Corvette History Through Ads: Mocking Mercedes and Porsche in ’57

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by Rick Tavel 

special to Corvette Forum
? 3-17-2013 All Rights Reserved Do Not Duplicate Without Permission
In our third installment Campbell-Ewald once again uses the Corvette in a competition setting.  This time in a 1957 color advertisement which pokes fun at Corvette’s biggest rivals on the racetrack, the Mercedes and Porsche.  
?UND SO HELFE MIR, HERMANN I WAS HOLDING 5900 R.P.M. AND HE CAME PAST ME LIKE A STUKA?AND PLAYING THE RADIO, TOO!?  Though not mentioned by name the copywriters made their point when they wrote, ?True, the new Corvette has given some distinguished visitors a rude shock. On the other hand think how pleasant it is to for us to have a real American sports car?one that has proved itself in the classic test of competition.? 
Following 1955′s near-death experience the Corvette was revived in 1956 and 1957 with some unexpected competition innovations which helped it earn international recognition, items like fuel injection, the venerated 283 cubic inch engine, which produced one horsepower for each cubic inch of displacement. In addition a Duntov cam option, the competition SR-2, and the Sebring SS also became part of the performance parts equation.
The Corvette rose to prominence in 1956 primarily the result of their performance at Sebring and Pebble Beach. In the 12 Hours of Sebring Ray Crawford and Max Goldman drove a production Corvette to a 1st in the GT class and 15th overall.  At Pebble Beach Dick Thompson kept his Corvette in the lead for most of the race until his brakes overheated and a factory Mercedes Gullwing went on to win. It was this traditional rivalry between the Corvette and Mercedes which inspired the advertisement.