The First-Ever Television Advertisement For the 1953 Chevrolet Corvette
“They call her Corvette, and she belongs to the highway, just for the sheer and simple joy of driving…for Mr. and Mrs. America, in a care free mood. Boy, what a car.“
The initial airing of this three-minute commercial helped trigger the start of America’s love affair with the Chevrolet Corvette. The commercial, which targeted upper-middle class men, speaks to a different time in American culture, but it also successfully captivates its audience as the all-new, 1953 Corvette is slowly unveiled throughout the three minute Corvette advertisement.
Chevrolet, recognizing that American soldiers were purchasing European, two-seat sports coupes after returning home from the war, understood the importance of introducing and manufacturing an American sports car that could rival manufacturers like Mercedes and Jaguar. While Harley Earl’s original 1953 model looks nothing like the Corvettes we know and love today, this first model year still elicited strong emotions from automotive enthusiasts the world over. In fact, Zora Arkus-Duntov, who is considered to be the “Father of the Corvette” by most, first learned of the 1953 Corvette while working for the Porsche Company in Europe. He would later join General Motors and help forge the Corvette into a true driving machine.
While Corvette owners are far more sophisticated today than the audience for which this commercial was originally intended, its still fun to look back and imagine what life was like before the Corvette. It is amusing to think that the Corvette started its life as a 180 horsepower roadster (powered by an in-line six-cylinder engine!), a car which was designed in direct response to the emerging European sports car market. Most important of all, however, is to recognize that the introduction of this 1953 model would go on to change the automotive landscape forever. It would forge the way, allowing Corvette to evolve into one of the most successful automotive franchises – not only in the United States, but in the entire world!