Over the course of 100 years of existence, Chevrolet designed hundreds of vehicles, most of them becoming important landmarks of the auto industry.
Let’s take a look at how Chevrolet evolved, reflected by 24 Chevrolet vehicles that show the company’s values and spirit.
1914 – Chevrolet Royal Mail Roadster
Announced in 1913, two years since the company was founded, the Royal Mail Roadster vehicle was the first car developed by Chevrolet targeting the regular customer. The attractive design and the four cylinders engine was one of the main attractions of the model. Royal Mail Roadster included elements such as roof, windshield and speedometer, which were optional on other cars, with additional costs of course.
It was the first Chevrolet car to be available below 1000 dollars, having a listing price of only 750 dollars.
1932 – Chevrolet Sport Roadster
Released during the Great Recession, the Chevrolet Sport Roadster model was promoted with the “The Great American Value” message. The accessible price – only $445 – along with the modern design and 6 cylinders engine made the Sport Roadster one of the most popular vehicles of the year and it is appreciated by collectors even today.
1936 – Chevrolet Suburban
The release of the Chevrolet Suburban represents a important moment in the evolution of the auto industry, being the first SUV type vehicle in the world. The car was nicknamed “Carryall” because it was designed to carry almost anything.
The car combined a truck chassis with a body specific to “station wagon” cars, being capable of transporting 8 people plug their luggage.
The Suburban model continues to be produced even today, being the most livelong model of the auto industry. In the last 76 years around 2 million Chevrolet Suburban units were produced.
1948 – Chevrolet Pickup
Released after the second world war, the trick came with a new much friendlier design. The new model had a weight of only 500 kg and had a spacious cabin, designed for 3 people.
The Pickup proved to be areal success and it’s usability made it an essential vehicle for farmers.
Also, besides it’s practical and versatile look, the 1948 Pickup had a modern design so many American families purchased this truck as a second family car.
1949 – Chevrolet Canopy Express
Before supermarkets started to dominate cities, fruits and vegetables were sold on the street and the Canopy Express was used by small merchants.
The vehicle allowed them to transport enough products and it also provided fast access because it was one of the most used delivery vehicles.
1953 – Chevrolet Corvette
In 1952, the head of the General Motors design department, Harley Earl, put together a team to design a sports car, as a reaction to the many sports vehicles ( roadsters ) imported from Europe. His efforts caused the appearance of one of the most beautiful Chevrolet models at that time: a 2 seats sports car. Corvette was the first sports car manufactured by a auto constructor from the United States.
Presented during the GM Motorama 1953 auto show, the car received positive critics from the audience. Some of the innovations of the Chevrolet Corvette was the glass fiber body, which replaced the traditional steel body. So the car was lighter and the new material provided it with a futuristic look.
Even so, the Corvette was not sold so good when it was released. In the next following years, engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov improved the engine of the Corvette transforming it into a true sports car. Also, the design was modified and the car gained popularity.
The Chevrolet Corvette continues to be popular today, being the only American sports car produced without stop.
1955 – Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Coupe
At the beginning of the 50′s, Chevrolet had the reputation of being a company that produces good cars, but less spectacular. To improve it’s image, in 1955, Chevrolet released the Bel Air model, a car with a new design and very good performances.
The Bel Air model stood out by the modern design, different than other cars of that time. The vehicle was promoted as “The Hot One”, a name that hinted at the compact V8 engine.
1957 – Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad
In the 50′s the American suburbs were under full development and their residents liked station wagon cars, longer and more spacious.
The Bel Air Nomad model was inspired by the design of a Corvette model, presented during the GM Motorama expo. Produced as a premium model, with a price tag of $2608, Bel Air Nomad was the first station wagon to have a modern and elegant design.
1963 – Chevrolet Impala
The main advantage of the Chevrolet Impala vehicle was the powerful engine – 424 horse power. The engine of the Impala model entered the popular culture becoming the dream of each American teenager and it was immortalized in a song by the Beach Boys band.
Many automobile collectors are still looking for this model and the models with the original engine are very much appreciated.
1963 – Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray Coupe
This model was designed based on a prototype of a racing car created by the boss of the General Motors design department, Bill Mitchel. When it was released, the Corvette Sting Ray “Split Window” Coupe model represented the most spectacular model in the history of the United States auto industry.
Besides the great design, Sting Ray benefited from a independent rear suspension and a very powerful V8 engine, all these at a very affordable price.
The Split Window name comes from the fact that the back window was split in two on the coupe model.
1967 – Chevrolet Pickup
The trucks released by Chevrolet in 1967 marked the beginning of a new era in the design of this type of vehicles.
The models were inspired by the design of popular GM models at that time, being also durable and more powerful than ever.
The impressive dimensions of the Pickup made it the ideal vehicle for any type of use, being design to fit the demands of a wider range of customers.
1969 – Chevrolet Camaro
In 1969, the sports car released in 1967 under the name Camaro benefited from a new design. The car won the hearts of Americans, being present at many American car races.
The 1969 Camaro model forever remained in the hearts of car lovers, representing a source of inspiration for the 2010 version.
In 2011, Chevrolet fans voted the Camaro 1969 model as the best Chevrolet car of all time. Tom Peters, the Chevrolet Design Department boss said that the ” 1969 Camaro is one of the best examples of fabulous design that managed to remain attractive in time. Camaro continues to cause strong emotion to people of all ages”.
1970 – Chevrolet El Camino SS
The El Camino SS model represents the peak of passenger-car-pickup cars, a combination between pickups and automobiles. The 1970 model is the first to benefit from the incredible 454 V8 engine with 450 horse power.
1970 – Chevrolet Chevelle SS
Year 1970 was the “muscle cars” year, dominated by very powerful vehicles. The SS 454 Chevelle model released in 1970 perfectly represents this stage in automobile history.
In 1970 Chevrolet allowed, for the first time, the use of 7,4 liters and 450 horse power engines on medium sized cars, transforming Chevrolet Chevelle SS into one of the most powerful cars for the general public.
Today, Chevrolet Chevelle SS is a model very appreciated by auto collectors, with a extraordinary market value.
1971 – Chevrolet C/10 Cheyenne Pickup
Year 1971 brought a new record for Chevrolet trucks, as 739,478 units were produced that year. The most popular model was the C\10, being manufactured in 250,000 units.
Thanks to the popularity of these trucks, Chevrolet sold a total of 3 million vehicles in 1971, setting a new record.
1976 – Chevrolet C/10 Stepside Pickup
“Stepside” type cars represented one of the most popular models, being produced for 45 years by Chevrolet. The “stepside” models were different than the regular trucks by the presence of a step in front of the wings, that offered fast access to the objects that were transported.
The design proved to be very popular, and the 1976 model is one of the most representative models produced by Chevrolet.
1989 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1
This model, also known as “king Of The Hill” came with a special engine, LT5 V8 designed in partnership with Lotus. The engine delivered 375 horse power, reaching from 0 to 100 in less than 5 seconds.
The launch was a real success and the demand was so high that many dealers started to ask 10,000-20,000 dollars extra compared to the list price. Actually, many of those who purchased this car didn’t do it for the sake of driving, they purchased it in order to collect a model that was going to become a reference model of the auto industry.
1993 – Chevrolet Camaro Z28
In 1993, Chevrolet released the forth Camaro generation, a coupe with a new design and a LT1 V8 engine capable of delivering 275 horse power.
The car was chosen Safety Car at the Indianapolis 500 race in 1993. After the event, 633 special edition units were sold painted in the color of the safety car.
1996 – Chevrolet Impala SS
In 1996 Chevrolet produced the last of the Impala model. The last was Impala Super Sport, and it was impressive thanks to the LT1 V8 engine which allowed it to go from 0 to 100 in only 7,3 seconds despite the weight of 1900 kg.
1997 – Chevrolet Corvette Coupé
In 1997, 44 years since the release of the first Corvette model, Chevrolet released the fifth generation, in a completely new formula. Everything was radically changed, from the LS1 engine ( 345 horse power ) to the chassis. The car was able to reach a maximum speed of 273 km /h and it had a very affordable price for a sports car.
2008 – Chevrolet Hybrid Tahoe
The Hybrid Tahoe model, released in 2008, was a premiere on the auto industry: the first Hybrid SUV car, using both gas and electricity. The hybrid propulsion system provided a low fuel consumption, and the Tahoe is still the leader of this segment of the market today.
2010 – Chevrolet Camaro
In 2006, 4 years after the Camaro model was discontinued, General Motors presented a new concept for this model during the Detroit auto Show. The public and the media liked it very much, and the appearance of the prototype in the Transformers movie one year later increased the demand from buyers. So, in 2010, the Chevrolet model released the new Camaro, with a design inspired by the 1967 – 1969 models.
2011 – Chevrolet Volt
The Chevrolet Volt model was voted by most auto magazines in the United States as the Car of the Year 2011. This electric vehicle with extended autonomy can travel for 60 km only with the energy in the chargers. The batteries can be charged in 3 hours using a standard 230V outlet.
The revolutionary liquid cooling battery of the Chevrolet Volt car is seconded by a 1,4 L generator that can charge the battery during driving to increase the autonomy of the Volt to more than 500 km. Volt is the first electric vehicle that can generate the electricity it needs.
2012 – Chevrolet Corvette Centennial Edition
A model that wishes to be a homage to the Chevrolet history, Corvette Centennial Edition celebrates the successes of Corvette models in motorsport competitions, and the most recent being the 2011 GTE 24 hours Le Mans race.