While Chevrolet was founded on November 3rd, 1911 it wasn't till January 1918 that Chevrolet would start offering it's first truck models. Since then the iconic American auto maker has sold tens of millions of trucks. Recently in celebration of Chevrolet's 100th anniversary General Motors prepared this list; “10 Chevrolet trucks that built a global brand.” Below we'll break down their list starting with the earlier years.
1920 Chevrolet 490 Flat Face Cowl and Chassis Trucks
The first Chevy trucks offered to consumers in 1918, were essentially body-less Chevrolet 490 series car which was equipped with stronger rear springs. Buyers had the option to add a wooden cab and cargo box or panel van body. The price for a half-ton truck was just $595. Also for $1,125, Chevrolet offered a 1918 Model T (for truck), with a one-ton capacity, built on a longer, stronger frame.
During the 1920s, trucking grew to the point that in 1929, Chevrolet sold 187,103 trucks.
1925 Chevrolet Panel Truck Made in Brazil
Chevrolet realized early on that it could make money selling cars not just in the United State, but also around the world. By the 1930s, General Motors had established a worldwide network of 18 plants to assemble it's cars and trucks.
The first foreign plant was in Denmark which built its first Chevrolet, a truck, in 1924. Then in 1925, for the first time, Chevrolet assembled the Panel Truck in Brazil. Then as it does now, Brazil had a rapidly expanding economy and within just a year, GM had sold its 25,000 vehicles in Brazil. Millions more sales have followed since putting Brazil today in second for sales only behind the U.S..
1937 Chevrolet Half-Ton Pickup
In 1934 the Chevrolet pickup got its own chassis, rather than the one adapted from it's passenger cars. The 1937 pickup got a streamlined design, a sturdier body and a larger, more powerful 78-horsepower engine. And speaking of fuel efficiency, a 1937 Chevrolet half-ton pickup took a 10,245-mile drive around the U.S. Showcasing it's durability which was also monitored by the American Automobile Association. While carrying a 1,060-lbs load, the truck averaged 20.7 miles per gallon. Impressive to think that over 70 years ago trucks were getting about the same mileage they are today. Of course modern trucks are much bigger.
1948 Chevrolet Half-Ton Pickup
This body style was produced, with few major changes, from 1947 through 1953. When in 1953 it got a new frontal appearance. This is the time when trucks began to overtake cars as Chevrolet's principal product. Before World War II, Chevrolet produced four cars for every truck. By 1950, Chevrolet became the first brand to sell more than 2 million vehicles in a year, the ratio of cars to trucks was around 2.5-to-1.
1955 Chevrolet Cameo Pickup
In 1955 the Chevy pickup got a new, modern look, as well as it's first V-8 engine. This was big change, because from 1929 until mid-1955, all Chevrolet light trucks were powered only by six-cylinder engines. The Cameo pickup was intended to be a "gentleman's pickup," a more at home father type consumer in a trendy suburban area was Chevy's target. It's safe to say this is when Pickup Trucks became an everyday vehicle like cars were already for so many years.
1959 Chevrolet El Camino
Some people hate it and some people love it, but it's safe to say the 1959 El Camino is either a gorgeous pickup truck or a marriage made in hell between a car and a truck. Either way it's rear has a pickup bed.
The way General Motors sees it, the original El Camino, introduced in 1959, "combined the dramatically finned styling of that period's Chevrolet cars with half-ton pickup utility." But after 1960, the El Camino went on a three-year hiatus. In 1964 the El Camino was back and this time based on the Chevrolet Chevelle, and the “Chevelle El Camino” would enjoy two more generations (1968-72 and 1973-77). When 1978 came the El Camino was now based on the Malibu/G-Body platform.
The El Camino went to automobile heaven after the 1987 model year. Today, a quarter-century later, Chevrolet still gets requests to bring it back and there have been several concept renderings made of what it would look like today.
1967 Chevrolet C-10 Pickup
In 1967, the Chevy pickup got another new look. This time it would be the C10 Pickup model. The exterior profile, which lasted through the 1972 model year, featured a lower-silhouette cab and large, rounded wheel openings. The new chassis introduced coil springs front and rear to the Chevy pickup lineup.
By 1967, the Federal Interstate Highway System was giving Americans unprecedented access to natural wonders and recreational areas. That created more markets for trucks to have more handling and power that could pull campers and trailers.
1973 Chevrolet Suburban
In 1935, Chevrolet introduced the Suburban Carryall, which was built on a half-ton chassis, with a durable steel body and room for eight. Or as General Motors said, "With the 1935 Suburban Carryall, Chevrolet essentially invented the SUV."
The 1973 The Suburban featured a roomy four-door body, replacing the three-door style produced during 1967-72. It could carry up to nine passengers and was much bigger, longer and stronger than any car-based station wagon's were. But who knew station wagons would disappear for several decades while the Suburban continued to prosper?
In fact, the 1973 Suburban set the style which would continue through the 1991 model year. During that time, Suburban dominated the recreational travel market and fed the image of American drivers as consumers of abundant space and excessive amounts of gasoline consumption.
Just a few years ago Chevrolet celebrated the Suburban's 75th anniversary in continuous production since 1935, Suburban is the automotive industry's longest-lived vehicle nameplate and will likely continue to be as SUV sales aren't showing signs of slowing down anytime soon.
1999 Chevrolet Silverado Pickup
In 1999 Chevrolet would introduce it's newly designed pickup as the Silverado. Don't get this confused with the previous year Silverado package as the 1988-98 Chevrolet Pickup's were C/K trucks. Chevrolet would now put emphasis behind comfort and luxury.
In 2001, the first Silverado HD models established heavy-duty three-quarter- and one-ton truck benchmarks for trailer tow ratings. The second-generation Silverado was launched in 2007.
2012 Chevrolet Colorado
With the demise of S10 Pickup, Chevrolet developed a new midsized pickup truck. In 2012 the new Colorado was built by a team from Brazil which was inaugural produced in Thailand. Why Thailand? Because this country is the world's largest market for midsized pickups. The new Colorado will subsequently become available in Brazil and other regions around the world, including the U.S. becoming a very popular choice by people seeking better fuel efficiency than a full size truck.