Corvair’s Reputation Up In Flames In Insurance Ad

Chevy’s infamous compact gets burned yet again

If you’re a TV viewer, sometime in the last several months you’ve probably seen this commercial for Farmers Insurance. If you’re like me, you probably got all excited and said something like, “Hey, a Corvair!” And if you’re really like me, you might also have gotten a little cheesed off—and also a little impressed.

You’d probably have to be a Corvair diehard to get the cheesed off part. Those of us who love Chevy’s little rear-engined oddball tend to be a bit protective of it, you see—it’s gotten something of a bum rap over the years—and our delight at seeing a Corvair turn up in a national TV commercial tends to turn quickly to indignation when we feel that it’s only being used as the butt of a joke.

Plus, it feels like a weird joke. For one thing, I don’t think your average TV viewer in 2018 could identify a Corvair by sight, or would even know anything about it if it were named, which it’s not. For another—and I don’t know whether this commercial is actually derived from true events, as implied, or not—Corvairs aren’t really known for catching fire. Did someone get lost on the way to the Pinto exhibit in the Hall of American Compact Car Infamy?

Even so, I can’t help but be impressed by the commitment to the bit. There’s not one, but two Corvairs in the spot, one example of each generation. (And, Corvair desecration or not, I wouldn’t mind having that late model firepit in my backyard!)

And, to the ad agency’s eternal credit, after cooking up a premise that relied on a rear-engined car, they followed through and actually used a rear-engined car. It’s not like they pulled anything as dumb as this infamous promotional photo for Golla luggage from a few years ago:

Still, couldn’t they have used a Karmann Ghia or something?

References

Chevrolet Corvair

Read our full review of the 1965 Chevrolet Corvair.

 

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