When you think of pickup trucks, a few things probably come to mind: old country dirt roads, throwing the perfect tailgate, or that one friend who always gets stuck helping people move. But there’s one more thing that is certainly synonymous with any flatbed: Chevy. The “Like a Rock” brand has been a steadfast piece of the pickup puzzle, and a huge staple in American automotive sales. For the last 100 years, Chevy trucks have provided transportation to countless drivers, and to honor the commitment to their craft, we at Caliber want to give a brief history of their pickup lineup.
1918 FOUR-NINETY HALF-TON
Originally launched in 1916, the Four-Ninety Half-Ton is the truck that started it all. Created to compete with the model “T,” the Half-Ton was designed to have a higher weight capacity and carry more goods to accommodate the growing population.
1929 INTERNATIONAL SERIES LD
The LD was a huge jumpstart for the already burgeoning Chevy brand, as it was the first truck to have a closed cab. This kept passengers safe from the elements, as well as offered new areas for interior customization.
Following the Great Depression, the automotive industry was in a slump. So, Chevy sought to ramp up with The Half-Ton: the first Chevy pickup created by the “Art and Color” department. They played a tremendous role in designing the truck, as made apparent by its more unique and aerodynamic design.
1959 EL CAMINO
How could we have a list of Chevy trucks and not include the most infamous “truck” in automotive history. The El Camino is one of those vehicles that people either love or hate. It combined the utility of a truck with the styling of many cars in that era. All in all, it may have been too ambitious because it was retired after only three years.
1967 C10 FLEETSIDE
The C10 is a favorite amongst flatbed aficionados for its advancements to both the cab and the bed, without losing that overall Chevy vibe. It was the first truck to really take on a more utilitarian design, and even incorporated the iconic Chevy Bow Tie into the front grill.
1973 C30 ONE-TON DUALLY
And thus, we begin the era of heavy-duty trucks. The C30 became the first truck to really push the power and strength of heavy trucks, conjuring images of roughing it on the range. Plus, the “Dually” incorporated four rear wheels, opposed to the traditional two.
The S-10 was a real changing point for Chevy, as it introduced their version of a compact pickup. Smaller cab, smaller bed, bigger push to make the amenities stand out. Sure, this truck wouldn’t be great for hauling two tons of supplies around a mountain bend, but it sure was a lot of fun to drive.
The first-generation Silverado was the truck that set the tone for almost 20 years of design. The now iconic frontend is one that you can see coming from a mile away, and its aerodynamic look inspired other truck manufacturers to follow suit.
After eight years of strong sales and countless awards, Chevy decided to update their beloved Silverado to incorporate an even more aerodynamic look. The design team opted to widen the fenders and gave the truck a slightly more “pointed” front end that you can still find today.
CENTENNIAL SILVERADO AND COLORADO
And last but not least, the final encapsulation of Chevy’s 100-year history of building trucks: The Centennial Silverado and Colorado. Taking cues from over the years, the Centennial models wear a special Bow Tie honoring the storied emblem, with some brand-new, modernized updates, like 22-inch painted wheels and a sleek, but stern, design. “The Chevy Trucks Centennial is a huge milestone for us,” said Sandor Piszar, Chevy Trucks advertising and marketing director. And we couldn’t agree more.
It’s been a long, long road for Chevy on the way to their 100th Anniversary, but through all the roadblocks and speedbumps, they stuck to their vision. And those of us at Caliber applaud their perseverance. Regardless of your preference on truck or car, we can all agree that 100 years is a tremendous feat, and deserves a round of applause. Or, at least a few engine revs.