Documentary depicts Chevrolet's vast ad campaign for its new 1937 car

(May 5, 2014) An interesting nearly 14-minute documentary from 1936 depicts the extent of the vast advertising blitz Chevrolet was planning in its run-up to Nov. 7, 1935, the day the new 1937 Chevrolet was to be introduced in showrooms around the country.

The ad campaign was far-ranging in a time before television could bring the same message to as many people in a series of 30-second television ads in prime time or at a major sporting event. The 1936 campaign included radio broadcasts and ads, a series of advertisements in thousands of newspapers and magazines across the country "reaching 100 million people," billboards, a new illustrated catalog available to customers in all Chevy showrooms, ads in neighborhood movie theaters, and newspaper stories disguised as news from General Motors.

Indeed, the 1937 Chevrolet went through its biggest redesign since the 1929 model year. The new styling was the work of Jules Agramonte, who had designed the stunning 1935 LaSalle. The car featured a "diamond crown speedline," a body crease that started in the valley between the engine compartment and front fender and extended across the cowl and onto the front door.

A strengthened version of the box girder frame, introduced on the 1936 Standard cars, was used throughout the 1937 line. Bodies, wider and roomier than before, were made entirely of steel instead of the traditional composite construction, and weight was reduced by more than 150 pounds.

 Beneath the hood was a brand new engine. Still featuring overhead valves, it had a shorter stroke and a larger bore than the previous unit. Displacement was increased slightly, to 216.5 cubic inches, and four main bearings were fitted instead of three. Horsepower was rated at 85, same as the Ford V-8. All models now enjoyed the advantage of an improved synchromesh transmission.

A new 3.5-liter straight-six engine making 85 horsepower was introduced in 1937, equalling the 85 horsepower produced by the Ford V-8.

The car was sold in two trim levels, the Master starting at $619, and the Master DeLuxe, starting at $685. Sales totaled 815,420.

Sources: How Stuff Works, Wikipedia