VIDEO: 1966 Chevelle SS 396 Races Fairlane GT and Pontiac GTO!

The advertising and marketing campaigns for 1960s and early 1970s American muscle cars were every bit as powerful and outrageous as the cars they portrayed. Pontiac was using live tigers in GTO print ads as well as television commercials. Plymouth was using the Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote cartoon characters to promote its successful Roadrunner model.

It was a fun and creative time when cars were pushed to their limits; tires squealed, engines revved, and rubber burned as each manufacturer sought to assert their performance superiority.

This Chevrolet advertisement from 1966, which features many of those automotive antics, begins with our main character, the hapless James Bland, experiencing severe mechanical problems in his current, very unhip ride. As he pulls off to the side of the road, he notices a billboard that seems to mock him, stating, “Next time, go Chevelle.” Then, in this kitschy James Bond/Twilight Zone mashup, the mysterious Doctor Yes appears, and takes it upon himself to get Mr. Bland into a more respectable vehicle.

Bland is directed to a 1966 Chevelle SS 396 boasting 360 horsepower and introduced to his rivals: Granny Turismo with her Fairlane GT and Tony Tiger with his Pontiac GTO, both of whom will be challenging the SS 396 Chevelle. Doctor Yes even provides a go-go girl to go with the “go-go car,” and says, “We are holding thousands just like her in cages all over the country,” a phrase that certainly couldn’t be used in today’s politically correct environment.

The competitors and their machines are then put through a series of performance evaluations, including three-way quarter mile and half mile races. “The SS 396 can outgun GTO and leaves Fairlane GT in the dust.” Naturally, the Chevelle wins every contest and at the end of the adventure, Bland makes off with his go-go dancer in his “go-go” Chevelle with Doctor Yes asking, “How could anyone say no to the SS 396?”

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