On 03 November 1911 the Chevrolet Motor Car Co was incorporated and in this year 2011 the Chevrolet Division of General Motors will celebrate its one hundredth year of continuous production. This is a remarkable accomplishment which had its austere beginnings in Flint, Michigan.
Chevy was founded by Louis Chevrolet, a racecar driver and son of Cooper Chevrolet. William Little and Dr. Edwin R Campbell, William Durant’s son-in-law. William Durant (founder of General Motors) had been forced from the management of GM in 1910. Durant took over the Flint Wagon Works, incorporating both the Mason and Little companies. He wanted to use Chevrolet’s name as a racer to rebuild his own reputation. As head of Buick Motor Company, prior to founding GM, Durant had hired Chevrolet to drive Buicks in promotional races. Actual design work for the first Chevy, the costly Series C Classic Six was drawn up by Etienne Planche, following the instructions of his old friend Louis. The first C prototype was ready months before Chevrolet was actually incorporated. This was the very first Chevrolet although built in 1911 it wasn’t until 1912 that the model went on the market.
Chevrolet first used its “Bowtie emblem” logo in 1913. It is said to have been designed from wallpaper Durant once saw in a French hotel. More recent research by historian Ken Kaufmann presents a compelling case that the logo is based upon a logo for “Coalettes”.. Others claim that the design was a stylized Swiss cross, in honor of the homeland of Chevrolet’s parents.
By 1916, Chevrolet was profitable enough to allow Durant to buy a majority of shares in GM. After the deal was completed in 1917, Durant was president of General Motors, and Chevrolet was merged into GM, becoming a separate division. In the 1918 model year, Chevrolet introduced the Model D, a V8-powered model in four-passenger roadster and five-passenger tourer models. It also started production of an overhead valve in-line six.
1929 saw the introduction of the original Chevrolet straight-six engine referred to as a Stovebolt or Stovebolt Six because the 1/4? × 20 slotted-head bolts on the valve cover, lifter cover and timing cover of the engine resemble slotted-head bolts. Thus, the slang term or nickname of Stovebolt was given to the Chevrolet straight-six engine.
During 1943 -1945 because of war production, all civilian auto and truck manufacturing in the US was curtailed by government order. Still vehicles by the thousands were being produced. Many of these were strictly military, while others were former civilian models in “battle dress” of olive drab or Navy grey
Bodies for the local assembly of Chevrolets were built in Australia as early as 1918 and by 1926 the newly created General Motors (Australia) Pty Ltd had established assembly plants in five Australian states to produce Chevrolet and other GM vehicles using bodies supplied by Holden Motor Body Builders. The merger of General Motors (Australia) Pty Ltd with the troubled Holden Motor Body Builders in 1931 saw the creation of General Motors Holden’s (GMH) and the ongoing production of various GM products including Chevrolet. GMH departed from traditional US body styles with the release of the Chevrolet Coupe Utility in 1934 and the Chevrolet “Sloper” Coupe in 1935 Post-war production recommenced in 1946. From 1949 Australian Chevrolets were to be locally assembled from components imported from Chevrolet in Canada although local production of the Coupe Utility body continued until 1952. 1968 was the last full year of Chevrolet assembly in Australia.
CHEVROLET today manufactures in many countries around the world and in June 2010, the company established General Motors Ventures, a subsidiary designed to help the company identify and develop new technologies in the automotive and transportation sectors.
with thanks to Wikipedia and the GM book 75 Years of Chevrolet
Keep on Chevying,
Peter Taylor Secretary, Chevrolet Club of WA inc
By Peter Taylor. Member # 039297
Written for Late Great Chevy Magazine Orlando Florida USA
My association with Chevrolets began in 1962 when my old man bought me a 1926 Superior K Tourer, which had been cut down in typically Aussie fashion, to a “UTE”. The car and I were inseparable for the next three years on the blacksoil plains of outback New South Wales. I then left
home and spent 20 odd years in the Aussie Air Force (RAAF). It was in 1988 that another Chevrolet came into my care.
This time, a very sad 1929 Tourer that had had the “UTE” treatment also. I figured that 4 to 6 years later I would be driving this beauty to all the club events I could find. How fickle life really is. Four ladies in my life and 5 houses later, the ’29 was still not complete, and far from it, as we entered 1999. I needed a car to participate in club events while the ’29 was being restored.
I received a chance phone call from a young lass in the southwest of Western Australia with a 1963 Chevrolet Impala 4 door pillarless (hardtop) that needed some TLC and was going for a song. As I was now living in Perth, Western Australia, it seemed like a good idea for a 3 hour trip to have a look. My lady (now my wife) on first sight of the car made comment on it looking like a “piece of S..T!” However, although in need of work it was straight and it “appeared” to be all there. She couldn’t argue really as I told her I had just bought it for her as a 50th birthday present. Some 3 –4 months and a couple of thousand dollars and we would have a car to drive to club events. That way it doesn’t matter how long the ’29 takes.
Well, this is what really happened. Read more…
What is the motive that drives us (pardon the pun) to possess a particular type of motor vehicle? Is it a need? Do we want something the Jones’ don’t have? Perhaps something rare, something beautiful? Or is it a chance to relive some part of our childhood, or some other part of our past?
You can spend thousands of hours and dollars restoring a car, be it a veteran, vintage or one of those “Modern” things and unless you have a rare high quality vehicle you won’t recoup your dollars. So what! You do it for the love of it. If you are in the business to make money out of these vehicles, with the exception of one or two models, chances are you won’t be restoring a Chev or Ford.
However, this country owes a lot to the thousands upon thousands of Chevs and Fords that were the backbone of Australia’s wheeled transport and used by the farmers, the business owners, the delivery people and the everyday man in the street who played his part in helping this country grow. When somebody says to me “Why restore a Chev, get a car with some class, you’ll spend about the same time, effort and money on it”, I wonder if they really appreciate what these cars are all about!
Why a CHEVROLET? For me it’s a labour of love. I was twelve years old when the old man decided to buy me a car. I was into anything mechanical and like a lot of kids in those day Read more…