The Corvette Stingray topped 40,000 sales for the 2016 model year, just cause for celebration. To give the C7 generation a rousing sendoff, Chevrolet will pop corks as it resurrects the venerable ZR1 nameplate later this year.
CHEVY’S CRUZE MADE a great first impression when it was launched back in 2009, thanks to its aggressive styling and powerful diesel engine. With the next-generation car, Chevy has moved on from the muscular design of the outgoing Cruze to a more chic, coupe-like design language. Continue reading “New Audi Q5 & Chevrolet Cruze”
After a successful debut in ’67, the Camaro hit the deck in ’72. Sluggish sales and a 174-day strike at the Lordstown, Ohio, plant meant Camaros were in short supply, and only 68,656 were produced that year. Worse still, 1,100 half-finished cars sitting on the assembly lines couldn’t meet the impending ’73 bumper impact laws, so GM was forced to junk all of them. There were some dark mutterings in GM boardrooms.
The Nova name first appeared in 1962 as the top-line model of Chevrolet’s new Falcon-buster compact, the Chevy II. Evolving into a line in its own right, by ’71 the Nova’s Super Sport (SS) package was one of the smallest muscle cars ever fielded by Detroit.
Now the world’s largest producer of motor vehicles, Chevrolet kicked off the Seventies with their Ford Thunderbird chaser, the 1970 Monte Carlo. Hailed as “action and elegance in a sporty personal luxury package,” it was only available as a coupe and came with power front discs, Elm-Burl dash-panel inlays, and a choice of engines that ranged from the standard 350cid V8 to the Herculean SS 454. At $3,123 in base form, it was cheap compared to the $5,000 needed to buy a Thunderbird.
The automotive press really lashed into the ’69 Shark, calling it a piece of junk, a low point in Corvette history, and the beginning of a new trend toward the image-and-gadget car. Instead of testing the ’Vette, Car and Driver magazine simply recited a litany of glitches and pronounced it “too dire to drive,” sending ripples of rage through GM.
Rumors that General Motors had at last come up with something to steal sales from Ford’s hugely successful Mustang swept through the American auto industry in the spring of 1966. Code-named Panther, the Camaro was announced to newspaper reporters on June 29, 1966, touching down in showrooms on September 21.
By 1960, sales of dinosaurs were down, small-car imports were up, and Detroit finally listened to a market screaming for economy compacts. Then along came Chevrolet’s adventurous answer to the Volkswagen Beetle, the pretty, rear-engined Corvair, which sold for half the price of a Ford Thunderbird.
The Chevrolet Corvette is America’s native sports cars. The “plastic fantastic,” born in 1953, is still fantastic more than half a decade later. Along the way, in 1992, it notched up a million sales, and it is still hanging in there.
In the sixties, unbridled consumerism began to wane. America turned away from the politics of prosperity and, in deference, Chevrolet toned down its finny Impala.
Chevy was on a high in the mid-Fifties. With the ’Vette, the Bel Air, and their new V8, it was America’s undisputed top car manufacturer. A boundless optimism percolated through all divisions, even touching such prosaic offerings as trucks.
If you thought BMW and Mercedes were first with the sporting uptown carry-all, think again. Chevrolet kicked off the genre as far back as 1955. The Bel Air Nomad was a development of Harley Earl’s dream wagon based on the Chevrolet Corvette; and although it looked like other ’55 Bel Airs, the V8 Nomad was the most expensive Chevy ever.
Chevrolet called their ’57 line “sweet, smooth, and sassy,” and the Bel Air was exactly what America wanted—a junior Cadillac. Finny, trim, and handsome, and with Ed Cole’s Super Turbo-Fire V8, it boasted one of the first production engines to pump out one horsepower per cubic inch, and was the first mass-market “fuelie” sedan with Ramjet injection.
A caricature of a European roadster, the first Corvette of 1953 was more show than go. With typical arrogance, Harley Earl was more interested in the way it looked saw a huge market for a new type of auto opium. With everybody’s dreams looking exactly the same, the plastic ’Vette brought a badly needed shot of designed-in diversity.
If you had to think up a slogan for a new electric-powered car, what might it be? Chevrolet’s answer when promoting the upcoming Chevy Volt was The Future Is Electrifying, which is undoubtedly better than What a Shocker!.
By 1962 General Motors had refined its notion of a concept car. Far from encouraging designs rooted in whimsy or science fiction, it restricted imaginative research to the realms of practical possibility. Cars could still be bizarre or weird or even fabulous, so long as every gizmo, attachment, style feature or technical surprise had a point.
The Volt has done fairly well in the USA, but the version badged Vauxhall Ampera flopped here so the Volt’s second generation won’t cross the Atlantic. Shame, as it’s a good car. This is an extended-range electric vehicle, or in some lexicons a series hybrid.
Obviously the Chevy Corvette – top speed 198 mph (317 km/h) -wasn’t enough for lovers of macho American supercars, for the Corvette ZR1 appeared in 2009. Coyly described as the performance version of the Corvette’ and nicknamed ‘The Blue Devil’ during development, this fabulous flying machine has a supercharged LS9 6.2 litre small-block V8 engine delivering 638 bhp – the most powerful ever to sit in a Chevrolet. Continue reading “Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 – 2009”
History was firm but fair to the Chevrolet Citation. It was a great car, the biggest-selling car in America in its first year; but when it got found out, it had to pay the price of public failure. General Motors’ new generation of modern, front-wheel drive cars was known as the ‘X-family’. Continue reading “Chevrolet Citation – 1980”
With good reason, Chevrolet took no chances. Not since 1968 had there been a complete rethink of the iconic Corvette. Designed and made in 1982, a new car was ready to roll off the production line by March 1983, but Chevrolet preferred to test the 50-odd prototypes to the limit before permitting sales of the C4 1984-designated model year. By October the look was right. It was leaner and more purposeful than its flamboyant predecessor. Continue reading “Chevrolet Corvette C4 – 1984”
The Ford Mustang set the pony-car agenda at just the right time, when the Sheiks turned off the oil taps and gas guzzling became bad news, but Chevrolet’s response was swift and impressive. The Camaro followed the required long-bonnet-short-rear-deck pony-car principle, but its styling was in no way imitative and the new equine runner was an instant winner.