You Won’t Believe These Classic 1966 Corvette Ads and Trivia!

1966 Corvette Ads and Trivia

Before we start looking at the 1966 Corvette ads let’s take a look at what was happening around the world as we look at some 1966 Trivia.

In 1966, Lyndon B. Johnson was the 36th United States President. Hubert H. Humphrey was Vice President. President Johnson was responsible for designing the “Great Society” legislation. This comprised of laws that upheld civil rights, Medicare, Medicaid, environmental protection, aid to education, and his attempt to help the poor in his “War on Poverty.” At the same time, he intensified American involvement in the Vietnam War.

Approximately 500,000 troops from the US were in Vietnam. They initiated the Draft Deferment Test. This was a way for students to convince the draft board that they would serve the nation better in the quiet of the classrooms than in the jungles of Vietnam.  

The Black Panther Party (originally the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense) was founded in Oakland, California on October 15. It is a black nationalist and socialist organization that was active in the United States from 1966 until 1982. It has been accused of assassinating policemen and members of rival political organizations, among other things. Wikipedia

Race riots in Atlanta and Black Power became a significant factor in American politics.

Ronald Reagan, campaigning for Governor of California, emphasized two main themes: “to send the welfare bums back to work,” and regarding rapidly growing anti-war and anti-establishment student protests at the University of California at Berkeley, “to clean up the mess at Berkeley.”

On the other side of the map, a 12-day subway strike in New York brought the city to a stop.

In 1965 a long-term bear market had begun that lasted until 1982. The federal spending that year was $134.53 billion and the federal debt was $328.5 billion (to see your current debt you can go to https://www.usdebtclock.org/ On Jan. 18, 1966, the stock market reached 1,000 for the first time in mid-session but drops back to close at 994.20.

Unemployment was at 4.5%. In nineteen-sixty-six, inflation grew as part of the effect to fund the war in Vietnam continued with inflation running at 3.01% (1965 was at 1.59%; 2008 average was at 3.85%). The consumer price index average was 32.4 (the 2008 average was 215.303).

The baby boomers were coming of age. The costs that they faced that year were as follows: average income per year of $6,900.00, first-class stamp $0.05, a gallon of regular gas $0.32, 1 dozen of eggs $0.60, a gallon of milk $0.99, the average cost of a new car $2,650.00, the base price on a new Corvette $4,295.00 and $4,084.00 (coupe and convertible).

From 1966 on, every state has fully repealed its own statewide prohibition laws; Mississippi was the last state to repeal its own. Another change that year was that ingredients were required to be listed on food packages. Income Tax began on September 1, 1966, in New York City. After a recent update, Roman Catholics in the United States no longer have to go without meat on Fridays. All cigarette packets in the United States were required to carry the health warning “Caution! Cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your health.”

Fashion was changing too. Fashion went from dull and pastel tones to vivid, bright colors. Patterned pants and flowered shirts and boots were in style for both men and women. Shiny plastic and vinyl were used in shoes and caps. The fashions came from the well-known street in London, Carnaby Street which is known for its swinging scene. The face Twiggy dominated fashion photography. She was only 16 and weighed 91 lbs. She graced the cover of all major fashion and teen magazines.

The now-popular and controversial game Twister became a success when Eva Gabor played it with Johnny Carson on TV’s Tonight Show on May 3, 1966. Milton Bradley’s competitors argued that their game sells sex in a box.

Some of the biggest hits singles that year were Frank Sinatra-“Strangers in the Night”, Nancy Sinatra-“These Boots Are made for Walking”, The Beatles-“Yellow Submarine”, The Beach Boys-“Good Vibrations” and the Beatles-“Paperback Writer”. 

Some albums that were released that year were: The Beach Boys-Pet Sounds, The Beatles-Revolver, The Rolling Stones-Aftermath, The Sonics-Boom, Nancy Sinatra-How Does That Grab You?, Mamas and Papas-If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears.

Many of the pop culture songs you were listening to would have been: “When A Man Loves A Woman” – Percy Sledge, “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” – Four Tops, “Gimme Some Lovin'” – Spencer Davis Group, “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” – Temptations, “Eight Miles High” – Byrds, “For What It’s Worth” – Buffalo Springfield, “Paint It Black” – Rolling Stones, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” – Supremes, “Wild Thing” – Troggs.

American musician Bob Dylan toured the world from February to May 1966.

“Batman” the TV series debuted in 1966. In addition, the first episode of the popular TV shows “‘Star Trek”, “Mission Impossible”, “The Hollywood Squares”, “The Newlywed Game” and “Dark Shadows”. The animated television special “Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” was shown for the first time that year. The last episode of “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” aired. CBS canceled its plans to broadcast “Psycho”, determining the movie to be too violent for a general audience.

Some of the popular female movie stars included Jane Fonda, Doris Day, Sophia Loren, Julie Newmar Raquel Welch, and Audrey Hepburn.

Some of the popular movies in 1966 that you were watching were “Thunderball”, “Dr. Zhivago”, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”, “A Man for All Seasons”, “The Wild Angels”, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, “Paradise, Hawaiian Style”. Best Picture Academy Award was Fred Zinnemann – “A Man for All Seasons”. Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation releases the film “Batman” in theaters in the USA in which a Nassau Blue 1965-66 Corvette convertible appeared very briefly. “The Sound of Music” came out in 1965 and continued its popularity.

So what was going on in Corvette?

The 1966 Corvette production ended in July. In August, the A.O. Smith Company began making bodies for 1967 Corvettes. In September, the production of 1967 model Corvettes began.  

They delayed the next-generation Corvette from 1967 to the 1968 model year so the Engineering and Design departments could complete the Camaro.

Corvette took first in GT +3000 class and 12th overall was the Roger Penske / Sunoco #6 1966 Corvette 427 ci, driven by Dick Guldstrand, Ben Moore, and George Wintersteen in February in Daytona Beach, Florida, in the Daytona Continental 24-hour race. Finishing 3rd in GT +3000 class and 20th overall was the Cannon Auto #67 1966 Corvette 427 ci L72, driven by George Cornelius, Dick Boo, and Robert Ryan Brown. They won the International Police Chief’s trophy for “the most durable, most dependable automobile in the Daytona 24 Hour Continental”. 

Corvette racing had more wins on March 26 in Sebring, Florida, at the 12 Hours of Sebring race. Finishing first in Grand Touring +5000 class, 9th overall, was the Penske Racing #9 1966 Corvette 427-ci L88, driven by George Wintersteen and Ben Moore. Finishing second in Grand Touring +5000 class, 11th overall, was the Harold C. Whims #8 Corvette, driven by Don Yenko, Dave Morgan, and Harold Whims. Richard Thompson and Dick Guldstrand raced the Penske Racing #10 Corvette Grand Sport #001 with a 427-ci engine in Prototype +5000 class. After 65 laps, the car was out due to an accident; the engine was broken and the frame bent. 

At the Bonneville Salt Flats races later that year, Barry Brock set the A Grand Touring record of 180.138-MPH in a 427-ci Corvette with Hilborn injection. 

What was going on in 1966 in the Corvette world?

The Corvette was first introduced in 1953, with just 300 hand-built models made in the first year of production. By the 1960s, however, Corvettes were more widely available which helped to make them one of the most iconic sports cars of all time. Some even say that the 1966 Corvette ad campaign featured some of the best car ads ever made, so be sure to check out these awesome ads from our past!

Special thanks to Ladd B. Chase for his help in compiling this great collection.  

1966 Corvette Ad Some purists snickered in 1953
1966 Corvette Ad Some purists snickered in 1953
1966 Corvette Ad The day she flew the coupe
1966 Corvette Ad The day she flew the coupe
1966 Corvette Ad The day she flew the coupe
1966 Corvette Ad The day she flew the coupe
1966 Corvette Ad Why men leave home
1966 Corvette Ad Why men leave home
1966 Corvette Ad With 427 cubic inches, who needs adjectives
1966 Corvette Ad With 427 cubic inches, who needs adjectives
1966 Corvette Ad Flight 427, now departing through gates 1, 2, 3 and 4
1966 Corvette Ad Flight 427, now departing through gates 1, 2, 3 and 4
1966 Corvette Ad I.R.S., unsprung weight and you
1966 Corvette Ad I.R.S., unsprung weight and you
1966 Corvette Ad Just starting to make your stomach muscles tighten
1966 Corvette Ad Just starting to make your stomach muscles tighten
1966 Corvette Ad The Chevrolet built for two
1966 Corvette Ad The Chevrolet built for two
1966 Corvette Ad Italy doesn't have a thing on Ashtabula, Ohio
1966 Corvette Ad Italy doesn’t have a thing on Ashtabula, Ohio
1966 Corvette Ad Escape mechanism
1966 Corvette Ad Escape mechanism
1966 Corvette Ad In Europe Corvette is high-priced imported sports car
1966 Corvette Ad In Europe Corvette is high-priced imported sports car
1966 Corvette Ad Italy doesn't have a thing on Ashtabula, Ohio
1966 Corvette Ad Italy doesn’t have a thing on Ashtabula, Ohio

We hope you enjoy our trip down memory lane as we looked at the 1966 Corvette Ads and Trivia!

Vintage Corvette Advertisements are an essential component of any Corvette’s history. The Chevrolet Company took a variety of forms to advertise the Corvettes in newspapers, magazines, and trade journals. These ads ranged from 4 x 5 postcards to full-page or double-page adverts in newspapers and magazines. There were also brochures, sheets, or cards prepared that were distributed directly to potential customers at dealerships as well as car shows and other events. Check out our Vintage Corvette Advertisement category to see some of the advertising we have on our blog.

Want to learn more about the history of the 1966 Corvette? Check out the story behind the 1966 Corvette that was originally thought to be the end of an era. 

The 1966 Corvette is a C2 or second-generation Corvette. The C2s ran from 1963 through 1967. You might enjoy our C2 Corvette overview as we look at the changes that took place over the years.

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