Cheesy Car Ads


What makes 50s car ads cheesy? It could be that look to a lifestyle we no longer recognize such as men in hats and women in headscarves, or it could be the convoluted way they say things. Some examples can be seen below.

What about “super-sonic sleekness exciting the most spirited imagination”? (The Oldsmobile’s Golden Rocket) or even “the way it looks, handles and makes you feel” (Mustang). Indeed no one seems to advertise a car nowadays on how the car handles, possibly because it is a subjective thing. But it certainly gave the 50’s driver a good reason to part with their dollars.

When in doubt maybe you might describe your car as the “greatest ever” as a ’73 version of the Volvo decided to do. (There’s some strange copy in their advert “the more comfier you are (sic), the safer you and your family are”). It might just be wishful thinking?

car-hop-4398145_1920Some pieces of copy might need you to become more interested in cars than you really are. “The best thing to happen to the 6 cylinder engine” – Chrysler Dodge. Why does it need to be a 6 cylinder engine? Would it be not so good if it was 7 cylinders? The 6 cylinder is apparently set at 30 degrees to produce a “bigger manifold system”. We’re not sure on the science, or really what they are going on about. To save a trip to the dictionary, the word manifold means “many and various” so it has the same meaning as system really.

It seems bizarre that advertisers would ever show cross-sections of cars to the public just to make them sell, but you need to remember that this might just possibly be the only car the driver would buy in their lifetime and it helped them to know it was reliable, even if they didn’t understand all the jargon involved. It was a case of “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” – if a picture of a car’s inside worked before it must surely work again?

You’d worry nowadays if an engine said it had “hurricane power” but that seemed to be all right for the Willys-Overland Jeepster. For those who have not heard of the vehicle a Jeepster only was manufactured for two years as was designed as a cross between a convertible and a SUV. Put like that, it’s no wonder they didn’t catch on.

7g1zht0uxthxtiYou’ve got to love it when advertisers decide to highlight the most mundane items –for instance a Foam-Rubber Seat in a Mercury with the name “Lounge-Rest.” (Leather had yet to become the most obvious material for car seats). Strangely the carburettor has been nicknamed “Econ-O-Miser” because it doesn’t use that much gas, which seemed a common theme in writing copy for these types of advertisement.

A big thing seemed to be the way cars could “go for miles” on just thimblefuls of gas – this was before things like the Lanham Act, so it was much easier to lie at that time. Not that today’s advertisers tell the whole truth.



Cool Car Series: Red ’65 Mustang Coup


(Note: interview date 7/11/18 at brewed awakening)


In this installment of our series on Cool Cars and their owners, I bring you Rick Randall and his 1965 Mustang. I’m super excited for today’s cool car interview because I think Rick represents a group of classic car enthusiast we don’t run into regularly. I think as you read on, many of our readers will think to themselves, this guy’s a lot like me.

The Interview:

So Rick, how did you happen to acquire this car? My parents were out driving one day and my dad saw it at a car lot. It wasn’t in perfect condition but it was in pretty good shape for a car its age. You could tell that someone had done some work to try to restore it but not so much too much. It still felt original. So my dad bought it and had it transported to his place (in Toppenish, WA.)

So, he just felt like buying you a car?

No. He got it for himself initially. The first car he ever owned was a 65 Mustang and he fell in love with this car. He put seatbelts in it because they didn’t include those in 1965. He also changed out some cracked mirrors and when I visited we put new panels inside the doors. He left so much of it original, like the original matt for under the spare…the actual spare tire is original even.

16633Did your dad have any particular goal in mind like restoring it, or was he just being nostalgic? (Not that there’s anything wrong with wanted to own a car just to look at it.)

He did intend to drive it some. He and my mom entered a Toppenish Days Car Show in 2007, they hold it on the 4th of July…anyway it got a big blue ribbon. It’s just a great car and a lot of people, myself included, really prefer an original design even if it means living without some of the popular hotrod modifications people do. I mean this is a six-cylinder and as far as we can tell that’s probably the exact engine it came with, there are people who’d rip that out and put in a V8 so they can get more of a 280 vibe from it, but I don’t think it needs that. I actually think in a few years the six’s will be the more rare car. BUT I’m not really looking at it for investment—that’s not my driving force.

So how did it become your car?

Dad loves it but his health is his focus right now and he’s not the type to own something that sits around, so he asked if I’d like it. I ran it past my wife and she was as happy as I was. Her first car was a 65 mustang too. So we bought it, I mean we got a nice family discount but I don’t mind paying for something like this.

So your dad did some shows in on the East side of the state, have you guys done any?

Yes, my wife and I were in a parade on 82nd representing the Historic Parkrose Neighborhood, we couldn’t actually enter to win anything since we were there to represent a nonprofit, but it was neat to drive down the middle of the road and wave at folks. Then we also did Battle Ground Days.

Are you going to do more car shows then?

Well, probably not. They’re kind of fun, but then you have to be there all day. I have other things to do most of the time so about 4pm I’m ready to head out and I’m obligated to stay another three hours. It’s just not my thing for that long.

16634Now we do sometimes catch an event at PIR, (Portland International Raceway), it’s sponsored by Beaches Restaurant and they have drag races and booths and other attractions. If you drive a classic car there you get closer parking and discounted tickets. It’s totally worth it.

You but mainly I love owning this car just for the joy of it. I drive it to get gas and whatnot. Make sure the tires stay round and the fluids don’t settle too long. The engine probably needs some extra love, but we just moved and have had other places for our money and time. But I can see it on the horizon (he says with a smile), I’ll be spending some money on the engine pretty soon—it’s a fifty-year-old car.

Speaking of which, is there any culture shocks in driving it compared to your daily driver?

Oh of course. The steering wheel, well there’s no such thing as power anything in those days, so you feel it. But not only that, just going straight down the road you can move the wheel most of an inch either way and not affect your direction. And the breaks. You can feather them some, but pretty much they’re on or off.

Are you going to continue to restore it? I mean beyond getting the engine work to keep it operational?

Probably. I’m definitely keeping it original for the most part but there’s no radio at all. They make a radio that looks age appropriate for the car with manual buttons and dials, etc. but hidden inside it’s blue tooth equipped so you can push music from your phone. We’re planning on that at some point in the near future.

You going to build it a glass garage to keep it safe? ( I ask half joking.)

Nope, the new place has a three-car garage so it’s secure and I’m one of those guys who still put a cloth cover over it in a garage. That’s about as paranoid as I’ll get. I mean it’s pretty easy to scratch your paint job with keys or what not.

Speaking of paint jobs, that’s not its original color. There’s a little metal plaque in the door that tells you things like VIN and exact paint color, etc. Well, it’s supposed to be blue, but someone did a nice job on the paint so we’re leaving it red.



Well, that was it for our interview. The thing I found refreshing about this cool car interview is that most of the people I meet at roadster shows are retired. That’s just who has the time and money to indulge this sort of hobby. But there’s also a lot of folks like Rick who appreciate the classic design and find enjoyment in it even if they lack the time to show it off. Nothing wrong with either plan, it’s just harder to find someone like Rick because they’re busy working. So from all of us at the Kicker Blog, thank you, Rick, for letting us interview you and thanks for the pictures of your sweet ride.