Nov
26
Depression Era Car Ads

1938 Graham

Though American automobile industry was fully established–and thriving–by the time the 1920s rolled around, the auto business was still relatively young when the Great Depression settled upon the nation at the tail end of that free-wheeling decade. After an extended period of economic growth and prosperity, carmakers found themselves needing to retool their carefully crafted advertising to cope with the new realities of severe economic turmoil.

Toward the end of October 1929, the stock market suffered a 25-percent drop in value over just two days. Public confidence in the economy quickly eroded, as even banking and industry barons failed to right the downward plunge in stock values. Thus began a decade-long period of stunted economic growth, and, for many Americans, considerable hardship.

The buying public, even those who remained gainfully employed, became wary of large purchases–especially automobiles. To compensate for this shift in consumer habits, automakers were largely forced to abandon ad programs designed to promote performance and luxury, and instead began calling attention to modest starting prices and low costs of operation.

It seems odd now to see Chrysler and Pontiac ads promoting those vehicles as part of the “low-priced field.”

And though Lincoln advertising of the time seemed to ignore the county’s fragile economic climate, even Packard ads yielded to the need to justify the cost of the luxury automaker’s cars. One ad below touts Packard’s “$100 price reduction,” and a payment plan.

For your consideration, we have collected 20 Depression-era car ads–give them a look and tell us what you think. Strange times, indeed.

More classic car ads

 

Depression-Era Car Ads

1930 Ford Truck

Depression Era Car Ads

1930 Ford Truck Ad

Travel Madness! A Gallery of Classic Rental Car Ads

 

1932 Chevrolet

1932 Chevrolet Ad

1932 Chevrolet Ad

Memory Lapse Madness! A Gallery of Forgotten Car Ads

 

1933 Dodge

Depression Era Car Ads

1933 Dodge Ad

Thanksgiving Madness! A Gallery of Autumn-Themed Auto Ads

 

1933 Pontiac

1933 Pontiac Ad

1933 Pontiac Ad

Pigskin Madness! A Gallery of Football-Themed Auto Ads

 

1934 Ford

Depression Era Car Ads

1934 Ford Ad

Forward Look Madness! A Gallery of Classic Plymouth Ads

 

1934 Packard

Depression Era Car Ads

1934 Packard Ad

 

1934 Pontiac

Depression Era Car Ads

1934 Pontiac Ad

Dynaflow Madness! A Gallery Of Classic Buick Ads

 

1934 Pontiac

Depression Era Car Ads

1934 Pontiac Ad

Performance Madness! 10 Classic Car Ads Featuring Horsepower Numbers

 

1935 Hudson

1935 Hudson Ad, Depression Era Car Ads

1935 Hudson Ad

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

 

1935 Plymouth

Depression Era Car Ad

1935 Plymouth Ad

Hollywood Madness! 12 Classic Celebrity Car Commercials

 

1936 Nash

Depression Era Car Ads

1936 Nash Ad

CVCC Madness! A Gallery Of Classic Honda Ads

 

1936 Cadillac

1936 Cadillac Ad, LaSalle, Fleetwood, Depression Era Car Ads

1936 Cadillac Ad

Model-Year Madness! 15 Sporty Car Ads from 1984

 

1937 Cadillac

1936 Cadillac Ad

1937 Cadillac Ad

Model-Year Madness! 12 Classic Ads From 1985

 

1938 Chrysler

Depression Era Car Ads

1938 Chrysler Ad

Pony-Car Madness! A Gallery of AMC Javelin Ads

 

1938 Graham

Depression Era Car Ads

1938 Graham Ad

4WD Madness! 10 Classic Lada Niva Ads

 

1938 Packard

Depression Era Car Ads

1938 Packard Ad

Pentastar Madness! A Gallery of Classic Chrysler Ads

 

1938 Plymouth

Depression Era Car Ads

1938 Plymouth Ad

Micro Madness! A Gallery of Classic Mini Car Ads

 

1938 Studebaker

1938 Studebaker, Depression Era Car Ads

1938 Studebaker Ad

Cocktail Madness! A Gallery of Cars in Liquor Ads

 

1939 Oldsmobile

1938 Oldsmobile Ad

1939 Oldsmobile Ad

Quicksilver Madness! 15 Classic Mercury Ads

 

1939 Plymouth

1939 Plymouth Ad, Depression-Era Car Ads

1939 Plymouth Ad

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Depression-Era Car Ads