In 1956 Chevrolet was officially in racing, and the carmaker was openly crowing about its success. Check out this awesome Chevy PR film from ’56 detailing the exploits.
When the Small-Block Chevy V8 was introduced in 1955, GM’s most popular division was reborn—from a conservative producer of six-cylinder, Powerglide auntie cars to America’s youth and performance leader. Under the leadership of general manager Ed Cole and with the guidance of engineers Mauri Rose, Zora Arkus-Duntov, and others, the brand jumped into auto racing with both feet. Chevrolet soon dominated motorsports in America, from the grass roots to the major leagues.
The factory-sponsored program wouldn’t last, of course. On June 6, 1957, the Automobile Manufacturers Association (AMA) voted to prohibit automaker participation in auto racing, and General Motors joined the ban. From that point on, Chevy’s official role in motorsports would be sub rosa for many years—strictly back-door. But for 1956 at least, it was game on.
This wonderful Jam Handy film focuses mainly on NASCAR events on both the East and West Coasts, but there’s also some footage from the 12 Hours of Sebring, where the Corvette was making its first wobbly steps in American road racing. Enjoy the video.