Make us your home page

A look back at the Chevy revolution

Chevrolet doesn't just build cars and trucks. It creates archetypes. Close your eyes and think of a type of car or truck. It's amazing how often the vehicle in your mind's eye will be a Chevrolet. In chronological order, here are some of the best and most significant cars and trucks in Chevrolet's 100-year history.

1914 Royal Mail: The brand was born in 1911, but 1914 was the first year it built significant numbers of cars. The two-seat Royal Mail and the four-seat 1914 Grand were the first cars engineered from the ground up to be Chevrolets. Well-equipped for their time, standard equipment included a horn and a speedometer.

1932 Roadster: The first Chevrolet to combine luxury-car looks with an affordable price, the 1932 Roadster began Chevrolet's decades-long run as a leader in worldwide automotive design. Sometimes called the "baby Cadillac," the '32 was among the first Chevrolets shaped by design chief Harley Earl.

1935 Suburban: The Suburban is the longest-lived automotive nameplate in continual use. Chevy nailed the formula for a big vehicle to carry plenty of people and haul heavy trailers.

1948 3100 pickup: This roomy truck was Chevrolet's first really new model after WWII's hiatus in civilian vehicle production. It redefined Chevy's workhorse pickups with niceties like colorful interiors, locking doors and a radio.

1955-57 Bel Air: This three model-year run was the pinnacle of 1950s automaking. Its model line stretched from basic transportation to fast and stylish V-8 convertibles and the two-door Nomad station wagon. The '57 Chevy became the symbol of 1950s America.

1963 Corvette Sting Ray: The Sting Ray was a breakthrough in style and substance. Designed by Larry Shinoda and one of the triumphs of Bill Mitchell's reign as GM styling boss, it was the first 'Vette with Chevy's small-block V-8 and an independent rear suspension.

1967 Camaro: Chevy's answer to the Ford Mustang, the Camaro ignited a passionate competition that's still burning. The first generation offered everything the Camaro family provides to this day, with a model range that included six-cylinder and V-8 engines, coupe and convertible bodies.

1999 Chevrolet Silverado pickup: The Silverado introduced the GMT800, one of the most capable vehicle platforms in the auto industry's history. The GMT800 spun off a dizzying variety of vehicles, from humble work trucks to Cadillac SUVs fit to carry a head of state. Annual sales of GMT800-based vehicles topped the gross domestic product of many countries.

2008 Malibu: A return to the style and value that made icons of earlier Chevys, the Malibu returned the brand to relevance in the family car.

2011 Volt: The Volt solved problems that short-circuited electric cars for a century: range and charging time. Its innovative drivetrain can cover around 40 miles on batteries and longer distances thanks to a small engine that produces more electricity.

A look back at the Chevy revolution 08/18/11 [Last modified: Thursday, August 18, 2011 7:17am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. McMansions, state sewage order on tap at St. Petersburg City Council

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council is set Thursday to vote on two major issues: controversial zoning changes aimed at curbing big McMansion-style homes and a consent order with the state that will require St. Petersburg to fix its ailing sewage system.

    Two big, blocky homes on the 2300 block of Dartmouth, Ave N under construction in April. Several new homes under construction.
in St. Petersburg's Historic Kenwood Neighborhood are too big, residents complain. The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday is set to consider ordinances aimed at curbing the construction of big "McMansions." [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  2. Tom James and wife, Mary, talk about their James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — As a child, businessman and philanthropist Tom James loved cowboy movies, an affinity that would later play out in a vast collection of Western art amassed over the years with his wife, Mary.

    Tom and Mary James at the site of the Tom and Mary James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art.
Photo courtesy of Raymond James
  3. A reliable Rick Scott ally, Pete Antonacci, named CEO of Enterprise Florida

    State Roundup

    Pete Antonacci, who last week made headlines when he advised scientists to stay in their lane rather than criticize his water agency's work on Everglades restoration, is getting a new job.

    Pete Antonacci, an attorney seen here in 2009, has served many roles for Gov. Rick Scott: general counsel, executive director of the South Florida Water Management District and now, CEO of Enterprise Florida.  [
COLIN HACKLEY | Special to the Times]
  4. Pinellas County budget on the rise thanks to high property values

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER –– After another year of growth, Pinellas County commissioners won't have to fight to pay for critical needs in the 2017-2018 budget.

    The Pinellas County Commission on Tuesday learned the first details of its $2.3 billion spending plan for next fiscal year, which includes funding for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. [Courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  5. Tampa Bay chefs go head to head and Disney Springs gets another James Beard winner

    Food & Dining

    Epic Chef Showdown: Feeding Tampa Bay

    In a shoulder-to-shoulder format cook-off competition, chefs from Parkshore Grill and Mise En Place strove Monday night to become the Epic Chef of Tampa Bay. In this course, using ramen as a mystery box ingredient.