Country: United States
On November 3, 1911, Louis Chevrolet, a Swiss race car driver and automotive engineer, co-founded the “Chevrolet Motor Company” in Detroit with his brother Arthur Chevrolet, William C. Durant, and investment partners William Little, James H. Whiting, Dr. Edwin R. Campbell, and R. S. McLaughlin.
In 1910, Durant was fired from his top management position at General Motors, which he had started in 1908. He bought the Flint Wagon Works and Buick Motor Company in Flint, Michigan, in 1904. He also formed the Mason and Little businesses. Durant had engaged Louis Chevrolet, the head of Buick, to drive Buicks in promotional races. Durant intended to build his new car company on Chevrolet’s racing heritage. Flint, Michigan, was the site of the first manufacturing.
Louis Chevrolet had a design disagreement with Durant and sold Durant’s portion of the company in 1914. However, Chevrolet had been lucrative enough by 1916, thanks to the success of the less expensive Series 490, for Durant to regain a majority position in the company. Durant became president of General Motors when he completed the deal completed in 1917, and Chevrolet was integrated into GM as a distinct subsidiary.
Beginning in 1919, GMC commercial grade trucks were rebranded as Chevrolet. Light-duty trucks were built on the same chassis as Chevrolet passenger vehicles, with an identical appearance to GMC products.
Chevrolet continued to compete with Ford into the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, and after the Chrysler Corporation founded Plymouth in 1928, the “Low-priced three” of Plymouth, Ford, and Chevrolet became known as the “Low-priced three.” Chevrolet gained a marketing advantage over Ford, producing a single flathead four-cylinder engine when they launched the legendary “Stovebolt” overhead-valve inline six-cylinder engine in 1929. (“A Six at the price of a Four”).
During the 1950s and 1960s, Chevrolet had a significant impact on the American vehicle market. The Corvette, a two-seater sports automobile with a fiberglass body, was first introduced in 1953. Chevrolets accounted for one out of every ten cars sold in the United States in 1963.
The standard Chevrolet, notably the deluxe Chevrolet Impala series, became one of America’s best-selling automobile lines in history during the 1960s and early 1970s. Popular models included mid-sized Chevrolet Chevelle, the Chevrolet Monte Carlo, and the Chevrolet Nova, which served as the foundation for the Chevrolet Camaro.
Although newer versions share few, if any, parts interchangeable with the original, the fundamental Chevrolet small-block V8 design has remained in continuous production since its debut in 1955, longer than any other mass-produced engine in the world. In addition, advances like aluminum block and heads, computerized engine control, and sequential port fuel injection have been added to descendants of the small-block OHV V8 design platform in production today.
Chevrolet V8s are available with displacements ranging from 4.3 to 9.4 liters with factory outputs ranging from 111 to 994 horsepower, depending on the vehicle type. Over the years, the same basic engine design has been used across the entire GM family of brands, including Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, Hummer, Opel (Germany), and Holden (Australia) nameplates.