Advertisements

Automotive advertising can tell us the story of the automotive industry as well as any other medium. This A-Z of automotive manufacturer advertisements (from left to right on the wall) and some that are not automotive which simply feature cool cars or drivers, taken from the Auto-Archives libary, shows just a few of our favorites from the thousands that are stored on our system.

We have been seeing car advertisements for over 100 years now. Shiny Cadillacs, sleek Jaguars, and pink Mustangs. In the beginning, it was all simply black and white. So how has it changed? Auto advertising throughout the years has evolved tremendously thanks to imaginative, and sometimes not so effective, creative techniques. The methods for marketing cars have changed dramatically over the past 120 years. These days, we’re bombarded from all angles with slick videos, flashy print ads and more online content than we could ever possibly consume. It all began with very simple adverts, produced soon after motor vehicles were invented. The first ever car advert in a US publication appeared in the July 30, 1898 issue of Scientific American magazine and featured the headline “Dispense with a horse” and simply sold the benefits of the Winton Motor Carriage. In 1912, Henry Ford said: “Ford advertising never attempts to be clever.”

Selling this aspirational dream of the good life, still a staple of American automotive advertising, became a more generalized force during the post-war boom. Impossibly elongated Buicks, Plymouths, and Pontiacs were posed in front of streamlined modern homes, nightclubs, and swimming pools, as emblems of the era’s suburban surfeit. The first ads for imports such as VW’s Beetle, with their famously minimal “Lemon” and “Think Small” campaigns, were an intentional undermining of that consumptive delusion, symptomatic of a countercultural youth trend that would result in both hippies and yuppies joining the foreign car bandwagon. Towards the second half of the 20th century, car advertising was already a professional area for photographers. The first studio photoshoots took place in the 1980s and showed a completely new side of cars. One full of elegance and style. These were the years in which automobile ads reached their peak in numbers. There were cases when one magazine would feature between twenty and twenty-five car ads in one issue.

Abarth Exhausts

Abarth Exhausts

AC Cars

AC Cars

Alfa Romeo Alfetta

Alfa Romeo Alfetta

Alpine Car Audio

Alpine Car Audio

Alvis

Alvis

Amante

Amante

AMC Gremlin

AMC Gremlin

AMCO Accessories

AMCO Accessories

Amilcar

Amilcar

Aqua Velva After Shave

Aqua Velva After Shave

ARAL

ARAL

Arnolt-Bristol

Arnolt-Bristol

Aston Martin DB4

Aston Martin DB4

Audi Fox

Audi Fox

Austin 1100

Austin 1100

Austin-Healey

Austin-Healey

Austin Marina

Austin Marina

Automotive Products

Automotive Products

Autolite Plugs

Autolite Plugs

Avenger GT12

Avenger GT12

Aztek 7

Aztek 7

Beck Arnley Belts

Beck Arnley Belts

Bell Helmets

Bell Helmets

Bentley

Bentley

Berkeley

Berkeley

BF Goodrich Tires

BF Goodrich Tires

Bilstein Shocks

Bilstein Shocks

BMC

BMC

BMW Motorsports

BMW Motorsports

BMW Bavaria

BMW Bavaria

Bob Challman

Bob Challman

Bocar XP-5

Bocar XP-5

Borg & Beck

Borg & Beck

Bosch Sparkplugs

Bosch Sparkplugs

Brabham

Brabham

Brand Lotus

Brand Lotus

British Petroleum

British Petroleum

Bradley GT

Bradley GT

Buick Lincoln MKX

Buick Lincoln MKX

Burago Die-cast

Burago Die-cast

Cadillac

Cadillac

Caltex fuels

Caltex fuels

Camel cigarettes

Camel cigarettes

Castrol Oil

Castrol Oil

Champion Sparkplugs

Champion Sparkplugs

Chevrolet Corvette

Chevrolet Corvette

Chevrolet El Camino

Chevrolet El Camino

Chevrolet Monza 2+2

Chevrolet Monza 2+2

Chevy Sport

Chevy Sport

Citroen DS19

Citroen DS19

Citroen ID19

Citroen ID19

Classic Motor Carriages

Classic Motor Carriages

Continental Tires

Continental Tires

Coenen Seatbelts

Coenen Seatbelts

Conquest TSi

Conquest TSi

Coors Beer

Coors Beer

Cyclone

Cyclone

DAF Daffodil

DAF Daffodil

Datsun 240Z

Datsun 240Z

Day of the Champion

Day of the Champion

De Tomaso Pantera

De Tomaso Pantera

Delage

Delage

DeLorean

DeLorean

Devin

Devin

DKW F12

DKW F12

Dodge Dart Demon

Dodge Dart Demon

Dodge Charger

Dodge Charger

Dodge Viper SRT

Dodge Viper SRT

Don Eapsco

Don Eapsco

Duckhams

Duckhams

Dyna Panhard

Dyna Panhard

Eagle SX/4

Eagle SX/4

Ebay Motors

Ebay Motors

ELF Oil

ELF Oil

EMPI Imp

EMPI Imp

Enco

Enco

Esso

Esso

Falken Tires

Falken Tires

Ferodo

Ferodo

Boardwalk Ferrari

Boardwalk Ferrari

FIAT 128SL

FIAT 128SL

Fiberfab

Fiberfab

Firestone Tires

Firestone Tires

First National City

First National City

Fittipaldi Wheels

Fittipaldi Wheels

Ford

Ford

Ford Capri II 'S'

Ford Capri II 'S'

Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang

Ford Ranger

Ford Ranger

Gabriel Shocks

Gabriel Shocks

Gates Tires

Gates Tires

GLAS

GLAS

GMC Truck

GMC Truck

GM Parts

GM Parts

Gold Leaf Team Lotus

Gold Leaf Team Lotus

Goodyear Tires

Goodyear Tires

GP Experience

GP Experience

Grand Prix the Movie

Grand Prix the Movie

Griots Garage

Griots Garage

Gulf Oil

Gulf Oil

Hagerty

Hagerty

Harley Davidson TX-125

Harley Davidson TX-125

Hertz

Hertz

Hillman/Rootes

Hillman/Rootes

Honda Coupe

Honda Coupe

Honda Motorcycles

Honda Motorcycles

Hot Wheels

Hot Wheels

Hummer H3

Hummer H3

Hurst Shifters

Hurst Shifters

Infiniti M

Infiniti M

International Harvester

International Harvester

Isuzu Impulse

Isuzu Impulse

Jaguar XJ6

Jaguar XJ6

Jaguar F-type

Jaguar F-type

Javelin-AMX

Javelin-AMX

Jeep Commando

Jeep Commando

Jensen Healey

Jensen Healey

John Player Special

John Player Special

Koni Shocks

Koni Shocks

L&M Cigarettes

L&M Cigarettes

Lagonda

Lagonda

Lancia

Lancia

Land Rover

Land Rover

Lea-Francis

Lea-Francis

Lexus VDIM

Lexus VDIM

Lincoln Versailles

Lincoln Versailles

Loctite

Loctite

Lola

Lola

Lotus Cars

Lotus Cars

Lotus Engineering

Lotus Engineering

Lucas

Lucas

Maserati Ghibli

Maserati Ghibli

Mazda RX7

Mazda RX7

Mehari

Mehari

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz

Mercury

Mercury

Mercedes-Benz Classic

Mercedes-Benz Classic

MGB

MGB

Michelin

Michelin

Mini Cooper S

Mini Cooper S

Mobil Oil

Mobil Oil

Momo Steering Wheels

Momo Steering Wheels

Monroe Shocks

Monroe Shocks

Morris

Morris

Motorcraft Parts

Motorcraft Parts

Motor Trend

Motor Trend

Mustang

Mustang

NASCAR

NASCAR

NGK Sparkplugs

NGK Sparkplugs

Nikon Cameras

Nikon Cameras

Nissan Nismo

Nissan Nismo

Oldsmobile 442

Oldsmobile 442

Opel GT

Opel GT

Palmer Tyres

Palmer Tyres

Penzoil

Penzoil

Peugeot

Peugeot

Philips

Philips

Pirelli

Pirelli

Pirelli - JPS BMW

Pirelli - JPS BMW

Plymouth Sport Fury

Plymouth Sport Fury

Plymouth Arrow

Plymouth Arrow

Pontiac Firebird

Pontiac Firebird

Porsche 924

Porsche 924

Pure Citation

Pure Citation

Purolator

Purolator

Quaker State

Quaker State

Renault 5

Renault 5

Renault Gordini

Renault Gordini

Rexin

Rexin

Riley

Riley

Rislone Additive

Rislone Additive

Rob Walker Garages

Rob Walker Garages

Ronrico Rum

Ronrico Rum

Rolex Watches

Rolex Watches

Rolls Royce

Rolls Royce

Rootes

Rootes

SAAB

SAAB

Sears Tires

Sears Tires

Sebring

Sebring

Semperit Tires

Semperit Tires

Shelby Cobra GT

Shelby Cobra GT

Shelby Accessories

Shelby Accessories

Shell

Shell

Simca

Simca

Simoniz Polish

Simoniz Polish

Simpson

Simpson

Skoda

Skoda

Smiths Industries

Smiths Industries

Spark-O-Matic

Spark-O-Matic

STP Oil Treatment

STP Oil Treatment

Studebaker Avanti

Studebaker Avanti

Studebaker-Packard

Studebaker-Packard

Subaru

Subaru

Sunoco

Sunoco

Sunoco Action

Sunoco Action

Suzuki TS

Suzuki TS

Talbot Sunbeam

Talbot Sunbeam

TEK Hypo

TEK Hypo

Toyota Celica GT

Toyota Celica GT

Tracta

Tracta

Triumph TR8

Triumph TR8

Turtle Wax Polish

Turtle Wax Polish

TVR

TVR

Union Gasoline

Union Gasoline

Unipart

Unipart

Valvoline Oil

Valvoline Oil

Van Der Steen

Van Der Steen

Vicks

Vicks

Vokaro

Vokaro

Volvo 164

Volvo 164

VW Scirocco

VW Scirocco

VW Vanagon

VW Vanagon

Viceroy Cigarettes

Viceroy Cigarettes

Vredestein Tyres

Vredestein Tyres

Wynn's

Wynn's

Yenko Vega Stinger

Yenko Vega Stinger

Yokohama

Yokohama

Yugo

Yugo