Sunday, October 30, 2011

100 Years

From the Freep:
Some brands transcend commerce.

Through an alchemy of great products, good timing and sheer magic, they acquire meanings that reach far beyond their original purpose.

Levi's. Coca-Cola. Apple. Chevrolet.

Sometime during 100 years of carrying families on vacation, hauling hay wagons, winning races and hosting nervous first dates, Chevrolet became the vehicle of our memories, dreams and hopes as much as it is a line of cars and trucks.

Chevrolet created emblems for American eras. Chevy measured our national mood -- from the pastoral postwar '48 Suburban, to the pastel '57 Bel Air, space-age '63 Corvette Sting Ray, self-assured '69 Camaro, diffident '76 Chevette, back-to-work '99 Silverado and electrifying 2011 Volt.

Those were just a few of the Chevrolet icons that packed the Woodward Dream Cruise in a pre-centennial drive-in this summer. If you forgot to get a gift then, there's still time. Chevy's actual 100th anniversary -- 100, what's that? Platinum spark plugs? Radial tires? -- is this Thursday.
I've owned a few of those icons (by model year, not the year(s) I owned 'em): a '64 Impala (well, it actually belonged to The First Mrs. Pennington, but I had privileges), a '67 Chevelle SS396,  a '72 Nova, a '92 Vette (above), and a '96 Impala SS.  Oh yeah, and one of those gotdamned Chevettes, which was known as The Winter Vette when I lived in Dee-troit.  THAT was an eminently forgettable and hated little car.

But.  Chevy and I go back quite a ways.  Not the whole 100 years, to be sure, but enough time to firmly establish the marque as an icon in MY world.  Happy Anniversary, Chevy... here's to another 100 years!

You'll note Chevy was celebrated at the annual Woodward Dream Cruise this past summer, and there are some cool Camaro pics on their home page.  Speaking o' the Dream Cruise... I drove in the very first Dream Cruise, all the way from Ferndale (where I lived) to my Buddy Greg's house in Birmingham, where we did some on-the-spot repairs to this beast (a 1954 Cadillac Sedan De Ville):

The repairs were needed in order for The Second Mrs. Pennington and I to get the thing home.  That was also our first summer with "The Smokin', Drinkin', and Partyin' Car," named as such by TSMP.  From an old post:
TSMP christened the car “The Smokin’, Drinkin’, Partyin’ Car” and she most certainly was that. The best story about that car can only be told in “wink-wink, nudge-nudge” terms and involved TSMP and I splitting the upholstery in the Caddy’s back seat. Or, to put it another way…we were exuberant and the upholstery was old. In our garage. On a Saturday afternoon. Wink-wink, nudge-nudge.
Good times.


  1. The favorite Chevy I never owned was a 1958 Impala 2-door Convert with "Continental kit" for spare, which really added a classy/classic look. Color was metallic golden bronze w. , iirc, a honey tan rag-top (NOT "tan tan") and golden bronze and honey tan int (Chevy had about four int versions in different hues/combos of the bronze/honey theme) DYNAMITE looking car in that combo! (The 2-door hard-top was an ungainly-looking blob.) A classic "boulevard car" but with punch. Good "rich kid" friend of mine owned one in HS. Had a minx of younger sister named "Angel." My HS yearbook had pic of her in car in sunglasses smiling subtitled:"Devil or Angel?" LOL--she was that kinda girl..

    Jack--a handsome guy-- made his way to Hollywood after HS in 61 and appeared in several westerns in the mid 60s due to friendship struck up with Nick Adams ("The Rebel" tv series as "Johnny Yuma"--remember "The Ballad of Johnny Yuma?") but when Adams died in 68 of a prescription drug overdose Jack lost his mentor and disappeared from both the tube and from sight--always wondered what happened to him...probably became a life ins salesman or a lawyer, lol....

  2. PS: The Continental Kit was a factory item, so was color coord w. same color as rest of body and integrated into bumper/trunk as a single pkg--not an after-mkt mod--so was a real "custom" look.

  3. My first car was my Daddy's hand-me-down 1971 Malibu coupe. That was some car. I drove it for 11 years, until the first baby made it necessary to be able to access the car seat easily. By that time, I think the only thing keeping it running was the sludge on the rings.

  4. My first car was a '57 BelAir, two door, post body. I bought it in '64 when I finally got a drivers license after getting out of the service.

  5. P.S. Nothing ever happened in the back seats of any car I ever owned.

  6. The Back Seat of my Memory30 October, 2011 19:25

    I've never even masturbated in the back seat of my car.

    I do remember going to this party once, where this girl in a leather skirt who showed her tonsils every time she bent over (and this was way before pubic hair went out of style), wanted a ride home with us.

    So Porno Bob gets in the back seat with her, and (sure enough) begins to have sex with her, but it only lasts for about a minute when he throws-up all over her and passes out.

    We had to skid to a stop when she let out this scream we knew had nothing to do with sex.

    Oh my God, what a mess. We used his shirt to clean her up as best we could. I'm talking big chunks that almost made me want to sympathy puke.

  7. The family car that got passed down to us kids was a 64 Chevy Biscayne - it ran forever. My first vehicle was a 63 Chevy pick-up truck. But my favorite Chevy was our first brand new 1990 club-cab pickup. Lots of memories there - the family kind.

  8. I once owned and operated a 1987 Olds Cutlass (which is relevant to this post, cause it was a GM product).

    The only thing that ever really happened in the back seat was that I left a take-out box of fish and chips in there for two weeks one July.

    I advise you all, never do that.

  9. Virgil: I thought the '58 Chevys were a let-down after the '57. That GRILLE! Those headlights! Aiiieee!

    Moogie: And who said GM products don't last?

    Skip: My Dad had one of those '57 two-door sedans. It was kinda pale green IIRC.

    My Memory: OMG. Some people really shouldn't drink.

    Lou: Your comment reminds me of a Chevy teevee ad that's running locally in Dee-troit, with old FAMILY Chevys. (How do I know? Coz I get most of the Wings games on Fox Sports Dee-troit.)

    Matt: I'm thinkin' most people don't leave stuff like that in their cars. But I COULD be wrong.

  10. Buck/

    On ANY OTHER version of that car, I'm in full agreement, Buck. But for some reason the total effect of the convertible body style in presenting a more low-slung profile, the Continental kit, and the mono-color color combo I cited made it visually look like a TOTALLY different car than every other version of it in their inventory.


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