Classic Chevys: The Legacy of Chevrolet

chevy-suburban-historyInnovation and the pursuit of performance are intertwined throughout the 100+ years that Chevrolet has been in existence. Bowman Chevrolet in Clarkston is proud to be a part of that legacy. We’re taking a trip down memory lane to recall some of our favorite Chevrolet models throughout the decades that helped define the Chevy brand for Waterford and Detroit drivers.

1930’s: The 1936 Chevrolet Suburban

The granddaddy of the modern-day SUV, the truck-based, steel-bodied Chevy Suburban “Carryall” was introduced in mid-1935 as a beefier alternative to the station wagons of the day. The 1936 Suburban could carry up to 8 passengers, plus all of their gear while traversing the nation in search of adventure. For 80 years now, the Suburban legacy has lived on, becoming the longest-lived continuous production automotive nameplate in the country.

The 1940’s: The 1948 Chevrolet Pickup

Introduced after World War II, the Advance Design trucks Chevy produced in 1948 offered new roomier cabs with three-across seating, making it an ideal choice for families considering a second vehicle. The iconic Chevy truck remains cherished by collectors to this day, and the Chevy truck driveline hasn’t needed much tweaking since.

The 1950’s: The 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Coupe

The history-making Bel Air Sport Coupe arrived on the scene and re-energized the Chevy brand as America’s cultural roots began to shift with the introduction of rock ‘n’ roll. The two-toned 1955 Chevy boasted a “Turbo-Fire” V8, the very first of Chevy’s legendary small-block engines. The Bel Air was dubbed “The Hot One” in reference both to the powerful performance of the V8, and to the record-breaking rate of sales for the Bel Air Sport Coupe.

The 1960’s: The 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray “Split-Window” Coupe

The birth of the Corvette Stingray. The Chevy Corvette had already been earning respect around the globe for its exceptional performance, but in 1963 the superbly tailored form of the Stingray made its debut. It offered American drivers a fuel-injected small-block V8 that was potently powerful, as well as an independent rear suspension; the affordable price point put the Split Window Coupe within reach for performance enthusiasts across the nation.

The Legacy in Action

While we love looking back at where we came from, at Bowman Chevrolet we’re equally excited to see ahead to where we’re going. The exciting Chevy lineup of today is the classic lineup of the future, and you can experience them now in Bowman Chevrolet in Clarkston. Contact us today to learn more about any of our vehicles, or to arrange a test drive!

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Rob Dyrdek Drives Chevy Sonic Backwards Off Ramp, Sets World Record

Television star and former professional skateboarder Rob Dyrdek snagged another GUINNESS WORLD RECORD® this morning, nicely complementing the 21 he’s previously earned. What did he do? Oh, only an 89-foot reverse ramp jump.

In a Chevy Sonic.

The official length of the jump was 89 feet 3.25 inches and your exclusive first-look video is above.

This is the second time that Dyrdek, star of MTV’s “Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory,” has gotten behind the wheel of a Sonic. In 2011 he performed a 360-degree kick flip. Also off a ramp.

“The Sonic is a great car for firsts,” said Dyrdek.  “I have always been a Chevy guy, so when we decided we wanted to set a Guinness World Record for the finale of “Fantasy Factory,” using the Sonic again just made sense.”

Dyrdek performed the stunt before spectators at Six Flags Magic Mountain, while MTV filmed the jump for the Season Finale of “Fantasy Factory,” set to air on March 13, 2014 at 10:30 PM ET/PT on MTV. In order to qualify for the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS achievement, Dyrdek had to successfully land the Sonic on the catch rampand be able to drive away from the stunt. He did both.

Despite the implied madness of the stunt, safety was a priority. The Chevy Sonic offers 10 standard air bags and high-strength steel as part of its body structure, making it a strong choice for this challenge.

“We take extra care and precautions with each and every stunt we create,” said Elia Popov, owner of J.E.M. F/X Inc. “Rob is always willing to try anything once, and for this backwards jump, we felt confident that the Sonic would keep him safe.

To learn more about the Chevrolet Sonic, visit the Chevy Sonic Facebook page or follow on Twitter at @ChevyLife.

Click here to read the story on Drive the District or to see more GM regional content.

Top 10 Moments in Chevrolet Performance History

In 2013, Chevrolet earned the title of the most successful name in professional motorsports in the United States, sweeping a total of 12 manufacturer’s, driver, and team championships in NASCAR, IndyCar and ALMS, GRAND-AM, and Pirelli World Challenge series.

Chevrolet will kick off the 2014 season with the debut of the all-new Corvette Racing C7.R at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The new Corvette, wearing an updated “Jake” mascot, will make its competition debut at the Rolex 24 At Daytona on January 25-26.

To celebrate this significant year, here’s a look at the “Top 10 Moments” that contributed to the legacy of Chevrolet racing which dates all the way back to co-founder Louis Chevrolet’s passion for racing automobiles.


1955-SmallBlock

Chevrolet’s performance reputation was virtually non-existent in the early 1950s, but when the first of the brand’s legendary small-block V-8 engines appeared in the all-new 1955 models, perceptions quickly changed. Soon, word spread through the racing world that the new V-8 developed by Chevrolet’s Ed Cole and his engineers fairly bristled with performance potential.

The Chevrolet small-block V-8 was a racer’s dream. Light in weight and compact in size, it readily fit into diminutive engine bays. It was also powerful, inexpensive, durable, easy to maintain and openly available.

 


1958 - NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Chevrolet won its first Manufacturers’ Cup award in 1958. Further research indicates that drivers of Chevrolet cars took 25 of 51 races in the 1958 NASCAR Grand National Series beginning with the very first race of the season at Champion Speedway in Fayetteville, North Carolina by Rex White. Fireball Roberts led the way for Chevrolet with six victories. Bob Wellborn earned five more. Speedy Thompson had four and Buck Baker contributed three wins.

 


1956---Sebring

The 1956 Corvette established the two-seater as a performance machine and American icon. With a new body styling, bucket seats and a removable hardtop that was offered for the first time, the ‘56 was one of the most iconic Corvettes of all time.

Taking a risk, Zora Arkus-Duntov and Ed Cole sent four Corvettes to the Sebring 12-hour endurance race in 1956. While coming in 9th overall, their efforts had a monumental effect in not only establishing the Corvette as a racecar but also in establishing Chevrolet as a racing institution.

 


1961- Impala SS

The Super Sport name dates back to 1957 when it was first used on the Corvette SS racecar that debuted at the 12 Hours of Sebring. In 1961, Chevrolet offered its first production Super Sport option on the Impala. The package included Super Sport trim for the interior and exterior, chassis reinforcements, stronger springs and shocks, power brakes, spinner wheel covers and narrow-band whitewall tires. A number of mandatory options were necessary to order the SS Equipment option, not the least of which was the purchase of either a 348 cid or 409 cid big-block V-8 engine.

 


1963 Corvette Sting Ray

By 1962, the Chevy Corvette had earned global respect for its performance prowess and was on its way to becoming the favorite, if never official, car of America’s astronauts. Then came the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray. Based on a one-off sports racer penned by GM design chief Bill Mitchell, the Corvette Sting Ray “Split-Window” Coupe was quite possibly the most exciting production car America had yet experienced. Beyond its superbly tailored form, the Sting Ray had a new and effective independent rear suspension, offered extra-potent, fuel-injected small-block V8 power, and, best of all, was surprisingly affordable.

 


1968-CamaroZ28

Beginning in 1967, race driver Mark Donohue began piloting a Roger Penske-owned Chevrolet Camaro Z28 to much success in the SCCA Trans Am Series. He won three races that first year but his true dominance did not begin until 1968 when he won 10 of 13 races he entered. This record stood for 30 years.

 


1970-ChevelleSS

In 1970, GM first permitted engines larger than 400 cid in its intermediate-sized cars. One result was perhaps the most legendary of all Chevy Super Sports, the SS 454 Chevelle. The available 450-horsepower LS-6 big-block could launch the SS 454 to 100 mph in about 13 seconds.

The muscle car era peaked that same year, and leading the way to the summit was the SS 454 Chevelle. Chevrolet’s 454-cid big-block, the largest displacement production Chevy V-8 ever, was new for 1970.

 


1993---Indy-Car-Engine

The Chevrolet 265 cid V8 was built in collaboration with Ilmor in Great Britain. The engine made its debut at the 1986 Indianapolis 500 for Team Penske driver Al Unser. Its first IndyCar victory came in 1987 and a year later, it powered a car piloted by Rick Mears to victory at the Indianapolis 500. From 1987-1993, it powered 11 drivers to a total of 86 victories.

 


2009---Corvette-ZR1

In 2009, Chevrolet resurrected the ZR1 designation (sans hyphen) for a new supercharged Corvette model that surpassed the 1990-1995 ZR-1 in performance. The new ZR1 did more than reach 200 mph; it kept going to a top speed of 205 mph (330 km/h).

The Corvette ZR1 also received the 638-horsepower LS9 engine making it the most powerful production-car engine ever built by GM.

 


2001-Corvette-LeMans

Developed by General Motors in collaboration with Pratt & Miller, the C5-R was a purpose-built racecar based on the fifth generation Corvette that kicked off a modern era of racing. The Corvette Racing team first introduced the C5-R to the grand touring circuit in 1999. In 2001, the C5-R won the first of its three class victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The car’s successor, the C6-R based on the sixth generation Corvette, continued class dominance at Le Mans adding another four victories.

To read the original article, click here.

General Motors Comes Out On Top

Image courtesy of J.D. Power

Image courtesy of J.D. Power

We are always very proud of our product here, but this recognition has brought us an overwhelming sense of accomplishment on the part of our brand. GMC and Chevrolet took the #2 and #5 spots in the top 2013 vehicles in the J.D. Power 2013 IQS, having the ONLY vehicles to have reported less than one problem per new vehicle. Come see why we are proud of our brand and our continuous accomplishments here at Bowman Chevrolet!

Check out this amazing article below or read it in the Automotive News. (to read the original article click here)

DETROIT — General Motors for the first time ranked atop a closely watched survey measuring new-vehicle quality, while Ford Motor Co. continued to be dragged down by its electronic features.

GM placed two brands — GMC and Chevrolet — in the top five of J.D. Power and Associates’ Initial Quality Study released today.

The annual survey, redesigned for its 27th year, measures the number of problems on 2013 cars and light trucks that buyers report after 90 days of ownership. Volkswagen AG’s Porsche unit topped all brands, followed by GMC, Lexus, Infiniti and Chevrolet.

“GM has the best quality of any corporation in the study, the first time it’s been on top,” said David Sargent, vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power and the study’s author. “And GMC and Chevrolet have never finished in the top five before.”

Toyota’s Scion brand, Chrysler’s Fiat unit and Mitsubishi were at the bottom of the rankings. Lexus, Toyota’s luxury brand, had topped the survey in 2012 and 2011.

Almost two-thirds of problems reported on 2013 models were related to design rather than manufacturing defects — things drivers considered not broken but still difficult to understand or operate, Power said.

“The manufacturers have gotten really, really good at building high-quality products,” Sargent said. “Quality now is not just ‘Does it work?’ It’s a matter of how it works and is it simple and enjoyable to operate.”

Results of the study were released today at an Automotive Press Association luncheon in Detroit.

GM’s four brands averaged 98 problems per 100 vehicles, and it was the only automaker with fewer than one problem per new car, passing Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., which tied for second among automakers with 103 problems per 100 models surveyed.

Power said the Lexus LS sedan, which was redesigned for 2013, was the most trouble-free vehicle with 59 problems per 100 vehicles surveyed.

But it was the only Lexus model to top a segment. The brand grabbed the most awards each of the last four years and topped every segment that it competed in just seven years ago.

“They will consider this disappointing,” Sargent said of Toyota and Honda. “Toyota would expect Lexus to be No. 1 and Toyota to be No. 2. That’s their mission. Honda would expect to be in the top five. And they’re not.”

Ford Motor’s Lincoln brand tied the industry average of 113 per 100 vehicles, but with 131 problems per 100, the Ford brand finished No. 27 of 33 ranked marques, the same position as last year.

The Ford C-Max was last among all models studied with 222 manufacturing glitches or design flaws per 100 vehicles, nearly twice the industry average of 113, USA Today reported. The five-passenger crossover is new for 2013 and only available as a hybrid or a plug-in hybrid.

All GM brands finished above industry average. In addition to No. 2 GMC and No. 5 Chevrolet, Cadillac tied for 13th and Buick tied for No. 15.

“Nothing energizes us more than receiving the verification of quality from our customers,” Alicia Boler-Davis, head of global quality and U.S. customer experience for GM, said in a statement.

Porsche, with 80 problems reported per 100 vehicles, finished well ahead of its corporate stablemates, No. 13 Audi and No. 23 Volkswagen.

GMC and Chevrolet were the only nonluxury brands ranked in the top five.

The Acura and Toyota brands tied for No. 6, Honda was eighth and Jaguar ninth. Hyundai, Kia and Mercedes-Benz tied for No. 10.

Power redesigned the study for 2013, after seven years, for several reasons.

Questions about outdated hardware such as cassette players have been updated to include new features such as voice recognition and lane-departure warning.

Power also switched from paper questionnaires to asking randomly selected owners to respond online.

The changes allowed the market research firm to obtain more follow-up details from owners about any problems. The change was requested by automakers surveyed and who pay Power for analysis of the data. Automakers use the study to assess quality and to improve product quality and launches.

“Now we are able to provide massively more information to manufacturers,” Sargent said.

This year’s study is based on responses from 83,000 consumers who bought or leased 2013-model light vehicles. The survey, with 233 questions, was conducted from February to May.

Brands that dropped the most in the survey — Nissan, Ram and Cadillac — were hurt by launches of redesigned or new models, while brands that posted major gains — Smart, Chevrolet, Smart, GMC, Chrysler, VW, Hyundai and Kia — benefited from mostly carryover products, Power said.

While GM has matched Japanese quality, the company has so many new models coming to market that it will be difficult to repeat this year’s success, Sargent said. New and redesigned vehicles tend to have more problems than carry-over models that undergo fewer design, engineering and equipment changes.

GM has 18 new vehicles being introduced this year.

“I think if GM’s No. 1 as a corporation next year, I’ll be surprised and they will be surprised,” Sargent said.

Changing perceptions

GM’s challenge is to maintain its standings as the automaker rolls out new models this year, and to change consumers’ perceptions that haven’t caught up with reality, Sargent added.

And GM must also improve long-term reliability, where Detroit automakers still largely lag Asian rivals.

“If you went out on the street and asked 100 people who has better quality, Chevrolet or Toyota, 90 people would say Toyota,” Sargent said. “The reality is, they’re essentially identical and sort of have been for a few years now. People just don’t give the domestics credit because for 30 years they were laggards. You don’t overcome that reputation easily.”

One major finding is that it’s easier to fix something that’s broken than it is to make customers comfortable with things they find hard to understand or operate.

Customers who reported a manufacturing flaw said it was fixed on the first visit to a dealership 43 percent of the time. But only 13 percent of design-related problems were solved on the first visit.

Sargent said design problems are hard to solve. Some can be avoided by salesmen explaining new features at the time of purchase, and others by software changes. But features that customers don’t understand, find hard to operate or are just inconveniently located in the vehicle are likely to remain a problem for the life of the vehicle.

The two types of problems most commonly reported this year? Voice recognition systems that act up, followed by built-in Bluetooth systems that fail to connect to cell phones or other mobile electronic devices.

Owners want more content, especially technology features, and automakers are trying to provide it, Sargent said.

“Finding the right balance is the trick,” Sargent said.

Ford slump continues

A prime example is the MyFordTouch infotainment system that provides connectivity for Ford owners, but which many operators consider frustrating to use.

Since the technology was introduced, Ford’s ranking in Power’s new-vehicle quality survey has fallen from the top five to No. 27 last year and again this year.

Sargent said Ford has improved the system. But this year all Ford models offer it instead of only certain vehicles, offsetting any gains from improvements.

“Ford is probably at its low point,” Sargent said. “As we go forward, the improvements they’re making to their technology will offset the fact that it’s in more vehicles. We’ll probably see Ford start to rise, particularly as we see some of the others introduce their versions of the technology.”

GM’s rise to the top on quality showed up in the new-vehicle awards for best quality in 23 specific car and light truck segments. Chevrolet won five awards, while Mazda, Kia and Porsche, with two each, were the only other multiple winners.

Buick, Cadillac and GMC also won quality awards in product segments, giving GM eight wins. Hyundai-Kia won three, the only other automaker with more than two.

Sargent said GM has risen to the top because of a relentless focus on quality for several years.

“GM is as obsessed with quality as Toyota and Honda were as they made their moves,” he said. “It’s like a mission. They’re just rabid about quality.”

 

The Chevrolet Bowtie

Bowman LogoThe Chevrolet Emblem may have been inspired by a piece of wallpaper. Or maybe not

The Chevrolet bowtie—introduced by company cofounder William C. Durant in late 1913—is one of the most recognized emblems in the world today. But how it came to be synonymous with the brand is open to wide interpretation.

Inspired by wallpaper in a French hotel?

Durant’s version of how the logo came into existence is well-known. The long-accepted story, confirmed by Durant himself, was that it was inspired by the wallpaper design in a Parisian hotel.

Chevy logo

According to The Chevrolet Story of 1961, an official company publication issued in celebration of Chevrolet’s 50th anniversary:

“It originated in Durant’s imagination when, as a world traveler in 1908, he saw the pattern marching off into infinity as a design on wallpaper in a French hotel. He tore off a piece of the wallpaper and kept it to show friends, with the thought that it would make a good nameplate for a car.”

However, conflicting accounts have emerged, each of which is plausible enough to deepen the mystery and suggest it may never be solved. Two of the alternate origins come from within the Durant family itself.

Or was it a dinner-table sketch?

In 1929, Durant’s daughter, Margery, published a book entitled, My Father. In it, she described how Durant sometimes doodled nameplate designs on pieces of paper at the dinner table: “I think it was between the soup and the fried chicken one night that he sketched out the design that is used on the Chevrolet car to this day.”

Was it borrowed from a newspaper ad?

More than half a century later, another bowtie origin story was recounted in a 1986 issue of Chevrolet Pro Management Magazine, based on a 13-year-old interview with Durant’s widow, Catherine. She recalled how she and her husband were on holiday in Hot Springs, Virginia, in 1912. While reading a newspaper in their hotel room, Durant spotted a design and exclaimed, “I think this would be a very good emblem for the Chevrolet.” Unfortunately, at the time, Mrs. Durant didn’t clarify what the motif was or how it was used.

That nugget of information inspired Ken Kaufmann, historian and editor of The Chevrolet Review, to search out its validity. In a November 12, 1911, edition of The Constitution newspaper, published in Atlanta, the Southern Compressed Coal Company placed an ad for “Coalettes,” a refined fuel product for fires. The Coalettes logo, as published in the ad, had a slanted bowtie form, very similar to the shape that would soon become the Chevrolet icon. Did Durant and his wife see the same ad or one that was similar–the following year a few states to the north? The newspaper edition was dated just nine days after the incorporation of the Chevrolet Motor Company.

English: Swiss flag on top of the hotel

Photo credit: Wikipedia

The Swiss flag theory.

One other explanation attributes the design to a stylized version of the cross of the Swiss flag. Louis Chevrolet was born in Switzerland at La Chaux-de-Fonds, Canton of Neuchâtel, to French parents on Christmas Day 1878.

Whichever origin is true, within a few years, the bowtie would emerge as the definitive Chevrolet logo. An October 2, 1913, edition of The Washington Post seems to be the earliest-known example of the symbol being used to advertise the brand. “Look for this nameplate” the ad proclaims above the emblem. Customers the world over have been doing so ever since.

Today’s bowtie: a gold standard.

Many variations in coloring and detail of the Chevrolet bowtie have come and gone over the decades since its introduction in late 1913, but the essential shape has never changed. In 2004, Chevrolet began to phase in the gold bowtie that today serves as the brand identity for all of its cars and trucks marketed globally.

Click here to read the original article on Chevrolet’s Blog.