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