Chevrolet logo

Classic Chevrolet For Sale?


The Fascinating History of Chevrolet

Founded in 1911, Chevrolet became part of General Motors in 1918 and has been used as their mainstream brand ever since. In Europe GM use Opel across most of the continent and Vauxhall in the UK for their mass market offerings. As a result classic Chevrolet-badged cars in Europe tend to be left hand drive imports from the US. Since 2005, products from the Korean GM subsidiary Daewoo have been badged as Chevrolets across Europe.

Chevrolet have produced many famous models for the US market. The fibreglass bodied Corvette brought drophead sports car touring to the masses in 1953. It has since gone through six subsequent generations. In 1963 the second generation Corvette Sting Ray was a styling revelation, influencing many of the cars that would come in its wake.

The Chevrolet Corvair was a radical departure from the norm in the US car industry. It had a rear-mounted flat six aluminium alloy engine, not unlike the layout in a Porsche 911. The Corvair was named Car of the Year in 1960 by Motor Trend magazine and was featured on the cover of Time. In the UK it was a direct inspiration for the design of the Hillman Imp. Unfortunately, the Corvair was criticised for its handling in Ralph Nader’s book “Unsafe at any Speed” which led to a collapse in sales and an abiding negative image for the car amongst the American public. Subsequent research suggests that Nader’s allegations regarding the car’s safety were unfounded.

A more successful new concept from a sales point of view was the Chevrolet El Camino. This was GM’s attempt to implement the coupe utility style that Ford had introduced to the US from Australia with its Ranchero in 1957. The El Camino was introduced for a year in 1959/60 and then reintroduced as a permanent part of the GM line up from 1964 until 1987. The idea of a sporting pick up truck with a powerful V8 engine caught the imagination of the American public and as the years ticked forward into the 1970s the El Camino received ever larger engines along with go faster stripes and SS badges.

The Chevrolet Camaro is another long running Chevy model that has been through five generations since its introduction in 1967. Originally the Camaro was intended to compete with the phenomenally successful Ford Mustang after it became clear that the Corvair was not going to be able to maintain sales in the face of negative publicity. The car was a much more conventional design than the Corvair had been and was ultimately very successful. The bigger engined versions of the first two generations of Camaro have gone down in history as classic American muscle cars with a legion of fans worldwide.

The Chevrolet small block V8 has been in continuous production since 1955. It was used in almost every family of GM product from the 1960s up until the 1990s when it began to be phased out. A Mexican subsidiary still produces small block Chevy V8s as spares and for use in hot rodding.