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May
17
Classic Ads From 1985

1985 Buick Electra

Which of the following events was more jarring? The addition of Elmo to the cast of Sesame Street, or the introduction of a front-wheel-drive Buick Electra? Both events, coincidentally, took place in 1985, and both events were met with a certain amount of grumbling.

Apr
23
1984 Hurst/Olds, Sporty Car Ads

1984 Hurst/Olds

If you were looking for a diverse collection of affordable sporty cars, you’d probably want to set the time-machine dial for 1984. You would be hard pressed to find a broader collection of fun-to-drive rides at any time other than the mid Eighties.

Mar
16
1983 Ford Thunderbird

1983 Ford Thunderbird

I graduated from high school in 1983. The third year of President Ronald Reagan’s first term was pretty good to me—I spent the summer working full time at a service station, I starting taking classes at a local junior college, and I spent a considerable amount of time looking at, reading about, and talking about cars.

Feb
02
Classic Ads 1982, Car Ads From 1982

1982 Dodge Charger 2.2

There is an air of parsimony to the automotive print ads of 1982. Take in all of the examples and take note of the following:

Dec
04
1982 Imperial

1982 Imperial

If you’re looking for proof that 1982 was a transitional year for the domestic auto industry, check out the dealer sales-training video for the then-new Chevrolet Cavalier below. It’s worth noting that Chevy’s cutting-edge front-drive subcompact car is being promoted with two-tone paint and white sidewall tires.

Nov
03
1981 Ford LTD, Classic Ads From 1981

1981 Ford LTD

As far as recessions go, the economic dip of the early Eighties wasn’t much of a downturn. Apparently the Fed overdid it a bit, and tightened the money supply a bit more than banks and lenders liked.

Oct
24
1980 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Classic Ads From 1980

1980 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

The rollout of General Motors’ broad lineup of “X-Car” compact cars for 1980–which consisted of four separate vehicle lines spread across four brands–was a big event in the American automotive industry. Not surprisingly, GM backed up its ambitious new product initiative with a massive presence in TV and magazine advertising.

Sep
28
1979 Oldsmobile Starfire

1979 Oldsmobile Starfire

By 1979, there was light visible at the end of the tunnel for performance-car enthusiasts. Though horsepower was still wanting in most cases, cars were growing leaner, and arguably better built.

Sep
20
Classic Ads From 1978

1978 Pontiac Bonneville

If you’re looking for a common thread to sew this collection of ads together, it may be luxury–or, more correctly, the perception of luxury.

Sep
07
1977 Dodge Charger, Ads From 1977

1977 Dodge Charger

In general terms, the late-Seventies/early-Eighties “downsizing” era is generally regarded as a bleak period for the American auto industry, and for good reason. As they raced to slash production costs and reduce fuel consumption, carmakers often shrank their products to a draconian degree–much to the dismay of the buying public.