The automobile industry was booming at the beginning of 1917. Recent innovations made cars more appealing to buyers; the 1916 Federal Aid Road Act had just been passed, promising to improve the country’s highways; mass production and ingenuity were driving down prices; and the U.S. had not yet joined World War I.
By 1922, there were more than 175 passenger car builders. Within a few years, that number would decrease sharply as smaller manufacturers founds themselves unable to compete with larger companies. But in January 1917, small manufacturers such as Cole (Indianapolis), Liberty (Detroit), Willys-Knight (Toledo), and Peerless (Cleveland) were gearing up for the big auto shows and advertising heavily to consumers in America’s most-read magazine. Below is a selection of car ads that appeared in the January 6, 1917 issue of The Saturday Evening Post.
If you like these ads, you might be interested in purchasing Automobiles in America: The Early Years, a Saturday Evening Post special collector’s edition.