Jun
19
1963 Oldsmobile Jetfire

1963 Oldsmobile Jetfire

Legendary Chicago Cubs second baseman Ryne Sandberg racked up nine Gold Gloves during his 17-year career as a big-league ball player. That’s a number Ryno can point to with pride, and it’s a number even casual baseball fans can appreciate. Not that the famously modest ex-Cub spends much time defending his career, but if he had to, the stats are there.

Ryne Sandberg All-Star Card

For MLB Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg, his Gold Glove award count serves as a pretty good performance statistic. For carmakers, horsepower has long been a reliable bragging right.

Automakers, however, spend lots of time—and even more money—promoting their wares, and if there’s a number or statistic they can use to help sell a car or truck, expect it to be used. For years, one of easiest numbers for auto advertisers to promote was horsepower. And why not? Horsepower numbers summarize a potentially compelling tale of acceleration, passing power, and highway cruising ease.

Consumers don’t respond to horsepower numbers as much as they once did—we’re more focused on safety and connectivity these days—but through the Sixties, big power numbers were understood to be a serious marketing tool, and those numbers frequently appeared in print advertising.

Collected here are ten classic car ads, each of which  boasts of the potential under the hood. Take note of the rising numbers over the decades, peaking here with a 1966 Chevrolet Corvette ad that mentions 425 horsepower.

 

If you recall an especially entertaining ad that touted horsepower, tell us about it. The place to leave comments is down below.

National-Pastime Madness! A Gallery of Baseball-Themed Auto Ads

 

Car Ads Featuring Horsepower

1930 Willys: 65 Horsepower

1930 Willys

1930 Willys Ad

Hollywood Madness! 12 Classic Celebrity Car Commercials

 

1935 Plymouth: 82 Horsepower

1935 Plymouth

1935 Plymouth Ad

Model-Year Madness! 15 Sporty Car Ads from 1984

 

1940 Hudson: 128 Horsepower

1940 Hudson

1940 Hudson Ad

Worst Car Commercials: The 80s

 

1952 DeSoto: 160 Horsepower

1952 DeSoto, 160 Horsepower

1952 DeSoto Ad

Pony-Car Madness! A Gallery of AMC Javelin Ads

 

1954 Mercury: 161 Horsepower

1954 Mercury Ad

1954 Mercury Ad

4WD Madness! 10 Classic Lada Niva Ads

 

1955 Chevrolet: 180 Horsepower

1955 Chevy Ad

1955 Chevy Ad

Micro Madness! A Gallery of Classic Mini Car Ads

 

1955 Pontiac: 180 Horsepower

1955 Pontiac Ad

1955 Pontiac Ad (Canada)

Pentastar Madness! A Gallery of Classic Chrysler Ads

 

1956 Studebaker Hawk: 275 Horsepower

1956 Studebaker Hawk Ad

1956 Studebaker Hawk Ad

Quicksilver Madness! 15 Classic Mercury Ads

 

1963 Oldsmobile Jetfire: 215 Horsepower

1963 Oldsmobile Jetfire Ad

1963 Oldsmobile Jetfire Ad

Cocktail Madness! A Gallery of Cars in Liquor Ads

 

1966 Chevrolet Corvette: 425 Horsepower

1966 Corvette Ad, Turbo-Jet

1966 Chevrolet Corvette Ad

Nicotine Madness! A Gallery of Cars in Cigarette Ads

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Car Ads Featuring Horsepower