History of Chevrolet

December 30th, 2019 by


History can be fascinating if you give it a chance. It continuously shows you that everything is intertwined and connected. Historical intricacies have made the minds of science fiction writers twirl for decades – but the great thing about history is that learning about the history of something can change the way we think about it.

The history of the Chevrolet corporation is varied and complex enough that you don’t need to be a history buff, or a car buff, to appreciate it. Here is a little more about a corporation that shaped the very nature of automobile production in the United States.

Fast, Fun, and Exciting

Ford and Chevrolet are known for being competitors of one another, but where Chevrolet differed was in its goals. Unlike Ford, who aimed for practicality and released its first line of cars around the same time as Chevrolet, Chevrolet always intended to create vehicles with a little “umph.”

Chevrolet is named after one of its founders, Swiss race car driver Louis Chevrolet. Chevrolet raced cars and was a car engineer, which gave him a leg-up when it came to understanding the cars he marketed. The company was co-founded by William C. Durant – who founded General Motor Company. Investors William Little, James H. Whiting, among others, laid stake in the creation of the company. Both investors had experience with car engineering, which potentially laid the success of the company.

The company hoped that its racing origins would draw in customers who were interested in cars. Although Chevrolet was one of the first to employ the use of race car driving and race interest to try and sell cars, it was not the only company. Louis Chevrolet only stayed with the company for a few years, at which point Durant bought out Chevrolet’s shares of the company. However, Chevrolet’s cars have always catered to style, as a nod to the sleek and glamorous profession of racing.

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First Car Production & Brand Image

The famous “bowtie” associated with Chevrolet did not come about until a year after they produced their first car in 1913. Still, this did not inhibit the company from branding their image. The Series C Classic 6 was made and was only one of a few cars made while Louis Chevrolet was still with the company. Ultimately, the car was thick, durable, and beautiful – all aspects of the vehicle that Louis Chevrolet admired. However, to compete in the growing automobile industry, Chevrolet understood that they would need to make a line of more affordable cars.

This was the difference in opinion that ultimately drove Chevrolet out of the company, but it was a good decision on behalf of the car company itself. Chevy still managed to make good looking cars, like the H series, the L Series, and the much cheaper 490, that cost much less than their original model.

With Louis Chevrolet leaving the company, Chevy understood it would need to do some quick thinking to unify the brand. Thus, the emblematic bowtie was created and has showcased the brand for over one hundred years.

The origin of the bowtie is dubious, and modern historical scholars largely debate it. Some say that it was derived from a pattern Durant saw on wallpaper during his time in France. Others say that it was derived from the Coalettes Coal Company Logo. Both these claims make sense. Durant was a renowned traveler and was consistently inspired by the designs he saw on his travels. More obviously, the cross looks like a stylized version of the Swiss Cross – another nod to Louis Chevrolet. It became an unforgettable image associated with the brand, so whatever the origin story, it ended up working well to unite the brand throughout the past century.

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A New Generation Of Car Buyers Means New Car Features

Once Louis Chevrolet was out of the picture, the company continued to take the path of affordability over style and class, and it paid off. Americans were increasingly growing dependent upon reliable transportation, which meant they required affordable cars. Chevrolet, Chrysler, and Ford all held the title of the “affordable three” in United States auto production, which kept them on par with their biggest competitors.

However, one thing that Chevy did have the upper hand on was something its founding father wanted to emphasize: style. The auto industry was in the midst of a considerable consumer change. Whereas before consumers tried to find the best deal on a reliable and sturdy car, the newest generation of consumers was looking for something a little flashier. This was when Chevy worked with its designers to create one of the first classic sports cars: The Chevrolet Corvette. The Corvette was originally designed to be a show car – a testament to what Chevrolet could do as a company. However, investors and potential customers saw much more potential from the Corvette. The late fifties into the early sixties produced the first real hot rod in American history, and today the Corvette is beloved among sports car fans of all backgrounds.

This period also saw the creation of the Chevy Impala line, which remained a best-seller from the time it was created. People loved this line because it had sports car-like capabilities with an affordable bottom line. Over time, Chevrolet would come to be known for its ability to create handsome cars for any American Home. Additionally, this period produced the V-8 engine, which has remained one of the most popular mass-produced engines in the world since its introduction.

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Chevrolet: Continued Innovation

If there is one thing to be said about Chevrolet, it is this: the brand never fails to make changes based on customer needs. In the early 2010s, when consumer focus began to shift toward environmental sustainability, Chevy was one of the first brands to come out with an electric and hybrid car, leading the market in sustainable American vehicles.

Interested in learning more about how Chevrolet has your needs in mind? Visit Zeck Chevrolet at 1601 N. Green Ave. in Purcell, Oklahoma. Or, stop by our website to browse our inventory of new and used vehicles.

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