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Chevy Runs Deep: Truck History

Over the last 95 years, Chevrolet trucks have built a legacy. It started with the idea to take a few car chassis and fit them with hand-built beds to help carry materials around a booming car factory. Soon after, millions of Chevrolet trucks were on the road tackling the toughest jobs on farms, hauling tools and lumber, and carrying families and friends into the wilds. Chevrolet has a rich truck history. Here are a few of the Chevy truck highlights from the last 95 years.


1918 Chevy Four-Ninety Half-Ton Light Delivery “Cowl Chassis”

The first customer chassis was built in Flint, Michigan, on November 22, 1916, and was shipped from the factory on December 2 that year. Two four-cylinder models were Chevrolet’s official entry into the truck market for the 1918 model year. They were cowl chassis units that came from the factory with only frontal sheet metal. Usually, buyers would obtain a wooden cab and cargo box or panel van body to suit their purposes. It was priced at $595 and was essentially a bodyless Chevrolet Four Ninety car with stronger rear springs. When a pickup box or panel body was added, it was an agile and economical light-delivery truck for the post WWI businesses.


1930 Chevrolet Pickup

In the 1930s factory-built pickups replaced the simple cowl chassis models. They came with roadster and closed bodies. Chevy bought the Martin-Parry body company in 1930 and soon started selling steel-body half-ton pickups complete with a factory-installed bed.


These new pickups featured a new Chevy inline six-cylinder engine, which was first produced in later 1928. The inline six-cylinder engines were used in Chevy cars and trucks for years following.


1947 Chevrolet Advance-Design Half-Ton Pickup

Chevy introduced its Advance-Design trucks in early 1947. They were the first completely redesigned GM vehicles to appear following WWII. Truck owners were asking for more room, more comfort, improved visibility, and a wider pickup box. Chevy responded with the Advance-Design trucks, which gave them all of that and more.


1959 Chevrolet El Camino

The original El Camino was introduced in 1959 and featured the finned style that was popular in that time coupled with half-ton pickup utility. After 1960, though, the El Camino went on a three-year hiatus. It was revived in 1964 with a new version based on the mid-size Chevrolet Chevelle. El Camino buyers could order their truck with a high-performance big-block V-8 powertrain and by 1968, a complete Super Sport package was available.


1982 Chevrolet S-10

The Chevy S-10 was the first domestically produced compact pickup. With an 82-horsepower four-cylinder engine and available 110-horsepower V6, the S-10 could haul 1,500 pounds and tow 4,000. It also featured a roomy cab with high levels of standard and optional equipment making it the mainstay of the Chevy lineup.


1999 Chevrolet Silverado

Chevy’s all-new 1999 full-size pickups were the first to be called Silverados. The trucks resulted from the most intense development program ever undertaken by GM. The interior of the Silverado had comfort and convenience features personal-use customers expected. The new generation of V8 engines gave the Silverado plenty of power. In 2004, Silverado became available in a crew cab model to accommodate families and in 2007 it got significant improvements in performance and fuel economy.


Chevrolet’s rich truck history continues with the midsized 2013 Colorado. If you are in the market for a truck, see why Chevrolet trucks are the most dependable, long-lasting trucks with lowest cost of ownership at Lake Country Chevrolet Cadillac in Muskogee, OK!