Vintage Auto Ads: More from Chevrolet

These full-page Chevrolet ads from 1929 to 1964 show how the automaker evolved to meet the changing tastes of the American middle class.

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Chevrolet produced its first production model in 1913, debuting it at the New York auto show that year. By the late 1920s, Chevrolet was the leading car manufacturer, finally surpassing Ford in 1927. These full-page Chevrolet ads from 1929 to 1964 show how the automaker’s style evolved to meet the changing tastes of the American middle class.

See more vintage Chevrolet ads.

 

Chevrolet ad
August 3, 1929
(Click to Enlarge)

 

Chevy positioned itself as a tool for the working man with this ad for their 1 ½ ton truck, which advertised that it was for “economical transportation.” The devastating stock market crash of October 1929 was still a few months away, and markets were booming despite signs that the economy was shaky.

 

Chevy ad
March 26, 1932
(Click to Enlarge)

 

This March ad titillates with the promise of summer, 60 horsepower, and a “faster, quieter getaway” (perfect for a car that looks as though Bonnie and Clyde would have driven it).

 

Chevy ad
January 16, 1954
(Click to Enlarge)

 

This ad features the 1954 Chevy Bel Air 4-door Sedan. The ’53 and ’54 Bel Airs offered options previously available only in luxury cars, such as headlight dimmers, and power steering, brakes, seats and windows.

 

Ad
April 3, 1954
(Click to Enlarge)

 

Chevy’s advertising tactic for this 1954 spread was to pair their latest sedans against a backdrop of spring flowers. Given the ad’s focus on the cars’ available color combinations and floral flourishes, its likely target was women.

 

Chevy ad
March 19, 1955
(Click to Enlarge)

 

“What could turn a young man’s fancy to thoughts of love quicker than a new Chevrolet!” Chevy splits the difference here, appealing to both the “cold-minded” and the “fanciful” for their new Motoramic Chevrolet, which introduced the auto maker’s first V8 engine.

 

Ad
October 27, 1956
(Click to Enlarge)

 

Here we see an early ad for what would become an automotive icon: the ’57 Chevy. This ad features their top trim line, the Bel Air.

 

Car ad
June 1, 1963
(Click to Enlarge)

 

In this 1963 ad for the Impala, Chevy emphasizes affordable luxury: more than 700 shock and sound deadeners, a new Delcotron generator for a longer lasting battery, and new self-adjusting brakes.

 

Ad
September 28, 1963
(Click to Enlarge)

 

Reflecting the style of the era, the 1964 Impala Super Sport brags of ultra-soft vinyl upholstery and door-to-door deep-twist carpeting. “The whole idea with this new Chevrolet, really, was to see how much luxury and comfort we could add to the car—but still keep it reasonably priced.”

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Comments

  1. Linton, your ’64 Impala does sound heavenly! It’s a major accomplishment you were able to earn/save up $800 toward the $2800 total still being in high school; I’m impressed. I bet you wish you had it now! It would be neat if you could track down it’s location somehow, like adopted children do with their birth moms. Hopefully (of course) the car’s okay 53 years later, even if you can’t find it.

    C. Robert, click on the blue vintage Chevrolet link near the top. There are some other cool ads there including the ’56, ’58 & ’59 not shown here. I know you didn’t care for the ’59. It was a love it or hate it model; the toned down ’60 less so.

    The jet plane siding with “smoke” on the ’60 was the start of their ‘jet smooth’ ad campaign. It was also there as a distraction from the back end. When talking with customers about the styling, the dealers were instructed to keep the customers on either SIDE of the car, thank you, and not the back end!

    There’s a link there that goes into how the already planned ’59 GM cars had to be scrapped (ALL divisions) after some of their guys got a sneak peek at Chrysler’s sleek & finned-out ’57s. An astonishing near 24/7 crash re-do of the ’59s was done between February-May ’57, with the cars being nearly completed in that time, except for trim & minor things.

    It was an overreaction (truthfully) on GM’s part that resulted in those drastically styled cars. People always comment on the Chevy and Cadillac, but seem to forget the Buick was the most far out one of all! With its ‘Chinese’ headlights and Jetsons fins, it was outrageous. It also sold well, and was the first ’59 GM car to be released per the begging of Buick dealers nationwide to GM.

    The ’58 Buick was a complete sales disaster with over-chroming and more. Even the model names were scrapped for new ones like Le Sabre and Invicta. The ad campaign had a French flavor to it. I LOVED the sexy ’60 Buick convertible Don Draper drove in ‘Mad Men’ at one point (ditching daughter Sally’s birthday party I think.) That model was toned down and perfect. The only ’59 that was really tasteful was the Pontiac line, with the exotic AF VK ads. I got to meet both of them years ago. Lots of great stories from GM’s heyday!

  2. In 1958 I was employed by Pan American Petroleum. I was assigned a Bel Air as a field car in the 4 corners on the Navajo res. It was an amazing performer on those remote dirt roads, charging across arroyos. and rough rocky spots. The next year it was replaced by a mew model which I hated!

  3. I owned a 1964 Chevy Impala Convertible. It was silver metallic blue with matching vinyl bench seat interior with a white top. The total price was $2800 to which I made an $800 down payment and financed the $2,000 for two years, $93.00 month. I graduated high school that year and I took the car up to the school and sat in the teachers parking lot with the top down with a buddy of mine. We sat there as ther was a change of classes by the juniors and sphmores, they walked by wondering how a goof off like me could have such a car. It was heaven.

  4. The ad for the ’32 is breathtaking; the car and the artwork is fantastic! You’d never suspect is was from the Depression at all, but it was.

    The ’55 is so beautiful, with that Ferrari-inspired grill and Cadillac-like headlights and front fenders. The background picture is so calm and inviting you just want to stare at all the details of this rural setting.

    The ’57 had Chevy very nervous because it was going up against an all-new Plymouth and Ford for ’57, and the Chevy was, in fact, going into its third year. The model we know as the ’58 was not ready, SO Chevy drastically changed everything except the roofline, trunk lid and basic hood which was dictated.

    The beautiful Bel-Air siding was very clever sleight-of-hand that created an optical illusion of sleekness to an otherwise wide rear quarter panel. The fins accentuated that further.

    The front end was such a knockout that the sum total of this car WAS a brand new car. Not to take any chances, Chevy advertised the hell out of the ’57 with an extensive number of beautiful artwork ads no Chevy’s ever had before or since. It was only outsold by Ford by a scant few cars. By the way, Plymouth (at first) used the tagline ‘Suddenly it’s 1960’! which infuriated GM/Chevrolet, and they were forced to drop it in January ’57.

    Then we have the fantastic ’63 Impala. I’m a coupe guy, but I love the open 4 door ‘coupe’ way more than the 2 door. The car radiates the Jet Age/Space Age with the sexy, matching on the front and rear quarter panels. The taillights are sooo beautiful. The ’63 Ford Galaxie was gorgeous also. With both Ford and Chevy, the ’64 styling was kind of a return to ’62.

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