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The Chevy Silverado is one of the most popular pickup trucks in North America, and in fact, it’s currently the second best-selling car overall. Despite its popularity, not that many drivers know what the word Silverado means. Here’s a look at the history of the Chevy Silverado and what exactly its name means.

Rear View 2023 Chevy Silverado 1500 ZR2 Bison
Rear View 2023 Chevy Silverado 1500 ZR2 Bison | Chevrolet

A brief history of the Chevy Silverado

Although Chevy has been making trucks for over 100 years, the story of the Silverado is a more recent one. According to Coverking, the first generation of the Silverado debuted in 1998. The Silverado replaced the C/K series of full-size trucks that were in Chevy’s lineup. The idea behind the Silverado was that the trucks were more muscular and had better specs than its peers.

Chevy gave the truck a 4.3-liter V6 and several V8 options, including a 6.6-liter V8 diesel. These engines were powerful for the time, and the more powerful V8s could get over 300 hp. This was a winning strategy for the Detroit-based automaker, as the company sold about 650,000 units annually. The first generation ended in 2007, and Chevy continued upgrading the truck as the years went on.

The Silverado is currently on its fourth generation, and many of its latest updates are tech related. That said, Chevy has also continued to upgrade the truck’s engines, and the automaker has also introduced a variety of new customization options. What can’t be customized, however, is its name, as the Silverado name has become iconic.

This is what Silverado means in the Chevy truck’s name

A lot of automakers want the name of their cars to invoke certain ideas or themes, and General Motors did exactly that with its full-size trucks. The GMC Sierra, which is mechanically similar to the Silverado, was likely named after the Sierra Nevada mountains, which are a mountain range in California and Nevada. 

Similarly, the Silverado was named after a mountain town in California. The town is also called Silverado, and it’s closely related to the nearby Silverado Canyon. Both the town and the canyon got their name from early settlers who came to California in search of riches.

The word “Silverado” is actually Spanglish. It’s a combination of the word “silver” and the Spanish term, “El Dorado”, which is a mythical city that’s made of gold.

A bright future ahead of it

The Silverado pickup truck isn’t made out of silver, but it is made out of high-quality materials, and that’s likely a reason why it’s still a popular truck. Chevy has continued to position the Silverado in the full-size segment. This means that it’s sitting between the Colorado, which is in the midsize pickup truck segment, and the Silverado HD, which is in the heavy-duty segment.

The Detroit-based automaker is not content with the status quo, however, and it already has the future of the Silverado planned out. Later in 2023, Chevy will introduce the Silverado EV, which is the fully-electric version of the full-size pickup truck. It will debut in the 2024 model year, but other details about its release is currently unknown.

Just like the regular Silverado, the Silverado EV is very powerful and capable. Its range estimates aren’t official yet, but it should be able to get 400 miles on a single charge.

It will also be able to tow upwards of 10,000 pounds, though the automaker is aiming to double that number eventually. The standard trim should cost about $40,000, and the top trims will cost over $100,000.


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