The enthusiasm for Chevrolet is a case study in brand loyalty, best exemplified by the thousands -- yes, thousands, according to General Motors -- of Chevy car clubs across the world.
The Chevy Astro van has a fan club in Japan, where the vehicle enjoys an almost cult status. There's also a Chevrolet Club Philippines and one in Saudi Arabia.
Closer to home, there's the Vin-tage Chevrolet Club of America, the Chevy Club of North America, the National Impala Association and the American Camaro Association. And that doesn't even begin to include the local clubs.
So what is it about this marque?
"There's just something about falling in love, almost, and then sharing the camaraderie with people who love the same thing," says Tom Merring, the president of the Jersey Late Greats, a New Jersey club dedicated to Chevys from 1958 to 1972. "Car club folks are a different breed. They all have their own nuances about them. They all have their own demeanor. But they all love that car."
Nobody knows for sure how many Chevy car clubs exist. "We're still finding them," says Scott Settlemire, manager of specialty vehicles and specialty events for GM.
"With the fifth-generation Camaro coming back into the market there's even more [clubs] coming on the Web. There's more than 200 Camaro clubs alone, and there are literally thousands of clubs across the world," Settlemire says.
"Just prior to bankruptcy, we actually were working to support a lot of these clubs. We're going to start down that road again because we feel it's important to do that. There are some amazing clubs out there, and these clubs raise a lot of money for charity and do great things in the community."
Settlemire hits on the one word that binds the clubs: legacy.
"It's amazing the number of enthusiasts we have who have passed the brand along to their family, friends and neighbors," he says. "Some people consider these cars an extended member of the family. Like a legacy."
That's exactly how Merring fell in love with Chevys.
"Dad had a Chevy," he says. "I was a kid. I was 4. It was 1960. Dad had a '51 Ford, and he traded it in for a '60 Chevy Bel Air. Shiny, black, with those wings on it ... when I think about it now it reminds me of the Batmobile. Ten years later, in 1970, he went and bought another Chevy, and that Bel Air had just 75,000 miles on it and he sold it for 75 bucks. I was like 'Dad, you're kidding me? I'll give you $75 for it!' But I was still three years away from driving and he didn't want it sitting around for that long."