The history of Chevrolet proves, that a company can reach a great success, producing relatively low-priced automobiles. The famous American vehicle manufacturer built a strong reputation by creating modern, stylish, reliable and yet affordable cars. Here are 20 fascinating facts about this great automaker.
1. The Famous Swiss race car driver and automobile engineer Louis-Josef Chevrolet never owned the company that bore his name. Louis Chevrolet co-founded the Chevrolet Motor Company in Detroit with William C. Durant, a well-known American industrialist and founder of General Motors. Rumour has it, that Durant suggested Chevrolet to leave the races and make his own car. The new vehicle was built in cooperation with specialists from General Motors. Durant supported the project financially, and Chevrolet gave the car its name, which had already been well-known to most Americans. It served as a guarantee of its future success. On November 3, 1911 one of the most famous car was born brands – Chevrolet.
2. The legendary Chevrolet’s bow tie emblem appeared in 1914. One legend tells the famous “cross” which was also called “a bow tie” was a pattern of wallpapers at a Paris hotel where Durant once stayed. Two other versions came from the members of Durant’s family. His daughter mentions in her memoires that her father used to draw different versions of the emblem for his company; one of them was a famous bow tie. His wife, in her turn, claims that the idea of the emblem was borrowed from an advertisement of one of the coal companies.
3. The first model of the new automaker was named the Classic Six. This car was not very successful. Nevertheless, Durant did not surrender to the circumstances, and continued to upgrade his vehicle. In 1917, the car, built by Chevrolet joined the GM line-up as an affordable, but reliable vehicle.
4. In 1924 the General Motors testing ground came into service. The same year Chevrolet started to produce minivans. In 1927, the Ford Motors Company discontinued its legendary model Ford T. General Motors was ready to take advantage of this fact. The Chevrolet division of GM sold more than a million vehicles that year.
5. In 1932 the Chevrolet Sport Roadster was released. With a price tag of $ 445, this car had automotive equipment and a visual design that resembled the luxury GM Cadillac. In 1932, Chevrolet became a brand of the year in the US. Many modern-day car enthusiasts still consider this roadster to be the best car company has ever made.
6. The Chevrolet Suburban Carryall arrived in 1935. The main feature of the 8-passanger station wagon was its all-metal wagon body. This car proved to be so useful in both commercial transportations and a day-to-day life of a regular American, that it made way for the whole class of extended length SUVs.
7. The outbreak of World War II mobilized the American civilian industry for the military use. The production of Chevrolet cars for civilian market was discontinued on January 30, 1942. Thanks to decentralized management, flexible production and local initiative the company made a relatively smooth transition of its factories for the manufacture of military vehicles and equipment. Chevrolet Company was proud of its contribution to the victory.
8. After the war, company returned to the production and modernization of its pre-war models. In 1948, Chevrolet created its first sports car – the 48 Spilemaster Sinks, which represented the company’s factory team at the famous rally Indianapolis 500. Notably, Chevrolet factory team won the longest motorsports event of that time – the famous rally La Caracas, an astonishing endurance race from Buenos-Aires, Argentine to Caracas, Venezuela. Chevrolet proved to be a formidable competitor in motorsports events.
9. In 1950, Chevrolet introduced the Powerglide – a two-speed automatic transmission. It became the first automatic transmission offered in a low-priced automobile. The same year appeared the original model Chevrolet Bel Air – the first convertible with a hard top and a body of pontoon type.
10. Due to the high interest in European sports cars among American customers, Chevrolet’s head designer Harley Earl came up with a sports car of his own. Introduced late in 1953, Chevrolet Corvette was the first mass-produced sports car in the United States. Highly influenced by European models, this 2-door convertible created a furore at the 1953 General Motors Motorama. The model got revoked in 1956; it received a higher speed capability as well as better high-speed performance.
11. In 1955, Chevrolet created the legendary small-block engine – Chevy V8. This engine became the most successful in the American company’s history. In the modification with a dual exhaust manifold, it was capable of 162-180 h/p.
12. The 1955 Chevrolet (commonly referred to as ’55 Chevy) was one of the most successful and influential car models in the U.S history. It is considered to be a huge turning point for the manufacturer and a major success. Not only did it set a sales record, but also changed America’s idea of a car.
The company’s first integrated seats were offered in the complete set of Corvette.
The multi-seat wagon Bel Air Nomad was released. This car carried out the American dream. It became one of the best-selling cars in the United States
13. General Motors was in the forefront of technological progress of the American automobile industry in the mid-50s. For the first and only time in its history, the company’s share in the American market of passenger cars exceeded 50%. These were times of the famous Power Race among US-based companies.
14. In 1958, the company introduced a new brand – the Chevrolet Impala. The full-sized car (executive car) became the best-selling automobile in the United States. Many collectors and car enthusiasts throughout the world would consider Impala a classical car, well worth to join their collection.
15. The American company produced a new version of its popular Corvette model for the 1963 model year. The 1963 Corvette Sting Ray not only had a new design, but also newfound handling prowess. Compared to the previous model, it had a modern chassis, an independent 4-wheel transmission and pop-up headlights. Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray was the fastest, and the most beautiful vehicle of its time.
16. In 1967, company released the powerful Chevrolet Camaro. The model was positively received by most customers. This car became so popular, that its sales made an astonishing 10% of total 2,2 million Chevrolet vehicles sold in 1967.
17. In 1969 a four-wheel-drive SUV Chevrolet Blazer К was created. This vehicle with perfect off-rod capabilities was bigger, roomier and more powerful than its competitors.
The full-sized Chevrolet K5 Blazer, based on the C/K pickup chassis was the smallest full sized SUV version of the Chevrolet C/K family. It was smaller and more manoeuvrable than the Chevrolet Suburban, but still had enough room to feel comfortable during a long journey.
18. In 1977, the full-sized car Chevrolet Impala (and, since 1965, the Chevrolet Caprice) was slightly reduced in size which was probably for the best – the models won the North American Car of the Year award. It was one of the most loved cars in the US history. During the period of 1950—1970, Chevrolet became extremely popular among American customers. “Baseball, hot-dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet” – this motto of an advertising campaign was quite accurate representing the attitude to the company.
19. Continuing to evolve and improve, the American company issued a new generation of its classical Corvette, Impala and Camaro models virtually every 10 years.
At the end of the 20th century, SUVs became extremely popular among customers all over the world. This trend made Chevrolet to come up with a new line-up of off-road vehicles.
20. Currently, the well-known division of the General Motors Company produces dozens of models of vehicles of any class and type in different parts of the globe: The United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, India, China, South Korea. The concern is keeping pace with the modern technologies, introducing hybrid and electric vehicles (Volt), and at the same time, while still upgrading its classical models, such as the Corvette.