View Full Version : Origin of the word *Chevy* ?

Casey Marks
01-01-2003, 03:47 PM
I don't know if I have EVER heard the/a story about how the word *Chevy* was derived from *Chevrolet* ???

Seems to me like there would be a bunch of "easier" derivatives for the word ?

Note to Self: Man, I hope this isn't a super-simple one that everyone else BUT me knows .......

01-01-2003, 04:22 PM
Man, Casey, it must be early!! I can't come up with any more obvious derivatives!! /ubbthreads/images/icons/confused.gif Jim

01-01-2003, 05:58 PM
Good question Casey to which I don't know the answer so there's two of us.

"Chev" is likely the earliest derivative. I remember when Toyota and Chevrolet were teaming up they already had the name "Toylette" before they even finilized the deal! /ubbthreads/images/icons/shocked.gif

01-02-2003, 05:05 AM
Probably the same reason Duesenbergs became Duesys (Doozies). Good old American Slang.

Heres something else to ponder. The SBC is a Mouse motor; the BBC is a Rat Motor. But the Rat Motor has Porcupine Heads. What's the obsession with rodents?

01-02-2003, 05:08 AM
there mean and nasty when cornered /ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif

01-02-2003, 03:53 PM
Are some of us still under the effects of New Years Eve. /ubbthreads/images/icons/blush.gifWell I have always wondered where the Chevrolet BowTie Logo came from.I finally found out that While on a visit to France,Louis Chevrolet noticed this unusual "Bowtie" design all over some wallpaper in a French Hotels lobby.He scribbled it on a napkin,and brought it back home to the USA.He soon Trademaked it as the company symbol......And a "Chevelle" is also the name of an antique turn of the century English Furniture Cabinet.

01-02-2003, 04:48 PM
Number 61 July 1990
NOTE: These CHEVROLET REVIEW pages were originally printed in the VCCA club magazine,
the GENERATOR & DISTRIBUTOR, copyright — Vintage Chevrolet Club of America, 1990.

Chevrolet Bowtie History
The Chevrolet Bowtie has been one of the WorldĂs most recognized trademarks since 1913, when William C. Durant first introduced the symbol that represents ChevroletĂs
winning success!
We have all heard the legend how Durant copied the bowtie design from the wallpaper in a Paris Hotel. The 50 Year Anniversary issue of The Chevrolet Story, printed in 1961, and reprinted in part in the October 1986 G&D, told the story this way:
œThis was also the year (1913) that the famous Chevrolet trademark was first used on the cars. The distinctive trademark has appeared billions of times on products, advertisings and sales literature as the mark of dependability, economy and quality in motor transportation. It originated
in DurantĂs imagination when, as a world traveler in 1908, he saw the pattern marching off into infinity as a design on wallpaper in a French hotel. He tore off a piece of the wallpaper and kept it to show friends
with the thought that it would make a good nameplate for a car.”
Margery Durant in her book. My Father, wrote in 1929 her version of how her father designed the Chevrolet Bowtie:
œAs in the case of the Buick, my father drew name-plates on pieces of
paper at the dinner table. I think it was between the soup and the fried
chicken one night that he sketched out the design that is used on the
Chevrolet car to this day.”
A story in Chevrolet Pro Management Magazine, October 1986, which was copied in the May 1987 G&D, told that W.C. Durant did not copy the design from the wallpaper in a French hotel room, and that according to Mrs. Durant, the bowtie emblem was first seen by her husband in an illustrated Virginia newspaper, while they were vacationing in Hot Springs, Virginia around 1912. Mrs. Durant was quoted as recalling, œWe were in a suite reading the papers, and he saw this design and said, ŒI think this would be a very good emblem for the ChevroletĂ ” She did not explain how the newspaper used the emblem.
The 75 th Anniversary issue of The Chevrolet Story, 1986, gave both bowtie story versions with the comment that Billy Durant, himself, confirmed the Paris hotel story, which was later refuted by his wife with the Sunday newspaper in Virginia story. Chevrolet Media Productions then wrapped things up by writting: œWhatever the source,the Bowtie proved to be a recognizable winner, and is still the marque of todayĂs Chevrolet.”
The source of Mrs. DurantĂs account is Lawrence R Gustin, who interviewed Catherine Durant for his book, Billy Durant. Creator of General Motors, 1973, and recorded her story of the bowtie in this book. Ever since I read CatherineĂs logical explaination 17 years ago, I have been on the lookout for the true source of the bowtie.

This past year I have been reading that great Southern newspaper, The Constitution, from Atlanta Georgia, looking for how the Whiting, Little, Chevrolet, Monroe, and Scripps-Booth were actually marketed in this southern hub city between 1910 and 1917, when I ŒspottedĂ this Coalettes bowtie ad, I think I experienced the same excitement Durant did almost eighty years ago, when he might have ŒspottedĂ the same ad in the same paper. The date of this Constihrtion ad was November 12, 1911 -nine days after the Chevrolet Motor Company was incorporated.
Notice some of the similarities between the Coalettes and Durant designed Chevrolet Bowtie! Both started with a ŒCĂ, had nine letters, had the suffix ŒletĂ, and were hard to pronounce-in a French way. Both emblems had a dark background with white boarders and white letters. The main difference was the Coalettes letters were slanted and used a stylistic type face, while Durant used a more formal Roman type face and squared off the center bow, three letters wide.
It looks like the reason the Southern Compressed Coal Co. designed the bowtie logo in the first place was to highlight the large, middle ŒEĂ, to help the public pro-
nounce this coined word easier. Maybe, this is where Durant got the idea, œPronounced Shev-Ro-Lay. ” I looked up the suffix Œ---letĂ or Œ-letteĂ in the dictionary and was surprised to find it means little or small. Therefore, the coined word Coalettes means œLittle Coals.” I would think the Southern Compressed Coal Co. had the Coalettes
name and bowtie emblem registered as a trademark and will look through the trademark registrations at the Patent Office in the future.
This is really a great ad! I bet Durant tore it out of the newspaper to save for future reference. Note how this ad copy stressed performance, economics, neighborhood
availability and œpositively leaves no clinkers.” Coalettes seemed to have many good features-I wonder if it ever became successful?

One more closing observation-this Coalettes ad used a round circle with the slogan, œThe Little Coals with the big heat.” DurantĂs Little Motor Car Company also used a
round nameplate emblem with the name LITTLE inside with a œheated red” background- just a coincidence?

Here is the earliest Chevrolet Bowtie ad I have found in a newspaper. This œLook for this Nameplate” ad was found in the Washington Post for the October 2, 1913.
The printing is not the greatest, but I think it is interesting because the bowtie appears
to be drawn by hand, the ŒCHĂ did not print well, and the Chevrolet name was
printed in a not correct slanted type. However, this crude layout should encourage other members to research and locate better ads.

Seattle Sam
01-02-2003, 09:55 PM
Cool stuff!

Would you post the two illustrations from that story, or perhaps a link to it?


01-02-2003, 11:49 PM
That would work for me /ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif

01-03-2003, 02:04 PM