Chevrolet Trucks Celebrate First 100 years\Chevy Trucks Launches into Second Century with 2019 Silverado
Dallas, Fort Worth, TX – The Bowtie team definitely knows how to throw a party, and the Chevrolet Truck division of General Motors staged a giant celebration for their loyal truck consumers and members of the automotive press recently at the Texas Motor Speedway.
The first Chevrolet truck built was a 1918 Chevrolet 490 Light Delivery chassis cowl. The Chassis cowl was composed of painted metal elements, with a wooden cab and pickup-type body that was purchased from an aftermarket manufacturer. The payload capacity was rated at 1,000 lbs. and it sold for $595 retail. Since then more than 85 million Chevy trucks have been serving customers in both a work and play capacity.
Chevy’s first truck actually preceded Ford’s first example by 7 years, which first appeared in 1925 and was officially called the Ford Model T Runabout with a pickup body, and for what it’s worth, Chevrolet also produced a V-8 powered
vehicle in 1918 and Ford’s V8 didn’t come along until 1932.
According to Alan Batey, president of GM North America, and global head of Chevrolet, “Our owners’ passion for Chevrolet trucks is truly humbling, and many of our owners depend on their trucks for work and play, personalize their trucks in astonishing ways and pass their loyalty for Chevy Trucks down from generation to generation. For the Chevy Truck Centennial, we wanted to recognize the customers who have made Chevrolet part of their lives, and have them help kick off the next 100 years of Chevy Trucks.”
As part of the huge Chevy Truck Centennial Celebration, customers were invited to drive their trucks to the event, where they were parked in the Speedway infield, forming a huge “100” when viewed from above. Many in attendance were Chevy Truck Legend members, some of the brand’s most passionate owners. Among them was Dale Earnhardt, Jr., of NASCAR fame, a lifelong Chevy fan who is also now a Chevrolet dealer. Dale Jr. made himself available for an exclusive luncheon press conference as well as for a public interview by Jim Campbell, GM’s U.S. Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports.
2018 Chevrolet Tahoe RST
The day before, auto media members were able to experience the new specially equipped Chevy Tahoe RST on an autocross course and street drive at the Fort Worth Police and Fire training center. The Tahoe RST is powered by a 6.2-liter gen 5 small block Direct Injected V8 connected to a 10 speed 10L80 Hydramatic transmission that cranked out 420 horsepower along with 460 pound feet of torque. The RST rolls on 22-inch wheels and tires and features Magnetic Ride Control. 0-60 mph ticks off in 5.7 seconds, and the tow capacity is 8,500 pounds. This activity was followed by a ride-along simulated pursuit exercise in new Tahoe Police Pursuit Vehicles (PPV). The specially equipped PPV units were piloted by Ft. Worth Police officers – helmets and Hans devices required.
Members of the media were treated to the opportunity for “e-ticket rides” in special prepared homebuilt, “Ride-Tech” equipped race trucks over a challenging autocross course, where they were again required to don helmets and Hans devices. The special rides featured tube frames with roll cages and five point harnesses and stripped down bodies. My ride was in an “anything but stock” Blazer hefty V8-powered engine that cranked out over 500 horsepower.
Also available to drive from GM’s Heritage Collection were several early example Chevrolet Trucks from different eras, including a SEMA-customized truck and a 1926 Chevrolet open cab stake bed truck.
As a special program highlight, the past met the future, heralding the beginning of the next 100 years with a preview of the all-new, “from-the-ground-up” 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 TrailBoss 4×4, which, based on the LT trim level, featuring a Z71 Package with off-road tuned suspension and a two-inch factory suspension lift. Also featured were more aggressive tires, Rancho shocks, Hill Descent Control, a locking differential and a low range. The Trailboss suspension is fully tested, validated and warrantied by Chevrolet. The preview Silverado arrived by a giant helicopter, airlifted from behind the Speedway’s huge viewing screen and lowered onto a special stage.
The next-gen Silverado will offer an expanded range of models (it is one of eight 2019 Silverados), more engine/transmission combinations and more technology and convenience features to help customers find their ideal truck. It reflects feedback from more than 7,000 people on what they wanted in their next truck — the most customer research in the company’s history.
The new Silverado will deliver improved capability and performance. For example, a higher-grade alloy is used in the roll-formed, high-strength-steel bed floor, contributing to greater functionality and lighter weight.
The 2019 Silverado will make its official public debut in January at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit; exactly 100 years after the first Chevrolet trucks were delivered to customers.
Chevrolet, founded in 1911 in Detroit, Michigan, is one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 100 countries and selling more than 4.0 million cars and trucks a year.
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.
# # #