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Our Love for Cars

Published: January 20, 2012

From the early 1900s through the 1960s and beyond, Saturday Evening Post covers have shown that we are definitely a car nation.

“Women, Auto & Mechanic” by Karl Anderson

Women, Auto & Mechanic by Karl Anderson from March 26, 1904


"Women, Auto & Mechanic"
by Karl Anderson
From March 26, 1904


These well-dressed ladies from a 1904 cover seem to be in need of a mechanic. Love those tires!

“The Fur Coat” by John Sheridan

“The Fur Coat” – by John Sheridan From January 5, 1918


"The Fur Coat"
by John Sheridan
From January 5, 1918


This beautiful cover from 1918 was by artist John Sheridan. Magazine covers such as this one gave a glance into a lifestyle most Americans could not otherwise imagine. This issue was full of the ongoing dreadful news of WWI. It also contained a great deal of fiction and a surprising number of car ads, including the ad below for the “Rex” automobile.

“REX Automobile Ad” from January 5,1918

"REX Automobile Ad" From January 5,1918


"REX Automobile Ad"
From January 5,1918

If you love old car ads, see “Have You Heard of These Classic Cars?”

“Caught in the Rain” by Albert W. Hampson

 “Caught in the Rain” by Albert W. Hampson From August 29, 1936


"Caught in the Rain"
by Albert W. Hampson
From August 29, 1936


“4 Wheels—No Brakes” is written on top of this jalopy from 1936. Apparently, there is no top, either. Love the facial expressions—clearly the young lady has had better dates.

“Ford V-8 Ad from 1936″

Ford V-8 from 1936


"Ford V-8 ad"
from August 1936

Much nicer than the brakeless heap with no top was the Ford V-8, as shown in this beautiful ad from August 1936.

“Parallel Parking” by Thornton Utz

“Parallel Parking” by Thornton Utz from April 1,1950


"Parallel Parking"
by Thornton Utz
from April 1,1950

Post editors asked artist Thornton Utz if the lady behind the wheel on this 1950 cover might be his wife. He recoiled in horror: “Oh no! Don’t say that!” The editors, who loved to tease cover artists, countered with something about women drivers in general. The artist begged that they not say that, either. Whoever the anonymous lady was, she was clearly determined to nab that last parking spot in front of the market.

“Packard Automobile Ad” from April 1, 1950

“Packard Automobile Ad” from April 1, 1950


"Packard Automobile Ad"
from April 1, 1950

Among the car ads in that issue was this one for a 1950 Packard Eight Deluxe 135-HP Touring Sedan:

If you want to see some beautiful old Packard ads, see our piece on “Classic Car Ads: The Packard”

“Backup Collision” by Stevan Dohanos

“Backup Collision” by Stevan Dohanos From August 4, 1956


"Backup Collision"
by Stevan Dohanos
From August 4, 1956

It’s easy enough to see how this could happen. Love the depiction of 1956 suburbia, including the man with the push mower. He seems to be wisely staying out of it. Unless one of the drivers is his wife and he is simply in shock.

“Speeder on the Median” by Richard Sargent

"Speeder on the Median" by Richard Sargent From June 2, 1962


"Speeder on the Median"
by Richard Sargent
From June 2, 1962


It wouldn’t be so bad if the guy on the mower wasn’t so smug-looking. Oh, who are we kidding? Even without the “Excuse My Dust” smirk on the mower’s face, it is still discouraging to have your zippy roadster—shall we say—“outclipped” by a lawnmower.

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  • Bob Mackie

    Great pictures

  • Bob McGowan

    These are all great selections Diana! I too love the tires on the car, AND the Harrison Fisher-style look of the cover overall. Fisher (and Karl Anderson) are two personal favorites of the early 1900′s.

    John Sheridan’s cover of the well-to-do during World War l is striking. I wish I could have seen more of the car (LOVE the “propeller” style wheels)! As an animal lover though, the fur coat kinda makes me cringe. It is beautiful to look at, if only it were faux, right? If only..

    With the Rex car ad, I’d never heard of it before. Indeed, when I clicked the link, I’d never heard of those makes either but would love to know more. Regardless of that, I love the ads AND the beautiful logos of the auto’s name they used back then. Today, Ford is about the only company that still uses the original logo.

    Being ‘Caught in the Rain’ with the top down–the young lady’s face says it all. LOVE Hampson’s artwork!! Obviously this was a really old car by 1936. He needed a newer car; at least a mid-late ’20s model.

    Great ’36 Ford ad. Love the artwork AND the car itself. Beautiful–especially in that bronze color. I saw a restored ’36 Ford (coupe) getting gas just a few weeks ago!

    Love this Utz cover from 1950. It’s a miracle the driver didn’t cause an accident here! The detail is incredible. It also has an Alajalov quality to it I really like as well.

    The “Backing Out” cover is hilarious. NOTHING to block your view like all of the big, ugly, monsterous trucks/SUV’s we have to deal with today and they STILL had an accident. No sidewalks. The grass goes right out to the pavement. Wow.

    Always love Richard Sargent’s covers usually featuring irony. This one has it in spades. Let’s hope the editors of the magazine today do a lot more irony/fun covers. The 21st centuy isn’t exactly fun (okay, it’s terrible) but it’s got more irony than ever!