Brothers Louis, Arthur and Gaston Chevrolet migrated to the US from their native Switzerland as young men. Having worked for Mors, Louis was able to find plenty of work in the automotive industry, at the same time garnering a reputation as one of the countries leading race drivers. Building his own racer based on Buick running gear, the car would catch the attention of William Durant, founder (but no longer owner) of General Motors. The two quickly formed a partnership, which led to the development of the Classic Six in 1911.
Some 3000 had been manufactured by 1912, their popularity encouraging Chevrolet and Durant to expand their line-up, the Little Four based on Durant’s own Little Runabout, the first to carry the now familiar blue-and-white badge, while a single seat version was aptly called the Royal Mail. Forming the Chevrolet Aircraft Corporation with brother Arthur, Louis would have little to do with the company that bore his name, apart from a brief spell in the 1930’s, and would die in almost total obscurity in 1941. In the meantime the Chevrolet company had gone from strength to strength, first acquiring the Maxwell Motor Company factory in New York in 1914, then releasing the incredibly popular 490 – with a for the time bargain basement price of, you guessed it, $490.
By 1916 the company had manufactured 70,000 vehicles, and was quickly becoming a real challenger for Ford. In 1919 the company was absorbed by General Motors, who helped bolster production to almost 150,000. The depression would take its toll on the company, Chevrolet boss Pierre S. DuPont ignoring a consultants report to close the company, and helping it emerge from the depression in better financial shape than most. The post-war Bel Air was responsible for the company’s dominance of the US highways through the 1950’s, while the Corvette was every bit the match for the Ford Thunderbird. The one bump in the road came courtesy of investigative journalist Ralph Nader, his book Unsafe at Any Speed bringing about the demise of the Corvair, but being merely a blip on the radar of the now global giant.
1954 - 1957
The 1950's are synonymous with young Americans enjoying rock 'n' roll, drive-in movies and cars that were fast and affordable. The Chevrolet Bel Air became one of the most popular American cars ever because of its unique style, engine modifications and affordable price. More
1959 - 1969
Controversy surrounded early Corvairs culminating in Ralph Nader to publish a book entitled "Unsafe at any Speed" which resulted in a change in government regulations and safety that continues even today. More>>
1959 - 1973
Many consider it unfair that the El Camino is so readily associated with ethnic and class stereotypes. Australia may be the birth place of the utility, but for the US market it was the Ford Ranchero and Chevy El Camino that introduced the notion of a vehicle offering car like comfort combined with truck like carrying capabilities. More
1966 - 1969
In 1966, Don Yenko was impressed enough with the late model Chevrolet Corvair's handling, and decided to apply for SCCA approval of the Corsa model for racing. The sanctioning body approved the cars with back seat removed and upgrades to the Corsa engine increasing horsepower and torque. More
1967 - 1969
The Ford Mustang can be credited with forcing other US car manufacturers to design and manufacture cars with personality and design flair. The AMC Javelin, Plymouth Barracuda and the now infamous Chevy Camaro were all created in response to the incredible popularity of the Mustang! More>>
1967 - 1969
Today, even the most ill-informed know the Z-28 designation referred to an engine option, a 302.4 cu. in., 290-hp V8, the heart of a sedan racing package. The option added US$437.10 to the Camaro's $2572.00 base price, but additional mandatory options, such as power disc brakes (front) and a four-speed close-ratio Muncie transmission, brought the sticker price up to a minimum of $3314.60. More>>
1971 - 1977
The Chevrolet Vega, which was first introduced in 1971, marked a new direction for Chevrolet towards a sub-compact market previously dominated by European imports, and which also included such other American products as the Ford Pinto and the American Motors Pacer. More>>
1975 - 1987
EIn the decade leading up to the release of the Chevette, design proposals for small cars were regularly rejected. The 1976 Chevette was then the smallest and lightest car ever made in the US under the Chevrolet name. The only car built under the Chevrolet aegis that was smaller was the “Little Four” of 1912 and 1913, which was shorter in wheelbase and lighter in weight. More>>
1980 - 1985
In order to contain the threat General Motors invested the unprecedented sum of 2.7 billion dollars in their 'X-Car' project. It was rated a worthwhile investment as it was estimated the new-generation cars would ultimately represent 60 per cent of the US market. More>>