA = Adelaide, 
HB = Brisbane, 
HM = Melbourne, 
HP = Perth and 
HS = Sydney.

GMH also attached a Body Identification plate to 1954 Chevrolets, attached on top of the cowl on the driver’s side, with the following format:

Style No. 54 – 104B (the GMH code for 1954 Chevrolet sedans),

Body No. 1059 (unique identification number for each vehicle),

Trim No. 3 – 356 (3 = abbreviated paint code; 356 – trim code),

Paint No. 253 – 16314 (253 = lacquer; 16314 = full BALM paint code),

Top (blank),

Acc. 12 (month of production).

Paint codes overlap with those used on Holden vehicles and I was able to find paint colour names for 1954 Chevrolets owned by  VVCAA members, using books by Norm Darwin and Don Loffler, as shown below.  Information on the second half of the Trim Code was harder to find, but I was given some details by Peter Kelly.


Darwin, Norm, 1983.  The history of Holden since 1917; E L Ford Publications, Newstead, Victoria.

Darwin, Norm, 2002.  100 years of GM in Australia; H@ND Publishing, Ballarat, Victoria.

Kelly, Peter (pers. comm.) 2011.  Information on Trim Codes.

Loffler, Don, 2002.  The FJ Holden: a favourite Australian car; Wakefield Press , Adelaide, South Australia.

Loffler, Don, 2006.  She’s a beauty: the story of the first Holdens: Wakefield Press, 

Adelaide, South Australia, 2nd edition.

Compiled by Bryan Cantrell, March 2011.

Comparison of known 1954 Chevrolet 210 sedans

Peter (parts car)

VIN 54 1069 B 50123 (Engine No. R779964)

Style No. 54 – 104B,

Body No. 54,

Trim No. 8 – 357 (Blue),

Paint No. 253 – 15931 (Calamine Blue)

Acc. 5 (May 1954)


VIN 54 1069 HS 50207 (Engine No. 781361),

Style No. 54 – 104B,

Body No. 108,

Trim No. 8 – 357 (Blue),

Paint No. 253 – 15931 (Calamine Blue)

Acc. 5 (May 1954).


VIN 54 1069 50313 HA (Engine No. 783458)

Style No. 54 – 104B,

Body No. 458,

Trim No. 33 – 417,

Paint No. 253 – 16210 (Guildford Beige),

Acc. 7 (July 1954).


VIN 54 1069 B 50745 (Engine No. R242262)

Style No. 54 – 104B,

Body No. 627,

Trim No. 4 – 356 (Red)

Paint No. 253 – 16258 (Black)

Acc. 9 (September 1954)


VIN 54 1069 HS 51083 (Engine No.R119453)

Style No. 54 – 104B,

Body No. 1059,

Trim No. 3 – 356 (Red),

Paint No. 253 – 16314 (Birch Grey),

Acc. 12 (December 1954).


VIN 54 1069 HS 50216 (Engine No. R781354)

Style No. 54 - 104B,

Body No. 99,

Trim No. 8 - 357 (Blue),

Paint No. 253 - 15931 (Calamine Blue),

Acc. 5 (May 1954)


VIN 54 1069 HM 51316 (Engine No. R45354 which is unusually low)

Style No. 54-104B

Body No. 1294 (Early 1955?)

Trim No. 82-355 (Possibly two-tone green?) Swanpool Green over Swann Green

Paint No. 253-16369

                 16200 (Swanpool Green) in ACC area

1953 Supplement

 Ian (150 series)

 VIN 53 1200 69878D (Engine No. 688019)

Style No. 53 – 124B,

Body No. 69,

Trim No. 28 – 253 (Green),

Paint No. 260 – 16082 (Georgian Green metallic)

Acc. 7 (July 1953).


Peter (210 Series)

VIN B 53 T 031859

Style No. 53 – 1069W

Body No. T8052

Trim No. 251

Paint No. 500

Peter’s car bears USA identification, indicating that it was built in Tarrytown, New York with paint combination 500 (Top 7349G Woodland Green and lower 7348 Surf Green).

Steve (150 Series)

VIN 53 1016 B75622

Body No. 821 (or 1821)

Paint No. 253 - 16019 (Malibu Ivory)

Acc. 2 (February 1954)

1951 Supplement (vehicles arranged oldest to newest)


VIN 51 1016 HB 002

Style No. 51-104B (Styleline Sedan)

Body No. 61

Trim No. 5-180

Paint No. 207-15925 (Serge Blue metallic)

Acc. 7 (July 1951 build)

Engine No. R451516


VIN 51 1216 HB 141 (Utility)

Style No. 51-12061B

Body No. 365

Trim No. 2-200 (Brown vinyl) [This material became brittle with age and was also used on door trims and headlining on utilities 1949 to 1952.]

Paint No. 253-15914 (Sierra Rust)

Acc. 8 (August 1951 build)

Engine No. R475195


VIN 51 1016 HB 114

Style No. 51-104B (Styleline Sedan)

Body No. 639

Trim No. 5-180

Paint No. 207-15925 (Serge Blue metallic)

Acc. 10 (October 1951 build)

Engine No. 91042?


VIN 51 1016 HB 205

Style No. 51-104B (Styleline Sedan)

Body No. 1148

Trim No. 4 - 206

Paint No. 253 - 15922 (Lido Beige)

Acc. 1 (January 1952 build)

Engine No. R502685 (Original Engine 
No. R501295)


VIN 51 1016 HS 56646

Style No. 51-104B (Styleline Sedan)

Body No. 1172

Trim No. 5 - 180

Paint No. 207-15925 (Serge Blue metallic)

Acc. 1 (January 1952 build)

Engine No. R491523

Should you wish to have the statistics of your 1951-1954 Chevrolet included in this article, complete the "contact us" form on this website.