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1960 Chevrolet Corvette Promo Review

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The contemporary automobile replica model market is dominated by diecast models in various scales, most popularly 1:18, 1:24 and 1:43.  In the 1950s and 1960s, however, the best car models were “promotional” car models, or “promos,” 1:24 or 1:25 scale plastic models authorized and made for the automobile manufacturers to be provided to their dealers as promotional giveaways to customers or prospective customers.  Some promos were available directly from the manufacturer as part of special promotional offers.  Hobby shops, toy stores and general merchandise retailers also carried similar models for sale although the features and construction of the retail models often differed from those available through dealers or the auto manufacturers.  The 1950s and 1960s were the heyday of promos but promos were still available of a limited number of cars throughout the 1990s.  In the past decade only a few 2000-era cars have been made as promos.  ARA will be presenting reviews of these historic models on a regular basis from an extensive collection of promos encompassing the mid-1950s through 2005.

Our first ARA promo review subject is a 1960 Chevrolet Corvette convertible.  The model has a Tuxedo black exterior with silver bodyside cove and a black interior with silver seat inserts.  According to various sources, this color combination is authentic.

Promos differed in construction techniques; some had friction flywheels, others did not.  Some promos used separate clear plastic lenses for headlights and separate appropriately hued lenses for taillights, others utilized the simpler to produce plastic in chrome color for headlights and taillights.  In this case, the headlights are chrome-colored plastic but the taillights are appropriately painted red.  The 1960 Corvette model has a friction flywheel.  This was a retail model purchased from a hobby shop in 1959 or 1960.  The model is typical in build quality for its time; it unfortunately suffers from a less than perfect rear bumper fit, a problem inherent in promos relying on screw assembly.  While some 1950s and early 1960s promos suffered from plastic warpage over time, this model developed no warp.  The model measures 6.875 inches in length and is approximately three inches wide and two inches in height.

In the real world, the 1960 Chevrolet Corvette reached 10,261 in sales volume, the first year the Corvette exceeded 10,000.  In racing, the highlight was Briggs Cunningham’s entry of three Corvettes in the LeMans 24 Hours, with a best finish of eighth overall.  On television, “Route 66” made its debut with the lead characters driving a 1960 Corvette.

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