Vintage ads from 1977

Vintage ads from 1977
Vintage ads from 1977

Awhile back, I was up at my parents’ cabin for a weekend of R&R and a model car/promo show in nearby Cedarville.

My mom and dad bought the place in 1993, and the cabin is a treasure trove of vintage stuff-photos, books, magazines and a still-functioning VCR with a ton of movies on tape.

There’s a lot of memories here too, we came up here every year for New Year’s Eve at the Myers’ and Fourth of July fireworks at the Maiorellos’, lake excursions in Dad’s old Aquasport center console.

It’s a great place, and I enjoy camping on the deck with margaritas and several novels in the warmer months-many Lee Child, C.J. Box and Clive Cussler books have been consumed on those boards in summertime.

Anyway, I ran across this copy of Car and Driver that weekend. Flipping through it, I was struck by the sheer variety of vehicles available forty five years ago, both in bodystyles, colors and marque availability.

This one I found at the venerable Source Bookstore in downtown Davenport for fifty cents. Such a deal.

I love these old magazines. Have bought several over the years at antique malls and stores and the like-there are quite a few up here in the small towns near the lake-Wisconsin is an easy 15 minute drive north.

Sure, any one of these can’t match the reliability and rust protection of modern vehicles-Fiat and Lancia, anyone?-but things sure were a lot more colorful back then!


  1. Tom, been looking forward to you posting because you have now graduated to being known so well that Sajeev Mehta writing fo Hagerty has initiated the concept of “Klockauian” in his article The Lincoln Cosmo 1950. Gee even Brock Yates or Jack has not been conceptualized in the literature. Congratulations…..

  2. So many cars look the same nowadays. It’s like the same handful of idiots design damn near everything.
    The newest car I own is almost a decade old. Not because I can’t afford anything new, it’s because nothing out there inspires me to buy it.

    1. That’s part of the reason I turned down a job working for honda. One of the nice benefits for those jobs is they’ll lease you a honda car cheap as hell. I spent a summer driving most of the new hondas and I didn’t find one I’d spend my own money on.

      Although I’d own a new miata or a new challenger.

  3. As a kid, I read everything Clive Cussler had written up to that time. The first was “The Mediterranean Caper”… as soon as I was with Pitt in the cockpit of that looping PBY, Giordino shooting out of the window, I was hooked…

    LOVE the Porsche ad…

  4. Advertising was excellent back then, wasn’t it? That CUTLASS SALON TOURS LIME ROCK ad jumps off the page. (I think there was a series of ads: Riverside, Road America, …?) If I remember correctly, the Cutlass Salon could be had with a 5-speed manual, but only with the Olds 260 V8. 3700 lbs, 115 hp…not gonna set any lap records…but man, that ad has me wanting to try, even as the brakes turn to ashes and the Uniroyal Tiger Paws go up in smoke. And if I stuff it into the Armco (no gravel traps or tire walls back then), I can jam Bob Seger or Fleetwood Mac on the 8-track while I wait for the tow truck.

    1. Herb Adams raced a Cutlass Salon in IMSA’s American Challenge class in 1977. He had some trouble with race officials though. His preferred paint scheme was black with chrome numbers. IMSA claimed the chrome numbers were too hard to read. Herb responded by chroming the car and putting the number on in black. They responded by finding a technicality to exclude him from a race he had just won. He ran the Olds with almost a full interior, even though it meant the car was a hundred pounds overweight for 1977’s rules. He claimed it was easier to keep clean with the full dash, AM/FM radio, door panels and carpets. Then he said, “That’s probably a rationalization. We do it that way because it looks nice.” The racing Cutlass had a Chevrolet 350 V8, as the rules allowed engines from any division in a manufacturer’s stable.

  5. Two of the ads stuck out to me. Taking the t tops off after work for a night ride through the big city lights might be a peak PLC experience. Interesting it was to be had in one called a Charger.

    The other was the $400($1,976 today) rebate on the new then Fiat 131. A light, rwd, 5 speed, twin cam, European sport coupe has to sell in the style of the Chrysler sales bank. The C/D effect was in full effect in 1977. You not only had to have the right type of car, you better have the correct name on the deck lid. Let them pick the winners.

    1. By this point it was common knowledge that Fiats were more or less junk, hence the rebate, they would stumble along on in the US another 4 or so years before pulling out.

      1. That commentary assumes C/D approved Honda or Toyota thin untreated metal was better than Fiats’. Facts not in evidence. In the fullness of time, a Lampredi designed twin cam would count for something if the hippy jackoffs knew what they were talking about.

        1. It wasn’t just the rust. In 1991, Popular Mechanics said it was the most trouble-prone car ever reported in their owner’s survey. The runners-up were the ’69 AMX and ’75 Rabbit.

          Using big rebates to sell fragile cars to cheapskates who wont maintain them isn’t exactly a sound business strategy.

        2. If it was just the metal that would be one thing, everything else attached to the metal was bad too, not mention that even in the “beauty shot” from the ad agency, it still has all the styling flair of a soviet apartment bloc….

          1. Carefull Carmine, how often have we been told that open greenhouses and minimalist decoration, like the east European worker bloc, trump Detroit or even Turin.

        3. Lets let Bob Mayer’s classic WTVJ “Behind the Wheel” segment from 1979 give a little insight to what the hippies were missing…..

          1. Hilarious. Constant breakdowns, and a steering wheel that’s a full quarter turn out alignment. I guess Tony couldn’t even be bothered to fix the press ringers by that point.

            I watched some of the other reviews on that channel, what a great time capsule. Defects really were the norm back then.

          2. These weren’t press cars in many cases but right off the dealer lot cars from local dealers, this was a car review segment for what at the time was our local independent station. So in many cases this is how the cars were at the dealer.

            It is a really good time capsule that captures what a real “off the lot” car was back then not a primped and prepped press car. Bob’s presentation is also refreshingly objective, even when the car is an obvious crapwagon like the Fiat, he doesn’t get snarky, he presents the FACTS, something missing today in good amount of journalism today.

    2. By the way….you do realize the Italians you’re sticking up for at this point were more communist than the fantasy hippy boogeymen in your head right?

      1. The hippy wants to burn it all down the Commie just wants to change ownership while continueing. The hippy thus would have to go through a great deal of self improvement to rise to the level of a commie.

        Now if you will excuse me, I must check behind my couch for boogeymen. Wish me luck….

        1. You remind me of my great grandmother, she didn’t really know what hippy was either but she used it to describe pretty much any man with hair longer than a buzz cut…..she was a really old lady born in 1900 though………not sure what you’re excuse is though.

  6. Is there a Le shot of a LeCar next to what looks like a Le Eldorado convertible in the LeCar ad?

    1. Yep! Looks like a Dumbarton Green ’76. Or Galloway Green Firemist.

      “We love the LeCar! We bought one for our maid!” 😀

    1. And now that slow version of “After Midnight” that Clapton did for one of those ads is going to be stuck in my head.

  7. Hey Tom, I’ve got some vintage car magazines (and Time magazines too) i inherited. I hate to toss them but I don’t have the space to keep them. Would you want any?

    1. Hmm. Tempting, but I already have so many old brochures and stuff. Might be able to take some…

  8. When people criticize the mid-late 70s era cars for their general malaise, all I do is point to the Datsun 200-SX to prove them wrong. When you look at the styling, performance, durability (especially the rust proofing) you just can’t find anything even close to the 200-SX today – the only thing I can’t figure out is why collectors have not yet bid the surviving examples well up into 6 figures territory.

    1. One imagines that all the survivors were quietly repatriated to Japan in the pre crash bubble to show their importance to Japan’s motoring heritage.

    2. When I see the 200SX I think, what would a 1968 GM Intermediate coupe look like if it was styled by a North Korean 6 year old……..on acid…….with a learning disability……and 2 broken hands.

  9. “Introducing the 1977 MGB.” In some ways it is almost as good as the 1967 MGB went without saying.

      1. The 1977 MGB had gained five main bearings and a synchronized first gear that the 1962 lacked, but they had been gained long before the handling had been ruined by lifting the car for bumper or headlight height regulations, the lovely original dashboard had been replaced by a safer one that looked like it cost two dollars, the engine’s zest had been snuffed out in the name of clean air, the styling had been spoiled and bar-bell weight distribution had been achieved via compliance with impact-bumper regulations. The 1977 federalized MGB was rated at 62.5 horsepower. Sort of like how a toddler will announce that he is four and a half years old.

        1. Yeah they kinda lose me after 71-72, though I’d go TR6 first if I was forced to get any non-Jag Brit sportsy-type conveyance……

        2. MG pioneered the raised suspension that Subaru, Volvo, and Audi later made famous with their Outback, Cross-Country, and All-Road. Surprised they didn’t make a bigger deal of it in 1977 – “MGB for 1977 – now with greater off-road ground clearance!!!”

  10. I have thousands of car ads dating back to the late 1800s in JPEG and PNG format. If you’d like to see some of them, or want an ad to include in your “Klockau Classics” posts, let me know.

  11. I just noticed that the corvette ad at the top has a my sailboat in the back ground. Its a Prindle 16. The competition to the much more popular hobie 16.

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