Corvette History through Ads: The Last C4

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This C4 advertisement is one of the last, but the focus of this article is to examine both the C4’s contributions and the building of the very last C4 at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant on June 20, 1996. Though technically the videos are not advertisements, Harlan Charles, the Corvette’s Product Manager, summarizes all the accomplishments of the Corvette in its fourth iteration as standard bearer for America’s sports car.

The other two videos detail the construction of the final C4 built and what the owner, Mike Yager of Mid America Motorworks, did with the car.

The “final C4” videos appear to be out-dated compared to videos being produced today but they are just examples of how far technology has come in a decade and a half. Though the C4 was introduced as “the most technically advanced car in the world,” those technological enhancements seem ancient compared to the technology in the C7. The videos illustrate an interesting contrast to the hype and promotional activity surrounding the building of the last C6 which took place earlier this year and was not sold but rather shipped off to become a part of GM’s Heritage Center Collection in Detroit.

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Just as these videos call out many of the C4’s attributes, the end of the C4 also coincided with the end of most of Corvettes print advertisements except during new generation or new model introductions. Though the move away from print advertising campaigns for the Corvette had been coming for years, the marketing focus clearly changed in the early 1990’s reallocating the small marketing budget for the car to more event driven and targeted promotional efforts. GM began to produce promotional videos targeted at specific new model features. Never again would potential buyers and enthusiasts be able to enjoy the extensive, coordinated and entertaining print advertisements in vogue during the second and third generations. So as the advertisement at the beginning of the article calls out, “Some things in life are memorable. Others are unforgettable.”

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