Sep
14
Cowboys in Classic Car Ads

1957 Plymouth

In his 2012 book Fractured Times: Culture and Society in the Twentieth Century, historian Eric Hobsbawm noted, “In terms of literary pedigree, the invented cowboy was a late romantic creation. But in terms of social content, he had a double function: he represented the ideal of individualist freedom pushed into a sort of inescapable jail by the closing of the frontier and the coming of the big corporations.”

If Hobsbawm is correct, the Western/cowboy boom of the Fifties and Sixties represented, to some extent, pushback against the societal homogenization of life in the suburbs, jobs in offices, and shopping in big plazas. Perhaps.

As an avid watcher of Maverick, Gunsmoke, Have Gun – Will Travel, and Rawhide, I can say that it is the simplicity of cowboy life that appeals to me. That, and the clearly defined characters who respond to adversity in predictable ways. The best Western TV shows were parables, and watching them was—and still is—catharsis.

It’s easy to understand why advertisers would want to associate their products with cowboys. Once you get past the poor hygiene and complete disregard for personal comfort, what you see is grit, determination, and a uniquely American cultural moment.

Gathered for you here is a gallery of classic car ads featuring cowboys. You can decide for yourself whether the association with The Old West and dusty trails served to enhance the image of the vehicle presented. The art in these ads, for the most part, is wonderful. Enjoy!

More classic car ads

 

1911 Pierce-Arrow

1911 Pierce-Arrow

1911 Pierce-Arrow Ad

Neigh What? The 1899 Horsey Horseless Carriage

 

1932 Dodge

1932 Dodge Ad

1932 Dodge Ad

1937 DeSoto

1937 DeSoto

1937 DeSoto Ad

Dead-Brand Madness! 10 Classic DeSoto Ads

 

1942 DeSoto

1944 DeSoto

1944 DeSoto Ad featuring 1942 DeSoto

Photo Feature: 1956 DeSoto Firedome Seville

 

1946 Chevrolet

1946 Chevrolet

1946 Chevrolet Ad

Bow-Tie Madness! 12 Classic Chevrolet Ads

 

1957 Avis Rent-A-Car

1957 Ford

Avis ad featuring a 1957 Ford

Travel Madness! A Gallery of Classic Rental Car Ads

 

1957 Ford Ranchero

1957 Ford Ranchero Ad

1957 Ford Ranchero Ad

What If: A Gallery of Alternate-Universe 1957 Ford Ranchero Designs

 

1957 Plymouth

1957 Plymouth

1957 Plymouth Ad

Photo Feature: 1960 Plymouth Fury Hardtop Coupe

 

1957 Pontiac

1957 Pontiac

1957 Pontiac Ad

Poncho Madness! 10 Classic Pontiac Ads

 

1960 Buick

1960 Buick Ad, Wagon, Cowboys, Classic Ads

1960 Buick Ad

Dynaflow Madness! A Gallery Of Classic Buick Ads

 

1960 Rambler

1960 Rambler, Dude Ranch, Cowboys

1960 Rambler Ad

 

1961 Mercury Comet

1961 Ford

1961 Mercury Comet Ad

Quicksilver Madness! 15 Classic Mercury Ads

 

1964 Buick Wildcat

1964 Buick

1964 Buick Wildcat Ad

Forgotten Concept: Buick Cielo

 

1970 Dodge Adventurer

1970 Dodge, Don Knotts, Dodge Ad, Dodge Adventurer,

1970 Dodge Adventurer Pickup Ad

My 5 Favorite Pickups

 

1979 Ford Ranchero

1979 Ford

1979 Ford Ranchero Ad

Car Spotter Challenge: Car-Based Pickups

 

1984 Nissan Pickup

1984 Nissan Ad, Cowboy

1984 Nissan Ad

Compact Madness! A Gallery of Small-Truck Ads

Listen to the very entertaining Consumer Guide Car Stuff Podcast

Gallery of Cowboys in Classic Car Ads