If you're old enough, you can sing, "see the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet." If not, you may know, "baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet." At the very least, you can probably sing, "like a rock." The fact that you can sing any Chevy slogan shows how much it's woven into the American fabric.

Nearing 100, Chevy was born in 1911 when William Durant, the founder of General Motors who had lost control of the company, teamed with racer/designer Louis Chevrolet. Louis wanted to build fast, expensive cars. He left the company in 1913. His brother later drove a car Louis designed to an Indy 500 victory. By the 1930s, Louis was a Chevy mechanic.

Durant's vision - high-volume, affordable cars competing against Ford's Model T - prevailed. The company did well, allowing Durant to buy enough GM stock and retake its helm. In 1918, Chevy became a GM division. By 1920, however, Durant was out at GM again. He died in obscurity in 1947.

One lasting Durant legacy is Chevy's bowtie emblem. He said he saw it on wallpaper in a Paris hotel. His wife said he saw it in a newspaper ad. Another theory says it's the stylized version of the shape of Switzerland, Louis Chevrolet's birthplace, or the cross on the Swiss flag. Whichever story is right, the bowtie is almost universally recognized today.

The first Chevy was the 1913 Type C "Classic Six," but the 490 (it cost $490) helped GM battle Ford. By 1927, Chevy was tops in sales for the first time, a title it often retained over the next six decades.

The 1930s and 1940s' models were called Stylemaster and Fleetmaster and the first SUV, arguably, was the 1935 Suburban Carry-all. Chevy made military vehicles during World War II, then prospered during Detroit's automotive golden age, starting with the Bel Air (1950) and the Corvette (1953). The latter was soon powered by the small-block V-8 (1955), still made today. It's been produced continuously longer than any mass-produced engine in automotive history.

With a lineup that included Impala and Biscayne (both launched in 1958), the rear-engine, air-cooled Corvair (1959), Chevy II (1962) and Malibu (1963), one of every 10 new 1963 American cars was a Chevy. Then came Camaro (1966), a year after domestic Chevy production peaked at 2.4 million vehicles.

Chevy entered the 1970s with Monte Carlo and Vega, Motor Trend's 1971 Car of the Year, but higher gas prices, tougher environmental regulations and foreign competition forced downsizing. Chevy's response was Chevette and Monza. The 100-millionth Chevy, made in 1979, was a Monza. The 1980s brought Cavalier and the S-10 pickup. Though Chevy has been making trucks since 1918, it wasn't until 1996 that the year-old Tahoe and Chevy's other trucks outsold its cars.

Today, Chevy boasts more models with 30 or better mpg (EPA estimate) than anyone else. Aveo and Cobalt are the small cars, with Cobalt offering SS turbocharged models. Malibu (including a hybrid model) and Impala (reborn in 2000) are the larger sedans. Corvettes come in coupe, convertible, Z06 and ZR1 (just $104,820) "flavors."

Equinox, Traverse and HHR, which offers SS turbo and retro panel versions, are the crossovers. The truck-based SUV roster lists TrailBlazer, Tahoe (which offers a hybrid) and Suburban. The pickups are Avalanche, with its unique midgate, Colorado, and the full-size Silverado, which sells yet another hybrid.

Chevy's exciting news is the rebirth of Camaro, with production scheduled to start in spring and 400-plus horsepower V-8s available. The all-new 2011 Cruze compact is on tap for next year, as is the game-changing Volt, which will go 40 miles without using any gas.

Even if GM stumbles, expect Chevy to enjoy its centennial - and beyond.