Mario Andretti won the Long Beach GP by HC120915134624


									                                                                         General Motors South Africa
                                                 GM South                Woodmead
                                                 Africa                  Private Bag X3
                                                                         Sunninghill 2157
For Release: 13 September 2011

100 Years of Chevrolet

Part 6 of an eight-part series of monthly newsletters celebrating the heritage,
acknowledging the achievements and looking into the future of Chevrolet

The Heartbeat of America starts pumping

The ’80s dawned with manufacturers downsizing and striving for better economy but
in the aftermath of the global energy crisis, the improved availability and stable price
of fuel created an opportunity for a return to high-output engines. But the 1980 model
year saw Chevrolet drop the Chevy II (Nova) and introduce its first front-wheel drive
car, the Citation, built on GM’s ‘X-body’ platform – and it promptly won Motor Trend
magazine‘s Car of the Year award.

The following year all engines received Computer Command Control electronics as
Corvette production began at GM’s plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Emulating the
X-body programme, the sub-compact Cavalier was launched in a variety of body
styles and with a wide range of standard equipment.

Then in 1982, the third-generation Camaro appeared and the high-performance Z28
version kept the winning run of Motor Trend Car of the Year awards going: it was
also the pace car at the Indy 500. The Cavalier and intermediate-sized Celebrity
models were introduced but it was pick-ups that dominated the new model launches
with the arrival of the compact S10. Smaller than the C10, the S10 was offered with
either a four-cylinder or a V6 engine and the range sold an impressive 177 758 units
in its first year. In South Africa, the Chevrolet name was dropped in favour of Opel on
its models sourced from Europe.

In 1983 the S10 Blazer arrived with styling cues based on the K5 Blazer but without
the removable hardtop. GM styling chief Irv Rybicki’s Chevrolet Aero 2002 was
shown boasting a drag coefficient of 0,14, the lowest of any car of its size tested by
the company. The Corvette GTP appeared at the F1 Detroit Grand Prix, and along
with the début of the Ilmor-Chevrolet 265 engine in Penske driver Al Unser’s car at
the Indy 500, signified the company’s return to racing.

The fourth-generation Corvette appeared in 1984 – and became Motor Trend Car of
the Year, continuing a remarkable run of success in the magazine’s award
programme. Adapted from the Aero 2002, the Citation IV appeared with an
amazingly low Cd of 0,265 and a claimed fuel economy of around 4,0 litres/100 km
(60 mpg US). Bob Burger became Chevrolet’s next general manager.

Camaro IROC-Z arrived in 1985 during which year Impala and Citation II were
dropped. The rear-wheel drive mid-sized Astro van line appeared in a number of
cargo and passenger vehicle applications.

Coincident with the new sales and marketing tag line “Heartbeat of America”, in 1986
Chevrolet began sales of three Japanese-sourced sub-compacts, the (NUMMI – a
joint venture between GM and Toyota) Nova, (Isuzu) Spectrum and (Suzuki) Sprint.
And just as people were forgetting the mid-engined Corvette concept, the Indy was
shown to the public, albeit as a non-runner. A regular Corvette – driven by sound-
barrier-breaking pilot Chuck Yeager – paced the Indy 500.

GM decided to divest from South Africa in 1986, and a local group, the Delta Motor
Corporation, was established and eventually bought out GMSA's operation to
concentrate on building and distributing Opel, Isuzu and Suzuki brands under

Back in the USA, the following year the Aero 2003A appeared with a drag coefficient
of just 0,166. Chevette was dropped, but looking to the future, the experimental
Express vehicle was revealed with a mid-mounted gas turbine engine designed to
operate at a constant speed of 150 mph (241 km/h) and the Blazer XT-1 previewed
what was the USA’s favourite SUV would look like in the 21st century. Mario Andretti
won the Long Beach GP, recording the Chevy Indy V8’s first victory, heralding a win
record of 64 out of 78 CART races over the next four years.

The Beretta and Corsica front-wheel drive compacts and the streamlined, sporty
Venture four-door saloon were launched in 1988, and a working version of the
Corvette Indy appeared. Eight different versions of an all-new rear-wheel drive C-
and four-wheel drive K-line of pick-ups was introduced, all with independent front
suspension and available in three trim levels: Cheyenne, Scottsdale and Silverado.
Four cab/body styles were offered with engines ranging from a 4,3-litre V6 to a 7,4-
litre V8 (3/4- and one-ton pick-ups only), including a 6,2-litre V8 diesel.

The decade ended with Chevrolet introducing the Geo nameplate to replace the
Nova, Spectrum and Sprint and a mini-SUV Geo Tracker – developed by CAMI, a
joint venture between GM of Canada and Suzuki – was launched. Designed in GM’s
Advanced Concept Centre in California, the California Camaro IROC-Z was
introduced along with XT-2, an El Camino concept that was essentially an IROC
Camaro pick-up.

Next month: The 20th century draws to a close with more trendy awards.


About General Motors – General Motors, one of the world’s largest automakers, traces its roots
back to 1908. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 202,000 people in every major
region of the world and does business in more than 120 countries. GM and its strategic partners
produce cars and trucks in 30 countries, and sell and service these vehicles through the following
brands: Baojun, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall, and
Wuling. GM’s largest national market is China, followed by the United States, Brazil, the United
Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and Italy. GM’s OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle
safety, security and information services. More information on the new General Motors can be
found at

GMSA Contacts:

Caroline Thomas
Product Communications Manager
General Motors South Africa
+27 41 403 2547 (tel)
+27 41 403 2922 (fax)

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