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Highly Contested Chevy Project On "Mad Men" Will Be A Colossal Failure

The account that Don Draper and Ted Chaough were both scrambling to bid on in the May 5 episode of Mad Men is actually the Chevy Vega—a famous failure among cars.

On the most recent episode of Mad Men, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce ended up being one of many agencies trying to get in on a top-secret project from Chevy. Through means that are perhaps too spoileriffic to mention here, Jon Hamm’s Don Draper and co. managed to land the account.

Which won’t turn out to be a high-water mark for the agency.

The prized Chevy project in the episode carries the alphanumeric title XP-887. This title actually corresponds to that of a real-life effort on Chevy’s part to create GM’s first all cast-aluminum engine. The ambitious product, which went to market as the Chevy Vega, was initially received with much praise and hype. (It was named Motor Trend Car of the Year.) The gold-plated sheen of hype soon decayed into rust, however, when it was revealed that the insufficiently protected body of the car did the same rather easily.

Between the Vega’s propensity for rust, and Ralph Nader’s efforts against its unsound engine, the car ceased production in 1978. We can only imagine the kind of rust that will settle over the SCDP gang’s soul by then.

[Photo Michael Yarish/AMC]

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