Old Ads: Automotive

I’ve been clipping copying these ads from the old Life magazines for a long time and, chances are, you might have seen some of them on my Facebook and Twitter accounts. The ads are just as neat and interesting as the actual content of the old magazines; nowadays some of them would be considered racist, sexist or both, but it doesn’t make them any less of a historic record of their epoch; they were perfectly acceptable at the time and they make the progress much more obvious. Makes, models, shapes, prices long forgotten; “amazing auto-pilots” and cars “for women drivers” – you won’t see ads like these in the magazines of today. I thought I’d share a few ads on this blog in a somewhat organized manner. The first installment will be about cars, but I am planning to follow up with food and other things. These ads are in no particular order since I was too lazy to make a not of the year and issue.

I’ll start with this awesomely sexist ad:

©Time/Life

©Time/Life

©Time/Life

©Time/Life

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©Time/Life

©Time/Life

©Time/Life

©Time/Life

©Time/Life

©Time/Life

©Time/Life

©Time/Life

Ad for the Interstate Highway System ©Time/Life

©Time/Life

©Time/Life

©Time/Life

©Time/Life

©Time/Life

©Time/Life

©Time/Life

©Time/Life

©Time/Life

©Time/Life

©Time/Life

©Time/Life

©Time/Life

©Time/Life

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©Time/Life

  • It’s pretty amazing where engine technology has taken us since the early 80s – to say nothing of the 40s, 50s, 60s, et el. In the “Big New Ford” ad,  they’re touting a “whopping” 100 HP from a full size V-8. Today, you can find more than 250 horsepower from some 4Cyl engines with less displacement. 

    I giggled about the GMC pickup ad: “The exclusive V-6 engine has gone 120,000 miles before major overhaul … although the average is half that.” Today, I think some cars don’t have their first scheduled tune-up until 90,000 miles – and in my opinion any engine of good quality (correctly maintained) should be able to go 200,000 miles.

    • SKC Observer

      The big jump was 1964.  Serious advances in metallurgy took place at that time.  But you are right about today’s engines being far better in design now.  Great comment.

  • SKC Observer

    I’ve been doing this in a small way in one of my subsidary blogs, but this is way better than anything I’ve got.  Looking at these is instructive; that is part of the reason I started myself.  Thanks for your work.

  • The family auto was a ’59 Chevy stationwagon, with the horizontal fins at the end.

    I remember it would hold 9 of us running Hwy 49 to Moberly,  north over the Misssouri to Carrollton, then anoth 20 minutes east of that blazing metropolis.

    That was a dmaned long hour’s ride.

    ‘course, it wasn’t as long a ride as when the ol’ man decided to take the Ford quarter-ton up. Oh, it took the same hour, give or take 5 minutes. But to 7 kids sittting in the open bed it seemed half a day. At least.

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