One hundred years ago, Chevrolet introduced the 1918 One-Ton, setting the stage for a century of iconic trucks. To commemorate this milestone, the brand is looking back on 10 of the most iconic designs in Chevy truck history.
While Chevrolet truck design has changed radically over the past 100 years, one thing has always been true: Form has followed function as the trucks evolved to meet the customers’ changing needs. “Today, the Chevrolet truck design studio is focused on purposeful design that creates personality and customization options for a wide breadth of truck customers,” said Rich Scheer, director of Exterior Design for Chevy Trucks. “Looking back on the past century of truck design, I realized that Chevrolet designers have been focused on the same goals since the very beginning.”
HERE ARE 10 OF THE MOST ICONIC CHEVY TRUCKS IN THE PAST 100 YEARS, ALONG WITH A DESIGN PERSPECTIVE FOR EACH FROM SCHEER:
The first production truck from Chevrolet was inspired by vehicles used in plants to move parts and pieces from place to place. In the simplest terms, this is an example of form follows function. It was a rolling chassis featuring an open cab, an inline four-cylinder engine and an open frame allowing customers to install the body that fit their unique needs.
1929 INTERNATIONAL SERIES LD
The 1929 was the first Chevrolet truck to feature a closed cab, which created the potential for what we know as interior design today. As with all designs, once the functional elements were defined, more comfort- and style-focused features started to become important for truck buyers. It’s amazing how fast they went from the purpose-built 1918 truck to a more styled, closed-cab truck.
This was the first truck designed in the newly formed Art and Colour department, which was later to be known as Design Center, by Harley Earl and his team. (Earl became GM’s first design chief.) This year also saw the designs of cars and trucks deviate, as Design realized the need for trucks to have their own identity
1947 3100 SERIES
This is one of the most iconic designs in automotive history. If you mention a vintage Chevy truck, I think almost everyone will picture this model in their mind. It was such a departure, advertisers coined the phrase “Advance Design,” because it was bigger, stronger and sleeker than ever before.
1955 3124 SERIES CAMEO CARRIER
Known as the Task Force truck, the Cameo Carrier is Chevy’s first Fleetside design. The bed surface is flush with the cab and fender, making for one complete, elegant shape from front to back. It was also Chevrolet’s first bumper-to-bumper styled truck, as styling didn’t stop at the back of the cab. During this time, styling became a selling point for cars, inspiring more focus on design for trucks as well. This was definitely the heyday of American automotive styling and ornamentation.
1967 C10 FLEETSIDE
This is the first truck that I really fell in love with. It’s a beautiful, sleek design with a hint of wheel flare. I also really appreciate the line that flows away from the top of the bed line and the beautiful balance with the front of the vehicle. This is a feature that can easily go wrong, but the designers of the time did it so right. The body side has a strong shoulder that tapers toward the rear. The Chevrolet bar on the front fascia connects the headlamp center with the bowtie — a design element that is still consistent today.
1973 C30 ONE-TON DUALLY
This third-generation C/K square-body truck was the first crew cab dually to market, and many consider it to be the first modern Heavy Duty Truck. The design reflects a dramatic increase in capability for customers who used their trucks for both work and recreation.
The C/K1500 was the first truck design influenced by aerodynamics. This generation had great design reach, meaning it looked very advanced for its time. That is especially true for the new interior design, with a low instrument panel, pod-like setup and even buttons that looked futuristic.
1999 SILVERADO 1500 LT Z71
This was the first generation that used the Silverado nameplate. It also introduced many of the modern design elements that customers associate with current Chevy truck design, especially the iconic Chevrolet front end.
2007 SILVERADO 1500
The 2007 Silverado is simple, modern and powerful, featuring exaggerated wheel flares and a clean body side. It’s another evolution for Chevrolet trucks in creating their own identity on the road, with distinctive front and rear ends.
– Content and illustrations courtesy Chevrolet Communications