Whether you are riding around in your “Little Red Corvette”, doing Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock”, “Racing In the Streets” with Bruce Springsteen, or “See(ing) the USA in Your Chevrolet”, you are doing all of these in a Chevrolet. These are just a few of the over 700 songs that mention Chevrolets and helped celebrate and remember 100 years of excellence as Chevrolet recognized its 100th anniversary this past week.
For most of its existence, Chevrolet has remained ahead of the competition through its innovations, like the electric headlamps, all-steel bodies and power steering, that were offered at a low cost to the consumer. From the 1930’s through the 1960’s, Chevrolet was the car to have if you were an aspiring lower or middle class American. This helped Chevy lay claim to being the top-selling auto brand of all time.
Chevrolet Motor Co. was launched on November 3, 1911 in Detroit when Louis Chevrolet, a race car driver and engineer, joined ousted GM founder William Durant to start a new brand. Their first vehicle, the Series C “Classic Six” had a six-cylinder engine, electric starter and headlamps, which were all rare and drove the price of the vehicle up tp $2,150 ($50,000 today) and made it out of reach for most consumers. Their second car, the “Little” was far more successful with its reliable 4-cylinder and much lower price.
Louis Chevrolet found himself more interested in producing high performance vehicles, while Durant saw more success (and money) in producing for the masses. So, Durant bought out L. Chevrolet and then sold 70,000 vehicles, giving him enough cash to take back control of General Motors. He then made Chevrolet a division of GM.
When Chevy began producing steel vehicles versus Ford’s canvas and wood vehicles, they gained a following of consumers that felt Chevys were safer and more reliable, thus earning them the title of top-selling brand in 1927. They would receive this title 52 times in the next 83 years. These successful titles came about because of the production of the Bel Air (50’s), the Corvette Sting Ray, the Camaro and the Impala of the 60’s, the trucks (especially the Silverado) and SUVs (led by the Blazer) of the 90’s and finally today’s Chevy Cruze.
All in all, through their successes and failures, a rich history of innovative, unique and reliable cars have been made. Happy 100th Anniversary, Chevy! Here is to another 100 years of successful car making.