What’s in a Name: That Time When ‘Chevrolet’ Became ‘Chevy’

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Enthusiasts have been referring to Chevrolet as ‘Chevy’ for decades, and now, Classic Cars finds the very first time the nickname was used.

Few automakers have as memorable of a nickname as Chevrolet does with “Chevy.” Drivers have been calling the American automaker Chevy for numerous years now, but we stumbled upon a cool article from Classic Cars that found the exact time that the automaker referred to itself by the iconic nickname.

Everyone knows Don McLean’s song, “American Pie” (Or, you may recall this more-recent version) that has a few unforgettable lines: “Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry, and good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye, singing this’ll be the day that I die.”

Chevrolet Truck

That song came out in 1971 and while that was a long time ago, it’s nearly 60 years after the release of Chevrolet’s first vehicle. The majority of drivers would accept McLean’s song as the first time anyone called one of the Bow Tie’s vehicles a “Chevy,” but Classic Cars went a step further and reached out to multiple individuals to find out when Chevrolet itself adopted the term “Chevy.”

Classic Cars talked to Christo Datini, a historian at the GM Heritage Center, who helped to track down a piece of important literature from 1955. The piece of advertising was for the launch of The Chevy Show, which aired on NBC television towards the end of 1956. That show, as the outlet found, is the first time Chevrolet used the word Chevy.

Chevrolet Truck

But the search doesn’t end there. Classic Cars refers to a jingle written by Leo Corday and Leon Carr that goes: “Travelin’ east, travelin’ west, wherever you go, Chevy service is best.” Reportedly, the advertising slogan came out in 1949 and was sung by the co-hosts of the Inside U.S.A with Chevrolet television show that aired on CBS. That, as the outlet claims, is the first time that anyone shortened Chevrolet to “Chevy.”

Since the catchy jingle came out, multiple lyricists have used the word Chevy in their songs. “Chevy Van” by Sammy Johns has the line, “We made love in my Chevy van” in it. Taylor Swift’s “Tim McGraw” has a line that goes: “Just a boy in a Chevy truck.” Rappers have started to incorporate Chevy into their music, too, as Snoop Dogg’s “Riding in My Chevy” has a line that goes: “When I’m ridin’ in my Chevy and I’m sittin’ at the light, at the light.”

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The first time a Chevrolet was called “Chevy” can be traced back to 1949, but since then, the nickname has become the go-to term for the American automaker. Whether you call it Chevrolet or Chevy, the automaker’s vehicles have won over the hearts of millions and became terms used to describe automobiles with tons of history.

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