Corvette History Through Ads: True Sports Car

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by Rick Tavel
Special to Corvette Forum

? 7-17-2013 All rights reserved, do not duplicate without permission.

 

Corvette had frequently bragged that it was America’s only sports car and liked to advertise that fact. And up until 1968 that fact was undisputable. But the marketing department found need to resurrect and reinforce that claim shortly after the C3 was introduced.The reason was simple: in 1968 American Motors violated the sacred exclusivity of Corvette’s sports car claim by introducing the AMX, a steel bodied, two-seat short wheelbase coupe that technically classified it as America’s second sports car. The little car was essentially a shortened Javelin platform with a 390 cubic inch engine. Though the car was no real threat to the Corvette, in 1969 a series of ads ran to reinforce the Corvette’s superiority and to reclaim its territory.

With an almost arrogant and condescending theme, Campbell-Ewald wanted to remind consumers that the Corvette was the only legitimate American sports car. In the double truck advertisement above it reminds enthusiasts that there are no substitutes for the Corvette and imposters posed little or no threat to the potent Corvette.The copy blatantly states that the Corvette is the only genuine American sports car blatantly failing to even
acknowledge AMC as being worthy of consideration.

Expectedly, the AMC AMX was doomed to failure, mainly because the auto enthusiast considered the terms ?performance? combined with ?AMC?
to be an oxymoron, even though an AMC AMX had attempted to set a land speed
record. The AMX hoped to change enthusiasts? impressions and capitalize on the performance, muscle car trend with the big engine, light, short wheel base car and though it was initially met with reserved enthusiasm from the press, sales never took off. After three short years the two-seat AMX was discontinued in 1970 though AMC continued to use the AMX moniker on to other AMC models like the Javelin.

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The other Corvette advertisement gets the same point across as the double truck ad
but in a much simpler, almost elegant and, yes, even egotistical style. The headline says all that needs to be said, ?With this one beautiful exception, there is no such thing as true American sports car.?