Stagger Valve Fronty

             1931 - 1936

In 1931 Arthur Chevrolet’s aircraft business was dead in the water.  The Great Depression had spooked investors away, and production activities with the firm had ceased.  In looking for new opportunities, Arthur borrowed technology from the Chevolair aviation engine, and applied it to a new automobile racing mill called the Fronty AF16. 

 

The engine was based on the Model A Ford block, and used a special cylinder head with double overhead cams, and 4-valves per cylinder.  The intake and exhaust valves were “staggered” on each side of the cylinder, as opposed to having 2 intake valves on one side of the combustion chamber, and 2 exhaust valves on the other side.  The engine featured gear driven cams, special connecting rods, and a unique crankshaft. 

 

Art and his son Arthur Chevrolet Jr. drew up plans for the new engine, and sought assistance from the Ford Motor Company to field a new car for the 1931 Indianapolis 500.  The documents below shed some light on the development of the Fronty AF16, and Arthur Chevrolet’s quest to capture the Indy 500.

3/11/31 - Indianapolis, Indiana

AF16 Cylinder Head Blue Print,

drawn by Arthur Chevrolet Jr.

(Kem Robertson Collection)

3/18/31 - Indianapolis, Indiana

Arthur Chevrolet writes Edsel Ford, and

asks for engineering help with new mill

(The Henry Ford)

3/25/31 - Dearborn, Michigan

Edsel Ford's secretary writes to Art

Chevrolet about March 18th letter

(The Henry Ford)

3/25/31 - Dearborn, Michigan

Ford's secretary telegrams Chevrolet

requesting blue prints of special parts

(The Henry Ford)

3/27/31 - Indianapolis, Indiana

AF16 Upper Chain Drive Housing,

drawn by Arthur Chevrolet Jr.

(Kem Robertson Collection)

3/31/31 - Indianapolis, Indiana

AF16 Lower Chain Drive Housing,

drawn by Arthur Chevrolet Jr.

(Kem Robertson Collection)

4/04/31 - Indianapolis, Indiana

AF16 Crankshaft Blue Print,

drawn by Arthur Chevrolet Jr.

(The Henry Ford)

4/04/31 - Indianapolis, Indiana

AF16 Camshaft Blue Print,

drawn by Arthur Chevrolet Jr.

(The Henry Ford)

4/04/31 - Indianapolis, Indiana

AF16 Connecting Rod Blue Print,

drawn by Arthur Chevrolet Jr.

(The Henry Ford)

4/13/31 - Indianapolis, Indiana

Art Chevrolet telegrams Mr. Ford,

asks for decision on help with parts

(The Henry Ford)

4/13/31 - Dearborn, Michigan

Ford's secretary telegrams Chevrolet,

informs him they can't assist with parts

(The Henry Ford)

4/13/31 - Dearborn, Michigan

Ford's secretary writes Mr. Chevrolet,

offer to build special parts is rejected

(The Henry Ford)

May  1931 - Indianapolis, Indiana

Stagger Valve Fronty competed at Indy despite lack of support from Ford

(Indianapolis Motor Speedway)

Circa  1931 - Indianapolis, Indiana

Arthur Chevrolet AF16 Catalog, which gives details on 1931 Indy campaign

(Kem Robertson Collection)

Stager Valve Fronty

6/24/33 - Detroit, Michigan

Tommy Mulligan seated in Fronty AF16.  Mulligan was Art's brother-in-law.

(Detroit Free Press)

Circa 1936 - Indianapolis, Indiana

AF16 Blue Print Section AA,

drawn by Arthur Chevrolet

(Kem Robertson Collection)

Circa 1936 - Indianapolis, Indiana

AF16 Blue Print Section BB,

drawn by Arthur Chevrolet

(Kem Robertson Collection)