E3 Spark Plugs congratulates Chevrolet on its centennial. Founded in 1911 by race car driver and automotive engineer Louis Chevrolet and ousted General Motors founder William C. Durant, the automaker celebrates 100 years this month. And as proud owners over the decades will tell you, “Chevy runs deep.”
The first Chevy, a Classic Six built by Louis Chevrolet, rolled onto the streets of Detroit in 1912. Its engine was a large, liquid-cooled, 299-cubic-inch, six-cylinder cast-iron block with a T-head configuration. It produced 40 horsepower and could go 65 miles an hour – an impressive speed for street-legal cars at the time. Chevy quickly became known as the automaker that brought luxury features to the not-necessarily-wealthy masses. Its vehicles offered technology and features typically reserved for pricier cars and trucks. These included electric starters and electric headlamps during a time when they were rarities even among the high-end cars driven by the country’s elite.
The 1950s and 1960s proved a Golden Age for Chevrolet. The company introduced the iconic Corvette, a two-seater sports car with a fiberglass body, in 1953. Four year later, its first fuel-injected engine, the Rochester Ramjet, debuted as an option on the Corvette and passenger cars for a price of $484. The Corvair, with its rear-mounted air-cooled engine, came out in 1960 and within three years, Chevrolet made one of every 10 cars sold in the U.S.
Over the past century, the iconic automaker has made upwards of 210 million cars and trucks and American pop culture has responded favorably. Chevrolets are mentioned in more than 700 pop, rock, hip-hop, rap and country songs played on mainstream radio. Meanwhile, Chevy continues its tradition of early adoption of new technologies designed to make automobiles cleaner, more efficient and faster, yet still affordable. A key example: the 2011 Chevy Volt, setting the standard for gas/electric hybrid vehicles and racking up North American Car of the Year, Green Car Journal‘s Car of the Year and AUTOMOBILE Magazine‘s Automobile of the Year accolades.
To take part in Chevy’s centennial celebration, one needs only to go online. Visit its Chevy100 website to trace the brand’s history; see weekly webisodes of The Road We’re On, a documentary short series from point of view of Chevy owners and dealers; take a personalized virtual ride in a classic Chevy; and connect with fellow Chevy fans. One of our favorite features: This Chevy True Stories video about two sons’ five-year quest to reunite their dad with the dream car he had sacrificed to help put them through college. Got a great Chevy story of your own? E3 Spark Plugs wants to hear it. Post your pics or videos on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook fan page. And be sure to search our online catalog to find the right E3 spark plugs for your Chevrolet.