Chevrolet at 100: iconic cars, Dinah Shore and American Pie

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From its iconic models — Corvette to Impala, Bel Air to Camaro — and its inclusion in pop songs sung by Dinah Shore, Don McLean and Bob Seger, Chevrolet has been in public consciousness for exactly a century.

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Which means, of course, the automaker, co-founded by Louis Chevrolet and William C. Durant on Nov. 3, 2011, is celebrating its 100th birthday today (Nov. 3, 2011).

Nearly everyone or someone in nearly everyone's family in the United States has a story to tell about a Chevrolet — a first date to family vacations.

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Beyond memories of driving experiences, the brand and its importance in popular culture has been absorbed into society with at least three massively popular songs.

In 1956 The “Dinah Shore Chevy Show” debuted as a one-hour TV show. Shore sang “See the USA in your Chevrolet” at the close of each show and the tune was subsequently used in the carmaker's advertising.

In the 1971 interpretive single and album of the same name, "American Pie," Don McLean's lyrics include:

“Drove my chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry.” 

And the 1976 single and album of the same name, "Night Moves," by Detroit rocker Bob Seger, featured the lyrics:

"Out in the back seat of my '60 Chevy."

Here are 10 additional key dates in Chevrolet history:

* 1912 — The “Classic Six, a six-cylinder model, goes on sale in Detroit at a price of $2,150.

* 1918 — Chevrolet brand becomes part of General Motors Corp.

* 1950 — Chevrolet first offers Powerglide, the name for its automatic transmission.

* 1953 — The Corvette debuts.

* 1954 — A gold 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air is the 50th million Chevrolet sold.

* 1958 — The Chevrolet Impala debuts.

* 1967 — The Chevrolet Camaro debuts.

* 1979 — Chevrolet builds its 100 millionth car, a Monza.

* 2007 — The Chevrolet Volt electric debuts as a concept car and goes on sale in 2010.

* 2009 — General Motors, financially crushed, discontinues Saturn, Pontiac, Hummer and Saab — but keeps Chevrolet.


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