Rear Vues: In this article, we will take a look at some of the vintage 1960 Corvette magazine ads as well as some history, trivia and fun facts from 1960.
[su_highlight]These ads appeared in 2010 issues of Vette Vues Magazine.[/su_highlight] Let us look in our Rear Vues and see what was going on.
Politics in 1960
Dwight D. Eisenhower was the current president, and Richard M. Nixon was the Vice President in 1960. Although I was a young child, I remember the presidential election was a particularly hot topic.
Television took a significant role in the national election for the first time. On September 26, 1960, 70 million U.S. viewers watched the Great Debates, this was number one of four televised presidential debates that election.
Richard M. Nixon received the Republican presidential nomination, and John Fitzgerald Kennedy won the Democratic nomination with Lyndon B. Johnson as the vice-presidential candidate. Some of the major topics included how to get the economy moving, Cuba, and the fact that Kennedy was a Roman Catholic. Perhaps one of the biggest questions was whether or not the Soviet space and missile programs exceeded those of the U.S.
As you know, John Fitzgerald Kennedy won the election. This was one of the smallest margins in history (113,000 votes) out of 68.3 million. He was the second-youngest President, the first and only Catholic, and the first Irish-American president.
The current events people were talking about were the cold war, Vietnam, and nuclear bomb tests.
Looking back to the 1950’s and early 60’s, the Cold War was a treat. I remember there were bomb shelters in the basement of buildings and schools. My grandparents had a refuge shelter in their basement that doubled as a canning goods storage. Many of my friends had shelters in their back yards. When I would go down into them, all I could think of was spiders! The fear was evident, even in school we did regular drills. When the bell would ring, everyone had to move under their desk or into the hallway, crouch down facing the wall and tucking your heads down.
The Soviet Union shot down a U-2 reconnaissance plane belonging to the United States in the first week of May 1960. It was on a surveillance mission for the CIA and was trying to capture aerial pictures of military installations. The CIA wanted to see how the Soviet missile programs were progressing.
To add to everyone’s fears, the French tested their first atomic bomb and joined those countries with nuclear bomb technology. This initial French atmospheric nuclear test, called “Gerboise Bleue” (“blue jerboa”) took place on February 13, 1960, followed by three other atmospheric tests from April 1, 1960, to April 25, 1961.
The US involvement in the Vietnam War (1959–1975), continued to escalate in 1960, in the fight against communist in North Vietnam. The United States declared that they were transferring 3,500 American soldiers to Vietnam.
Firsts in 1960
Many good things happened that year in the United States. We launched our first weather satellite, TIROS-1. Other Notable technical achievements included the invention of the Laser and a Heart Pacemaker (this was good news as life expectancy was only 69.7 years). For you pizza lovers, Thomas S. Monaghan bought a pizza parlor in Detroit and renamed it Domino’s. For the homemaker, she could buy her first Teflon non-sticking cookware at Macy’s in New York. For the kids, The Ohio Art Company launched the Etch a Sketch just in time for the 1960 holiday season. Other introductions in 1960 included the aluminum can and the felt-tip pen.
A new sport, called skateboarding, was coming on strong. In early 1960, companies began to mass-produce the first real surfing-inspired skateboards. There were over fifty million skateboards sold within a three-year period. But, in 1965 safety experts declared skateboarding unsafe. Stores were pressed not to sell them. Parents were asked not to buy them. It wasn’t long, and the skateboarding craze died as swiftly as it had started.
Disaster in 1960
Hurricane Donna affected many lives in Florida and on up through the New England area. This very destructive hurricane caused extensive damage from the Lesser Antilles to New England with least 364 people killed. Losses totaled $900 million.
60s Sexual and Social Revolution
The 60’s was the beginning of the sexual revolution. The first oral contraceptives now approved for use in the United States and made available to the public. Hugh Hefner started the first Playboy Club in Chicago on February 29, 1960. The new club featured Playboy Bunnies who served drinks to keyholders.
The 60’s was a time of political and social unrest. These conflicts showed up in the fashion. If you were a hippie you wore relaxed, comfortable and natural clothing, men and women often had long hair. The norm for most college kids was blue jeans and a tee shirt with the men’s hairstyle being a crew cut and women had the bouffant hairstyles. If you were in grade school, like me, your parents were your fashion guide, so you still dressed conservatively. Women watched and fashioned their styles after Jackie Kennedy.
In January of 1960, The US stock market began a 10-month decline of 16%. Unemployment was only at 5.5% and inflation averaged 1.49 in 1960. Federal spending was at $92.19 billion, and the Federal debt was at $290.5 billion.
For the young family that purchased their first home, it would have coasted on average $12,700. The average income was $5,315 per year with the federal hourly minimum wage of $1. To mail your bills, it would have cost you only four cents; eggs were $.57, and a gallon of milk cost $.49.
If you ordered a new Corvette, the 1960 base price was $3,875.00. The average cost of a new car that year was $2,600. Some new models on the road that year were Falcons by Ford, the Corvair by Chevrolet and the new car called the Comet by Mercury. It would cost you 25 cents a gallon to fill your tank.
Entertainment in the 60s
Television sets worldwide in 1960, totaled over on hundred million. Corvette enthusiasts were no doubt watching the new TV show Route 66 that ran from 1960 until 1964. You will still hear them talking about this series today. The story is about two young men driving a 1960 Corvette convertible; Tod Stiles acted by Martin Milner, and Buz Murdock was played by George Maharis. These young fellows travel across America in search of adventure. Some of the guests included James Brown, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Buster Keaton, Lee Marvin, Walter Matthau, Suzanne Pleshette, Robert Redford and Martin Sheen.
Another TV series that debuted was My Three Sons. This series ran from 1960 until 1972. This sitcom was about a widower Steve Douglas, played by Fred MacMurray and his three sons. On October 3 – The Andy Griffith Show premiered on CBS and ran from 1960-1968. The Flintstones also was new in 1960.
Some of the TV shows ending that year were Gillette Cavalcade of Sports (1946–1960), The Steve Allen Show (1956–1960), and I Love Lucy 1951-1960.
Leading the top grossing films in 1960 was Swiss Family Robinson followed by Psycho, Spartacus, and Exodus. The Academy Awards Best Picture went to romantic comedy, The Apartment.
On March 3, Elvis Presley returns home from Germany, after being away on duty for two years. By April his song, “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” was recorded for the first time. Elvis had the top two biggest hit singles that year for “It’s Now or Never and Are you Lonesome Tonight?”
In the number three spot for top singles was Chubby Checker with “The Twist.” Chubby Checker introduced The Twist at the Peppermint Lounge in New York, and it started a new dance craze.
That year the Grammy Awards went as follows: Record of the Year: Theme From A Summer Place – Percy Faith. The Album of the Year: Button Down Mind – Bob Newhart and the Song of the Year: – “Theme From Exodus” – Ernest Gold, songwriter.
Other Popular Musicians included Shirelles, Ray Charles, Roy Orbison, Hank Ballard & the Midnighters, Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs, Sam Cooke, Drifters, Miracles and the Everly Brothers.
For the sports enthusiasts, notable names that appear in the limelight that year include Cassius Clay and Sir Francis Chichester. You might remember Cassius Clay as Muhammad Ali (he changed his name), well in Louisville, Kentucky, he won his first professional fight. He previously won the Gold Medal in Rome in the Olympic Games. That year Pittsburgh defeated the New York Yankees’ 4 to 3, Boston defeated the St. Louis Hawks to win the NBA Championship (4-3) and the Philadelphia Eagles won the NFL championship.
The 1960 Corvette
On September 2, 1959, production of 1960 model Corvettes began. This Corvette was designated model 0800. On August 31, 1960, production of 1960 model Corvettes ended.
The “Go Box” is a neat ad and a hard to find. There is a ’59 and a ’60 version because the injection unit changed in ’60. One ad has a smooth top injection, and the other has the top ribbed. This one was not put out in any newsstand magazines. This is the 60 version; there is a ’59 version with the earlier fuel injection unit.
This ad was dated 9-9-59 but there is one from an earlier date, so this one could be ’59 or ’60.
Now let us look at some other ads that ran with the 1960 Corvettes in them.
Read about the One and Only 1960 CERV 1
You might also enjoy reading more Corvette History as well as seeing other Corvette Magazine ads:
Did you ever see photos of the 1956 Corvette SR-2 The McLean SR Corvette?