Mad Men Season 7: What Automotive History Holds for This Season
If you're a Mad Men viewer, you know that cars and automotive history have a lot to do with the show's plotline. In the last six seasons, the ad agencies run by Roger Sterling, Don Draper and the rest of the ensemble cast have won accounts at two major auto manufacturers: Jaguar and Chevrolet. When we left off in Season 6, Pete Campbell takes the Chevy account over from Ken Cosgrove, who was accidentally shot in the face by a Chevy executive on a hunting trip, Dick Cheney-style. What's coming in Season 7? Here's BoldRide's guess, because details on the upcoming season are predictably under lock and key: It's Probably 1969
Given the nature of the photography the show has released, we can surmise that this season will take place in 1969.
Slate made the connection between Stan Rizzo's fringed suede jacket and Jon Voight's jacket from Midnight Cowboy, which debuted in 1969, so it's a pretty fair assumption that we're talking about the Summer of Love here.
The last time we caught up with the crew, it was around Thanksgiving, 1968, so it's pretty safe to say that we'll either start in December '68, or right at the new year.
XP-877 is in Development
We know that the super-secret project the agency is working on is XP-877 (which I reported on May 5, 2013 on my own blog, which you can read here).
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XP-877 is the internal GM code for the Vega, the development for which was in full swing that year.
In December 1968, Chevy decided to add hatchback, wagon, and panel delivery styles to the Vega mix, and released its final clay models.
PHOTOS: Full Galleries of the Chevrolet Vega
It'll be interesting to see if we actually get a glimpse at the clay version of the car this season.
John DeLorean is Coming
How far we get in Season 7 -- there are actually two half-seasons left in the show -- will determine how much of this car's history we'll be exposed to.
After killing it at Pontiac for four years, 44-year-old John Z. DeLorean became Chevrolet's division manager early in 1969. He has the potential to be a dazzling figure in the series if creator Matthew Weiner is actually going to get into it.
He famously loathed the Vega. In his book On a Clear Day, You Can See General Motors, he wrote:
"From the first day I stepped into Chevrolet, the Vega was in trouble. General Motors was basing its image and reputation on the car, and there was practically no interest in it in the division. We were to start building the car in about a year, and nobody wanted anything to do with it. Chevy's engineering staff was only going through the motions of preparing the car for production, but nothing more. Engineers are a very proud group. They take interest and pride in their designs, but this was not their car and they did not want to work on it."
The car launches in September of 1970 as a 1971 model, at the very moment of a national GM strike between September and November of 1970. It wasn't until 1972 that the whole thing went wrong. It'll be interesting to see how the writers handle it.
It's a storyline that could be a pretty rich mine for Mad Men this year. We're excited to see the premiere on Sunday to see just how far it takes us.
PHOTOS: See images of the 1981 DeLorean DMC-12