100 Greatest Chevrolets of All Time

One Century, 100 Great Chevys


  • 100 Greatest Chevrolets Picture

    100 Greatest Chevrolets Picture

    100. 2006 Trailblazer SS: With 391 horsepower from its 6.0-liter LS2 V8, this was one of the least sensible SUVs ever built. Massive burnouts and zero to 60 in 6.3 seconds. | September 23, 2011

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There's nothing more American than Chevrolet. For 100 years, Chevy and its bowtie logo have defined American motoring, both on the street and on the racetrack.

Founded by famous racecar driver Louis Chevrolet and ousted GM founder William C. Durant on November 3, 1911, the car company has now seen 10 decades of success.

In 1913, its famous bowtie logo was adopted after Durant liked a wallpaper pattern with a similar design in a French hotel. At least that's how the story goes.

Two years later, Louis Chevrolet had differences with Durant and sold Durant his share of the company. A year later, Chevy's profits financed Durant's repurchase of General Motors. He became president of GM, and Chevrolet was immediately merged into GM in 1918.

In celebration of Chevy's 100th birthday we've drawn up this list of the greatest Chevys ever, the 100 cars that have done the most to build up Chevrolet's place in automotive culture. The cars that have inspired people to tattoo the bowtie emblem to various parts of their bodies.

That means we did not restrict this list to production vehicles. Instead the list includes racecars — both those based on production Chevys and those only powered by Chevrolet racing engines — showcars, concept cars, prototypes and even movie cars.

Is your favorite on the list?

100. 2006 Trailblazer SS: With 391 horsepower from its 6.0-liter LS2 V8, this was one of the least sensible SUVs ever built. Massive burnouts and zero to 60 in 6.3 seconds.

99. 1971 Corvette ZR2: Only 12 of these race-ready 'Vettes were built with 425-hp, LS6 454 big-block V8s under their hoods.

98. 1973 Firenza Can Am: Just 100 were built in South Africa and based on the small British Viva coupe. The Firenza Can Am was equipped with the 1969 Camaro Z/28's 302 small-block V8. It's the one legendary Chevrolet that never made it to America.

97. 1983 Monte Carlo SS: Designed for NASCAR, with a sloping nose that added aggression to the street car. A 175-hp 5.0-liter V8 backed that up.

96. 1988 Callaway Sledgehammer: In 1988, John Lingenfelter drove this twin-turbo, 898-hp monster on the 7.5-mile oval at Ohio's Transportation Research Center at 254.76 mph. It drove to the test from Connecticut on public roads.

95. 1977 Camaro Z/28: After two years of no Z/28s at all, it returned with a new emphasis on handling and only 170 hp from its 350 four-barrel V8.

94. 1982 S-10 Pickup: Chevy's first small truck is derided now, but sold well and took market share in a segment that had been all Japanese.

93. 1971 G-Van: Built for 25 production years, the G-Van is the longest-lived model in Chevy's history. Rugged and simple, it was the cool van when vans were cool.

92. American Graffiti 1958 Impala: It's Steve's car, but it's Terry the Toad who gets the ride in George Lucas' coming-of-age story in the car-age classic.

91. 1967 Impala SS 427: Only 2,124 of these two-doors were built, including 46 convertibles. The 385-hp L36 big-block V8 backed up its sporting trim.

90. 1959 El Camino: Chevy responds to Ford's Ranchero with this winged trucklet based on the full-size car chassis. Maybe the most extravagantly styled truck ever.

89. 1969 Yenko/SC Chevelle: Yenko's midsize muscle featured the same 425-hp, L72 big-block V8 as the Yenko Camaro. Ordered as a COPO small production run, only 99 were built.

88. 1983 S-10 Blazer: Initially only available as a two door, it eventually evolved into a four-door that was Chevy's family vehicle of the '90s.

87. 1970 El Camino SS 454 LS6: It's the 1970 Chevelle SS454 LS6 with a pickup bed — a 450-hp 454 big-block V8 in a truck. Still the quickest Chevy production truck.

86. 1969 Corvette ZL-1: Only two Corvettes were built with the all-aluminum 427-cubic-inch ZL-1 big-block V8. Output may have been as much as 585 hp. Zora Arkus-Duntov claimed 10.5-second quarter-mile times on slicks.

85. 1966 Chevy II L79: The 350-hp version of the 327 small-block V8 turned the mild-mannered compact into one of the great high-performance sleepers.

84. 1968 Chevy II/Nova SS396: Chevy's cheapest car running the 396 big block, with the L78 version making 375 hp. Only 667 L78 Novas were built.

83. 1966 Impala SS L72: Just 1,856 big Chevys (not just Impalas) were sold during '66 with the 425-hp L72 big-block 427. It was the only way to get the L72 outside of a Corvette.

82. Smokey Yunick's 1966 NASCAR Chevelle: Superficially a standard Chevelle, every body panel was modified so the car was an aerodynamically friendly 7/8ths the size. That started NASCAR's body templates.

81. Smokey Yunick's 1963 NASCAR Impala: The "Mystery Motor" 427 had Johnny Rutherford qualifying this car for the '63 Daytona 500 at 165.183 mph — 6 mph faster than Fireball Roberts' record-setting Pontiac in '62.

80. 1988 Camaro IROC-Z 1LE: It was the Camaro optimized for Showroom Stock road racing with an aluminum driveshaft, Corvette oversize disc brakes, and without air-conditioning or foglights. It quickly came to dominate the competition.

79. 1969 Baldwin-Motion Phase III Camaro: Built to order from Baldwin Chevrolet and Motion Performance in Baldwin, New York, no two Phase III Camaros were exactly alike. But they all had 427s and more than 500 hp.

78. 1965 Lola T70: For a brief moment, FIA rules allowed sports cars with 5.0-liter engines to compete if 50 were built. A Penske T70 with Chevy V8 power won the 1969 24 Hours of Daytona.

77. 1999 Corvette C5.R: The Corvette that won Le Mans — three times in its class. Built by Pratt & Miller Engineering and campaigned by Corvette Racing. It's still competitive in the hands of privateers.

76. 2005 Corvette C6.R: Successor to the C5.R, it has dominated the American Le Mans Racing series. And continued to win at Le Mans itself, taking GT1 class wins in 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2011.

75. 1983 DeAtley Trans Am Camaro: The two DeAtley Camaros won nine of the 13 races run during the 1983 Trans Am season. These tube-frame racers started a construction revolution in the series.

74. 1968 Smokey Yunick Trans Am Camaro: It never won a race, but Yunick's acid-dipped, raked windshield, lowered subframe and endlessly tweaked car showed how radical a Camaro could be.

73. 1975 DeKon Monza: With its widened fenders, deep airdams and oversize rear spoiler, this car was high style in the '70s. Built for IMSA racing using a tube chassis. About 12 were built, and DeKon cars took championships in 1976, '77 and '78.

72. 1969 Camaro Z11 Indy 500 Pace Car: This orange-striped RS/SS convertible is the most iconic pace car of all time. Three-thousand six-hundred seventy-five were produced. Power came from a 350 small-block or 396 big-block V8 making up to 375 hp.

71. 2001 Corvette Z06: The notchback body version of the C5 didn't make much sense until it was fortified with a 5.7-liter LS6 V8 making 385 hp. One of the most satisfying production Vettes ever built.

70. 1965 Corvair Corsa: The second Corvair was radically improved over the first, and truly gorgeous. Corsa models were powered by a 140-hp, 164-cubic-inch, air-cooled flat-6.

69. 1965 Corvette 396: The first big-block V8-powered Corvette had a massive 425 hp thumping from its 396-cubic-inch engine. It refocused Corvette performance and spelled the end for the Rochester mechanical fuel-injection system.

68. 1972 "Coke Machine" Monte Carlo NASCAR Stock Car: The MC's stretched 112-inch wheelbase put the engine far back in the chassis. The handling advantage put Chevy back in NASCAR. Bobby Allison's #12 found the winner's circle 10 times.

67. 1969 Yenko SC Camaro: Pennsylvania dealer Don Yenko orders about 200 COPO 9561 Camaros equipped with the 427-cubic-inch, 425-hp L72 big-block V8. SC stood for "Super Car" of course.

66. 1955.5 Series 3100 Pickup: All-new styling atop an all-new chassis, but the big news was the first time a V8 was offered in a Chevy pickup. The 265-cubic-inch small-block V8 was rated at 126 hp.

65. 1993 Camaro Z28: The fourth-generation Camaro reinvented the American muscle car. The Z28 had a six-speed manual transmission and a 275-hp 5.7-liter LT1 V8. It handled, too, and the 1LE was available.

64. 2006 Corvette Z06: With its 505-hp 7.0-liter LS7 small-block V8, this was the quickest Corvette built up to that time. It's still one of the world's great track cars.

63. 1996 Impala SS: Take the Caprice 9C1 cop car with its 260-hp 5.7-liter LT1 V8, add 17-inch wheels and black paint and create a classic in 1994. But it got better in '96 with the addition of a floor shifter.

62. 2010 Equinox: Underappreciated by everyone except the hundreds of thousands who buy it. This small SUV has kept Chevy in the game through bankruptcy.

61. 1970 Monte Carlo: The personal luxury coupe that would see Chevy through the '70s. Used Chevelle two-door body pieces on the Chevelle four-door's 112-inch wheelbase.

60. 1962 Chevy II: The radical Corvair never racked up big sales, but the strictly conventional Chevy II was up to the Ford Falcon's challenge. V8 power didn't arrive until '64.

59. 1965 Full-Size: A full-perimeter frame, new great-looking sheet metal and the arrival of the new big-block V8 produce a much better big Chevrolet. Of the nearly 2.4 million Chevys sold during '65, more than 1.6 million of them were Bel Airs, Biscaynes and Impalas.

58. 1975 Laguna Type S3 NASCAR Racecar: The shovel-nosed missile that dominated NASCAR. Cale Yarborough took back-to-back championships in '76 and '77 with the S3. So good that NASCAR effectively banned it for '78.

57. 1970 Corvette LT-1: Small-block performance returns to the Corvette with the 370-hp 350-cubic-inch LT-1. The same engine was used in the 1970 Camaro Z/28.

56. 1953 Corvette: The first Corvette wasn't much more than a fiberglass body atop a chopped-down standard Chevy chassis. It only had a six-cylinder engine, but it started a legend.

55. 2011 Cruze Eco: With its 1.4-liter turbo motor and 42 mpg highway fuel economy, it's Chevy's best small car ever.

54. 1955.5 Cameo Pickup: The first high-style pickup truck with fiberglass fenders, chrome accents and full wheel covers from the Bel Air. Chevy's first personal-use pickup.

53. 1966 Chevelle SS 396: With 72,272 sold, this model solidified the Chevelle as a muscle car icon. All SS models packed 396 big-block V8s with horsepower ratings of 325, 360 or 375.

52. 2012 Chevy Sonic: Thanks in part to the 1.4-liter turbocharged motor and available six-speed manual transmission, the Sonic isn't just Chevy's best subcompact ever, but one of the best small cars you can buy today.

51. 1932 Deluxe Sports Roadster: While Ford turned to V8s, this gorgeous Chevy used a straight-6 and had 60 hp aboard. To many, it's still the best-looking Chevy ever.

50. 1956 Bel Air Nomad: The two-door sport wagon in its most beautiful form. Perfectly proportioned, elegantly detailed and absolutely gorgeous.

49. 1982 Reher-Morrison Pro Stock Camaro: Between 1981 and '84, this team with Lee Shepherd driving won four straight NHRA Pro Stock championships in Camaros. It's the '82, third-generation Camaro that remains the most iconic.

48. 1963 Chaparral 2A: America's most innovative race engineer, Jim Hall, hits full stride with this car featuring advanced aerodynamics and fiberglass structural elements. It was the dominant car in the United States Road Racing Championship in 1964 and '65.

47. 1963 Corvette Grand Sport: Born to be Zora Arkus-Duntov's ultimate Corvette, the Grand Sport was tube framed and powered by 377-cubic-inch small-block V8. Only five were built before GM killed the program — three roadsters and two coupes.

46. 1969 "Big Red" Camaro: Trend-setting Camaro built by Dan and R.J. Gottlieb in 1989 for open road time trials. It's a tube-frame stock car and a 540-cubic-inch V8 under a '69 Camaro body. At the Silver State Classic, Big Red averaged 197.99 mph over 94 miles.

45. Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins 1972 Vega Pro Stock: Jenkins' tube-frame Vega took the stock out of Pro Stock. He won six of the eight Nationals events that year. Drag racing has never recovered.

44. Grave Digger: Although it is a tube chassis, the coolest monster truck of all time is big-block-Chevy-powered and dressed like a 1950 Chevy Panel Van.

43. 1957 Corvette Fuel Injection: Zora Arkus-Duntov's nurturing pays off as the Rochester fuel-injected 283 small-block V8 makes 283 hp. It's the first Corvette that's truly high performance.

42. 1969 Camaro Z/28: An icon on and off the track for its performance and its style. It's the Camaro that defines Camaro-ness.

41. 1969 K5 Blazer: A short pickup with a fiberglass shell, the K5 Blazer becomes an instant off-road legend. It's because of the Blazer that there is "sport" in sport-utility vehicles.

40. 1996 Tahoe: The full-size Blazer evolves into the Tahoe and, with the addition of two more doors, becomes a family transportation staple. Shorter than a Suburban, it turns out to be just what a lot of buyers want.

39. 1968 Penske Camaro Z/28 Trans Am Racer: The Z/28 was built to win the SCCA Trans Am championship, and in 1968 it did so in spectacular fashion. Driver Mark Donohue won 10 of 13 races in his Roger Penske-prepped racer.

38. 1984 Corvette C4: With its aluminum suspension pieces and space-age digital dash, the C4 made Corvette relevant again. Sure it rode like a rock, but it outhandled any Porsche, Ferrari or Lotus at the time.

37. 1957 "Black Widow" 150 Two-Door Sedan: A plain, base, 150 two-door equipped with the powerful fuel-injected 283-cubic-inch V8. The first car banned by NASCAR. It won a stunning 59 races during the 1957 NASCAR racing season.

36. 1956 Corvette SR-2: Using chassis components proven at Sebring, this "Special Racing" was Zora Arkus-Duntov's first aero-aware Corvette. It didn't win much, but set the stage for all the specialized Corvettes to come.

35. 1974 Camaro IROC Racer: Production Camaros fortified for racing replaced Porsche for the second International Race of Champions. Big fender flares, bright colors and a glint of hope when cars were at their worst.

34. 1957 Corvette SS: The first Super Sport was the 1957 Corvette SS concept car that never saw production. A magnesium body kept weight down, but trapped heat in. Power came from a small-block V8 rated at 307 hp.

33. 1965 Corvette Mako Shark II: Concept car foreshowed the revolutionary 1968 Corvette and the body style that would remain in production until 1982.

32. 1959 Stingray Prototype: The Stingray was officially neither a Chevrolet nor a Corvette to circumvent the GM racing ban. Dick Thompson drove it to an SCCA national title in 1961. And it led directly to the 1963 Corvette (two words) Sting Ray.

31. 1959 CERV-1: A midengine Chevrolet Experimental Research Vehicle that led to 50 years of speculation that a midengine Corvette was about to appear. Powered by a lightweight 283 V8, total weight was only 1,600 pounds.

30. 1995 NASCAR Monte Carlo: For the five years it competed in NASCAR, it won the Winston Cup four times. Dale Earnhardt's only Daytona 500 win in 1998 came in this style Monte.

29. 1988 Penske PC-17 Indy Car: Ilmor Engineering's brilliant Chevy Indy V8 pushed this car to Chevy's first Indianapolis 500 win in 1988. Three Penske PC-17s led 192 of the 200 laps that year, with Rick Mears winning.

28. 1965 Chevelle SS Z16: Only 201 of the Z16 Chevelles were built. Each had a 425-hp 396 big-block V8 and 160 mph speedometer. It was the start of big-block, midsize Chevy muscle.

27. Two-Lane Blacktop '55: The Mechanic and The Driver race a GTO across the Southwest in their primered, 454 four-speed '55 Gasser with a tilt front end. How fast is it? That depends on who's around.

26. American Graffiti '55: Bob Falfa's badass and black street racer defines nastiness in 1962. Yes, it's the same car used in Two-Lane Blacktop, but a totally different character.

25. 1967 Corvette 427 L88: A functional hood scoop, aluminum heads, a massive Holley 850 carburetor and a ridiculous 430-hp rating. Five-hundred fifty hp was more like it.

24. 1967 McLaren M6A: McLaren's first Can Am championship winner with Chevy small-block V8 power. Followed by the M8A with big-block engines and eventually McLaren's move to Indianapolis, Formula 1, the F1 road car and today's MP4-12C.

23. 1947 Series 3100 Pickup: GM's first postwar truck design remains a bull-nosed classic. The deluxe equipment package included side corner rear windows. All were powered by a 90-hp straight-6.

22. 1911 Series C Classic Six: A great Chevrolet by dint of being the very first Chevrolet. A big, substantial car that, rumor has it, could hit 65 mph thanks to its 40-hp six. Later Chevys were lighter and used fours to compete directly with the Model T.

21. Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins 1968 Camaro Pro Stock: Winner of the first two NHRA Pro Stock races ever: the 1970 Winternationals and Gatornationals. It's a converted Super Stock car that started life as a '67.

20. 2010 Camaro SS: Developed in Australia with an all-independent suspension. You can't see out of it and the trunk opening is silly, but this is a great Camaro and it's outselling the Mustang.

19. 1997 Corvette C5: With its backbone chassis and rear-mounted transmissions, the C5 is a Corvette that competes with the world's best. Power comes from a 345-hp LS1 small-block V8.

18. 1935 Suburban: A station wagon body on a pickup truck frame, it was a rudimentary, heavy-duty people mover. It has been in more or less constant production ever since.

17. 1955 Corvette: When the Corvette got V8 power in its third year, it was suddenly a viable sports car, even though the 265-cubic-inch small-block V8 only made 195 hp.

16. 1970.5 Camaro Z/28: The all-new Camaro Z/28 features the best carbureted V8 ever installed in a Camaro — the 350-cubic-inch, 360-hp LT-1.

15. 2007 NASCAR Impala SS: The Impala SS and R07 racing small-block V8 have won the championship every year the two have run. Jimmie Johnson has won every NASCAR championship yet run with this "Car of Tomorrow" Impala SS.

14. 1962 Bel Air 409 "Bubble-Top" Coupe: Beautiful car. Still the only Chevy the Beach Boys wrote a hit song about. With dual-quad carburetion, it had a full 409 hp and was a consistent winner in the NHRA stock classes.

13. 1988 C/K Pickup: The brilliantly clean C/K was the truck people would rather have than a car. It was the backbone of the sport truck world during the '90s and is already a classic.

12. 1986 Monte Carlo SS Aerodeck: A big sloping piece of glass improv aerodynamics. Dale Earnhardt drove the Aerodeck to Winston Cup championships in 1986 and '87. And in 1988, his first black, Goodwrench-sponsored car was an Aerodeck.

11. 1961 Impala SS: The first Super Sport and, in "bubble top" form, one of the best-looking big coupes ever. In January 1961, the 360-hp 409 V8 became an option.

10. 2011 Volt: Maybe the most innovative car ever built by GM, it's destined to technologically lead Chevy through its second century.

9. 1957 Bel Air Convertible: Flamboyant, iconic, and with the fuel-injected 283-hp, 283-cubic-inch small-block V8, powerful.

8. 1970 Chevelle SS 454 LS6: King of the muscle-bound era. The 454-cubic-inch LS6 big-block V8 was likely underrated at 450 hp.

7. 1969 Camaro ZL-1: Only 69 were built under Central Office Production Order (COPO) 9560. The all-aluminum 427 big-block V8 weighed less than a small-block and rated at 430 hp. Built to race, they're the ultimate collector Camaro.

6. 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1: With 580 horsepower from a supercharged 6.2-liter V8, the ZL1 is by far the fastest Camaro ever. The Nurburgring-tuned suspension also makes it the best handling Camaro ever.

5. 2009 Corvette ZR1: There's a 638-hp supercharged 6.2-liter LS9 V8 under its hood. It's by far the quickest and fastest production Corvette ever built.

4. 1990 Corvette ZR1: A bold experiment with a Lotus-designed, 375-horsepower, 5.7-liter DOHC 32-valve V8, widened rear fenders and a massive price tag. Set the performance bar for all Corvettes to come.

3. 1967 Camaro Z/28: Chevy's answer to the Mustang was clean, beautiful and magical. The Trans Am-ready Z/28 was the best of the new breed. Power came from the great DZ302 302-cubic-inch small-block V8 rated at 290 hp.

2. 1963 Corvette Coupe: The first Corvette Sting Ray. Nearly a half-century later, it's still an astonishingly beautiful car. Plus all-independent suspension and the L84 fuel-injected 327-cubic-inch V8 made 360 hp.

1. 1955 Bel Air Sport Coupe: The perfect container for the new, world-class small-block V8 engine. This is the Chevy that brought greatness to Chevrolet.

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