Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood. They don’t call ’em power couples for nothing. And when it comes to automotive art, Art Fitzpatrick and Van Kaufman were the undisputed kings of 1960s advertising.
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wouldn't be cool to have this assortment of real Pontiacs in your garage?...they all look so wide...which was the Pontiac "wide track" promotions...the '61 Bonneville bubble top is one of best full size stying efforts followed closely by GTO's and Firebirds...how sad that GM cancelled the brand when it was the one of the major showroom draws for new customers...
Yes, in the '60s and '70s it was a draw. But Sunbirds, Bonnevilles, Vibes, Grand Ams with so much plastic cladding on the sides and trunks were a stab at trying to revive them. It didn't and they weren't show room draws any more.
The advantage of using an illustration is the ability to slightly "cheat" the size of the car in relation to to the people. This is something that made Volkswagon's "realistic" photo ads so refreshing back in the 60's.
The years from 1961 to 1963 produced some of the most gorgeous cars in Detroit history, just about all of them, from all the mfrs. Especially 1963............ Ford, Chevy, Pontiac, even the Chrysler brands.
I didn't know the honeycombs were an option in 1970 on a Trans Am?
They came on my '73 SD TA when I owned it back throughout the 80's though.
Still have a color copy of the title, 5th digit's an X.
I thought they weren't available until 73 as well, it probably is just the illustration. I have a 75 that I bought off the showroom floor that has the honeycombs, its an auto and I have another 75 stick that does not have them.
Stunning imagery by the masters. I've always wanted to know Fitzpatrick's technique. Was it done in gouache or acrylics? Was any of it airbrushed? There is a lot of highly skilled brushwork going on in the paintings. Can anyone give me links that may go into detail on his technique? Thanks!
It is my understanding that due to the advertising that AF VK did, the goverment took Pontiac to court for faults advertising. Making the cars look wider and, longer Then they are . Your right they where great at what they did. Wide-Track caused the problem . Maybe???
The fins on that '59 Bonneville might not have been the most extravagant in town, but getting that missile-evoking tight V right has been praised as one of the most difficult bits of die stamping ever done on a mass market car. (How the magic happened on the metal-bashing side of the industry, with a then-and-now contrast, would make a good article, if anybody is looking for ideas...)
Thanks for this piece, incidentally. Great ads for cars that were among the most stylish of their day and can still have pride of place in a collector's garage.
I had a 1963 Catalina convertible, got it from dad, son has it now and my grandson has his eye on it. They had some wonderful ads back then and life was very different.
56Tiger: the walls of my bedroom were covered in old car ads. I always wanted my life to be like what I saw in them. Happy people, sunny places, everything perfect in the world.
So much for a 10 year old's fantasy.....
These two gentlemen set the bar for automotive rendering. Every aspiring designer during that era used the AF/VK renderings as inspiration and source material. www.fitz-art.com
Of all the vehicles I have owned, I miss the 68 Ventura the most - Verde Green with a white vinyl top. Would almost trade my 67 GTO convertible for one, well maybe not.
The 70 Trans Am is actually a 71 model. Both the honeycomb wheels and highback bucket seats give it away. The 70 TA was the only second gen with lowback buckets and separate headrests. The years that it took me to find a missing headrest for my 70 TA won't let me forget that detail.
The Silver Firebird is the luxurious "Esprit" version; the blue and white Firebird is the "Trans-Am" version. Each reflects the character an Owner may wish to reflect, yet both are sporty and attractive looking! Superb ads! Fabulous article!
It was all about "arriving." So that the elegant gentleman and those "high born" ladies were seen in places to be seen. I think, though, the Cadillac advertisements of that period with the bejeweled Cadillac "V" in the background, takes conspicuous consumption to an even higher level. Happy day, and thank you, James
Modern Chrysler's best recent ad was the one featuring their old '50s cars and the new ones "arriving" at posh locations.
Exactly what good ads do: create a mystique, desire, an image.
Especially good was Jaguar's ad with Etta James singing "At Last" in the background.
Wow! Lots of wonderful memories there. Beautiful art work, Gorgeous cars and the backgrounds are amazing. I much preferred driving in snow with rear wheel drive than the front wheel drive cars. Go into a skid, steer the opposite direction and the wheels would bite and straighten you right out - no problem! (Lots more fun doing a 380 turn on ice also! )
I would appreciate a series on the early GTO's with the tiger ads.
Specifically 1965 Nightwatch Blue convertible with tripower, 4 speed. I bought this car in Pennsylvania, found out it had a 421 in it, not the original 389.
Unfortunately the big bank fiasco in 2008 caught me unaware and I had to sell it.
I bought a 65 GTO nightwatch blue in 73 for $150 believe or not, needed an engine but still. 389 4 speed, tripower came later. I was 16 at the time, Great memories. The car is now Totally restored in Michigan with new owner
I had never seen the last three from the 70s. I recognized the style from the Pontiac ads in my Dad's old National Geographics [ a car ad lover's dream, BTW ].
Mercury copied this for it's 65 and 66 models "In The Lincoln Continental Tradition": glamorous places, action, sleek expensive looking settings and of course Mercury out front. A blatant imitation but more fun for lovers of car ads who get amped by advertising hype and the "selling of the dream".
You would have just about needed a station wagon to haul around what passed for a car phone in 1968. It was a radio phone and the radio portion of it pretty much filled up the trunk of a full sized car. Beautiful ads.
The glamour cars are long gone now. If Pontiac was still around, the cars would be cookie-cutter cars for GM, just like the rest of the brand. Even Ford and Chrysler have the same basic style as the rest of the world, for the most part. There are no cars made today that I can think of that have the style of 50’s & 60’s cars.
One of my favorite drag "stock" cars at Indianapolis Raceway Park back in the day, was a perfect black 1961 Catalina hardtop with a 4 speed manual tranny that put a lot of others on the towbar or trailer. The guy never missed a shift that I know of.
I've always loved the styling of the 2nd Gen Firebirds, especially the 70-73, but, in full disclosure, I'm rather biased. I have a 1973 brewster green TA SD 455, A/C, M22 close-ratio, tilt, deluxe saddle interior, rear nerf bars, 8-track that I ordered new from the factory in March, 1973 and it's telling me it needs to come out and play soon. The only modifications I have made over the years was a full repaint in 1997 and to replace the original diaphram clutch when it calved many years ago with a Hays Borg & Beck clutch.
Fitz-Van did amazing work. I've got a 1965 Chrysler brochure done by them. They enhanced the vehicles by making them appear lower and wider. Despite their amazing skills, Jim Wanger did not feel this was the way to market the new GTO. He much preferred actual photos. I'm sure if he had his way the cars would be doing burnouts!
The article says that you rarely see a Catalina at Pebble Beach, and you didn't this time, either. If you look at the front fender, it's obviously a Ventura, not a Catalina. My dad used to have a 68 Catalina that I drove when I was in high school. Had a 400 and a four barrel. Good times!