Chevrolet: 110 years and one happy case


In November 1911, an American automotive company was founded, named by the Frenchman of Swiss origin. It happened, it can be said to some extent by random …

It was the very case when they say: «There would be no happiness, but misfortune helped.» And this is the misfortune with William Durant (William Durant), the founder of General Motors Corporation. Having gathered at the beginning of the century under the roof of GM many automotive companies, a durant quickly brought them to the verge of bankruptcy, for which he was suspended by investors from the leadership. But he left not just so, but with the intention to regain a high chair, for which she grabbed with him a practically complete project of a new model, as well as the leader of Buick’s leader on the name Chevrolet (Chevrolet). Together with two brothers, Artur and Gastron, Louis Joseph Chevrolet (Louis-Joseph Chevrolet)

Not being a brilliant engineer, nor a talented manager, Chevrolet still became the face and name of the new company, which, oddly enough, did not bring him special dividends. A colorful racer with lush mustes represented the first samples of Chevrolet products and took them on the track, but after a few years a durant bought him and a share in the case where he was one of the three founders, and the rights to use the name. For many years, Chevrolet spent in the mode of «free flight», unsuccessfully trying to establish his own auto business, and at the sunset career and life returned to the company that worn his name, but not the leader, but a small employee. The brand itself, as planned, helped a durant to return General Motors (albeit for a while): In 1917, he actually joined the entire corporation to one company who quickly won the leading position in the market.

But success did not come immediately. The first model, Chevrolet Classic Six of the 1911 sample, was typical for those years by an American car that had solid sizes, a six-cylinder engine (which is reflected in the title) and a fairly high price — 2500 dollars. Meanwhile, Ford sold his model t Almost five cheaper, and she diverged like hot cakes, the same expensive car was long divided, and even the promoted name did not help securely secure it in it. I had to master a new niche, and it turned out at a durant not bad: after a couple of years, budget cars appeared with the «fours», and by the 1916 model year a real bestseller was prepared, model 490. It was still a bit more expensive than Fords «Lizzy Tin», but And in the technical plan exceeded it: for example, the electric starter, which was proposed by default, was considered a luxury for those times. By the way, the «490th» became one of the first Chevrolet, decorated with the famous emblem in the form of a stylized cross: on one of the versions, this is a modified Swiss cross, in memory of the Motherland Louis Chevrolet, on the other — just a fragment of a durant drawing on the wallpaper in one From hotels.

Availability, practicality and reliability — those were the priorities of Chevrolet in the first years of the brand’s existence. This allowed her to survive during the Great Depression, finally turning into a leading brand General Motors, and bypass in terms of sales Ford, imprudently «slowedized» with the successor of the T.The, as the last, Chevrolet 490 and his follower Superior (1922) Very soon, close relatives appeared in the class of light trucks and pickups: «Tracks» already used great popularity in America.

However, all this did not exclude the desire to produce fast, comfortable and prestigious cars: since 1928, the «six» returned to the engine line, and in 1933 the Master model with an independent front suspension was debuted. Like now, passenger chevrolet was widely unified with machines of other GM compartments, and the same Master, for example, was a bit modified by Externally Pontiac Silver Streak.

But in 1935 he saw the light of the original model that made a small revolution — Chevrolet Suburban, the founder of the SUV category (Sport / Utility Vehicles). Built on the chassis of a half-bottom pickup and equipped with all the same «six», he was originally all-wheel drive, but had a solid road clearance than fully justified his name (Suburban — in the suburban). But the main thing is not even this, and the all-metal body wagon with three rows of seats, which allowed to carry up to eight people, and not trouble that in the early models he had only two side doors.

In subsequent generations (all of them today there are already twelve) Suburban and rear doors, and drive to the front wheels, and additional cylinders, transmission in the box, horsepower, etc., but his concept remained the same: it’s «Working Horse »Pure American format, perfect car for large family. And not only: since its inception, Suburban was popular in the police and various special services, he was produced in army versions.

By the way, about the army: like all other automotive enterprises of America, shortly after the beginning of World War II, Chevrolet stopped the production of civilian cars, fully switched to defense products. These were not only cars (in particular, trucks arrived in the Red Army on Land Lesu), but also aviation engines, and components for artillery guns. The development of passenger models was frozen for a long time, and the first post-war vehicles presented to the public as novelties were a bit of updated variations of the same «master» of the 1942 sample. A truly model range was upgraded only by the beginning of the 1950s, at the same time, automatic transmissions began to be installed on mass cars, and already in 1953 the next revolution was killed: Chevrolet Corvette production began.

Corvette — a separate page of the history of Chevrolet, which is stated very much and written, so we will not stop in detail on this topic. We only note that the appearance of «Corvette» marked a new round of the development of the American Autodizain, in many respects inspired by the consequences of the war, more precisely, the interpenetration of cultures occurred in its result. In any case, it is very similar that it is the sports cars of the work of the Italian stylists became a catalyst that influenced Harley Earl (Harley Earl), the author of the first «Corvette», and not only it: the middle and end of the 1950s dated interesting conceptual developments (although hardly Lee then was the concept of «concept car») and bold serial models. Among them — and the passenger Pickup El Camino, and the three-door universal Nomad, «Grown» from the concept of the same name created, in turn, on the basis of the same «Corvette».

In parallel, the «Detroit Barochko» bloomed in a lush: Standard CHEVROLET models became more and harder (since in 1955, a powerful V-shaped «eight» appeared in the motor line, and their external appearance — everything is more stronger, and the fashion radically changed every year . Apogee of this style came in the 1959th, and next year she made a kind of antipode of these monsters — a compact model Corvair a rather modest species (she, by the way, also received the name of the 1954 concept). Chevrolet Corvair has become famous for independent suspension of all wheels, rear engine location and a kind of behavior on the road, which prompted Ralph Nidera (Ralph Nader)

The 1960s were issued for Chevrolet especially with novelties: a small — again, according to American concepts, — the NOVA model with a base four-cylinder engine (1962); Magnificent Corvette Stingray of Bill Mitchell (1963); Medium-sized Malibu series (1964) and CAPRICE (1965) …

And 1967 the model year brought the world a new sports car named Camaro: From the extreme «Corvette», it was distinguished by the presence of a second row of seats and a more democratic price, but was originally completed with powerful «six» and «eights». Together with her mother brother, Pontiac Firebird, the model quickly became a cult, and in the very first year of its existence of Camaro provided 10 percent of sales from 2.2 million Chevrolet cars. And already in 1971, more than three million cars were sold with an emblem in the form of a cross — an absolute record on the market.

However, European and Japanese competitors did not sleep, and from the beginning of the 1970s, not leaving the «upper», typically American segments (even on the contrary, the systemally increasing the working volume and the power of their «eights»), Chevrolet is seriously taken for the compact market. In the same 1971, Corvair did not meet the VEGA model of a more traditional classical layout, and five years later, the chevette small car was debuted, in all the parameters close to the Golf Class, but still had rear leading wheels, while many foreign Analogues were front-wheel drive.

The advanced layout was first implemented in a novelty of 1980, which received the «talking» name Citation, and by the beginning of the 1990s the front drive received all the passenger chevrolet, except for the large «classic» Caprice, as well as sports Corvette and Camaro.

In the same time, General Motors began expansion into overseas markets, and the first role here was allocated, of course, Chevrolet. For example, in the late 1970s, under this brand in Brazil and South Africa, both actually Chevrolet and the model of the German Opel branch are sold, and at the beginning of the XXI century, the echoes of such a model policy came to us in the form of Chevrolet Viva, «in Maenology »Old Opel Astra. Much earlier, in 1983, Daewoo joint venture was formed in South Korea, where they began to assemble a car with a loud name Lemans, actually representing the Opel Kadett of the last generation (this model is familiar to us well as Daewoo Nexia). It would seem, what’s the Daewoo? — But in the 2002th GM, the Korean company uploaded, and all its models were awarded the «Chevroletovsky» cross.

Today, Chevrolet is still the most prosperous division of the most prosperous American autocontraser, who received a generous state support during the crisis of the end of zero. As befits a brand with such a long and glorious history, Chevrolet sometimes looks back, — and nostalgic concepts and serial models like HHR and Camaro appear, although the foundation of well-being, as before, is relatively democratic cars. Endemic mass models are being developed for many countries, and until recently, Russia has been among those countries, «remember» Shevron. » Alas, today the American brand is far from our first roles in the sense of sales, but Louis Joseph Chevrolet would probably still be very proud, learning how his name became famous.