True gearheads know that Chevrolet boasts some of the best models ever produced in the U.S., giving drivers over a century of high-performance excitement on American highways. The automaker has built quite the portfolio over the past century, but some models rise above the rest. These are our picks for the best new and classic Chevrolet vehicles.
1950s Chevrolet Bel Air
You can’t envision the 1950s without picturing a smiling family driving a vivid blue or pink Chevrolet Bel Air. The 1957 Bel Air in particular has cemented itself as the most iconic mid-century American car of the era. However, multiple production years during that decade were just as great — including 1952 (Generation I) and 1955 (Generation II).
The Bel Air defined the automotive style of the time: abundant chrome, pastel paint colors, elongated rear fenders, and luxuries like air conditioning. It wasn’t just good looks, though; Motor Trend and Popular Mechanics praised the Bel Air for its handling and power.
How did the Bel Air become so popular, and why has it remained so beloved? The car embodied the feel-good optimism of the decade and was influential in many people’s youth.
2023 Corvette Z06
The iconic ‘Vette is still alive and kicking, being one of the longest continuously running nameplates still in production. It’s hard to choose a top year of this eight-generation since each one appeals to different fans, but our favorite has to be the current one. Why? The eighth generation has yielded the top-performing Corvettes in history — and that’s evident in the all-new 2023 Corvette Z06.
The Corvette Z06 shows what the sports car is truly capable of, and Chevrolet pulled out all the stops for 2023. This track-ready supercar harbored the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 in production at the time, producing a whopping 670 horsepower and launching to 60 mph in 2.6 seconds. You could spend all day counting the number of performance upgrades on this machine.
1985 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z
You can’t neglect to include the bowtie brand’s other famous performance vehicle on this list. While most gearheads prefer the Camaro SS, we have a soft spot for the underappreciated Camaro IROC-Z. This version named after the International Race of Champions established the Camaro as a legitimate muscle car, housing a respectable 5.0-liter V8. And, more importantly, its sleek yet boxy style is truly mid-80s design to a T.
The Camaro IROC-Z admittedly wasn’t the top-performing or most popular model on the market at the time, but that makes it more affordable for today’s car collectors and Chevy fans to buy second-hand. Its surprisingly affordable resale cost makes it an easy piece to acquire.
Chevrolet 454 SS
Pickup trucks weren’t always the massive, muscular machines that they are today. There was a time that trucks were the least interesting models on the market. Then the C1500 454 SS muscle truck came along and changed the conversation, with its big-block, naturally aspirated 454 V8 engine.
Technically, this was an edition of the C/K with a “Super Sport” package, making it an expensive and fashionable collector’s truck. It wasn’t a hot-selling Chevy truck for that reason, but it made a statement for what the brand set out to prove in the following years: that muscle trucks were here to stay. The 454 SS was produced from 1990-1993 and is still around on the pre-owned market as a unique bit of history.