Chevrolet
1913 was the first year that the famous Chevrolet trademark was used on the cars.  The trademark has appeared billions of times on products, advertisings and sales literature as the mark of dependability, economy and quality in motor transportation.  It originated in Durant's imagination when, as a world traveler in 1908, he saw the pattern marching off into infinity as a design on wallpaper in a French hotel.  He tore off a piece of the wallpaper and kept it to show friends with the thought that it would make a good nameplate for a car.
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Chevrolet was co-founded by Louis Chevrolet and William C. Durant. Louis Chevrolet was a race-car driver, born on December 25, 1878, in La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland.  William Durant, founder of General Motors, had been forced out of GM in 1910 and wanted to use Louis Chevrolet's designs to rebuild his own reputation as a force in the automobile industry.  As head of Buick Motor Company, prior to founding GM, Durant had hired Chevrolet to drive Buicks in promotional races.

 

In 1915, Durant made a trip to Toronto, Ontario to determine the possibility of setting up production facilities in Canada.  After meeting with "Colonel Sam" McLaughlin, whose McLaughlin Motor Car Company manufactured the McLaughlin-Buick, it was agreed that the Chevrolet Motor Car Company of Canada, operated by McLaughlin, would be created to build Chevrolet cars in Canada.  Three years later, the two Canadian companies were purchased by GM to become General Motors of Canada Ltd.  By 1916 Chevrolet was profitable enough to allow Durant to buy a majority of shares in GM.  After the deal was completed in 1917, Durant was president of General Motors, and Chevrolet was merged into GM, becoming a separate division.  In the 1918 model year Chevrolet introduced the Model D V-8 series 4 passenger roadster and 5 passenger touring.  These cars had 288ci, 35 hp (26 kW) engines with Zenith carburetors and 3 speed transmissions.

 

In the 1955 model year Chevrolet introduced the so-called "small block V-8," arguably the most famous and versatile V8 engine ever produced in the post-World War II era.  It came out with 265 cubic inches and was offered in three versions.  The basic 265 had a two-barrel carburetor and was rated at 162 H.P in its initial 1955 iteration.  Horsepower was increased to 180 with the addition of a four-barrel carburetor and dual exhausts, and an underrated 195 hp (145 kW) version, called the "power pack", was installed in most 1955 Corvettes and was available in regular sedans on special order.  It had a high lift solid lifter cam, high compression heads, and dual exhaust.  This engine became a hit with hot rodders and almost overnight became the engine of choice, replacing the flathead Ford engine as the hot rodder's preferred motor.  The earliest years of the small block Chevrolet engine's development were especially eventful.  In 1955 the 265-cubic-inch engine was one of the smallest V8 engines offered by the big three U.S. automakers, however it gave similar sized cars with far larger engines -like the 88-series Oldsmobile with its 324 cubic-inch "Rocket" engine 324 Oldsmobile--a run for their money.  For example, a Chevy equipped with the power-pack engine and a three-speed manual shift transmission can achieve 60 miles per hour from a standstill in 8.4 seconds, an astonishing feat for the time.  Because his engine was placed in production only 15 weeks after authorization was given by management, the engineers did not have the necessary time to do the proper dynamometer testing and rate its horsepower prior to release. The untested engine rated at 185 H.P. when released in 1955 but was rated at 205 H.P. in 1956 after dynamometer testing.  Because of its exceptional breathing ability, a 225 H.P. option was available by adding two four-barrel carbs.  The power-pack engine for 1956 also had two four-barrel carburetors and was rated at 245 H.P. 

 

In 1957 the engine was increased to 283 cubic inches.  This engine also had heads with larger valves and ports, and the four-barrel carburetor engine was rated at 220 H.P.  Two four-barrels gave 245 H.P.  A high-performance version, with a high-lift solid cam and fitted with heads that had even larger intake valves, called fuel-injection heads by enthusiasts, was rated at 270 H.P.  Fuel injection was also offered that year. Rated at 283 H.P., this was often referred to as the first engine offered by U.S. auto manufactures to produce 1 H.P. per cubic inch.  This rating, however, was again incorrect due to delayed production schedules for the Rochester fuel injection unit. After proper dynamometer testing, it was rated at 290 H.P. in 1958.  Enthusiasts affectionately called this engine the "fuelie."  It should be noted that although Chevy is commonly credited with breaking the 1 horespower per cubic inch benchmark, a year earlier Chrysler offered their 1956 300B model with 354 cu inches and 355 horespower, and DeSoto's 1957 Adventurer provided 345 cu inches with 345 horespower, thus beating Chevy's well publicized feat in terms of both time (1956 vs.1957) and power (354 vs. 283). 

 

Famous Chevy models include the large and luxurious Impala (1958) and the innovative air-cooled rear-engined Corvair (1960 - 1969).  Chevrolet had a great influence on the American automobile market during the 1950s and 1960s.  In 1963, one out of every ten cars sold in the United States was a Chevrolet.  The basic Chevrolet small-block V-8 design has remained in continuous production since its debut in 1955, longer than any other mass-produced engine design in the world auto industry, though current versions share few if any parts interchangeable directly with the original.  Descendants of the basic small-block OHV V-8 design platform in production today have been much modified with advances such as aluminum block and heads, electronic engine management, and sequential port fuel injection, to name just a few improvements over the 54-model-year design life of the engine concept to date.  The small block Chevrolet V-8 is used in current production model (2008) Impala sedans, a variety of light and medium duty Chevrolet trucks, and the current generation Corvette sports car.  Depending on the vehicle type in which they're installed, they are built in diaplacements from 5.3 to 7 litres with outputs ranging from 303 to over 500 horsepower (370 kW) as installed at the factory.   It will also be used as a performance option in the forthcoming (2009 model year) revival of the Chevrolet Camaro.  The engine design has also been used over the years in GM products built and sold under the Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, Opel (Germany) and Holden (Australia) nameplates.  Recently, 6 litre, 400 horsepower (300 kW) versions of the small-block V-8 designed initially for the C-5 and C-6 Corvettes have been installed in factory-built high performance versions of the Cadillac CTS sedan known as the CTS-V.

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