My Car Quest

February 23, 2024

Great Car Magazine Advertisements

by Wallace Wyss –

I don’t know if in the era that follows the Great Plague, if car ads will work on us the same way they once did. But as a former copywriter of car ads (for marques as diverse as Chevrolet, Ford, Olds and Lancia) I think I’m a good judge of them and here’s a few that still impress me and why.


This is an ad that really takes the cake in elitism. It shows a tall man, obviously a rich sportsman. Sure he has a Duesie but to him what’s important is what he’s doing at the moment like hunting.


There was an ad for the woman too.



All the books I’ve read on Mustangs and they never mention if Shelby had something to do with this ad because it’s one reason he developed the Cobra–to get back at ol’ Enzo who wanted him to drive practically for free! This ad shakes the glamor of wanting an Italian GT car like a Maserati or Ferrari by implying now that Shelby was making genuine performance cars at one third the price of a Ferrari or Maserati, the Italians were doomed.

Shelby Mustang Ad

PORSCHE 911 and 968

In a way if a car company buys one of your cars and you are an automaker, then it’s kind of a backwards complement because that’s admitting you may have technology superior to yours and you just gotta get that car apart and see what makes it perform so well.

Porsche 968 ad

This ad speaks to one’s realization that life is too short to not have at least one exciting car. Urges you to go out and buy a Porsche as your reward for what you’ve accomplished. Hey, it sold me…

Porsche 911 Ad

Porsche 911 Ad


This ad is for the ’68 Camaro Z-28. It’s one of the most just-the-facts-ma’am ads ever, probably for the car magazines like HOT ROD. You have to remember the Corporation back then was anti-racing so this ad doesn’t wax on bout the thrill of speed, just quietly gives you the specs for the ingredients.

Camaro Ad


When you drop a beloved model and the new model hasn’t yet been accepted by the lovers of old model, what you do is do an ad that shows them passing the torch between the old and the new.

Mercedes 300SL Ad

Mercedes 300SL Ad

IN SUM…The purpose of car ads, as I see it, is to awaken some need in you that you hadn’t yet defined. As I say, maybe headlines or approaches like this won’t work in “the New Normal.” All I know is these ads impressed me….

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Former auto ad writer Wyss is in the fine arts world now, but hey he has still got his magic ad writing pen. He can be reached at


Mercedes 300SL Ad

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Great Car Magazine Advertisements
As a former copywriter of car ads (for marques as diverse as Chevrolet, Ford, Olds and Lancia) I think I'm a good judge of car advertisements and here's a few that still impress me.

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