Playboy magazine car ads from 1966 show you how to be a REAL man

1967 Mercury Cougar, 1967 Mercury Cyclone, 1967 Ford Mustang magazine ads

Because it’s Playboy in the 1960s, the car ads are extremely manly.

In my role as Chief Justice of the 24 Hours of LeMons Supreme Court, I sometimes receive vintage magazines as generous gifts from racers hoping that I will overlook their questionable budget-stretching antics. At the season-ender at Sears Point last month, I was given a copy of the November, 1966 issue of Playboy Magazine. I was born in 1966 and I own a 1966 Dodge van, so I had to check out the car ads right away. So many great 1967 models available — from the dirt-cheap Beetle to its pricey 912 cousin. Let’s take a look at all the car ads that Playboy readers saw in the fall, 49 years ago.

1967 Mercury Cyclone print ad

The Mercury Cyclone started out as a high-performance version of the Falcon-sibling Comet, but by the 1967 model year it was a separate model and based on the midsize Ford Fairlane. Because Mercury was “the Man’s Car” that year, you could get one with a 390-cubic-inch V8 (while the “4-carb” option sounds like a must-have, it refers to a not-so-exciting single-four-barrel carburetor rather than four separate carburetors) and “His-and-Her Select-Shift Merc-O-Matic” transmission.

1967 Austin-Healey Sprite magazine ad

Also pretty testosterone-soaked was this ad for the Mark IV Austin-Healey Sprite, though it played up the road-race readiness of the microscopic British sports car and its 1,100cc engine. “You’ve got a right to growl when you prowl.”

1967 Ford Mustang magazine ad

Along with an ad for the Mercurified Mustang known as the Cougar (which debuted for the ’67 model year), the Mustang itself gets a full-page color ad in the same issue. Options that say you!

1967 Porsche magazine ad

For 1967, your Porsche dealer could sell you two different flavors of 911 or the cheaper four-cylinder 912.

1967 Volkswagen Beetle magazine ad

The cheapest car advertised in the November 1966 issue was, of course, the Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle. Doyle Dane Bernbach had been doing this series of simple VW ads since 1959 (American soldiers reading this ad in Vietnam could thank DDB for helping to elect the man who sent them there). The ’67 Beetle listed at $1,639, which was just over a third the cost of a Porsche 912 and less than a quarter the cost of a 911S (the ’67 Mercury Cyclone started at $2,737).

1967 Dodge Dart magazine ad

Perhaps the best car-for-the-buck deal seen in any of these ads was the 1967 Dodge Dart. For a price as low as $2,315, just a bit more than that of the Sprite, Dodge buyers could get a Dart 2-door with 273-cubic-inch V8; add a non-insane additional infusion of bucks and they’d get a four-speed gearbox, 8-track player, and other goodies — sure, the Dart wasn’t quite Hugh Hefner-grade swanky, but it was a genuine bargain.

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