Author Topic: The 1967 Camaro as Seen at Auto Shows & Unique Promotional Exhibits in 1966/1967  (Read 6004 times)

SMKZ28

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1966/1967, Throughout the United States

During the 1960’s Chevrolet produced a traveling spectacle called the Chevy Show and it took place in a portable inflatable theater called a Cinesphere.  These Chevy Shows were seen throughout the nation at fairs and shopping center parking lots by millions of people.  An article entitled “Agricultural Expositions Prime Business Targets” located on page 33 of the Sunday, August 21, 1966 edition of the Morgantown Dominion Post, a Morgantown, West Virginia, newspaper states, “Chevrolet is sending out two Cinenspheres— inflatable theaters that can hold up to 250 persons and present three shows an hour — to a total of 30 fairs this season. Among the places where Chevrolet has dispatched the Cinesphere are the Heart of Illinois Fair in Peoria and the Milwaukee Fair. ‘IT’S ONE way we have of keeping the Chevrolet name and image before the public,’ a company official said. ‘It helps us get to the grass roots of America.’ Chevrolet spends $15,000 a month to support its two cinespheres, which includes the salaries of a half a dozen men who travel with them and local manpower hired in each town.  Local dealers are also encouraged to tie in with the traveling show.  The Cinesphere was at the Allentown Fair, where more than 500,000 persons attended its nine-day run earlier this month.” https://newspaperarchive.com/morgantown-dominion-post-aug-21-1966-p-33/

In addition to grandstand attractions featuring Camaros driven by “Joie Chitwood and his famous Auto Daredevils” an article on the upcoming 97th Danbury State Fair held in Danbury, New York (October 1-9, 1966) appeared on page 4 of the Brewster Standard Newspaper from Brewster, New York also mentions, “other highlights will be the 1966 Chevy Show in the cinesphere theater.” http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn84031640/1966-09-22/ed-1/seq-4/#date1=01%2F01%2F1966&city=&date2=10%2F31%2F1967&searchType=advanced&SearchType=phrase&sequence=0&lccn=&index=0&words=Cinesphere&proxdistance=&county=&to_year=1967&rows=20&ortext=&from_year=1966&proxtext=&phrasetext=cinesphere&andtext=&dateFilterType=range&page=1

Click on the following two links to see newspaper ads for the Cinesphere Chevy Show when it visited San Bernardino, California in March of 1967.

1st Ad: https://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d=SBS19670317.1.53&srpos=3&e=01-09-1966-31-12-1967--en--20--1--txt-txIN-cinesphere-------1   (San Bernardino Sun, March 17, 1967 page 53)

2nd Ad: https://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d=SBS19670318.1.32&srpos=4&e=01-09-1966-31-12-1967--en--20--1--txt-txIN-cinesphere-------1  (San Bernardino Sun, March 18, 1967 page 32)

While the next two newspaper articles are from 1968, they give a good overview of how the Chevy Show operated.  I’m sure it was much the same during 1966 and 1967.

Underneath a picture of the 1968 version of the Cutaway Camaro, an article on page 99 of the January 21, 1968 edition of The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida states, “CAMARO 'HALF CAR' The ‘inside’ story of Chevrolet's exciting new Camaro is exhibited in the special ‘half car’ display unit pictured above.  The sporty Camaro is "cut in two" to reveal design highlights and the workings of inner mechanical components. The Camaro ‘half car’ is a centerpiece of Chevrolet's 1968 automobile road shows.” (https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/134774799/)
An article on page 7 of the June 4, 1968 edition of the Ashbury Park Press from Ashbury Park, New Jersey talks about what guests witnessed during their visit to the Chevy Show.  It states, “Cine-sphere Show Set For Opening EATONTOWN - The Cine-sphere Chevy Show, already seen by millions of people in the United States, will be at the Monmouth Shopping Center Thursday through June 15. Kitson Chevrolet and the Monmouth Shopping Center Merchants Association are the sponsors.  A movie, ‘Chevrolet x-citement,’ will be shown on a dome-shaped screen in a vinyl-coated theater supported entirely by air pressure, maintained by aromatic blowers.  The theater will seat 174 persons.  There is no admission charge, and viewing hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily except Sunday.  The viewer will find himself in the center of the action, which will include a helicopter ride under Utah's Rainbow Bridge, a mule ride into the Grand Canyon, a ski ride in the Rockies, and a whirl around the Indianapolis speedway behind the wheel of a racer.  A highlight of the show will be a drawing for two Chevy Juniors built on a go-cart chassis, with a fiberglass body and a three-and-a-half horsepower, one-cylinder engine, capable of moving the vehicle along up to 25 miles an hour.  Registration tickets for the drawing will be available at all stores at the center.  The drawing will take place at 8 p.m., June 15.” (www.newspapers.com)

1st picture: Cover of Mainstream: News of Chevrolet Merchandising Activities, November 1966, Volume 4 Number 3: (http://pilotcarregistry.com/rare-vintage-photos.html)   Does anyone have this or any other copies of this publication?  I would love to see more of Chevrolet’s merchandising activities!

2nd picture: Ad for Pinewood Shopping Center December 9-17, 1966: www.pinterest.com

3rd picture: Camaro Cutaway and engine in Tent: http://pilotcarregistry.com/rare-vintage-photos.html

SMKZ28

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November 1966, San Bernardino, California

Another public Auto Show that I found Camaro information for was the inaugural Inland Empire International Auto Show.  Being from Chicago, I didn’t know what the “Inland Empire” encompasses.  According to Wikipedia it is a “metropolitan area and region in Southern California. The term may be used to refer to the cities of western Riverside County and southwestern San Bernardino County.  A broader definition will include eastern Los Angeles County cities in the Pomona Valley, and sometimes the desert communities of Palm Springs and the rest of the Coachella Valley; a much larger definition includes all of San Bernardino and Riverside counties.”  The show was held Saturday, November 19th through –Sunday, November 27th, 1966 at the National Orange Show Grounds in San Bernardino, California.  It was sponsored by the San Bernardino Motor Car Dealers Association.
 
The stock picture of the Camaro Cutaway car is featured on page C-14 of the Saturday, November 19, 1966 edition of the San Bernardino Sun.  The caption states, “Inside Story of New Camaro Is Shown in Special Half-Car Display.”  An article on page 12 of the same publication discussing the new Chevrolet models mentions that, “with the entry of the new Camaro as its sixth line of cars, the 1967 Chevrolet lineup represented at the Auto Show offers the most complete model coverage in the division's history, General Manager E. M. Estes announced.  ‘The 48 new models of Chevrolet, Chevelle, Chevy II, Corvair, Corvette and Camaro offer an unparalleled variety of sizes, styles, options and other features,’ Estes said.  ‘With these exciting new products for 1967, Chevrolet expects to continue a firm hold on the No. 1 position in the industry.’”  https://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d=SBS19661119.1.31&srpos=2&e=01-09-1966-31-12-1967--en--20--1--txt-txIN-auto+show+camaro-------1

SMKZ28

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Pre November 22, 1966, Unknown Location

I need your help with the location and date of this one.  After all my research I still could not figure out what Auto Show this picture represents.  This picture was definitely taken at a public Auto Show because in addition to the Chevrolet display in the foreground, you can see the Oldsmobile and Dodge displays in the background.  It is not a very large show.  Besides the Camaro Cutaway display, there is only one other 1967 Camaro on the floor.  Notice the large hot air balloon display above the Camaro Cutaway.  This was also seen in the pictures from the Detroit Chevrolet sales convention.  Does the half and half colored maple leaf on the back wall mean that it’s a Canadian Auto Show?  I couldn’t find any information to answer this question.  I kind of doubt that Chevrolet would put “USA-1” on the license plates if it was in Canada.  As for the when, I believe I see the numbers “350” under the “SS” in the grill of the only Camaro on the display floor. This probably means the event took place before November 22, 1966 since those numbers in the grill were discontinued after the optional “396” was introduced to the Camaro lineup. 

Pictures are from here: http://pilotcarregistry.com/rare-vintage-photos.html

SMKZ28

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November/December 1966, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The next public Auto Show that I found Camaro information for was the Greater Milwaukee Auto Show.  It was held Friday, November 25th through Sunday, December 4th, 1966 inside the Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park in West Allis, Wisconsin.  The first page of the special Auto Show section of the Sunday, November 27, 1966 edition of The Milwaukee Journal displays a sketch of what looks like a stylized version of a Camaro RS front end with a “1967” license plate sitting next to a brass era automobile.  Because both new and vintage cars were displayed, the theme for the Auto Show was “Review the Old and Preview the New.”

1st picture: First page of The Milwaukee Journal (November 27, 1966): www.ebay.com

2nd picture: Ad for Chevrolet at Auto Show (The Milwaukee Sentinel, Wednesday, November 30, 1966 page 11)

3rd picture: Ad for Humphrey Chevrolet (The Milwaukee Sentinel, Wednesday, November 30, 1966 page 12) 
While not concerned with the Milwaukee Auto Show, this ad for Humphrey Chevrolet appeared among the articles about the show.  Notice the custom stripes available for the Camaro at this Wisconsin Chevrolet dealership.  Does anyone have one of these specially striped Camaros?? 

SMKZ28

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November/December 1966, Detroit, Michigan

The next Auto Show where I found information on Camaro involvement was the 51st Detroit Auto Show.  This premiere event took place November 26th through December 4th, 1966 at Cobo Hall in Detroit, Michigan.  It was presented under the auspices of The Detroit Auto Dealers Association.  Because it takes place in the “Motor City” it was, and still is, one of the largest and most important Auto Shows of the year.  As one would expect, the new Camaro played a huge role in the Chevrolet displays at the event.

1st picture: Program Cover for the event: http://www.motorcities.org/Story/Remembering+the+1967+Detroit+Auto+ShowbrBy+Robert+Tate+Automotive+Historian+and+ResearcherbrImages+courtesy+of+the+National+Automotive+History+Collection-490.html

2nd picture: Outside of Cobo Hall (dated 1965): https://www.detroitnews.com/media/cinematic/gallery/82921160/detroits-cobo-center-through-the-years/
 
3rd picture: Setting up the show (November 24, 1966) This picture was taken on November 24, 1966 which was two days before the Detroit Auto Show opened to the public.  You can see workers, temporary floor runners covering the carpet and unfinished displays.  http://detroitnews.mycapture.com/mycapture/folder.asp?event=1370987&CategoryID=71179

SMKZ28

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November/December 1966, Detroit Michigan continued

Since the 325hp, L-35 396-cid V-8 was introduced as an option for the Camaro on November 22, 1966, the Detroit Auto Show was probably the first time the majority of the public was able to see a Camaro SS 396 in person.  An article entitled “396 Cu. in. V-8 Engine Announced” appeared on page 33 of the Wednesday, December 7, 1966 issue of the Palos Verdes Peninsula News, a newspaper from the Palos Verdes Peninsula region of California, stated, “DETROIT - Chevrolet announced it will offer a 396 cubic-inch V-8 engine and Turbo-Hydramatic transmission for the new Camaro.  E. M. Estes, general manager, said a Camaro convertible equipped with these ‘Big car’ options - hitherto available only on the regular Chevrolet and Chevelle SS models will be exhibited at the Detroit Automobile Show at Cobo Hall.  The new options, to be offered in both coupe and convertible models, will be available early next year.  Dealers will begin taking orders next month for Camaros with the 325 horsepower Turbo-Jet V-8 engine.  Besides the Turbo-Hydramatic, the new engine will be available with 4-speed and heavy duty 3-speed manual transmissions. ‘Addition of the high performing 396 engine and Turbo-Hydramatic transmission brings still more big car features to Camaro, increasing the total power team selection to 18,’ Estes said.” (https://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d=PVPN19661207.2.190&srpos=5&e=01-09-1966-31-12-1966--en--20--1--txt-txIN-automobile+show-------1

When show goers arrived at the Chevrolet display at the Detroit Auto Show the Camaro RS/SS 396 convertible E. M. Estes was talking about in the previous newspaper article was there to greet them on a rotating turntable.  According to a sign attached to the turntable, the car featured “special paint and trim.”  The color pictures I have located demonstrate that the special paint was a dark blue and the special trim refers to the unique white deluxe interior.  The sun visors, dash, deluxe steering wheel, lower portion of console, boot cover, seats, and door cards were all white.  The car also has the Rally Sport package, white Super Sport nose stripe, white side pin striping, front and rear bumper guards, rally wheels, front disc-brakes, 4-speed manual transmission, console instrument cluster, and white wall tires.  A large sign appears near the car stating, “announcing Camaro SS with 396 Turbo Jet V8.”  Two different female models appeared with the car during the show.  I believe this same car appeared later on the auto show circuit in 1967 with a new name and different wheels.  Stay tuned. 

1st picture: Color Picture (http://pilotcarregistry.com/rare-vintage-photos.html)

2nd picture: Color Picture (http://pilotcarregistry.com/rare-vintage-photos.html)

3rd picture: (www.pinterest.com)

SMKZ28

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November/December 1966, Detroit Michigan continued

1st picture: B&W (http://pilotcarregistry.com/rare-vintage-photos.html)

2nd picture: B&W Brunette (http://www.joestevensphotos.com/Detroit-NorthAmerican-AutoShow/i-wgtHBJd via smugmug.com)

3rd picture: B&W Brunette (http://www.joestevensphotos.com/Detroit-NorthAmerican-AutoShow/i-sm73dgd/A  via smugmug.com)

4th picture: B&W (http://pilotcarregistry.com/rare-vintage-photos.html)

SMKZ28

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November/December 1966, Detroit Michigan continued

All three of these pictures came from (http://pilotcarregistry.com/rare-vintage-photos.html)

SMKZ28

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November/December 1966, Detroit Michigan continued

These two pictures came from (http://pilotcarregistry.com/rare-vintage-photos.html)

SMKZ28

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November/December 1966, Detroit Michigan continued

These two pictures came from (http://pilotcarregistry.com/rare-vintage-photos.html)

SMKZ28

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November/December 1966, Detroit Michigan continued

The next four pictures show the same specially painted and trimmed Camaro RS/SS 396 convertible outside of the Auto Show.  Notice the license plate that states “1967 Camaro SS Convertible” is the same plate seen on the car in the above shots from the Detroit Auto Show.   Also notice that it is wearing rally wheels with the 1968 center caps.  I’m not sure if the pictures were taken before or after the Detroit Auto Show.  Anyone know why the 2x4 would be placed under the front driver’s side tire?  The location is unknown to me.  It must be a location where cars are prepared for auto show duty???  If anyone knows, please share.
 
Both pictures come from here (http://pilotcarregistry.com/rare-vintage-photos.html)

SMKZ28

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November/December 1966, Detroit Michigan continued

Both pictures come from here (http://pilotcarregistry.com/rare-vintage-photos.html)


SMKZ28

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November/December 1966, Detroit Michigan continued

Here are shots of the interior taken at the same time as the previous four pictures posted above.

Both come from here (http://pilotcarregistry.com/rare-vintage-photos.html)

SMKZ28

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November/December 1966, Detroit, Michigan continued

Additional pictures indicate that there were at least seven other Camaros in the Chevrolet display at the Detroit Auto Show.  Color pictures indicate that they included a Royal Plum RS/SS convertible with a white top and wire wheel covers, an Ermine White convertible with blue interior and base wheel covers, a Butternut Yellow coupe with base wheel covers, a dark colored coupe possibly in Deepwater Blue, a light colored coupe possibly in Emerald Turquoise with base wheel covers, a Bolero Red convertible with mag style wheel covers, and the Cutaway Camaro RS/SS 350 on its special rotating display. 

Both pictures come from here: (http://pilotcarregistry.com/rare-vintage-photos.html)

SMKZ28

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November/December 1966, Detroit, Michigan continued

1st picture: (http://pilotcarregistry.com/rare-vintage-photos.html)

2nd picture: (www.pinterest.com)