Corvette Ad Watch: 1961 Corvette Catalog Shoot

1961 Corvette Catalog Shoot

Former Chevy ad man Jim Bernadin gives us the details from this classic photo shoot for the 1961 Corvette Catalog Folder.

This is the cover of the Corvette Catalog Folder for 1961. It was shot at the GM Proving Grounds near Milford, Michigan. Shooting there was a real challenge because there was so much security involved. Arrangements to shoot there had to be made far in advance and approved by about a hundred people–or so it seamed. Each person to be there had to have been cleared in advance. There was always a wait when everybody arrived at the gate office and had to have their identity checked and approved once more. Then you had to have a special driver to get you around the facility. Only these guys knew all the regulations and could keep you from trouble. Your pre- selected location had to be cleared and closed to other traffic. Someone from Chevrolet had to be with you and responsible for all you did. You were not allowed to see into any of the other divisions buildings.

Our location was a good one in that it didn’t look like the proving grounds. It could have been almost any smaller road in America. The person standing with the camera is Warren Winstanley’s assistant. Warren was the photographer for this and all the other shots in the catalog. The two fellows in the car were models. The rear view was on the cover because it represented the newest thing about the Corvette. Not only was the styling new but there was a real trunk for the first time. The rear styling gave a good look at what the Stingray would be like in a couple of years but nobody knew that at the time. The car isn’t really moving but the illusion of some dust was created by throwing some cement powder at just the right time. I even helped with that on occasion. I had all the fake rally signs made back at our office along with the ’61 sign that eliminated the need for other cover copy. This and the picture to follow are often used in publications about Corvettes. I wish I could remember who wrote the copy–maybe Vic Olsen.

Click here for a larger version. Visit Old Chevy Ads for page two of the 1961 Corvette Catalog Folder.

Old Chevy Ads

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Corvette Ad Watch: Vintage 1960 Corvette Poster

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  1. Hi,
    I just started this site to honor all the old photographers who were working when I first started in this business. I would like to use this article as a talking point for people on the site to comment on. All people are people who participated in the business in it’s hay day. Would it be ok with you to do this. I’ll send you an invite if you care to join.

    Thank You

    Jerry Balosky

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