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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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 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 had a wonderful conversation with Art during 2014. We talked about my 67 GTO and he was kind enough to provide me signed AP's of the 1967 GTO Hardtop Coupe - 'Announcement Ad' and the 1967 GTO Convertible Waikiki for my collection. In addition, he gave me a personalized, signed GeeTO Tiger AP that is awesome! His talent was like no other and his warm personality is missed.
In the late sixties, my uncle and I waited for the arrival of his brother-in-law and sister to meet us for a short vacation at the Torch Tip resort at the northern shore of Torch Lake in Michigan. We waited in his '58 Pontiac for the tell tale vertical headlights of his brother-in-law's Pontiac. They finally appeared on the Northern Michigan roads, and we guided the family to the resort, there was a campfire, and I saw the Milky Way in the northern Michigan sky. I've never been closer to Heaven.
I graduated from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. Some of my instructors there were active artists during this era and the stories they would tell, oh my! Their time was similar to that of the recent series "Madmen". While he wasn't either of these gentlemen, I learned how to properly draw a tire in perspective from one of the best illustrators of his time. It's actually one of the most complicated things a car illustrator had to learn. Of course, I'm referring to the days before computers did all the drawing!
Been a fan of Van and Fitz since I re-discovered them in the early 80's. I was in university at the time studying commercial art, I tried to copy their style whenever I had illustration assignments. Later in life, I've owned a string of Pontiacs and have my kids hooked on them too. Great stuff.
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.
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
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.
That is a 1971 Trans Am ad...note the wheels, high back buckets & the lettering on the shaker. I am lucky enough to have purchased the 1970 T/A print from Fitz several years back at a Pontiac Nationals event. Framed on my wall.
I liked the '59 Pontiac fins. But I can't agree the 1959 Cadillac fins were "arguably the best of all time". I didn't like them in 1959 and still don't like them. Also, at the Beloit, WI Autorama several years ago, one of them attacked me and caused bleeding on the back of my hand!
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!
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!
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.
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.