I’ll be frank: I collect car ads in different folders with the intention of finding a sufficient number of similar ads to create a blog-post gallery. The ads shared here? Well, I’m having the blog-post equivalent of a fire sale. I love these ads, but I can’t really see them becoming part of any article with anything like a coherent theme.
So, with that in mind, please enjoy this random collection of strange and obscure car ads. And, if any of these cars strikes a chord for any reason, drop us a note. The please to leave comments is down below.
Strange and Obscure Car Ads
1956 Dodge La Femme
I don’t know how many single women were buying Dodges in the mid-Fifties, but I can’t see too many husbands approving of the addition of a La Femme to the family motor pool. Guys weren’t going to drive this thing, and reselling this had to be a nightmare. Additionally, I suspect that professional women in a position to purchase a vehicle back then found the whole concept of a lady’s car somewhat insulting.
1960 Checker Superba
I’ve often wondered why Checker was never successful selling cars on a retail level. Of course, if we’re being honest, this thing is rather homely, and at the price advertised above, the Superba cost $300 more than the cheapest Chevy.
1974 Renault Gordini
Let’s just be honest with each other here… I don’t remember this thing, and neither do you.
1975 Volkswagen Thing
Once you get past the Nazi stigma, this is a really cool ride. VW Things are very collectible.
1977 Triumph Spitfire
Credit Triumph for this painfully honest and self-aware ad. Triumph ceased building most of the cars in its portfolio in 1981.
1979 Bonanza Bandit
I spent some time in one of these, and it was pretty cool. As I understand it, the few of these built were all based on Toyota mini pickups like the one pictured in this ad, though most were not equipped with the spoilers and flares, or the cool wheels. There are a surprising number of survivors available for sale, should you be interested in an underpowered camper equipped with a really small restroom.
1987 Zimmer Classic Coupe
If I wanted to relive the “classic era of grand motorcars,” I wouldn’t buy one of these perverse Ford Mustang-based creations. Here, Zimmer answers the question, “What might a hearse pace car look like?”
If I have my Avanti history correct, the 1988 edition of the no-longer-in-any-way-a-Studebaker coupe was built on a Chevrolet Caprice chassis and powered by a 305-cubic-inch V8. Solid bits, but hardly the stuff of dreams.
You know the launch was botched when a new brand has to resort to selling on price just two model years in. Odd that I still occasionally see one of these on the road.
1991 Daihatsu Rocky
Yes, this is an ad for a forgotten U.S.-market vehicle, but there’s something interesting in the text you might want to take note of. In the first line, the Rocky is referred to as “widetrack.” This is a direct result of the Suzuki Sidekick rollover scare of a few years earlier. Apparently the Daihatsu folks felt the public would perceive a wider little ute as safer than a narrow one.
1996 Isuzu Oasis
Basically a first-generation Honda Odyssey disguised as an Isuzu, the short-lived Oasis would be the only minivan ever marketed by Isuzu. Per an article on Autotrader.com, the Honda Odyssey outsold the Oasis by a ratio of 33-to-1.
1996 Suzuki X-90
I’m pretty sure it was the X-90‘s odd shape that kept buyers away. I suspect that when this ad was created, the folks at Suzuki hadn’t quite figured that out yet.
Strange and Obscure Car Ads Gallery
(Click below for enlarged images)
Obscure Car Ads
Obscure Car Ads