1914 Chevrolet roadster

The 1914 Chevrolet Royal Mail roadster represents the early years of a make that a decade later would become the low-priced, mass-market leader in General Motors Corporation's varied array of cars. In 1914, Chevrolet cars were redesigned to compete with Ford and other makes vying for the low-priced market, which comprised working class and middle-class Americans. The Royal Mail and its larger companion, the Baby Grand touring car, were the first Chevrolet cars priced under $1,000. The Royal Mail body was considered streamlined and attractive. Its four-cylinder engine featured an overhead valve design, a Buick innovation that increased power; the OHV design reappeared on other GM cars during the next several decades. Alton M. Costley, a businessman who owned a Chevrolet dealership near Atlanta, donated this car to the Smithsonian in 1978.
The 1914 Chevrolet Series H roadster, marketed as the Chevrolet Royal Mail, is an open car with a folding top and folding windshield. Like many "streamlined" cars of the day, its styling is smooth and uninterrupted and flows from front to back without projecting hardware or accessories. The gasoline tank is external, but it has a pleasing elliptical shape that complements the body. The hand-cranked engine has four cylinders and an overhead valve design.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Chevrolet Motor Car Company
Physical Description
steel (overall material)
wood (overall material)
rubber (overall material)
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
serial number
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Road
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Alton M. Costley
Additional Media

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