IRVINE, Calif. — Kelley Blue Book, the leading provider of new car and used car information names the Top 10 Chevys of All Time, including the most significant product and design developments in the company’s long and storied 100-year history.
Formed in November 1911 by pioneering automotive businessman William C. Durant and his then-partner, famed Swiss racing driver and engineer, Louis Chevrolet, the most successful division in General Motors history is finishing preparations to celebrate its 100th year in operation. As General Motors and Chevrolet start popping champagne corks, the expert editorial staff at Kelley Blue Book’s http://www.kbb.com took a quick look back at the 10 most-influential and important vehicles that shaped the enduring legacy of the brand that made the bowtie famous.
“For many of us, Chevrolet is an American icon on a par with baseball and apple pie – a brand deeply engrained in the fabric of our lives,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director of Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com. “In determining the ‘Top 10 Chevys of All Time,’ our editorial staff chose the vehicles that offered not only technical innovation, but also changed the automotive landscape. Each one is a watershed car whose influence is still felt today.”
Below is an abridged version of the editor’s Top 10 Chevrolets of All Time. For the entire commentary, visit http://www.kbb.com/car-news/all-the-latest/top-10-chevrolet-historic-milestones
1912 Chevrolet Series C Classic Six
The first step in establishing one of America’s most iconic brands was introduced in 1911 and went on sale the following year. The seminal Chevrolet model was priced at a then-hefty $2,150, which put it well out of the reach of blue-collar workers who barely earned that much as their annual wages. The model had only moderate success, but set the tone for what would become a megabrand.
1916 Chevrolet 490
While the first Chevrolet was positioned to the middle of the car-buying market – well-to-do professionals — the 1916 490 was intended to go head-to-head with Ford’s incredibly popular Model T. It got its name from its base price — $490 – a figure that not coincidentally was $5 less than that of its prime rival, and it sent the brand on its present course.
1929 Chevrolet with Stovebolt-Six Engine
In the wake of Ford’s introduction of the Model A, Chevrolet went its arch-rival two better – two cylinders, that is. Equipped with the legendary ‘stovebolt’ six-cylinder engine, the 1929 Chevrolets offered two more cylinders than Ford’s ‘four-banger’ and established the brand as Ford’s key competitor.
1936 Chevrolet Suburban Carryall
Recognized by most automotive historians as the first-ever sport utility vehicle, the 1936 Chevrolet Suburban Carryall combined a station-wagon body style with a half-ton truck chassis to create a new market segment that’s still going strong after more than 75 years.
1948 Chevrolet Series 3100 Pickup
The 1948 Chevrolet Series 3100 Pickup set the stage for Chevy’s modern-day pickups by introducing a new level of unexpected interior creature comforts, like a full three-across adjustable bench seat in place of the old trio of individual fixed-position perches, inside door locks, ‘Four-fold’ ventilation and an accessory AM radio.
1955 Chevrolet with Turbo-Fire V8
A double winner for the division, the 1955 Chevrolet line ushered in both the now-iconic 1955-1957 ‘Tri5’ era and the spectacularly successful and incredibly long-lived small-block V-8 engine, which supplemented the veteran inline six. The introduction of the new Turbo-Fire V8 option helped Chevy sell more than 1.7 million units in this pivotal year.
1963 Corvette Sting Ray
Arguably the greatest and unquestionably one of the most desirable models of all time, the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray was a rolling revelation in style and technology that has influenced the look and feel of every successive generation.
1960-1969 Chevrolet Corvair
Created in response to the increasing threat posed by imports – notably the Volkswagen Beetle – the Chevrolet Corvair also was meant to counter the arrival of new downsized domestics like the Ford Falcon and Plymouth Valiant. Though many car reviewers liked Chevy’s innovative approach to small-car design, Ralph Nader’s devastating Unsafe at Any Speed inflicted a mortal wound to the car’s reputation.
1967-69 Chevrolet Camaro
With the Ford Mustang galloping out of the blocks at a record sales pace, Chevy responded by introducing its own brand of pony car, the now legendary Camaro. Although it shared some platform mechanicals with the upcoming Chevrolet Nova, the Camaro’s aggressively refined exterior styling set it well apart from its compact kin.
A genuine revolution in automotive transportation, the 2011 Chevrolet Volt stands as one of the crowning achievements of the division’s century of ongoing progress. Coupling knowledge gained from GM’s pioneering EV1 electric car program in the 1990s, engineers on the Volt development team managed to bring this sleek, well-appointed four-passenger liftback sedan from an auto show concept to full production status in less than four years.
More information on each of these landmark cars is available from Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com. For further news and information on all things automotive, visit www.kbb.com/media/, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kelleybluebook (or @kelleybluebook), or like our page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kbb.
About Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com)
Founded in 1926, Kelley Blue Book, The Trusted Resource®, is the only vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the industry. Each week the company provides the most market-reflective values in the industry on its top-rated website www.kbb.com, including its famous Blue Book® Trade-In and Retail Values and Fair Purchase Price, which reports what others are paying for new cars this week. The company also provides vehicle pricing and values through various products and services available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance companies as well as governmental agencies. Kbb.com provides consumer pricing and information on minivans, pickup-trucks, cars, hybrids and SUVs. Kelley Blue Book Co. Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of AutoTrader.com.