It’s coming up on 100 years since some Chevy workers cobbled together a handful of parts to create the One-Ton, the bowtie brands first pickup truck, and the Detroit automaker is launching a 100-day celebration to mark the centennial.
The festivities include the debut of two special-edition models, Centennial Edition versions of both the 2018 Chevrolet Colorado and Silverado trucks. Among other things, the two models get a variety of nice touches, such as chrome trim, tow hooks and mirror caps. They also showcase various versions of the familiar bowtie logo Chevy has used over the years.
“The Chevy Trucks Centennial is a huge milestone for us,” said the brand’s truck marketing and advertising chief Sandor Piszar. “It’s important that we share this celebration with our loyal customers who have helped us achieve this accomplishment.”
Chevy’s centennial comes just months after arch-rival Ford Motor Co. marked the 100-year anniversary of its first pickup. Today, Chevy ranks second in the truck marked, behind only Ford.
(Ford Motor Co. celebrates 100 years of pickup trucks. For the story, Click Here.)
No one seems to know precisely where the term “pickup” came from, and there’s also some debate over who developed the first automobile that could fit the category. Historians note that Studebaker used the term in 1913, the same year Galion Allsteel Body Company started installing boxes on the box of stripped down Ford Model T chasses. It began modifying Ford’s own Model TT truck in 1917.
Whatever the origins, pickups quickly gained a toehold in the American market, rising as high as 18% of the total U.S. new vehicle market, according to industry records. In more recent years, sales of full-size trucks alone have been running in the 12% range, with compact models bringing the total to 15%, or 2.7 million, last year.
(Pickups expected to have helped drive surge in sales in September. Click Here for more.)
Sales have continued gaining ground in 2017, along with the overall light truck market. And some analysts anticipate demand could surge sharply in the coming months due both to the number of vehicles destroyed by recent hurricanes and because of the demand for work trucks as massive repairs in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico move forward.
Chevrolet has sold a wide range of trucks over the last century, and its best-seller, the Silverado dates back to 1987. The name originally appeared as a version of the old Chevy C/K line, but has since been used for all of the maker’s full-size models.
It’s come a long way from Chevy’s original One-Ton model. That original truck was powered by a 36-horsepower, four-cylinder engine capable of hitting a top speed of 25 mph. Today, the Chevrolet Silverado is offered with a variety of engine options, including the 420 horsepower 6.2-liter EcoTec V-8 and the 445 hp 6.6-liter Duramax diesel.
As for the Colorado, parent General Motors briefly exited the midsize pickup segment earlier this decade, coming back with both the well-reviewed Colorado and the near-twin GMC Canyon. The midsize segment, on the whole, has been in the midst of an unexpected turnaround after years of decline.
As for the two Centennial Editions, they’re the “result of collaboration between Chevrolet Design, Engineering and Marketing, to commemorate the history of Chevy Trucks,” said Rich Scheer, Chevrolet Trucks director of Exterior Design. “Both vehicles offer our most enthusiastic fans a way to demonstrate their love for Chevy Trucks and celebrate the Chevy Trucks Centennial with us.”
Among other things, they both get those added details, larger wheels and distinctive Centennial Blue paint. The Silverado Centennial Edition will be available on the LTZ Z71 crew cab model, the Colorado Centennial Edition on Z71 crew and extended cab models. Both will debut in the coming weeks.
(Click Here to check out spy shots of the 2019 Ram 1500 pickup.)