First…last night must have been the first airing of the first episode of Garage Squad on the Motor Trend channel since Cristy Lee’s departure from the show. The number of blog views and visitors skyrocketed and finished in the top five in daily readers in the 45+ month history of the blog. Where Is Cristy Lee? continues to be The Gift That Keeps On Giving. OK, you say you “have” to see a picture today:
I couldn’t pick any make other than Chevrolet for the “C” post for Cars A To Z. Chevrolet was founded (in 1911) because William Durant, who had created General Motors, had been kicked out of GM just two years after its formation. He figured his only way back to the top at GM was to create another car company. That company was the Little Motor Car Company of Flint, Michigan and Chevrolet was the name Durant chose for his larger car, which became the name of the company in 1914. Louis Chevrolet, the race car driver for whom the company is named, was actually well-known to the American public.
Durant’s plan succeeded, then failed. Using Chevrolet stock as a way to acquire General Motors stock, Durant regained control of GM in 1916, only to be kicked out for the second and final time in 1920. He was a visionary in terms of seeing the overall automobile market, but organization was not his strength nor was prudence when it came to spending money.
Chevrolet was the top dog among American car makes for many years. It and Ford dominated the US automobile market. For example, for the 50 years after World War II (1946-1995), they finished in the top two positions in sales 48 times. Ford dropped to fourth in 1983 and third in 1985, which means, of course, that Chevrolet finished either first or second in all 50 years.
Chevrolet sold almost 78 million cars from 1946-1995, finishing ahead of Ford’s nearly 69 million and outselling Ford in 36 of those 50 years. Chevrolet was the first US car company to reach the two million level in a single year (in 1962) and surpassed that mark a total of 15 times with the last year being 1980.
Some production trivia and lamentation: Oldsmobile finished third to Chevrolet and Ford for three years from 1977 to 1979, inclusive, with annual sales exceeding one million each year. The company reached the one million level in sales as late as 1986, but of course, was defunct less than two decades later.
Pontiac squeezed into the number two position in US sales as late as 1996, edging out Chevrolet. Fifteen years later, Pontiac was no more.
Anyway…before I show my current Chevrolet connection, I want to show a car of note: the 1965 Chevrolet Impala. Including 243,114 SS models, Chevrolet sold 1,046,514 Impalas that year, the only US model to reach a million in annual sales since the end of World War II. (c.f. Mustang sales for its elongated debut year of 1965 were 680,989.) From Vintage Car Brochures, a page in the 1965 Chevrolet sales brochure:
In my opinion, like the Mustang the Impala was a success because it was a stylish car–especially in coupe form–that was versatile. I wish I had a picture of the 1961 Impala that got me back and forth between home and college in my first semester. My first car, a 1967 Pontiac GTO, had been wrecked in an accident two weeks before I started college and it took months to fix.
Now, to my current Chevrolet connection:
In case you don’t know, [everyone join in] or even if you do, these are the three Corvettes I have owned. At the top is my 2002 Corvette in Electron Blue Metallic I bought used in 2004. The middle picture is my 2007 Corvette in Machine Silver that I purchased new in 2007. Of course, the bottom is my 2016 Z06 in Long Beach Red Metallic with its recently purchased ZR1 wheels. I bought the Z06 used in 2019.
I doubt many readers are surprised by my choice of Chevrolet as the “C” car for Cars A To Z. I ask for your indulgence.
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6 thoughts on “Cars A To Z: C”
It is your blog so post what you want.
I saw the Garage Squad episode last night and the new lady member of the Squad is ……Bogi Lateiner.
Thanks, Philip. In this post from May I wrote that Bogi had replaced Cristy Lee on Garage Squad.
When sales of the lower trim Biscayne and Bel Air models, as well as station wagons (not included in the 1,046,514 figure) are added, full size Chevy production for 1965 was a staggering 1.65 million units.
Thanks for sharing the info and for joining the conversation.
I must apologize, I am getting behind in my blogging and reading as work has come fast and furious in the last month or so.
I’m slowly making my way through ‘The Buick: A Complete History’, and the creation of Chevrolet gets some coverage as and GM history would. Interesting that for different reasons neither David Dunbar Buick nor Louis Chevrolet spent a very long time with the companies that vote their names (while Durant’s namesake car is a footnote).
We had 3 Chevrolets, briefly. In the early 70s my dad had a used 64 Biscayne sedan, in-line 6, 3 on the tree for a year or so (coincidentally replaced by a 64 Buick Electra coupe).
In the mid 70s my mom drove her favourite car, a 66 Corvair Monza Sport Coupe with the automatic. The flat 6 had a knack for stalling and once bad weather and the light front end put her in a ditch. She sold it to a lawyer she worked for and still regrets it a bit.
In 87 I had a 75 Chevy custom deluxe 1/2 ton pick up. 305 auto. I love the square body trucks, really simple straightforward vehicles. Unfortunately one 90+ degree day, stuck in rush hour traffic on the highway about a kilometre from work, I broke a fan belt and it overheated before I could nurse it to the parking lot. Scorched the heads, but more importantly bent a connecting rod. In hindsight I should have splurged on a crate motor.
No need for apologies, Mark. Glad to read work is good for you at the moment.
My father was a General Motors guy, although he later developed an affinity for Jeeps as well. He basically owned Buicks and Chevrolets (if only David and Louis could have known!) and bought me a Pontiac (GTO) for my first car.
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