All of the Super Cool Things You Never Knew (Or Might Not Remember) About Chevrolet
Chevy people are Chevy people: this we know. But do we know what made them so? Why is it that drivers looking for a pre-owned car that they can rely on, day in and day out, always start with their used Chevy dealer? Why is it that we can point out each Chevy model as it drives by, identifying the trim based on how slick the grille and wheels look? What makes a Chevy person such a particular breed?
The answer is probably something obvious, like the manufacturer’s incredible lineup of award-winning vehicles ranging from the speediest of sports cars to heavy-duty trucks. It likely has to do with how customizable Chevy vehicles are or how the manufacturer manages to put just the right level of standard features in each well-considered trim. This is exactly how a Chevy person is born. All it takes is that first car and they are devotees for life. Experiencing that balance of power, capability, and safety is incomparable to other brands. It is that level of quality that raises the bar to a level that is impossible to beat in the eyes of Chevy enthusiasts.
But in researching the Chevrolet legacy, it seems there are a few things that we might not think about each day. These things reveal that Chevy is a lot more than “the bowtie brand.” And while there’s enough Chevy trivia in the company’s 110-year history to fill a full encyclopedia, here are just a few forgotten facts that remind us how brand loyalists get to be that way. These intriguing facts cover a variety of themes demonstrating just how much Chevy is woven into the fabric of American culture.
The 87-Year-Old SUV
It’s no secret that the Chevrolet Suburban is the oldest continuous nameplate. It’s simply one of those facts that disappear from conscious knowledge from time to time. The Suburban Carryall debuted in 1935: the result of some experimentation with a half-ton truck chassis and a steel wagon body. Even in the early days, the Suburban could seat up to eight passengers between its three rows. The second row could be folded down and the third row removed, too, which remained a prominent format for SUVs and minivans well into the 1990s. The result was 115.1 cubic feet of cargo room, just a smidge under the current Suburban’s 144.7 cubic feet. Remember, it was the 1930s, and the engine had a whopping 60 horsepower.
Since those early days, the Suburban has grown significantly in size, power, and popularity. A major contender in the SUV boom of the 1990s, this full-size SUV has continued to capture the hearts of the American public. In fact, the Suburban was given its own star on Hollywood Boulevard. Officially known as the Award of Excellence Star, the Chevrolet Suburban was the first vehicle to be honored by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in 2019. Since its 1952 debut on the big screen, this full-sized SUV has made over 1,750 film and television appearances, making it Hollywood’s longest working actor. At 87 years old, the Suburban is still looking as fresh as ever, thanks to Chevy’s engineering and design teams.
The Truck With a Built-In Side Ramp
Not every Chevy has stood the test of time. Sure, we hope to see the Suburban and Corvette forever, but are we really missing anything without the Citation, Laguna, or Monza? There have been quite a few Chevy vehicles that almost made it to “legendary” status, and there are some that immediately landed in the “forgettable” pile.
Between 1961 and 1964, Chevrolet produced a truck known as the Corvair 95 Rampside. Interestingly enough, the inspiration for the Corvair line was Volkswagen, which is why the engines were located in the rear of the vehicles. For the Corvair 95 trucks, that meant a cab forward design with a 105-inch truck bed.
That also meant an uneven truck bed since the rear part of the bed had to be raised to accommodate the 80 horsepower split case flat opposed 6-cylinder engine. Designed specifically to be lightweight and take up less room, this engine was truly unique for Chevy trucks at the time.
Two styles of trucks were offered: the Loadside version included a traditional tailgate, but the Rampside option was and continues to be a true curiosity. When drivers needed to access the bed, they could lower a ramp built into the passenger side of the vehicle. The ramp could be lowered to the ground and included a rubber cover to protect the top. Drivers could then push carts onto the lower portion of the truck’s bed and fill it accordingly. Today, this configuration seems incredibly innovative, and drivers at the time appreciated the feature, that is, for the first two years. In its last year of production, only 851 Corvair 95 Rampside trucks were sold.
There are some drivers who will argue that there is nothing more American than the Chevy Silverado, and on September 28, 2016, a 2017 Silverado HD pledged its allegiance in a big way. Powered by a Duramax 6.6L V8 turbo diesel engine, the Silverado HD proudly pulled an American flag for four laps around the Texas Motor Speedway’s 1.5-mile oval track. Measuring 40 by 80 feet for a surface area of 3,186 square feet, the flag was attached to the Silverado HD using specially-designed 40-foot riggings. It was launched by a team to ensure the flag would not touch the ground.
This feat earned the 2017 Silverado HD the Guinness World Records title for the World’s Largest Flag Pulled by a Moving Vehicle… for a moment. The record is currently held by the Ford Super Duty, which pulled a 45-by-92-foot flag at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida later that year. Knowing the rivalry between the two manufacturers, it seems inevitable that there will be a rematch in the future. In fact, it’s been a few years, so maybe someone should start arranging a new heavy-duty truck showdown
There’s Always a Chevy for That
Tales like this remind us why Chevy is a brand that drivers have trusted for 110 years. Since the days of the Series C Classic Six: the first automobile produced by Chevrolet in 1911, the brand has built an empire out of vehicles we love, trust, and continue to buy.
At least, that’s true of models like the Suburban. While things didn’t work out quite as well for the Corvair 95 Rampside, the Vega, or the Lumina “Dustbuster” van, each of these vehicles has a legacy that reminds us how quickly things change and how far we’ve come in the automotive industry.
Whether it’s carrying your family, holding its own on a worksite, or pulling the American flag around a racetrack, Chevrolet vehicles have proven the brand’s worth time and time again. Perhaps Chevy people become Chevy people because they know what they will get when they buy a Chevy. Furthermore, they know that the vehicle they get will continue to be an asset for a long time to come. Once you’re a Chevy person, you don’t need to be any other kind.