Ed Welburn's top 10 Chevrolet designs of all time
- 1912 Chevrolet Classic Six
The Classic Six was the first car to bear the Chevrolet name after William Durant and Louis Chevrolet came together to found a company building cars using the famous Swiss race driver's last name. It was a large, luxurious and powerful machine, boasting the biggest capacity engine of any Chevrolet up until the 'big-block' V8 era of 1958. The imposing vehicle carried a price tag of $2150, which made it much more expensive than most of its contemporaries. Very much Louis Chevrolet's dream car, it was designed in collaboration with his friend, the French engineer Etienne Planche. Unveiled in 1911, it was launched in 1912, but lasted only until 1914 after the company's focus shifted towards more affordable machines, something that prompted Louis Chevrolet to resign as he disagreed with Durant's policy. A total of 5,987 were constructed. "This was the first Chevrolet, so it's very significant," says Ed of the Classic Six. "Louis Chevrolet used all his experience and background to create it and make history."
- 1932 Chevrolet Deluxe Sport Coupe
Adversity sometimes results in greatness, and that was truly the case with the 1932 Deluxe Sport Coupe. Launched amid the Depression, in a year when Chevrolet sales had dropped 50 percent compared to the previous year, the Sport was one of Chevrolet's prettiest pre-WWII cars, an attractive yet compact vehicle with a curvaceous rear that lived up to its title with sporting looks and performance. The car was a strict two-seater... well, inside at least. If you wanted to carry more passengers, they had to make do with the rear rumble seat in the trunk. Lots of fun in the sun, rather less so in the rain. "It was a cool design," believes Ed. "It says so much about Chevrolet: a lot of the words you can use to describe it also relate to current cars. It had spirit, was affordable and contemporary. Customers felt they were getting a lot of car for their money, something that still holds true today."
- 1948 Chevrolet Pick-Up
Trucks (in the small commercial vehicle sense) and vans are as big a part of the Chevrolet story as its cars. And the 1948 range was one of the most significant series the company produced. Arriving in summer 1947, they were the first GM automobile products to have a completely post-war design, making them among the most up-to-date vehicles anywhere. Not a bad claim to fame for something meant to be utilitarian and hard-working! The mainstay of the range was the versatile and practical half-ton pick-up, which saw service all around the world. "You just have to smile when you look at one," is Ed's opinion of the friendly looking load-lugger. "It's a real workhorse of a truck. The shape was just beautiful, but it still did its job well. It was clean, basic and affordable."
- 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible
Chevrolet completely revamped its cars for 1955, with what it dubbed the 'Motoramic' look for the top-of-the-range Bel Air plus the introduction of the fabled 'small-block' V8 engine. Exhilarating performance and a flamboyant, confident and colorful style were what made the 1955 Bel Airs – coupes, convertibles and station wagons - stand out from the crowd. Such was the distinctiveness of General Motors cars from the period 1955 to 1957 that they received their own nickname, 'Tri5'. "In my opinion, the '55 Bel Air is the best of the Tri5s," asserts Ed. "It was such a departure from 1955, so fresh, so contemporary. This was a car that looked more expensive than it actually was, something that could also be said about the Cruze today."
- 1967 Chevrolet Pickup
Big, brusque and purposeful, Chevrolet's new generation of pick-up trucks for 1967 were tough machines designed to get the job done. Powerful and practical, with no-nonsense styling, they were marketed as general transportation as well as work vehicles, something that extended their appeal and profile into the mass market. "It's a very iconic American design," believes Ed. "You see that pick-up, and you also see a guy with blue jeans and a toolbox in the back! Many of the words I've used to describe the earlier pick-up also relate here."
- 2011 and 1969 Chevrolet Camaro
The importance of pick-up trucks within the Chevrolet portfolio was still high at the end of the 20th century, and the fourth generation of the C/K series – with stacked headlamps and square-cut, rugged appearance - were almost a celebration of this significance. Naturally, their main reason for being was to work and be useful, carrying loads. However, a growing use as pure 'lifestyle' machines meant that Chevrolet also offered a Sports package, something which contributed to impressive sales for these vehicles. Perfect for express deliveries, even better for just looking great on the roads. "It's a very clean design and still looks contemporary today," says Ed. "It sold in incredible numbers. We're working on future Chevrolet pick-ups and the guys have photos of this one on the wall for inspiration."