On Oct. 31, Automotive News will publish a special issue for Chevrolet's 100th anniversary. Here's a sample of the 100 stories we will tell.
Jim Perkins was known throughout his career as an old-school bulldog who favored cowboy boots. His love affair with Chevy began as a small child in Texas, sitting in his father's lap, steering the family's 1938 Chevrolet.
In 1989 Perkins returned to General Motors after a stint at Toyota and was made Chevy's general manager. He was shown the division's upcoming vehicles, including the redesigned 1991 Chevy Caprice, an ungainly new take on the classic sedan. Customer clinics had declared the restyled car looked like a parade float.
"I was stunned," Perkins, now 76, recalls of the sneak peek. "I thought, "Perkins, what in the hell have you done?'"
Although too late to make changes to the new Caprice, Perkins' team picked a fight anyway.
"The corporation was high as a kite on that car," he says. "Other people knew it wasn't right."
Perkins asked for a variant of the car, based on the package that would be sold as a police car. A design team replaced the wheels and tires and changed the interior and the wheel well panels. That version, dubbed the Caprice Classic LTZ, would end up winning the Motor Trend Car of the Year award.
For information about A Century of Chevrolet: The Stories That Shaped an Icon, go to autonews.com/ chevy100