How Well Do You Know Chevrolet’s History?


By: Dave Davis

7 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons / Chevrolet

About This Quiz

When completing the phrase "as American as _____," Chevrolet comes in second only to apple pie. To its fans, the company's name is as familiar as the sound of their own, but how well do you know the history of the company that is forever intertwined with the history of the United States? This quiz will test your knowledge of the company that is known to many as "the heartbeat of America."

Chevrolet wasn't the first American car company, but its success is one of the factors that made the United States the powerhouse of automotive manufacturing, design and production that it eventually became. More than that, Chevrolet has become a household name, with entire families labeling themselves "Chevy families" and not allowing a certain "F" word to be uttered in their home.   

Chevrolet — along with its parent company General Motors — has made more than 500 million vehicles since starting in 1911 and has achieved a number of firsts in automotive engineering and design during that time. It's easy to overlook Chevy's accomplishments and impact on our society, however, because the brand is such a part of the fabric of our modern lives. It's now time to look past the familiar and see the company as the industrial juggernaut and familiar friend that it has become in just over a century of life. 

Ready to test your knowledge of the "bowtie"? Want to "See the U.S.A. in Your Chevrolet"? Are you built "Like a Rock"? We're about to find out!

The Chevrolet Series 490 was designed to compete with which vehicle?

The company's first vehicle was too expensive for middle-class families, so, in 1915, Chevrolet went a different route with the Series 490. Priced at $490 (thus, the name), the car was a much better fit for the average family's budget and became a success, positioning the company as one of the most successful car brands.


When you see a Chevy model that's labeled SS, what do those letters stand for?

The Super Sport — SS — performance option package has been offered since 1961, when the Chevrolet Impala SS was introduced. Since then, several models have been available with SS packages, including the El Camino, Nova, Monte Carlo, Camaro and Chevelle. All cars with the SS package have a distinctive badge attesting to that fact.


Which of these Bob Seger songs was widely used in commercials for Chevy trucks?

From 1991 through 2004, "Like a Rock" by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band was used in one of the longest-running marketing campaigns to sell Chevy trucks, and the song is still associated with the brand today. The single was initially released in 1986 and peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard rock chart.


If you purchased a Chevy with Powerglide in the 1950s, what did you buy?

Powerglide was a two-speed automatic transmission used on Chevrolet cars from 1950 through 1973 (as well as other GM makes and models). While the first Powerglide models required the driver to shift from low to drive when the car got up to speed, this was automatically done by the transmission after 1952.


Which of these lines was a division of Chevrolet from 1989 through 1997, and then a Chevy brand until 2016?

The Geo line was developed as a division of GM and Chevy in 1989 as a brand that produced smaller cars and SUVs to compete with the smaller import cars of the time. In 1997, Geo was folded into the rest of the Chevrolet lineup and produced its final vehicle, the Geo Tracker, in 2016.


Which of these Chevrolet vehicles was featured in Ralph Nader's book "Unsafe at Any Speed"?

Published in 1965, the book "Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile," written by consumer advocate Ralph Nader, took car companies to task for what Nader described as shortcomings in designing safer cars. The Chevrolet Corvair received special attention — it's the first chapter of the book — for its suspension system, which Nader claimed caused a dangerous oversteering problem in certain circumstances. The controversial accusations were disputed, and some claims were disproved by a 1972 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration safety commission report.


Which competitor was the Camaro designed to go head-to-head with?

When the Ford Mustang and Plymouth Barracuda came out within weeks of each other in 1964, Chevy wanted a vehicle that could compete in that pony/muscle car playing field. The result took a bit longer to realize, but when the Camaro hit the streets in 1967, the world took notice. The Camaro, like the Mustang, is still made today.


In what model year did the Chevrolet Corvette first hit the showroom floor?

The Chevrolet Corvette was introduced late in the 1953 model year. The Corvette's debut as a show car in the 1953 New York Auto Show generated enough demand to prompt Chevy to put the car into production, starting on June 30, 1953.


What occupation was Chevrolet's namesake, Louis Chevrolet, best known for in his early years?

Before he cofounded Chevrolet, Louis Chevrolet (shown here on right and in inset, circa 1914) was a Swiss-American race car driver. Chevrolet had worked in mechanic shops and engineering companies before being hired as a race car driver for FIAT in 1905, and then later for Buick, when he met William C. Durant, who would found Chevrolet with him.


Which of these was Chevrolet's first automobile?

The Chevrolet Series C Classic Six was a four-door touring car that went into mass production in 1913 after several refinements were made to the 1912 prototype. This is one of the few Chevrolet vehicles that Louis Chevrolet had a hand in designing. The vehicle had a 40-horsepower inline-six-cylinder engine and cost $2,250.


Chevrolet cofounder William C. Durant also cofounded which other automotive company, in 1908?

With Frederic L. Smith, William C. Durant cofounded General Motors in 1908, after having successfully rescued Buick from financial difficulties. Durant would go on to consolidate a number of car companies and several parts and accessories companies under the new company name.


Which of these Chevy cars became an iconic symbol of the 1950s?

Although the Bel Air was introduced in 1950, the models made between 1955 and 1957 — known as the Tri-Five Chevrolets to fans of the era — became automotive icons of the time. The cars were known for their crisp lines and tail fins reminiscent of a World War II fighter plane. To many, these are the quintessential 1950s automobiles.


Which Chevy car has the longest continually produced nameplate of any vehicle in the United States?

The first Chevrolet Suburban rolled off the assembly line in 1934 for the '35 model year, and that name has been used ever since. The first Suburban, with the body of a station wagon, was built specifically for the National Guard and Civilian Conservation Corps. The 2021 model year will feature the 12th-generation Suburban, which will be a full-size SUV. Shown here is a 1937 Chevrolet Suburban Carryall.


Which of these has been one of Chevrolet's best-selling models throughout its long history?

With the exceptions of hiatuses taken from 1985 to 1994 and again from 1996 to 1999, the Chevrolet Impala has been the company's flagship passenger car and one of its best-selling vehicles since it was introduced in the 1958 model year. The Impala has been made through 10 generations, but it will be retired again after 2020.


A favorite among gearheads, which of these Chevrolet cars was built between 1963 and 1977?

The Chevelle holds a special place in the hearts of those who love both Chevrolet and muscle cars. Introduced in 1963, the Chevelle was built through three generations, ending in 1977. It was one of Chevrolet's best-selling vehicles for a time. Given the Super Sport badge, the Chevelle SS entered the muscle car wars. The second and third generation Chevelles were offered with a 454 cubic inch (7.4-liter) Big-Block engine. Shown here is a 1964 Chevelle Malibu Sport Coupe.


What tragedy befell the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in 2014?

It was the last thing Corvette enthusiasts expected — or wanted — to see on Feb. 12, 2014, but on that date a sinkhole opened up under the floor of the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, swallowing eight cars on display. Fortunately, no one was injured. The hole was reported to be 40 feet wide and 25 to 30 feet deep. To date, three of the eight cars have been restored (and the museum has a great story to tell).


Which of these vehicles would have been Chevy's compact car of 1947 — if it hadn't been canceled at the last minute?

Automotive engineer Earle MacPherson designed a compact vehicle called the Cadet for the 1947 model year. The powers that be in the corporate office, however, believed that post-war America didn't want or need a compact vehicle, so the project was shelved just before it went into production. The famous MacPherson strut, shown here, was first developed for the Cadet.


Which of these concept cars became the basis for the third-generation Corvette?

The design of the third-generation Corvette was a departure from what had come before. The second design of the XP-755 concept car, known as the Mako Shark, was developed in 1965 as a show car. The influence the Mako Shark II had on the design of the third-generation Corvette, known as the Stingray, is unmistakable.


What name did the Chevrolet Chevy II go by after 1968?

The Chevy II was introduced in 1962 as a compact car and was available as a sedan, convertible (shown here) or station wagon. The top trim level was given the name "Nova." In 1969, the Chevy II name was dropped, and the line was just known as Nova. Production ran from 1969 to 1979, and then again from 1985 to 1988. Bigger engines were available in the car's third generation, pushing the Nova into the muscle car category.


During World War II, which type of civilian vehicles did Chevrolet produce?

During World War II, Chevrolet stopped producing civilian vehicles altogether to put its full output toward the war effort. The company focused on building T17E1 Staghound armored scout cars, shown here, as well as airplane engines, artillery shells and other items needed to fight the war. One Chevrolet plant built replacement parts for civilian vehicles; other than that, everything went to the war effort.


Louis Chevrolet was only with the company that bears his name for four years. Why did he leave?

In 1915, only four years after cofounding the company that bears his name, Louis Chevrolet sold his shares of Chevrolet to William C. Durant. The two men had differences regarding the design of the company's first automobile. Chevrolet would later go on to found Frontenac Motor Corporation with his brothers to make racing parts for Ford's Model T. He is shown here in a black suit and hat with the Frontenac race car before the 1921 Indianapolis 500, with driver Tommy Milton at the wheel.


Chevrolet introduced which type of vehicle in the 1997 model year?

In 1997, the Chevrolet S-10 EV, an all-electric pickup truck, was introduced to the public. Intended primarily for utility fleet customers, the S-10 EV was a small truck with a 114-horsepower motor. The largest battery option had a range of 95.3 miles. The S-10 EV was discontinued the following year, in 1998.


What change was made to the 2020 Corvette that caught the attention of its fan base?

For the first time, the 2020 Corvette will sport a mid-engine design for better traction control and handling. Increased aerodynamics and a completely redesigned frame also turned heads when the car was previewed. It's also the first Corvette with a retractable hardtop.


What is the name of Chevrolet's first pickup truck?

The Series 490 Light Delivery truck, built in 1918, was designed in answer to the Ford Model TT pickup truck. The 490 Light Delivery, based on the 490 passenger car frame, could carry about half a ton. Later that same year, Chevrolet built a bigger truck, which could carry about a ton, called the 1918 Chevrolet Model T (which we're sure wasn't confusing at all to people of the day).


For a long period, Chevy trucks were defined by the C/K Series. What was the difference between the C trucks and the K trucks?

Built between 1959 and 2002, the C/K Series made up Chevrolet's full-sized pickup truck line. Lasting for four generations, the C/K Series took over for the Task Force Series of trucks. The letters indicated whether the truck was a two-wheel-drive model (the C line) or a four-wheel-drive model (the K line). Shown here is a 1966 Chevrolet C-30 dump truck.


What is remarkable about the 1935 Chevrolet Suburban Carryall?

The 1935 Chevrolet Suburban Carryall is considered by many to be the first sports utility vehicle, or SUV. It was built on a commercial truck chassis and cost $675. (That was the base price; heater and rear bumper were optional.)


Which of these is the biggest engine made by Chevy?

If you want your Chevy to have all the power it can hold — and then some — you're going to want to order the ZZ572 Big-Block engine. Named for its 572 cubic-inch displacement (that's a monstrous 9.4 liters), this aftermarket engine from the GM Performance Parts division offers 720 horsepower on high-octane gas.


Under what name was the Camaro developed?

While the name "Camaro" has a murky history — it was thought by people at the company to be a slang word for "friend" in French — the car was developed under the working name "Panther." When pressed on the origin of the name Camaro, Chevrolet officials famously replied that it is "a vicious animal that eats Mustangs."


What was the claim to fame for the Turbo Titan III, a prototype truck built by Chevy in the 1960s?

The Chevrolet Turbo Titan III was a prototype semi-truck that had, among other features, aircraft-style gauges and twin-dial steering, rather than the traditional steering wheel. It also had a gas turbine engine, a fiberglass and steel cab and other features that the 1960s weren't ready for (and perhaps we still aren't ready).


How many cylinders does Chevy's famous Small-Block engine have?

Named as it is in order to distinguish it from the larger Big-Block engines, Chevy's Small-Block engine isn't that small. Ranging from 4.3-liter to 6.6-liter displacement, the V8 Small-Block engines were used in Chevy vehicles from 1954 through 2003, with the 5.0- to 5.7-liter engines becoming General Motors' corporate standard for that class of engine.


What was Chevy's first major pickup truck redesign after World War II called?

Taking over for the AK Series, the Chevrolet Advance Design truck hit the roads in 1947. The Advance Design name indicated that the trucks were the first major redesign of Chevrolet's truck line since the end of World War II. The Advance Design series was produced until 1955, when the Task Force Series was introduced. Shown here is a 1948 Chevrolet Advance Design Thriftmaster pickup.


What do the Chevrolet Bolt, Camaro and Volt all have in common?

Motor Trend's Car of the Year awards are a good way to see which company has the pulse of the car-buying public and is putting out quality models to meet their needs. Chevrolet made three appearances on the list between 2010 and 2019, with the Volt (2011), the Camaro (2016) and the Bolt EV (2017, shown here). The Corvette gets the nod in 2020, starting Chevy's new decade off right.


As of 2019, where does Chevrolet rank on Forbes' list of the World's Most Valuable Brands?

In 2019, Chevrolet came in as the 63rd most valuable brand on Forbes' annual list, with a brand value of $10.7 billion. The magazine noted that Chevy makes up half of General Motors' total global volume and is sold in more than 130 countries.


Which of these is NOT a model that Chevy has used for its NASCAR entries?

A number of Chevy cars have been used as General Motors entries into NASCAR, including the Bel Air, Chevelle, Malibu, Impala, Lumina, Monte Carlo and Beretta. The current model representing Chevrolet on the NASCAR track is the Camaro ZL1 1LE.


When was Chevrolet's iconic "bowtie" logo first used?

The Chevrolet "bowtie" logo was first used by the company in late 1913. It was designed by company cofounder William C. Durant — he said he was inspired by the design of the wallpaper he saw in a French hotel, although there are multiple stories about how the logo originated. The logo has maintained its iconic shape ever since, and it is one of the longest-used logos in American history.


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