The 100th anniversary of the 1918 One-Ton has made Chevy nostalgic
It was exactly one hundred years ago that Chevrolet introduced its first pickup truck, the 1918 One-Ton.
That model set the stage for one hundred years of trucks from the bowtie brand, and Chevy thought the One-Ton's birthday would be a great opportunity to select ten of its most iconic pickup designs of the last century.
As you will see in the photo gallery, Chevrolet truck design has changed radically since 1917. However, the chief purpose of the brand's pickup trucks has remained the same, with form following function every time a new model was brought to market.
As Rich Scheer, director of Exterior Design for Chevy Trucks puts it, "Chevrolet designers have been focused on the same goals since the very beginning."
So, without further ado, here are Chevrolet's ten most iconic pickup truck designs, listed in chronological order.
# 1918 Chevrolet One-Ton
The brand's first production truck drew inspiration from vehicles used in plants to move parts and pieces from place to place. The One-Ton was essentially a rolling chassis featuring an open cab, an open frame that allowed customers to install their preferred body, and an inline four-cylinder engine.
Remarkably, the bowtie badge has carried on almost unchanged for 100 years.
#2 1929 Chevrolet International Series LD
It was Chevy's first truck with a closed cab, paving the way for modern pickups. As buyers started wanting more comfort- and style-focused features, the automaker made the International Series LD more stylish than the One-Ton, going from a purpose-built design to a more attractive, closed-cab truck.
The 1929 International Series LD also market the first time Chevrolet started to introduce colors to its pickups.
#3 1938 Chevrolet Half-Ton
The Half-Ton was important because it was the first truck designed in the newly formed Art and Colour department (later known as Design Center) by Harley Earl and his team.
The Design Center saw the need for trucks to have their own identity, and the 1938 Half-Ton reflects that. Its proportions evolved from earlier designs, resulting in a lower and longer truck with a styled grille and swept fenders.
#4 1947 Chevrolet 3100 Series
Rich Scheer believes the 3100 Series is one of the most iconic designs in automotive history, as it's the truck most people think about when they're asked to think of a vintage Chevy truck. A significant departure from previous models, the 3100 Series was bigger, stronger, and better-looking.
The vertical grilles of the past were replaced by a five-bar horizontal grille on the 3100, and in time that became a signature of Chevrolet truck design. Other significant design elements were the more integrated fenders and the fitting of the headlamps on the wide part of the truck for a broader, stronger look.
#5 1955 Chevrolet 3124 Series Cameo Carrier
Here's Chevy's first Fleetside design, where the clean bed surface was harmoniously integrated with the cab and fender, helping achieve an elegant shape from front to back.
Known as the Task Force truck, the 3124 Series Cameo Carrier was also Chevrolet's first bumper-to-bumper styled truck. Styling didn't stop at the back of the cab anymore — notice the ornamentation.
#6 1967 Chevrolet C10 Fleetside
One of the best-looking Chevy trucks ever, the C10 Fleetside had a clean look and cool proportions, with a hint of wheel flare. It also debuted a design element that survives to this day on Chevrolet pickups: the bar on the front fascia that connects the headlamp center with the bowtie.
The C10 Fleetside arrived at the time when the metallic paint was introduced, allowing the bodywork's lines and creases to be more easily noticeable than before.
#7 1973 C30 One-Ton Dually
This model is relevant because it was the first crew cab dually to market, with many considering it the first modern Heavy Duty Truck. The design of the third-generation C/K square-body truck reflects the significant increase in capability: it was simple, tough, and purposeful.
Customers could use it for both work and recreation, starting a trend that is very popular now.
#8 1988 Chevrolet C/K1500
You're looking at the first truck design influenced by aerodynamics. As a result, the C/K1500 looked very advanced for its time, and Scheer believes it still looks modern and sophisticated 30 years after its launch.
New ideas were implemented inside too, with the cabin adopting a new interior design with a low instrument panel, pod-like setup, and futuristic buttons.
#9 1999 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT Z71
This model was the first generation that used the Silverado nameplate — the backbone of Chevrolet's current pickup truck lineup.
The original Silverado also introduced many of the modern design elements that customers associate with Chevy truck design, especially the front end.
#10 2007 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
The last model in the list is the 2007 Silverado, a simple, modern and robust design. With a clean body side and exaggerated wheel arches, this model marked another evolution for Chevrolet trucks, adopting distinctive front and rear ends that made it easily recognizable as a Chevy.
Scheer believes the 2007 Silverado also brought back the "tough truck" look and feel, despite being heavily influenced by aerodynamics.
In the market for a pickup truck? Check out our best picks for 2017.