111 Years of Chevy

June 8th, 2022 by

A black 2018 Chevy Impala Midnight Edition is shown parked on a city street at night.

It’s difficult to even envision a roadway without a Chevy vehicle coasting on it or a job site without a tough Chevy truck leading the charge. That’s because Chevrolet has been a trendsetter in the industry for 111 years, recognized for its phenomenal models and boasting some of the best features and designs in existence. From the iconic Corvette to the mighty Silverado, crowd-favorite Impala to the hulking Suburban, Chevy has been the name behind some of the most influential cars in history. This is the main reason why McCluskey Chevrolet chooses to showcase these amazing models on our lot. When it comes to pioneers in the automotive industry, Chevrolet plays a key role, so let’s delve into a little bit of history, getting to know how Chevy has influenced the industry for over a century.

The Early Years

Chevy was officially founded in 1911 by Swiss race car driver and Chevy namesake Louis Chevrolet, alongside GM giant William C. Durant. Durant was no stranger to the automotive world, and when he teamed up with Chevrolet, it was history in the making. Unveiling the first vehicle emblazoned with the Chevy name, the Series C Classic Six, in 1911, Chevrolet was going up against some steep competition, especially from fellow Motor City rival Henry Ford. This meant that Chevy had to really stand out, especially since Ford had the jump on Chevy by about a decade. This also meant outfitting its vehicles with never-before-seen features, all for a price that average drivers could afford.

Proven Innovators

As Chevy perfected its offerings, it also said goodbye to Louis Chevrolet, who left the company shortly after its inception. However, there was no slowing down as Durant took over and really got to work. In order to set its vehicles apart from the rest, Chevy had to include features that other vehicles didn’t have, like electric starters, safety glass, fuel injection, and anti-lock brakes to make any drive better and more convenient. Chevy sold these vehicles, loaded with all of these mesmerizing features of the time, for affordable prices, making them instant hits with drivers across the nation.

Utilitarian Roots

In 1935, Chevy unveiled one of the first models of its kind, a carry-all utility vehicle, ideal for those who needed to travel with more functionality and haul more along the way. Recognized as the original sport utility vehicle, the Suburban emerged. Built to handle more, carry more, and take on the elements better than its rivals, the Suburban was, and still is, one of the most functional members of the Chevy lineup. In fact, the Suburban is the longest-running automotive nameplate in history.

Wartime Hero

It seemed as though Chevrolet was on a roll, debuting hit after hit to drivers across America, but that all halted when World War II began. The 1940s made many automakers part of the Arsenal of Democracy, manufacturing everything from aircraft engines to tanks. Plenty of Chevy vehicles were seen during the war, including trucks and ambulances to help transport troops wherever they needed to go. Chevy joined Ford, Dodge, Jeep, and many others on a quest to lend a hand during this trying time in history.

Designer Details

Chevy went back to the drawing board after the war, this time on a quest to showcase some serious style in its vehicles. The 1950s and 1960s brought some famous nameplates to the Chevy brand, including the Corvette, Bel Air, Impala, and others. The Bel Air was perhaps the most iconic of the time, sporting sweeping fins and cat-eye headlamps, a large and long body style, and 1950s flair accentuating every angle. From pickup trucks to sedans, Chevy style was all over the industry, prompting its rivals to kick it up a notch in order to compete with this legend.

A red 2013 Chevy Camaro ZL1 is shown from a low angle driving on an open road.

Performance Perfection

Chevy is no stranger to adrenaline, and you’ll be able to tell from its lineup of exceptional sports cars that this brand has a serious need for speed. From the stunning Corvette, with its sloped aerodynamic hood and can’t-miss style, to the Camaro, with its intimidating stare and sculpted curves, Chevy knows how to design the ultimate performance vehicle. The 1960s and 1970s brought about some of the most influential models, including the cult classic Chevelle, as well as the aforementioned Camaro. In addition to offering some of the most powerful and quickest sports cars on the road, Chevrolet also took to the track, becoming one of the top brands in NASCAR history, as well as earning other accolades from various racing organizations.

An American Favorite

The 1980s brought about one of Chevy’s most famous slogans, “The Heartbeat of America,” which paid homage to all of the American workers who had a hand in building and designing these legendary vehicles. There was nothing more American than a Chevy, and with all of the options available in its lineup, in addition to its reasonable prices, Chevy was a key player in putting vehicles in more driveways across the nation throughout the years.

Tough Trucks Emerge

Chevy unveiled its first truck in 1918 with the famous One-Ton model, and over the years, its trucks just kept getting better. It wasn’t until the 1970s that drivers got their first taste of what would be one of the most popular trucks on the market, the Silverado. It was a mere trim level back then, but in 1999, it finally got a chance to stand on its own. After the first Silverado made its debut, there was no stopping it from becoming one of the most trusted workhorses in the industry. Chevy would go on to debut the midsize Colorado and heavy-duty Silverado models in the years that followed.

Electrifying Options

Chevy continued to push past boundaries as it entered a new millennium, with the emergence of its first-ever plug-in hybrid, the Volt. Recognized as being a key player in the EV arena, the Volt captured the attention of many drivers looking for enhanced efficiency in their journeys. With classic Chevy design matched with cutting-edge hybrid technology, the Volt led the charge on the electric vehicle movement. It was discontinued in 2019 as the newer, more advanced, and all-electric Bolt EV took centerstage. Later, the larger Bolt EUV emerged, allowing Chevy to once again fulfill its destiny of greatness in the industry.

A charge cable is shown plugged into the charge port of a black 2022 Chevy Bolt EV.

Plans for a Bright Future

Today, Chevy occupies a top spot in the automotive industry, with an arsenal of vehicles tailored to the modern driver. From its famed sports cars to versatile SUVs, powerful trucks to efficient EVs, Chevrolet continues on its mission to showcase a variety of options that are packed with features and affordable for the average driver. Chevy also has big dreams for the future, releasing its plans to unveil over 30 EVs throughout the next few years, helping to enhance sustainability and efficiency in the industry. Built on GM’s Ultium platform, Chevy EVs showcase better performance and longevity than many of its rivals. With the brand’s goal to bring more electric options into driveways across the world in the next decade, this technology will undoubtedly be a gamechanger in the industry.

For 111 years, Chevy has held a huge presence in the automotive industry, recognized for thinking outside the box, not backing down from a challenge, and above all else, putting its customers’ needs first. From the options in its lineup and the brand’s plans for the future, it’s evident that Chevrolet will continue to be a trendsetter when it comes to crafting solutions to meet the demands of the modern driver. If there’s one brand to trust, it’s Chevrolet, and the proof is in its 111 years’ worth of experience and dedication to the quality of the ride.

Posted in Chevrolet News