Types of Chevrolet Cars

by Rob Wagner

The Detroit-based General Motors has been manufacturing Chevrolet cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles since 1911. GM has produced more than 100 different types of vehicles, 19 of which are offered today. In 2009, 12 of those vehicles are passenger cars. Many of these cars are re-badged with different nameplates for the European and Middle East markets.

Early Postwar Era

The 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

Chevrolet, following World War II, began identifying its cars with names instead of the standard pre-war practice of model numbers with such types as the 2- and 4-door Bel Air, the station wagon Nomad, the lower-priced Biscayne, the Brookwood station wagon, the muscle car Camaro, the personal luxury car Monte Carlo, the coupe utility El Camino pickup and the sporty coupe or sedan Impala.

Types

The 1968 El Camino

Like most past and present automakers, Chevrolet manufactured a wide range passenger cars: the 2-door coupe, 4-door sedan, mini-van, station wagon, sport utility vehicles, the SUV/passenger car crossovers and a sports car. The mini-van and wagon have been dropped from its current lineup in favor of the new crossover vehicles that combine passenger car comfort with SUV versatility.

Sizes

1970 Chevelle

Since Chevrolet's inception, its cars have grown in size. Standard prewar vehicles were offered with 4-cylinder engines in coupes and sedans. Later 6-cylinder powerplants were offered, and the V-8 appeared as a regular option in the early 1950s. Detroit's dominance in auto manufacturing and the expansive post-war growth period gave license for GM to produce chrome-laden, fuel-inefficient cars that sat on a 115-inch wheelbase and measure nearly 200 inches long.

New Era

The 1988 Astro Mini-Van

The gas crunches of 1973 and 1978 forced Chevrolet to downsize its cars. Gas-guzzling muscle cars like the Camaro and Monte Carlo were offered with less power. Smaller, more fuel-efficient cars like subcompact Sprint were offered.

Current Crop

Sprint

Today, Chevrolet offers the Aveo, which is also re-badged as a Daewoo Kalos. It also offers the compact and sporty Cobalt, the venerable Impala, the two-seater sports car Corvette, the youth-oriented Camaro, and crossovers Traverse, Equinox and HHR. In Europe, models include the Spark, Lacetti, Nubria, Aveo, Epica and Lanos, while in the Middle East, the Aveo, Optra, Epica, Lumina, Caprice and Corvette are marketed.

Crossovers

The 2009 Traverse Crossover

The newest breed of Chevrolet cars are the crossover Traverse, Equinox and HHR. Built on passenger car platforms, these vehicles replaced mini-vans as the family car. The HHR is a compact version following the mid-size Equinox and full-size Traverse. The three models embody all passenger car characteristics yet borrow heavily from the truck-based sport utility vehicle elements for durability and versatility.

Long-lasting Brands

The 2010 Camaro

The motor public has had a long love affair with two Chevrolet cars. The Corvette debuted in 1953 as a two-seater roadster to compete against the influx of British sports cars. The Camaro was Chevrolet's answer to the Ford Mustang and was introduced in 1967. The Corvette has been in continuous production. The Camaro was produced through 2002, took a hiatus, and then returned in 2009. Both of these vehicles represent the distinctive American tastes of the male buyer seeking an American-built sports car or the 21st version of the 2-door coupe muscle car.

About the Author

Rob Wagner is a journalist with over 35 years experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines. His experience ranges from legal affairs reporting to covering the Middle East. He served stints as a newspaper and magazine editor in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Wagner attended California State University, Los Angeles, and has a degree in journalism.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera General Motors