100 Years of Chevy Trucks: The Chevy Silverado Centennial Edition
In 1918, just six short months after the release of the Ford Model TT, Chevy released its first pickup truck, the 1918 One-Ton. This innovation sparked the beginning of a century-long rivalry that continues to push the limits of innovation in the truck industry. With the release of its first pickup truck 100 years ago, Chevy Trucks began a historic era of providing dependable, quality trucks to consumers in America and beyond. While pickup trucks are no longer just a blue-collar staple, Chevy’s motto of providing high quality and advanced technology has been its guiding star—and the heart of the Chevy mission still rings true today.
Over the course of the last 100 years, Chevy has released many pickup trucks that were ahead of the rest of the industry design-wise. And Chevy improved upon even its own designs over the years with enhancements such as increased horsepower and longer beds for hauling. Models released earlier, while considered to have excellent towing capacity for their time, were only around 36 horsepower, with a 68-inch bed. Chevrolet has not stopped its progress and continues to offer new, state-of-the-art designs each year.
1929 – The International Series AC Light Delivery pickup was released. This was the first Chevy truck with a six-cylinder engine.
1938 – The Half-Ton was released, which was the first pickup truck designed by Chevy’s new Art and Colour department.
1947 – The 3100 Series was released, boasting new exterior design features, such as the first rounded profile and a five-bar horizontal grill that was wider and longer.
1955 – The 3124 Cameo Carrier was released as the first “fleetside” pickup truck, with carlike features that made the interior more “luxurious.” This model also made way for the El Camino.
1967 – The new Chevrolet C/K 10 Series added comfort and convenience to what had always been considered “work” trucks.
1973 – The Chevrolet C30 One-Ton Dually was released and was considered the first “heavy-duty” pickup truck. It was also the first of its kind, with a squared body and rounded exterior so that it was more aerodynamically efficient.
1988 – The Chevrolet C/K 1500 Series was the first pickup truck released on the GMT 400 platform. It was also the first with the Insta-Trac system, allowing drivers to switch in and out of four-wheel drive while on the road.
1999 – The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 was released on the new GMT 800 platform and offered a Vortec V8 engine as well as an advanced Driver Information Center for messages.
2007 – The second-generation Chevy Silverado 1500 was released and took home Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year award. Again, it showed even more efficiency improvements to its body design.
2018 – Centennial Special Editions of Silverado and Colorado are released, with throwback design features.
Honoring 100 Years in Style
The 2018 Centennial Edition Silverado available on the LTZ Z71 crew cab tows nearly six tons and has all the bells and whistles you would expect from a modern truck. While its features are very modern, the Centennial Edition does have some throwbacks present in the design of the truck. Blue heritage bowtie logos, emblazoned with the Chevrolet name (in a font similar to the original) with two stripes, can be found on the grill, doors, and in the bed of the truck. Because it is a special edition pickup truck, the Centennial Edition is only available on the LTZ Z71 crew-cab platform and has a starting price of about $53,465.
Releasing the Centennial Edition pickup trucks was not the only thing Chevrolet did to celebrate 100 years. Its 100-day celebration was kicked off at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas Fair Park. It was there that Chevy announced the rollout of the Truck Legends loyalty program, gave fairgoers a peek at the Centennial edition Silverado and Colorado models, and passed out heritage-bow branded merchandise, as well as beginning to develop hype around the December 16 culminating event. All this showmanship just goes to show that customer choice is still at the forefront of what drives Chevrolet.
The Truck Legends program is a loyalty program for owners of Chevy trucks who have logged more than 100,000 miles on their trucks or who have purchased more than one new Chevy truck. The pilot program was released in 2016 in Texas and has since grown by the thousands. Not only will Truck Legends members receive branded merchandise and membership to an exclusive Truck Legend community—they will also be part of partnership experiences offering incentives such as tickets to sold-out concerts, major-league sporting events, and even sneak peeks at upcoming Chevy models.
In honor of the 100-day celebration, other brands also offered Chevy-branded merchandise. Boating fanatics were able to purchase Chevy-branded Phoenix bass boats and enclosed trailers to commemorate the centennial. The boat was available in the Centennial Blue paint color and included special-edition badging throughout. Other Chevy Centennial branded gear is available at chevygearusa.com.
On December 16, 2017, Chevy enthusiasts took part in the closing event at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Visitors were able to check out the newly released Centennial Edition pickup trucks, experience soon-to-be released Chevy products, and meet notable Chevy Truck fans such as Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Attendees were also offered rides in vintage Chevrolet pickup models along the historic streets of downtown Fort Worth. While the event was free, it was limited to invited guests only, and Truck Legends members were the first to receive information and invitations regarding the event.
Chevrolet was founded in Detroit in 1911 and has become one of the biggest car brands not just in the United States, but across more than 100 countries worldwide, selling well over 85 million pickup trucks in the last 100 years. Keeping the needs of its customers at heart, Chevy aims to develop trucks that are strong and dependable. As far as anyone can tell, Chevrolet has no plan, or need, to change the way it does things for the next 100 years.