If you’ve never seen this legendary 1984 Chevrolet Corvette commercial, you may want to watch it before reading on, because trust me, you’ve never seen anything this before. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
I was born in 1968, the same year as the C3 Corvette. So by 1982, at the age of 14, the C3 Corvette was the only new Corvette I had known for literally my entire life. That all was about to change with the highly anticipated release of the C4 Corvette.
It would be impossible to overstate how high the hype was for the C4 Corvette. Chevrolet started fanning the flames as early as 1981, by announcing a “Collectors Edition” option for the 1982 model year, marking that generation’s swan song and serving as a constant reminder that a new model was coming soon (or at least eventually). The auto buff books were willing conspirators with GM, featuring a constant stream of covers featuring fuzzy spy shots and wild renderings, inaugurating a Corvette tradition that continues to this day.
Chevrolet had hoped to introduce the car in 1982 as a 1983 model (in time to commemorate the Corvette’s 30th anniversary). However, quality and production glitches delayed job one until January of 1983, at which point GM decided to skip the 1983 model year alltogether and introduce the 4th generation Corvette as a 1984 model. Not to worry: Like an early season players’ strike, the delay only served to heighten the anticipation.
The Corvette, like most sports cars, had morphed into a boulevardeur in the 70’s, as diminishing horsepower forced makers to focus on style and luxury features. Not so for the C4, with its renewed emphasis on handling, performance, and OK, some luxury features too. To make sure everyone knew that the C4 was all new and was back in the performance game, Chevrolet did something almost unheard of for a Corvette (either before or since): They made a TV commercial.
And not just any commercial. While the typical TV commercial was 30 seconds in 1983, the Corvette spot came in at one and a half minutes of pure 80’s loving goodness. Even the “edit” version of the spot clocked in at 60 seconds. But of course you would expect nothing less for the most advanced production car on the planet.
So where do I even get started with this commercial? The music that was created by someone pressing the demo button on a Casio keyboard? The Knight Rider rejected sound effects? The Stig before he was on Top Gear? The sound system with an incredible four speakers? The flame resistant gloves? So many soft targets, so little time.
It is easy to mock now, but I lapped it all up 1983, and the earworm is still stuck in my head 30 years later. Little wonder that Chevrolet never made another Corvette commercial, because really, how to you top this one?