Vintage Wheels #4: Auto Equipment Sleaze (part 2)

If there's one thing I've learned from looking at automotive advertising from the 1970's, it's that the general rule of thumb was "If you're gonna use sexual innuendo to sell the product, you may as well go all out. Don't bother insinuating anything."

Reading the literature of today, you get the distinct impression that these sort of ads are demeaning, degrading and just overall unacceptable. Here's a line from an article on sex used in automotive advertising:

 "I had to ask myself if this form of advertising actually helps to sell cars. As a woman, I find it offensive for two reasons: obviously women are being portrayed as sex objects that may be seen but not heard, but men should also see that their intelligence is insulted. Do they really buy into the notion that they will attract a certain type of woman if they drive a car based on the ads?"

First of all, men do not look at the ad above and literally think to themselves, "Hey, if I buy that muffler, I will have three girls fighting over my jock." That's not how advertising works. It's all about the subliminal imagery. Does this ad plant a positive impression in the male brain, a negative, or none at all? I think we all know the answer to that.

And as to whether this sort of thing is sexist and degrading - I can't really speak to that. This is a matter of personal opinion, and not an objective question.  To one person, a sexy car model is a degraded female to another person she's a liberated woman.

And on that note, enjoy some more auto equipment sleaze. Enjoy!


  1. YES!! The Doug Thorley Cloverleaf ad chick, topless in the Rip Van Winkle. I spent a lot of time admiring those pipes when I was a kid. Funny how embedded that picture is in my brain.

  2. As to the idea that guys think a product will attract women, I like hot rods because *I* like hot rods. I don't give a crap what anyone else thinks. *I* like to hear the pipes rumble, I am not thinking that it will impress anyone else, much less help me pick up chicks. If I peel out, it's because I wanted to feel the g-forces, not because I thought it would impress those girls that I'm driving away from and probably won't see again.

    I suppose there are some women who like cars like that, but for the most part, my experience has been that women who are interested in a guys car like status cars, not hot rods. And most hot rodders know this, but don't care.

    People are funny. I guess a lot of folks do things to impress others, but a lot of us do things because WE like them.

  3. 2nd ad down: Well, I'm impressed - I wouldn't think Raven from "Teen Titans" would go for the hot-rodder type.

  4. Speaking purely from an automotive standpoint, I love that Thrush Big Chief running board! Looks great!

  5. what a creation! nice blog.thanks for sharing.
    Workshop Equipment