What's in a Nameplate? The Stories Behind 7 Iconic Chevy Models

A lot of effort goes into finding the perfect name for a new car and nobody knows better than Chevy how to come up with a name just as iconic as the car. Here's how seven of their most famous nameplates came to be.


Nameplate corvette

When the iconic Corvette was introduced, it didn't have a name. Seriously.

So GM did what any normal multi-million dollar corporation would do, and let their employees sort it out. Out of the hundreds of ideas that were submitted, it was chief photographer Myron E. Scott's suggestion that won.

That name was, of course, Corvette. As the first mass-produced post-war American sports car, Scott thought a tie-in to the strike ships of the same name used in WWII would appeal to the market. That, and it rolled off the tongue.


Nameplate Camaro

When it was revealed that Chevrolet was prepping a Ford Mustang competitor, the code name was “Panther.” Thankfully, that was never intended to stick. After all, this was a time when GM was naming all their sports cars starting with the letter C (Corvette, Chevelle, Chevette, etc).

So what did the Chevy marketing team do? They made a list. And from that list of 2,000, the name “Camaro” stuck out. Chevy later released a statement saying, “A Camaro is a small, vicious animal that eats Mustangs.”


Nameplate Malibu

What's interesting about the Chevy Malibu is that, from 1964 to 1977, it was an upscale trim level for the Chevelle. It wasn't until 1978 that it became its own model line.

Named after the SoCal beach town of the same name, the Malibu's story isn't as exciting or ironic as the Corvette or Camaro. However, it continues to stand the test of time like the others.


Nameplate Impala

Like the Malibu, the Chevy Impala began as a trim level for another car - this time the Bel Air in 1958. But its success as a luxurious family sedan led to its very own model the next year. As far as the name, this full-sized American icon is named after a small African antelope.


Nameplate Silverado

Today, the Chevy Silverado is a series of heavy-duty pickup trucks. But from 1975 to 1998, Silverado was a trim level for the long-running Chevrolet C/K pickup line. It wasn't until the 1999 model year that the Silverado name was used for Chevy's full-sized pickups.

But where did the "Silverado" name come from in the first place? Well, it's generally believed that it's named after the Silverado Canyon in California, or the nearby town of the same name.


Nameplate Suburban

It's been well documented how much we love Suburbans, but did you know that it's the longest running nameplate in automotive history?

When the Suburban first debuted, it was a blanket term for windowed station wagons built on commercial frames, not unlike how we use the word “Kleenex” to describe tissues today.

For the first few years, the Chevrolet and GMC versions were called the “Carryall-Suburban” until GM shortened it to just Suburban. The GMC Suburban was re-branded as the Yukon XL for the 2000 model year.

Monte Carlo

Nameplate Monte Carlo

Like the Malibu, the Monte Carlo was named after a high-profile city, this one in southeastern France. What's more interesting than the name, however, is the iconic Monte Carlo's red shield logo.

While the European-style logo is regal in design, nobody really knows what it stands for. One theory suggests that it was made in the likeness of Duke Charles III of Monaco's royal crest. Monte Carlo, by the way, is Italian for Mount Charles, which was named after the aforementioned Duke.