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10 Vintage Car Ads to Take You Back in Time

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Vintage car ads forever live on because they offer a bit of whimsicality to auto history. We’re diving into some of the best car ads to show you what selling cars was really like back in the good old days. 

Car Ads Worth Reliving 

Some of the most stunning car ads were created years and years ago to showcase upcoming models, as well as to entertain and persuade car buyers to put their bottom dollar on what was then ground-breaking designs. 

The Blazer Chalet

Chevrolet Blazer Chalet Advertisement - starling-travel.com
Chevrolet Blazer Chalet Advertisement - starling-travel.com

Need more with your Chevy BlazerIn the 1970s, you could get it! The Chevy Blazer Chalet was part Blazer part camper. Much like the truck campers you see today, the Chevy Blazer Chalet gave you the chance to take your adventures off-road for a little camping and exploring. Pop-top included. 

The Ford Escort Sundowner

Ford Escort Sundowner Advertisement - vanquotedirect.co.uk
Ford Escort Sundowner Advertisement - vanquotedirect.co.uk

This unique little Ford Escort was only available in Australia, but it sure does make van life look good! In the 1970s, gas was pricey but many didn’t want to skimp on adventure. With the Sundowner, you could make your way to the beach or the desert with less gas money but still carry what you needed and have a place to sleep, too! 

Cobra Bites Man – Shelby Cobra

Shelby Mustang Cobra Advertisement - boisblanc1954 on Flickr
Shelby Mustang Cobra Advertisement - boisblanc1954 on Flickr

You heard it here first: Ford made clickbait ads before clickbait was cool. Cobra bites man sure does grab your attention, but what really stands out is the white Shelby Mustang Cobra against the desert sunset. Though the copy is a little too much on the snake puns, I do love how Ford played to the Cobra theme. Although I don’t recommend going to your local Ford dealership if you’re actually bitten by a snake… 

The 1959 Cadillac (With Wings!)

1959 Cadillac Advertisement - europeanceo.com
1959 Cadillac Advertisement - europeanceo.com

Ah, the finest of Cadillacs came with double bullet taillights amongst their wings. One of the most unique designs of the time, these taillights probably didn’t help much in the dark, but they sure looked cool. And that’s what matters, right? 

On Thunderbird Time

Ford Thunderbird Advertisement - blog.consumerguide.com
Ford Thunderbird Advertisement - blog.consumerguide.com

No car ad is finished without man’s best friend! This Thunderbird ad had a strange take on things as it somehow correlated getting up early with having a Thunderbird in your garage. As you can see in the above ad, the man leaves his rather large mansionstyle house before the early-rising milkman while the dog seems to be curious as to what is going on. Don’t worry, Fido, we’re not sure either! 

Take Your Beetle to the Alps

Volkswagen Beetle Advertisement - blag.illicitsnowboarding.com
Volkswagen Beetle Advertisement - blag.illicitsnowboarding.com

Dad’s day out wouldn’t be complete without a convertible Volkswagen BeetleNever mind that he lives in a mountain town when it snows, just put the top down, pack up the skis, and hit the road. Totally normal, totally realistic, and definitely highly suggested by Michael Scott’s How to Convertible Guide. 

As Fast as Spark Plugs Can Fly

Chevrolet Monza GT Advertisement - petrolicious.com
Chevrolet Monza GT Advertisement - petrolicious.com

Nothing sparks up the conversation like spark plugs, eh? The Chevrolet Monza GT and its spark plugs are shown at top speed, flying through both highway and air, in this one of a kind ad. Because most spark blogs fly like rockets alongside their cars this ad makes a lot of sense in the way that it doesn’t at all.  

The Chevrolet Monza was a concept car that debuted in 1962 that never came to life as a production model, but it would make an appearance as the World of Tomorrow car attraction. It’s one good-looking car and I’m sure many at the time were sad that it never made it on the road, so I sure hope they sold a lot of spark plugs to make up for it. 

Pierce-Arrow Portraits

Pierce-Arrow Advertisement - Paul Malon on Flickr
Pierce-Arrow Advertisement - Paul Malon on Flickr

Pierce-Arrow, one of the first automobiles, has some of the most awe-inspiring ads. Almost every ad you’ll find from the Pierce-Arrow team is thoughtfully curated and equally as beautiful as a portrait you might find in a museum today. I know I’ve made fun of a lot of the ads before now, but honestly there’s not much to poke fun at in these old-timey ads that are as picturesque and timely as any coffee table puzzle or hanging portrait.

The Oldsmobile Rocket

Oldsmobile Advertisement - Paul Malon on Flickr
Oldsmobile Advertisement - Paul Malon on Flickr

The Oldsmobile Rocket campaign was stellar! Get it? But really, this theme is too charming to ignore as the ‘88 Oldsmobile featured a “Rocket” engine which led to a whole string of space-themed marketing. There are several iterations from this campaign that talk about its 160horsepower capability which was more than any new car at the time according to Olds Motor Vehicle Co. 

These ads for the Oldsmobile make you want to go back to the good old days, sit in a space-themeddiner, and feel the nostalgia all over again. 

Cactus & Chrysler

Chrysler Advertisement - Paul Malon on Flickr
Chrysler Advertisement - Paul Malon on Flickr

Nothing like a full-page car ad to catch your eye! This Chrysler ad dotes on the Superfinished engine parts, but it’s not the engine that gets your attention. This car ad is quite unlike any of the others as it shows you the outside and inside of the car up close and personal. The details in this ad are impressive to say the least and the four-legged friend in the backseat makes you want to start up the car and take off on the next desert adventure! 

A Little Nostalgia Goes A Long Way

What do you think about vintage style car ads? Would they work in today’s auto industry? Let us know in the comments below! 

Whether you want a good laugh or want to remember the good times, vintage car ads are always fun to look back on. The ad copy can be hit or miss for today’s standards, but more often than not there was hard work put into designing, creating, and publishing these ads that you don’t always see and feel in today’s modern auto marketing. And all of that work seems to have paid off in a way that allows these advertisements to age a little more gracefully than the rest. 

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Erin Maxson

Erin loves nothing more than a good road trip. To her, getting behind the wheel is one of the biggest adventures you can take because it can lead to anywhere. Alongside her Toyota Tundra, you'll find her co-pilot pup, Rory, and a 1976 Airstream Argosy in tow. Her motto: Life is a scenic road, take your time and enjoy the ride.

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