Advertising the 1970s: These Car Ads Define a Nation Desperately Trying to Enjoy Itself

FotorCreated

As the revolutionary social climate of the 1960s began to lose steam under the weight of its own idealism, the once razor-sharp line between the counterculture and straight-laced America began to blur. By the time we hit the ’70s, the two had melded into an avocado-and-burnt-orange-hued decade of bell-bottomed and puka-shelled self-exploration. For a visual timeline of this decade-long transformation, one need look no further than the advertisements on the pages of Car and Driver. What starts out largely with straight talk and black and white imagery quickly plunges into clever (and not-so-clever) innuendo and “hip” branding illustrated with full-color graphics influenced by—and in a few instances created by—’70s psychedelic-art icon and Corvette-hoarder Peter Max.

Although a pair of gas shortages and the 1974 enactment of a national 55-mph speed limit spurred advertisements for citizens’-band radios and fuel-saving devices of dubious effectiveness, the overall message remained predominately the same: A life without sweet wheels/tunes/tires/glasspacks/babes/smokes/brewskis is not a life worth living. By mid-decade, Ford zeroed in on the national vibe and struck paydirt with a series of van ads featuring a group of shirtless, shoeless, and mellow studs chilling with their babes après surf, inadvertently turning the act of violating the “No Shirt, No Shoes” shop-window proviso into a competitive sport.

If you lived through the 1970s, salute; if you didn’t, take a few minutes to look through the collection here and get a taste of what you missed. Note: You can click or tap the ads to enlarge.

 

Panasonic Model RS-820S – February 1971

Panasonic Model RS-820S advertisement

 

 

Snap-On – April 1971

1971-04001

 

 

Subaru – April 1971

197104-001

 

 

Maremont Cherry Bomb – May 1971

1971-05001

 

 

Dayton Daytona Sport – May 1971

Dayton Daytona Sport advertisement

 

 

General Electric 500XL – May 1971

GE General Electric 500XL advertisement

 

 

Goodyear Polyglas tires – June 1971

Goodyear Polyglas tires advertisement

 

 

Honda Motosport 125 (SL-125) – June 1971

Honda Motorsport (SL125) motorcycle advertisement

 

 

Firestone Mini Sport – July 1971

Firestone Mini Sport tires advertisement

 

 

Gulf Oil Company – August 1971

Gulf Oil Company advertisement with Steve McQueen and Porsche 917

 

 

READ MORE: 44 of the Most Bodacious Car Ads of the 1980s

 

 

Cox Models Eliminator 2 – October 1971

Cox Models Eliminator 2 model advertisement

 

 

Jeep Commando – November 1971

Jeep Commando advertisement

 

 

Volvo 1800E – November 1971

Volvo P1800 / 1800E / 1800ES advertisement

 

 

Beck/Arnley – December 1971

Beck/Arnley clutch advertisement

 

 

Arrow Mach II – February 1972

Arrow Mach II knit clothing advertisement

 

 

Gabriel – March 1972

Gabriel shock absorbers advertisement

 

 

Honda Coupe – April 1972

Honda Coupe (Z600 / 600) advertisement

 

 

Jeep Renegade – May 1972

Jeep Renegade advertisement

 

 

Honda Coupe – May 1972

Honda Coupe (Z600 / 600) advertisement

 

 

Lotus Europa – August 1972

Lotus Europa advertisement

 

 

READ MORE: Advertising the 2000s and 2010s—www.Y2K.org/LOL

 

 

Plymouth Road Runner – October 1972

Plymouth Road Runner advertisement

 

 

Chevrolet Vega GT – November 1972

Chevrolet Vega GT advertisement

 

 

Dodge Challenger – November 1972

Dodge Challenger advertisement

 

 

Sportgrip – December 1972

Sportgrip advertisement

 

 

Speed Equipment World – February 1973

Speed Equipment World advertisement

 

 

Volkswagen Thing – July 1973

Volkswagen Thing advertisement

 

 

Winchester – July 1973

Winchester advertisement

 

 

The Bullworker – September 1973

The Bullworker fitness device advertisement

 

 

Cronus 1 – September 1973

Cronus 1 advertisement

 

 

Brylcreem – January 1974

Brylcreem advertisement

 

 

Winchester – February 1974

Winchester advertisement

 

 

Jaguar E-type – April 1974

1974-04001

 

 

Pirelli – April 1974

Pirelli advertisement

 

 

READ MORE: 45 of the Coolest Chevrolet Camaro Ads of All Time

 

 

Superior Superlug – May 1974

Superior Superlug advertisement

 

 

Bradley GT – May 1974

Bradley GT advertisement

 

 

Stereo Review Model SR12 Stereo Test Record – January 1975

1975-01002

 

 

Dodge Tradesman – May 1975

Dodge Tradesman advertisement

 

 

Mercedes-Benz – July 1975

1975-07-001

 

 

Johnson – April 1976

Johnson CB radio advertisement

 

 

READ MORE: These 1950s Car Advertisements Are Undeniably Cool

 

 

Dodge Street Van – May 1976

Dodge Street Van advertisement

 

 

Ford Econoline – May 1976

Ford Econoline advertisement

 

 

Volvo 265 – May 1977

Volvo 265 advertisement

 

 

Gatorade – July 1977

Gatorade advertisement

 

 

BAP/GEON – July 1977

BAP/GEON import car parts advertisement

 

 

STP Motor Oil – October 1977

STP Motor Oil advertisement

 

 

Realistic TR-802 – October 1977

Realistic TR-802 advertisement

 

 

Bulova – October 1977

1977-10003

 

 

Keystone – May 1978

1978-05001

 

 

International Harvester Scout – December 1978

1978-12002

 

READ MORE: Advertising the 1960s: 40 Excellent Car Ads from the Swinging Sixties

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.