In the early 20th century, The Saturday Evening Post would consistently carry more automobile advertising than any other publication. Perhaps this was why Henry Ford chose its pages to introduce his wonder car, the Model T, which would go on to become one of the most successfully sold automobiles of all time.
Take a look at the evolution of Ford automobiles from the early years through the 1960s, as advertised in The Saturday Evening Post. (For more on the auto industry’s early years, check out Post‘s new special collector’s edition, Automobiles in America!)
The Model T was priced at one half to a third of what other cars cost in 1908.
More than a year after this 1911 ad appeared, Ford introduced the moving assembly line, which allowed him to drop the Model T price l, cut production time exponentially, and increase employee wages.
By 1926, the Model T was losing popularity. Ford added new features and lowered the price to boost sales, but production on the T ended the following year.
Ford introduces his Model A, and sells a million of them by early 1929.
In 1932, Ford introduces the famous flathead engine, which would be used in Ford models for years to come and earned him a letter of endorsement from outlaw Clyde Barrow of Bonnie and Clyde fame.
In 1949, Ford became the first automaker among the Big Three to offer a car that wasn’t just an updated pre-war design.
In the second half of the 20th century, Ford’s frame, suspension, and drive shaft were all new, and the V8 engine was engineered to deliver 100 hp.
To stay competitive, the 1955 Ford offered a body design similar to the popular Chevrolet. The new model also featured a more powerful engine and curved-glass windshields for a panoramic view of the road.
The Thunderbird, a convertible two-seater with a powerful V8 engine, was Ford’s upscale response to the sports-car market opened up by the Chevrolet Corvette.
Longer and lower, the 1957 Ford displayed a modest extended tailfin, a feature that would become characteristic of 1950s automobiles.
In 1964, the Post carried ads that introduced the Ford Mustang, a mid-range sports car with a long hood and short rear deck. In its first year of production, over 400,000 of the “workingman’s Thunderbird” were sold.
The Mustang received a Tiffany Gold Medal for Excellence in Design. But more importantly, it appeared in a James Bond film that year.