I guess it makes sense that companies which produce mufflers, tires and manifolds would target a heterosexual male audience. Let's face it, that's probably 99 percent of the people buying these products. So, it doesn't surprise me that automotive equipment suppliers would utilize the tried and true "sex sells" principle. What DOES surprise me is the extent to which they utilized the principle in the 1970's.
I made this point many times before on Retrospace: when you look at the culture of the 70's, really look at it, the cultural difference that stands out most is the extremely uninhibited attitude towards sex by the general population in the 1970's. I don't doubt that it still exists today in some form, but take a look through some of my posts on the subject and you'll see fairly quickly that things were just plain different.
This is not to say it all died out in the 1980's. As I've said before, a line in the sand wasn't drawn on January 1st, 1980.... the boundaries of a decade don't determine the culture. However, it is true that the sexual liberation began to fizzle in the 80's; and quite honestly I don't know what to think about our current cultural attitudes on sex. It's basically impossible to analyze a time period until you are removed from it - I'll leave that diagnosis to a "retrospace' blog in 2040.
Well, I guess it's time for me to quit rambling, and show you some automotive equipment sleaze. Enjoy!