Video: Selling the 1957 Chevrolet

Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible 1957 LFBefore the ’57 Chevy became a pop culture icon, it was simply another popular family car. See the Chevrolet sales pitch in action in this original GM promotional clip. 



This original commercial spot is a useful reminder that at the time, the ’57 Chevy was not yet a legend. If you can forgive the heresy, it was just another new car battling for a niche in a highly competitive market. Ford and Chevy were locked in a long, fierce sales war for the top spot in the Motor City sales charts and that year, Ford actually edged ahead, on paper anyway, with 1,522,406 units sold, compared to 1,515,177 units for the bow-tie brand—a fact that Ford enthusiasts never tire of pointing out.

Also note that the star of this clip is not a Bel Air Convertible (above) or Sport Coupe or Nomad, the darlings of the collector car set today, but the family-oriented Sport Sedan. In GM nomenclature of the era, the Sport Sedan was a pillarless four-door hardtop, a body style introduced the year before. Chevy’s vaunted small-block V8 was enlarged from 265 to 283 CID for ’57, and popular extra-cost options included the two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission for $188, power steering at $70, and AM push-button radio for $89.50. See a typical All-American family—Mom, Pop, Junior, and Sis—enjoying their new Bel Air below.


5 thoughts on “Video: Selling the 1957 Chevrolet

  1. We were deprived here in Oz, we only got 6cyl 3 speed 4 door post!
    Quite a few of all styles have migrated here however. Nearly as common as Mustangs now.

  2. They sure weren’t in the real world back then. In real life the kids in the back seat would either be fighting or one would be carsick. Someone would have to stop for a bathroom break and someone else would be asking: “Are we there yet?” Right about then the wife is sure to say: “This seat just doesn’t fit right; either my feet won’t rest properly on the floor or the back is too straight… Will you kids shut up!!!!” Saturday afternoon car bath? Time to head down to the ‘SUPERSONIC CAR WASH.’ I wonder how many cars would’ve been sold if they saw an ad where Dad pulls off to the side of the road, jerks the kids out of the back seat and tunes them up with his belt on their backsides? Sorry but this ad brings back memories of the days with my family and our ’57 Oldsmobile Super 88.

    • We must have been neighbors. “Yeah, but he started it.” ” Don’t make me stop this car! ” Definitely propaganda. Notice the 3 pack a day anouncers voice.

      • “Yeah, but he started it!” Isn’t that a traditional child’s line. “Mom, Jerry’s looking at me…” Another one. LOL. Think back to the time. More than 50% of the adult population smoked. I remember setting pins in the local bowling alley; you could hardly see the other end of the lane. It was like a ball pushing out through the wall of smoke as it headed toward you. I’m amazed that I picked up that habit and kept it up for over 30 years before I threw them away. But it was the 50s (and 60s). It was politically incorrect to portray life as it really was; they had to fantasize it…

  3. Bet that paint was all scratched up after those kids rubbed those dry gritty sponges all over it after laying them on the ground! The wonders of advertising!

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