I like how they forecast the way that commuting would be on today’s roads after 3:26 🙂
So everyone took off their sport coats and every guy there had a white shirt on. I know that’s how management dressed back then but these guys were consistent.
That’s how GM dressed, for sure.
Here is Chitwood with the 1956 Chevies
I guess Evel Knievel might had enjoyed these stunts even if he only did motorcycle stunts. 😉
Dodge did also a similar thing who was filmed at the 1964 World Fair.
Looks like a prototype red ’68 vette mock-up at 1:05….Are my eyes deceiving me?
I hope they were pre production cars shown.
I could just picture that Caprice hardtop doing the high speed rocking being sold to some solid, conservative business couple as “an executive owned company car. Maintained by the factory and just like new!” ?
You know they did. That’s where the word ‘demo’ came out. We, the sheep-to-be-fleeced public thought it meant ‘demonstrator’ when it actually meant ‘demolition’.
I would bet my entire savings that all these cars were sold as low-mileage demos after six months, since they were trucked to the tracks.
I recall going to a thrill show like this at the local race track about 1969. The drivers were in new Mustangs so it may not have been Chitwood, but I remember being mighty impressed as a 10 year old. I remain impressed with several of the stunts, especially the driving on two wheels.
Perhaps that is what the old models were used for: stunt training. Ill bet a lot of cars got rolled over while new drivers learned the two wheel thing.
What a great surprise this morning. I was reading about the era of automobile thrill shows just yesterday. As a 10yr.old kid I was mesmerized at a Chitwood bros. daredevil thrill show at our local dirt track speedway. They were driving new 69 Camaros and Corvettes
Chevrolet began supplying cars to the Chitwood I believe in “55. Joey Sr.used Fords before that. The script the announcer read was a bit like a live infomercial. “Now watch Bill’s car on the landing ramp. This kind of punishment proves the ruggedness of Chevys new heavy duty suspension” and so on. The same as racing wins,wow em on Sunday sell cars Monday.
The Chitwood show was just one of many that plied the county fair grounds and race tracks all over the country in a bygone era. A time when folks had to get off their butts and leave their unairconditioned homes for entertainment. So for a period from the early 30’s until the mid 70’s the dare devil thrill shows were a huge draw. Even ABC’s Wide World of Sports broadcast the long running Tournament of Thills in eastern US.
Love the “captive audience” of white shirts and skinny dark ties. It’s a bit cheesy but in keeping with the time. Nevertheless, a creative promotional piece that you won’t see replicated today.
150-plus mph from a Corvette? Sure, the top engines made sufficient power but that kind of speed requires tall gearing as well. I wonder what that car had. I’m sure its quarter mile time was not quite as impressive.
A 103-mph trap speed from the SS396 is impressive though. What is that, high 13’s or low 14’s? Not bad on stock tires.
And the 396 vs. 409 drag race demonstrates why the W-block faded from the scene so quickly. The Mark IV big block was so vastly superior. It ruled Can-Am racing until the Porsche 917/10’s and their twin-turbo flat-12’s came along.
103 is getting into the mid-13s
Excerpted from this 20-minute film, complete with Lorne Greene from TV’s “Bonanza” western: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wVCup6d1nM
“Professional driver on closed course”, reads the disclaimer today. Were these fully standard cars as the commentator would have us believe or specially modified for this purpose?
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