Chevy trucks are iconic and classic models from the 40s and 50s have become symbolic of a better era. The Old Chevy is featured in hit TV shows like MacGyver, who drives a 1946 Chevy truck. But the history of the Chevy truck dates back a lot further, over a century ago.
In December 1918 the first Chevy trucks which had been produced especially as a truck for the individual buyer market, left Chevrolet’s Michigan factory. This one ton model with cowl chassis design was the first purpose-built truck ever produced and as a tip of things to come, was left for the owner to customise the load carrier to suit their purpose.
The price of the 1918 models was actually less than the average annual household income in the USA at that time.
Since that first model rolled out of the factory, the humble Chevy truck has been developed, transformed, innovated, stylised, expanded, idolised, emulated and continued to be produced for over a century. Now available in multiple countries around the globe, the history of the Chevy can be viewed as the history of the pickup truck.
In 1929, the key advancement was the change from the wooden wheels to steel disc wheels. No doubt reflecting the development of the mighty US steel industry. By 1937 the Chevy had a 78 horsepower engine that averaged just under 21 miles per gallon.
In 1938 the company began to add style and flair to the range. Chevy established an Art and Colour Department which was tasked with the design aspects of the vehicles. A trend which continued for many decades as new Chevy model releases were highly anticipated as aficionados awaiting what amazing design elements would feature.
The Chevrolet 3100 Series was released in 1947 and was the first in the post-war era to feature significantly advanced styling and design elements. By 1955 even more features that took inspiration from cars rather than trucks crept into the Chevy design and it started to take on quite the ‘executive truck’ appearance.
By the late 60s the powerplay was on and in 1967 both a 6 cylinder and the bigger V8 engines were available. A leader in innovation, Chevy makes claim to being the first manufacturer to a release a crew cab model. A design which has since been replicated by most major manufacturers and is a staple in the market.
In lifestyle and pop culture, the 80s was all about glitz, glamour, excess and bling. For the Chevy truck it was their 4th generation and 1988 the released a look that was totally sport inspired. Paving the way for many other sports utility vehicles to follow.
The Chevy Silverado is a must-have today for fans of the badge but the model actually dates to 1999 when it became a stand alone model in their line-up. Not surprising that in 2007 the Silverado was honoured with a very prestigious truck of the year award.
A century from the first release, in 2018 Chevy trucks commemorated with special edition releases which will likely be collector items in decades to come. The Chevy pickup truck is an icon in the North American truck market and has developed a worthy following across the globe.