This 1948 Dodge Club Coupe Fluid Drive is a two owner survivor that looks and drives very well. This car has the 230 cubic inch L-Head 6 cylinder with the 3 speed fluid drive transmission. It’s painted LaPlata Blue with a blue-grey interior. This Dodge Club Coupe was bought new and owned by the same man for 52 years. It was then passed on to his nephew in 2001. The second owner had the car fully restored by C.A.R.S. of Pittsburgh Inc. (no longer in business) in 2001. He drove it occasionally for a few years and then parked it in an indoor storage facility until recently. With a new battery and some gas, it fired up after sitting for a number of years.
This 1948 Dodge is a continuation 1948 model built in early 1949 making it the last batch of D-24’s built. It’s actually registered and titled as a 1949, but we call it a ‘48 to avoid confusion with the 1949 Dodge Wayfarer which is a different design.
For an older restoration, the exterior has held up quite well. The LaPlata Blue exterior still has plenty of shine. If you look very closely, there are a few places where the paint is dimpled or bubbled, but otherwise it appears as a very good professional paint job. There is a small amount of surface corrosion on the nose of the car where the hood makes contact with the body, but otherwise the car is rust free. The chrome trim looks to be in good condition except for the driver’s side rocker panel molding which is oxidized. We believe it was an aftermarket piece that did not hold up as well. The undercarriage, frame, and floors are all remarkably rust free. It was coated with a thick oily undercoating that looks to have kept it well protected over the years. This car has a few very cool period add-ons like the sun visor and spotlight.
The interior is in very good condition. Seats, headliner, and doors all look and feel very nice. All the gauges work except for the clock. The radio lights up, but may need refurbished and the shift lever tip is missing. The wood on the doors looks to be in very good condition while the wood on the dash is actually painted metal, but looks very real.
The L-Head 6 cylinder engine has plenty of power and pulls the car along with ease. It’s a quiet, smooth running engine. It retains the original 6 V electric system, but has a new battery, voltage regulator, and spark plugs. It also has a new fuel pump, new brake fluid, new thermostat, and new radiator cap. The Fluid Drive transmission only requires you to declutch when first setting off. Otherwise, you can shift without using the clutch. Fluid drive transmissions were more reliable than the automatics of the day (sometimes needing rebuilt every 20-30 thousand miles). Compared to the manual transmission, they required less maintenance because the clutch does not make a physical connection and therefore no wear. In fact, D-24’s were so reliable and maintenance free, they were very popular taxis throughout the 1940’s.
Overall, this 1948 Dodge Club Coupe is about as classy as it gets. It’s a historical representation of post WWII America that is reliable enough to drive every day. This vehicle is held on consignment and is not owned by Fort Pitt Classic Cars.