Jet Smooth Jet Age Advertising from Motown Mad Man Jim Bernardin

by James Kraus

Jim Bernardin in his office at Campbell-Ewald, Detroit, Michigan, 1963

Jim Bernardin in his office at Campbell-Ewald, Detroit, Michigan, 1963

Chevrolet was America’s perennial top seller of automobiles in the 1960s. To maintain that dominance they wielded an appropriately massive merchandising war chest. GM was the world’s largest advertiser with an annual budget of nearly US$2 Billion in today’s dollars.

A significant slice of that expenditure went into the coffers of Campbell-Ewald, Chevrolets’ ad agency since 1919. In 1962 the agency promoted Jim Bernardin to Creative Director for the highly coveted Chevrolet account.  Continue reading

Image from the Past

40 years ago Volkswagen celebrated Germany's 1974 World Cup victory by providing members of the winning team with special commemorative VW convertibles. The public could not buy them, but they could purchase a limited number of sedan versions. The VW 1303 World Cup Weltmeister was available in four special colours with satin black front and rear deck lids borrowed from the 1303 GSR. All the team cars and most of the civilian versions were finished in the Cliff Green shown here. The Weltmeister came with a football-like gearshift knob, a concept Volkswagen would revisit a few years later when they equipped the Golf GTI with a golf ball-styled shift knob, a feature still retained in the current model.

40 years ago Volkswagen celebrated Germany’s 1974 World Cup victory by providing members of the winning team with special commemorative VW cabriolets. The public could not buy them, but they could purchase a limited number of sedan versions. The VW 1303 World Cup Weltmeister was available in four special colours with satin black front and rear deck lids borrowed from the 1303 GSR. All the team cars and most of the civilian versions were finished in the Cliff Green shown here. The Weltmeister came with a football-like gearshift knob, a concept Volkswagen would revisit a few years later when they equipped the Golf GTI with a golf ball-styled shift knob, a feature still retained in the current model.

The Cars of James Bond: Lincoln Continental

by James Kraus

C4

The final journey of Mr. Solo

The early 1960s Lincoln Continental, in common with Ford’s Mustang and Thunderbird, was featured in two Bond extravaganzas; Goldfinger and Thunderball.

The new 1961 Continental was a radical departure for Lincoln. The clean-sheet design was 38 cm (15”) shorter than the outgoing version, and with its unadorned sides, simple lines and distinctive rear suicide doors, represented a complete break from its predecessor. Except for minor detail alterations, the new Lincoln remained basically unchanged until a slight refresh for the 1966 models.  Continue reading

The Golden Years

by James Kraus

1960 Ford Starliner. A touch of gold lends a lustrous sparkle of Jet Age swank

1960 Ford Starliner. A touch of gold lends a lustrous sparkle of Jet Age swank

Since the dawn of the first horseless carriages, automobiles have been accented by shimmering metallic highlights. The earliest period of motoring is in fact popularly known as the Brass Era due to early radiators, acetylene headlamps and other accoutrements being constructed of brass, or protected by brass plating to resist high temperatures and corrosion. Brass was largely superseded by polished nickel plating in the early 1920s, producing a more durable surface and increased tarnish resistance. Finally, nickel was replaced by chromium which offered the advantages of being nearly tarnish and maintenance free.  Continue reading

In Hindsight: 1960s Cars of the Year

by James Kraus

The first European Car of the Year award

Fifty years ago: the first international European Car of the Year award

First presented in 1964, the European Car of the Year (COTY) prize was the premier attempt at an international automotive award for the best new car launched during the previous year. Nominees could be designed and manufactured anywhere in the world as long as they enjoyed at least limited distribution in Europe. The award is still in existence, the Peugeot 308 being the 2014 recipient.

Globalization in automotive markets was quite limited in the 1960s. Many European models were unavailable in America and little more than a handful of American cars were exported to Europe. Only a few select models of Japanese cars were exported and the models selected for sale in Europe were usually not the same models sold in the U.S. For these reasons, the COTY was the closest thing to a universal international automotive accolade.  Continue reading

The 1965 Ford LTD: Prelude to a Night at the Opera

by James Kraus

1965 Ford Galaxie 500 LTD 4-Door Hardtop

1965 Ford Galaxie 500 LTD 4-Door Hardtop

The 1960s were a bifurcated decade that can be split into two quite distinct epochs. The first two-thirds of the decade was an optimistic forward-looking period of modernist international architecture, modal jazz, bossa nova and sharp Savile Row and Ivy League menswear. The era depicted in La Dolce Vita, Oceans Eleven, The 10th Victim, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Charade, and That Touch of Mink.

In contrast, the latter third of the decade was radically different; more of a prelude to the inward, casually attired, earth-toned 1970s. This was a time when a large swath of consumers lost their unbridled enthusiasm for futuristic élan and began developing a taste of nostalgia for the golden days of yesteryear.  Continue reading