PROMOS: Car Advertisements of the Late 1960s, and the Technology They Hyped

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By the late 1960s, America had placed men on the moon. Our military technology included nuclear submarines in their second decade of service. IBM decided that the digital computer market had matured enough that it un-bundled the software and services it offered from the hardware it sold.

The country was in the midst of a golden era of technology.

Cars were a huge part of everyone’s life in the late 1960s, and for 1969 Dodge’s advertisement budget for the Super Bowl included a new “Sport 1969 Dodge Charger R/T coupe” that would be given to the winning team’s most valuable player.  The car give-away was part of Dodge’s “White Hat” promotion.

Almost nobody thought the car would go home with the Jets’ quarterback, since they were expected to get blown out. Only one person expected Joe Namath would earn that car.  Joe himself, who “guaranteed” the win.

We know now that the best years of classic motoring were about to end and the worst about to begin, but that had not yet started.  Let’s take a look at the car technology automakers were proud to promote in their advertising in the late 1960s.

chevy advert camaro 69 001


The Camaro for 1969 was the third model year for this car that forms the design inspiration for the modern-day 2016 Camaro. The 325 hp SS, with its small-block V8, needed stopping power, so Chevy added technology that only one other American car had at the time; four-wheel disc brakes. If you think all modern cars have this feature, you need to read our latest brake-tech spotlight.

Chevy also touted – and we are going to use the exact term Chevy did in its advertising, the Camaro’s “beefed-up suspension.”  GM knew very well that car companies could sell a young man’s car to an old man, but never an old man’s car to a young man.  Hence its tagline for the 1969 performance coupes:  “After all, it’s not how young you are, it’s how old you aren’t.”

Ford wagon advert 1969 001


Ford’s Country Squire was just the ticket for families that needed to haul Opie and the rest of his team off to baseball practice. Ford’s Country Squire wagon not only offered extra room for part of one’s brood up front, it also had the neato keen Dual Side Facing Rear Seat option.

The Squire’s tailgate for 1969 opened to the side, or swung down. That’s something that the 2017 Honda Ridgeline just invented (again).  The rear glass could be opened for ventilation too, just like a modern Toyota Highlander’s.

Roof racks like today’s modern crossovers’ and chrome bumpers that make a 2017 GMC Sierra Denali look rather plain were, of course, available.

ford rust proof advert 1969 001


Forty-five years before Ford finally started to make its vehicles from rust-proof aluminum, it was dunking them in the river to prevent rust. Ford’s 90-foot-long red river of anti-corrosion paint held 50,000 gallons of primer. The Red River, as it was called, employed ionized paint technology that “protected your investment” in a new Continental Mark III.

CPO taxis 1969 001

Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles

Associated Auto Dealers had a great deal for you on a 1967 or 1968 Ford Custom or Plymouth Fury Sedan.  These “excellent buys” for smart shoppers seeking a high-quality used car for pleasure driving or business, had been “carefully maintained” by their previous owners, the New York City Taxi fleet.  Prices on these one and two-year-old cream puffs ranged from $599 to $899 – which is about $4,000 – $6,000 in today’s dollars.

switch blade advert 1969 001

Glove Box Accessories

The minimum wage in 1968 was $1.60, which is about $11 in today’s dollars. If you worked at that wage for about an hour and a half you could spring for a switchblade to throw in the glove box. “Balanced for target throwing!”  With a ten-year money back guarantee how could you go wrong?

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