The Let's Play Archive

Need for Speed: Most Wanted

by Olive Branch

Part 1: The History of Chevrolet; About the Chevrolet Cobalt SS

The History of Chevrolet

Chevrolet (aka Chevy) is an American brand of vehicle produced by General Motors, that all-American behemoth headquartered in Detroit, Michigan. While a massive employer for many blue-collar workers in the American Rust Belt and with a shady-as-fuck history of business deals, downfalls, and resurgences, GM's latest forays included filing for bankruptcy in 2009 and having to get their asses bailed out by the American government so thousands of people wouldn't suddenly be out of a job. While gas-guzzling fanatics and a definite enemy of the electric car and hybrids, nowadays GM seems to be embracing greenery in marketing while still producing some of the most horrific emission-heavy cars on the market.

Chevrolet itself didn't use to be part of General Motors. It was founded by Louis Chevrolet and ousted GM founder William C. Durant on November 3, 1911, but then became part of GM in 1918. Chevrolet was meant to be a direct competitor to Henry Ford's Model T, the car that could come in any color so long it was black. Durant and Chevrolet (the man) had a disagreement over design, and Chevrolet eventually sold his part of the company to Durant. Chevrolet (the company) competed with Ford and Plymouth (from the Chrysler Corporation) through the 1920s to the 1950s, but that's when Chevy brought its A-game: they produced the first Corvette, which really is the first American-made sports car the layman can name. Hell, Sergeant Cross himself drives a Corvette in-game!

The basic Chevrolet small-block V-8 design has been used since 1955, even though the design has varied slightly over time. Closer to home, the 2011 market share for Chevrolet was 36.9% in the United States, 13.3% in Brazil, and 12.5% in China. The USA, Brazil, and China are Chevrolet's biggest markets!

Perhaps as a sort of add-on, Chevrolet celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011. Their ad campaign with Pandora Radio involved playing the top 100 songs that mentioned Chevrolet in the lyrics, including Don McLean's "American Pie", Prince's "Little Red Corvette", and The Red Hot Chili Pepper's "The Greeting Song". An odd marketing and media stunt, to be sure, but you can't deny Chevrolet has had a large impact in American culture!

About the Chevrolet Cobalt SS

The Chevrolet Cobalt SS is not one car, but a line of three sport compact versions of the Chevrolet Cobalt. The SS line was GM's first foray into the tuner market, and that would explain why Need For Speed: Most Wanted felt they had to represent the Rust Belt in the most patriotic way imaginable. The Cobalt SS line had three versions of engines installed in their cars: the Supercharged, the Turbocharged, and the Naturally Aspirated.

The Supercharged, sold in 2005, hit a peak of 205 horsepower at 5600 rpm, but a common problem due to a combination of its high torque, front drive, and short first gear is wheel hop, wheelspin and a general lack of traction. What this means is that grip against the road is weakened and could actually cause spinouts or really shitty high-speed turns. Upgraded front and rear trans and motor mounts would eliminate this, but of course, only the tuners installed these custom alterations. The GM Performance Division later tried to rectify these problems in the turbocharged car by providing wider, stickier tires and stronger axles.

The Turbocharged's first engine actually didn't meet emissions regulations in 2008, but GM noted that its better, stronger engine would push 260 horsepower at 5300 rpm, which in did in the second quarter of 2008. The Turbocharged didn't have the traction problems the Supercharged did, and stage 1 kits installed to the car would push the horsepower maximum even further in 2009.

The Naturally Aspirated model, also sold in 2005, only got 171 horsepower at 5600 rpm. This makes it the weakest in term of raw power, but it actually had better suspension than the Supercharged model. All in all, though, the Turbocharged version of the car was the most powerful and with better braking systems. They say the Cobalt SS Naturally Aspirated model is pretty much identical to the Pontiac G5 GT.

I assume that the version of the car in-game is the Supercharged version, as the game was released in 2005 and the Supercharged model seems to be more "street race friendly" than the Naturally Aspirated one.

Triple A Says...

It is a nice little car that suffers from the usual GM problems. Legit quick but styling is tasteless and the general quality of it is a big question mark. It will be seen in Le Mons racing in about 5 years.