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The 1933 Chevrolet Eagle and Mercury represented two distinct directions for Chevy's lineup. The Eagle was the upscale series and the Mercury, added at midyear, served low-budget buyers.
The strategy worked, and Chevrolet beat Ford's sales total by 44 percent for the year.
The 1933 Chevrolet Eagle and Mercury approach meant Chevys were built on two wheelbases (distance between front and rear axles) for the first time since 1922. Eagles measured 110 inches. The Mercury series rode a 107-inch span.
Skirted fenders helped impart a streamlined look. The Eagle line featured Silent Synchro-Mesh transmission for smooth gear changes. The Eagle also had something new called a Starterator, which combined the starter switch with the gas pedal. For the first time, bumpers were standard.
Ads boasted of "the only proved six-cylinder engine in the low-priced field." Enlarged to 206 cubic inches, the Eagle's six-cylinder engine developed 65 horsepower, just 10 fewer than Ford's V-8. A shorter-stroke, 181-cubic-inch version of the six went into the Mercury series and was rated at 60 horsepower. Chevy did take a serious look at V-8 power. GM engineer Alex Taub developed an experimental oversquare, overhead-valve V-8 engine, but Chevrolets were destined to stick with six cylinders for the next two decades.
Two-seat roadsters were no longer produced, and rumble-seated Sport Roadsters were fading in popularity. After all, fresh-air fiends could get a convertible cabriolet with roll-up windows. The new Town Sedan had a built-in trunk, not a common feature in 1933.
At the Century of Progress Exhibition in Chicago, visitors could watch Chevrolets being built.
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