In a nod to Chevy's 100th birthday, Kbb.com came up with a list of the "Top Ten Chevys of All Time." The choices provide a presentation of Chevrolet Motor Car Company's finest vehicles of the last century.

"For many of us, Chevrolet is an American icon, on par with baseball and apple pie - a brand deeply engrained in the fabric of our lives," said Jack R. Nerad, Executive Editorial Director of Kelley Blue Book's Kbb.com. "In determining the 'Top 10 Chevys of All Time,' our editorial staff chose the vehicles that offered not only technical innovation, but also changed the automotive landscape. Each one is a watershed car whose influence is still felt today."

Below is a shortened version of the editor's "Top Ten Chevrolets of All Time."

 

1912 Chevrolet Series C Classic Six

Introduced in 1911, the Classic Six, designed by Eitenne Planche under Louis Chevrolet and William C. Durant, was expensive for the time. Priced at $2,150, the Classic Six was not affordable for blue-collar workers who barely earned that much in annual wages. The early models had a crank starter, but later models would feature an electric starter. Less than 3,000 models were produced, yet the car created a stir. People liked what they saw even though they couldn't afford it. The model had only moderate success, but it set the tone for what would become a megabrand.

 

1916 Chevrolet 490

The 1916 490 was positioned to compete with Ford's Model-T. Priced at $490, the Chevrolet 490 was exactly $5 less than the Model-T, giving way to its name. They sold more than 60,000 of these cars and became the seventh largest car company.

 

1929 Chevrolet with Stovebolt-Six Engine

Introduced in 1929, the Stovebolt-Six Engine took Ford's Model A to task by producing a car with two cylinders more than Ford's engine. The Stovebolt six-cylinder helped establish Chevy as a muscle brand competitor.

 

1936 Chevrolet Suburban Carryall

Many historians note that the 1936 two-door Suburban with room for 8 was the first SUV. Designed to carry suburban travelers and their luggage in style (hence the name), the rear-wheel drive vehicle had a three speed manual transmission.

 

1948 Chevrolet Series 3100 Pickup

The 1948 Chevrolet Series 3100 Pickup, introduced during the aftermath of World War II, started the shift from functionality to style. Interior amenities included a full-size three-across adjustable bench seat, inside door locks, "four-fold ventilation" and an AM radio.

 

1955 Chevrolet with Turbo-Fire V8

Called one of the best ten engines of the 20th century by Ward's Autoworld, the 1955 line ushered in the iconic 1955-1957 "Tri5" era and the immensely successful small-block V-8 engine. Designed by Ed Cole's group, the introduction of the new Turbo-Fire V8 option helped Chevy sell more than 1.7 million units in a key year.

 

1963 Corvette Sting Ray

Famous for its split rear window, racecar looks, and superior handling, the 1963 Sting Ray is considered one of Chevy's best models of all time. The story goes that it was inspired by a Jaguar E-Type (owned by GM chief stylist Bill Mitchell), and a mako shark. The styling influenced a new trend in car design.

 

1960-1969 Chevrolet Corvair

The Chevrolet Corvair was positioned to respond to imports, including the VW Beetle, as well as smaller domestics like the Ford Falcon and Plymouth Valiant. With its air-cooled engine, the Corvair will always be associated with Ralph Nader, who put a jinx on it in his book, Unsafe at Any Speed.

 

1967-1969 Chevrolet Camaro

As a response to the fast-selling Ford Mustang, Chevrolet introduced the Camaro, coined by Chevy as "a small, vicious animal that eats Mustangs." The Camaro reaffirmed Chevy's sports car status after the poor performance of the Corvair.

 

2011 Chevrolet Volt

The Volt stands alone as one of Chevrolet's greatest creations to date. Using information from GM's revolutionary EV1 electric car program in the 1990s, Volt engineers brought this electric/gas four-passenger sedan from concept to full production in less than four years.

 

For more information visit Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com)

author photo

Holly Reich writes about cars, travel, lifestyle and more. Her work has been featured in publications that include: Elite Traveler, The New York Daily News, The Washington Post and The Boston Herald. She contributes monthly to Motor Matters syndicate and her blog, "Riffs on Rides," appears on uptownlife.net.

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