The dashing Cabriolet model was introduced mid-season in 1931. Of the 619,554 Chevrolet Series AE Independence vehicles built in 1931, the smartly-styled Cabriolet comprised less than 4% of the production run, selling a total of 23,077 cars.
The 1931 Chevrolet Series AE Independence line vehicles were larger, heavier cars compared to previous years. Their wheelbase was extended from 107 to 109 inches, and their weight increased by as much as 95 pounds, making the cars range between 2,275 and 2,725 pounds depending on the model. Their frames were stronger and their bodies were roomier and more stylish than ever. Interiors included Mohair or broadcloth upholstery was offered to finish the deeply cushioned, comfortable seats. Twenty three color choices were offered for the 1931 model year throughout the Chevrolet line.
Other mechanical modifications to the 1931 Chevrolet Series AE Independence line included a new vibration damper for the engine, a stouter engine block stiffened by the addition of integral ribs, a more durable clutch and flywheel, and worm-and-sector steering to replace the outmoded worm-and-gear design. Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels were now furnished as standard equipment with all models, as were a folding windshield and rumble seat. Extra-cost options included clock, cigar lighter, interior heater, front and rear bumpers, among others.
Retail prices were reduced by about $20 at the low end of the model line and by about $35 at the top end from the previous year, making the 1931 Chevrolet Series AE Independence line average retail for about $615.
The Cabriolet sported a top speed of 85MPH, powered by a 194cid straight six-cylinder engine, rated at 50HP. Over the years, this straight-six engine was affectionately known as the “Stove Bolt Six”. This very sturdy and reliable cast iron engine would endure well into the early 1950 Chevrolet model years, making it one of the longest-lived engines at that time.
Chevrolet production slipped by about eight percent as The Great Depression deepened, but rival Ford's output plummeted by nearly 66 percent, allowing Chevrolet to handily reclaim first place again in the automobile industry.
- "Standard Catalog of Chevrolet 1912-1990", by Pat Chappell, Krause Publications, Inc., 1990, USA.
Research by LeMay Museum Docent, Tim Hallen