Looking Back: Fun Car Advertisements That Threw Safety To The Wind

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In the golden age of automotive advertising safety never got in the way of the fun.

Automotive safety is all the rage these days. Automakers vie for inclusion on the list of safest vehicles and strive for – and brag about in adverts- the highest possible IIHS safety ratings. But it wasn’t always so. Not long ago in America, all that mattered was fun, power and the sexy allure of adventure a car, truck or SUV might offer.

Take the Ford Bronco of our top of page image, for example. No roof, no rollover bars, and heck, no seatbelts won’t spoil a great highway drive or off-road adventure! Ford’s Bronco has been off the market for a while, and its new iteration will undoubtedly be a bit safer than the door-less wonder mom drove back in the day.


Chevy wasn’t thinking at all about subliminal messages with its “Camaro, The Fiery New Creation From Chevrolet” advertisement in 1967. This fun spot shows the Camaro bursting through boulders and smoking while surrounded by flames.


Chevy boasted that the Camaro had a fuselage that bulged around a 350 cubic inch displacement V8 engine. Maybe Chevy was thinking about subliminal message after all? Not to worry, as the commercial below highlights, the new 1967 Camaro had standard safety features like its energy -absorbing steering column and rear seats that fold both up and down (?).

We all know that Ralph Nader’s campaign against the 1960 Corvair was the end of innocence in America when it came to car safety. But what did Chevy imagine folks might do with a Corvair convertible? Maybe chase a hot air balloon up a rocky mountain road?

Chevy highlighted the second generation Corvair’s four-wheel independent suspension, road grabbing traction, and quick-response handling, which was greatly improved over the first generation. Those steep dropoffs on either side still should give anyone pause, though.

The aftermarket didn’t hesitate to offer untested safety equipment back in the good old days. We have to credit CarTalk and Paul Antonelli with the image below. That baby hammock would be a huge safety advantage in the Bronco, no?