The first “production” Chevrolet

Chevrolet also known as Chevy , is an American brand of vehicle produced by General Motors (GM). Chevrolet was founded by Louis Chevrolet and ousted GM founder William C. Durant on November 3, 1911, Durant incorporated the Chevrolet Motor Company on November 3, 1911. Louis Chevrolet was not an officer, but he experimented with large luxury cars while Chevrolet Motor Company’s Little brand sold lower-priced cars against Ford.

The first “production” Chevrolet was the Classic Six of 1912, but the first Chevys, as we know them, were the 1914 Royal Mail roadster and Baby Grand touring car Louis Chevrolet left his namesake company to return to racing. The 1916 Chevrolet Four-Ninety was Durant’s direct shot at the Ford Model T. By now, Chevy was thriving with factories in places like Flint and New York City. Its success gave Durant the footing to buy up GM stock, with help from the DuPont family and a New York bank president, Louis J. Kaufman. Durant staged a coup d’etat, and on September 16, 1915, GM’s seventh anniversary, took control of GM again.

On December 23, 1915, Chevrolet stockholders increased capitalization from 20 million to million, Gustin writes, and used the $60 million to buy up GM stock. Chevrolet bought GM. It wasn’t the other way around. Panics, recessions, and depressions swung wilder and were frequent then. By late 1920, amid another severe downturn, GM ousted Durant for the last time. Here’s what happened next: 1922: William S. Knudsen leaves Ford as head of manufacturing to become Chevrolet’s production chief and later, vice president of operations. In ’24, he vows to match Ford “one for one” in sales.

1923: Chevy’s Copper Cooled models feature air-cooled engines. It proves a rare engineering blunder by Charles Kettering. Only 759 are produced, 500 make it to dealers and 100 are sold. 1927: President Alfred Sloan hires California custom coachbuilder Harley Earl to head up GM’s new Art & Color department. Even at the low end of Sloan’s price ladder, Chevy becomes known for style and annual model updates. 1929: Chevrolet introduces the Stovebolt Six “for the price of a four” displacing 194 cubic inches and making 46 horsepower.

1936: Model year for the first Suburban Carryall, an eight-passenger truck-based utility passenger wagon. 1947: Chevrolet works on a compact, called Cadet, then shelves plans because Americans have no reason or desire to buy small cars. 1950: Model year Power glide is first offered, beating Ford and Plymouth to the market as the first low-priced brand with a fully automatic transmission. 1953: The Corvette appears in January at GM’s Motormen at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria hotel. Production begins in Flint half a year later. 1955: Model year introduction of Chevrolet’s first V-8 in 37 years.

Ed Cole had brought Small Block to production in just 28 months in “Motorama-styled” models. The Tri-Five Belt Airs later become some of the most collectible cars extant. 1959: Model year for the all-new Impala, Bel Air, and Biscayne with radical, horizontal rear fins. A proposal for an air-cooled, rear-engine V-8 Impala did not get past the exploration stages. 1960: Model year for Chevrolet’s first in a series of failed world-class small cars, the Corvair, with its air-cooled, rear-mounted flat six 1961: Semon E. “Bunkie” Knudsen, son of William S.

, leaves Pontiac to become Chevy chief. His Impala Super Sports compete with Pontiac’s sportier full-size models. 1965: U. S. auto and light truck sales top 15 million for the first time in history, and two- and four-door Impalas account for 803,400. All told, Chevy sells more than 1 million Impalas, Bel Airs, and Biscaynes. In mid-’65, Chevy introduces the $200 Caprice option for the Impala four-door hardtop, reacting to Ford’s new LTD and encroaching on Olds 88 territory. 1967: Model year for the new Ford Mustang/Plymouth Barracuda competitor, codenamed Panther and called Camaro.

1971: Model year for Chevy’s second failed attempt at a world-class small car, the Vega. May issue of Motor Trend compares a $9081 Cadillac Sedan de Ville with a $5550 Chevy Caprice, concludes the Caddy is the better car, but not $3500 better. It’s also the model year of Chevy chief John Z. DeLorean’s personal Caprice limo, using a Cadillac Fleetwood 75 frame and Chevy sheetmetal. Before John Z. can turn a wheel, GM president Ed Cole orders the car scrapped 1976: Model year for Chevy’s third failed attempt at a world-class small car, the Chevette.

1980: Model year for Chevy’s fourth failed attempt at a world-class small car, the Citation. 1989: Chevy’s first sub-brand (like Cadillac’s LaSalle), Geo, rebadged Nova, Sprint, and Spectru 1997: All-new C5 Corvette debuts, Malibu nameplate returns. Chevy trucks outsell Chevy cars. 2002: Second-year Corvette Z06 has 405-horsepower Small Block. Last year for the F-body Camaro. 2008: Model year for all-new Malibu with renaissance styling. 2009: GM files for bankruptcy. Model year for 638-horsepower Corvette ZR1 2010: Model year for new Camaro.

2011: Model year for latest and strongest attempt at a world-class small car, the Cruze, and the revolutionary extended-range electric Volt. Sources: Lawrence R. Gustin, “Billy Durant, Creator of General Motors,” University of Michigan Press, 2008, The Auto Editors of Consumer Guide, “Chevrolet Chronicle,” Publications International, 2002. Our best Chevys No ’69 Camaro he So a few current General Motors designers, including studio chief Ed Welburn, own a ’69 Chevy Camaro, and it’s the inspiration for the current model of the musclecar.

Still, best Chevy of all time? GM says the 1969 Camaro edged out the 1970 Chevelle SS with 25,058 out of 124,368 votes cast in an online contest for that title. Trend asked Motor Trend’s print and online staff which Chevrolets are their favorites, and which ones they consider most important (see the distinction, Chevy? ). Here are the results: Most important Chevy of the past 100 years 1. “Tri-Five” 1955-’57 models — “Because it introduced the Small Block V-8,” says Jonny Lieberman 2. Volt — “Of course,” says Kim Reynolds.

“It’s more than the Small Block,” Mike Connor says. “The 1955 Bel Air took Chevy from being a dull, boring car you had to buy into a car that offered more for the money than you’d expect. It built Chevrolet’s position as a brand. Incompetent management in the 1980s destroyed that image. Now, GM’s management is trying to reconstruct Chevrolet to what it was Others voted for the Corvair (either generation), Vega, C4 Corvette LS1, Suburban, and Silverado. “The Vega was the car that made Chevy and GM realize that market leadership is not a divine right,” says Scott Evans.

Your author chose the 1965 Impala because nearly 1 million were sold, and it represented the height of GM’s inter-divisional rivalry, when the full-size models, from Biscayne to Caprice, could compete with Pontiac and Oldsmobile, even Buick, at a Chevrolet price. It set up that hubris Evans describes. Favorite Chevy from the past 100 years 1. C2 Corvette — “I’m from a Ford family growing up, but I’d have to say a ’63 or ’64 roadster remains to me the best Corvette I’ve ever piloted,” Reynolds says.

“It was small and light and not too self-important 2. Corvair — Your author grew up in the ’60s dreaming of the Corvette Stingray, but the Corvair of either generation comes with style, technology, and driving fun at an approachable price. 3. 1991-’96 Caprice/Impala SS. Runners-up were most personal, including the 1958 Corvette, 1963 Impala two-door hardtop, and 1964 Impala SS. Then there’s the 1969 full-size wagon “I learned to drive on,” says Frank Markus. – Todd Lassa