A Brief History of Chevrolet

Chevrolet Opala

Chevrolet was founded by William C Durant and Louis Chevrolet on November 3, 1911 and in 1912, Louis Chevrolet’s Series C Six Class, which was a luxurious high-performance six cylinder model hit the streets of Detroit for $2150. In 1913, Louis Chevrolet exits the company, but gives Durant the rights to use his name and the Chevy bowtie logo appears in an ad for the first time. The first car to wear the Chevy bowtie logo was the Royal Mail Roadster in 1914, and in 1915, the Chevy model 490 debuts as a 1916 model year vehicle with a list price of $490 to match competitor Ford’s Model T. Billy Durant regains control of Chevrolet in 1916 after being forced out of the company and in 1918 the first Chevrolet truck based on the Model 490 chassis is introduced. Chevrolet also becomes a part of GM this year.

In 1924, a Chevrolet plant is opened in Copenhagen, Denmark and is the first Chevrolet plant outside the US. 1927 brings the first time that Chevrolet overtakes Ford for the first time with sales of more than 1 million vehicles. The Chevrolet six debuts in 1929 and is called a “six for the price of four” since six cylinders were offered for the price of four. 1934 introduces revolutionary engineering for a value priced car when they introduce the knee action independent suspension in the 1935 Model Master Series. The Suburban Carryall, the original SUV was introduced in 1935 and is the longest running SUV. It creates a new segment in the market. In 1942, production of trucks was geared toward the war and halted for civilians and in 1945, civilian production resumes.

In 1950, Chevrolet becomes the first manufacturer to offer automatic transmissions on the low priced American car, and 1953 brought forth the Corvette with the industry’s first regular production fiberglass body. The 50 millionth car is gold in 1954 and is the Chevrolet Bel-Air. In 1956, Dinah Shore who was the first women to host a television show closed each show with the song “See Yourself in Your Chevrolet.” Chevrolet offers fuel injection in some Chevy Corvettes in 1957, and Chevy trucks offer the first all wheel drive option. The Impala nameplate is unveiled in 1958 and in 1959, the car-based El Camino pickup is introduced.

1963 brings the now legendary Corvette Stingray Split Window Coupe and is still today a collector’s item. The Chevelle debuts in 1964, and Chevrolet answers Ford’s Mustang with the Camaro in 1967. In 1970, the 450 hp Chevelle SS 454 arrives, and Monte Carlo debuts. 1975 brings the ad campaign of Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie, and Chevrolet. The 100 millionth Chevy is built in 1979 and is the Monza.

1983 debuts the C4 Corvette, and 1986 unveils the “Heartbeat of America” ad campaign. The first full sized truck since 1973 arrives in 1988 with extendable cab style, and in 1991, Bob Seger’s “Like a Rock” becomes the slogan for trucks. In 1992, the millionth Corvette is built and in 2009, the 638 HP Corvette ZR1 is the fastest and most powerful production car in GM history. In 2012, Chevrolet rebirths the Camaro which had been out of production since 2002. In 2011, The Chevy Volt is introduced as an extended range electric car and the Chevrolet brand celebrates its 100th anniversary on November 3, 2011.

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