1970 Chevelle SS Cameos on Mad Men Finale
Last night, AMC aired the final episode of Mad Men, a seminal television drama that followed the lives, loves, and benders of 1960s advertising executives.
A lot happened, and we’ll try not to spoil any of the big plot developments for you, but it should be noted that the very first shot of the Mad Men finale featured a 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS racing across the desert at 130 mph.
The car’s driver is shown to be none other than M.I.A. ad man Don Draper, sweating bullets in a racing helmet and goggles.
After his high speed test drive, Don impresses the Chevelle’s grease monkey owners with his automotive know-how, noting that the car has a shimmy that’s creating drag (Dick Whitman is a man after the Ringbrothers’ own hearts). They’re looking to race the Chevelle at Arizona’s El Mirage Lake, and Don fronts them the cash they need for it.
Why? Who knows. Don’s been in one of his more generous moods lately. Last week [SPOILER ALERT], he gave away his Cadillac to a small-time hustler. He also tried to give away a free refrigerator full of Miller beer, although his motivations for that were a bit suspect…
Even though General Motors hasn’t sold a Chevelle since the late 70’s, the scene is a nice bit of free publicity for the automaker—and, presumably, a mildly annoying moment for Ford executives, who have been paying big money to run Lincoln ads during the series.
There’s more automotive talk later in the episode, too, during a scene in which Don calls up his daughter Sally to tell her he got to see the breaking of the land speed record. He mentions to her that the feat was performed by “a car that looked like a jet.”
He’s referring to Gary Gabelich’s rocket-powered Blue Flame, which set the land sped record at Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah on October 23, 1970, travelling 422.407 mph. The record stood until 1983, when it was broken by Richard Noble.
Mad Men has always been a great series for classic car aficionados, although the show’s greatest four-wheeled moment didn’t involve a vintage muscle car, but rather, a riding lawn mower:
Mad Men, you will be missed…