Aaron DiManna
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‘¡Chevrolet Olé!:’ A Commercial that Really Existed

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A 1963 Chevrolet pickup, much like the one in the ¡Chevrolet Olé! commercial
Photo: David Adam Kess via CC

Considering the fact that 2020 has been going on for roughly 450,000 years, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that the year 1963 ever actually happened. While it wasn’t exactly a bastion of positivity — this was the same year as the Kennedy assassination — a few good things did happen. The Beatles released some of their most famous pop hits, a woman reached outer space for the first time in history, the United States rolled out ZIP codes, and Chevy released its ¡Chevrolet Olé! commercial.

In the eyes of history, these events should be equivalent.

A vehicle rich with history: The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette

An immaculate time capsule

Cast your mind back to an era when a pseudo war chant about Chevrolet set to a facsimile of the opening drum riff from “Hogan’s Heroes” wouldn’t have been looked at as a parody. Ah, a deeply flawed, yet somehow simpler time. And yet, this beautiful mosquito encased in amber managed to aim its arrow perfectly at the proverbial heart of the zeitgeist.

Let’s start with the simple fact that Michigan isn’t quite the hub of automotive revolution that it was in the 1960s. Next, consider the oddly cartoony appearance of the word “Baja,” and its treatment as an untamed, exotic wilderness that only the toughest vehicles can tackle. Finally, just take a look at the man who waves the convoy of Chevys onto the dusty trail. He looks like he’s dressed as some form law enforcement, but why would a police officer be on-site to stand under an awning while six Chevys — ranging from station wagons to dump trucks — navigate their way from Michigan to Baja?

History may never know.

Rap… or, something

Perhaps the most interesting element of the ¡Chevrolet Olé! commercial is that nearly half of it is spoken in rhyming verse, or, as the intelligentsia — of which I am most certainly not a part — call it, “bad rap.”

Consider the following nonconsecutive lyrics, and try not to catch aflame.

  • New Chevrolet trucks for ’63, as driven tough as trucks can be!
  • Production models set to go from Michigan to Mexico!”
  • This is Baja, Where the trails are roads, these are the trucks and their back-breaking loads!
  • New light-duties with independent front suspension, coil springs tight with tension!
  • Great new engines, lotsa hustle, diesel engines, long on muscle.”
  • New Chevrolet frames stand up to the ride, take constant pounding right in stride.
  • Chevrolet, olé! We made the Baja run, toughest run, under the sun.

It may not be Hamilton, but still… fire.

Catch your car on fire with those sick rhymes?: A certified technician will make it good as new

Lyrics courtesy of Autoblog.com