Tag Archives: Chevrolet

Auto advertising in the 1950’s

In the 1950’s, intense competition from the Big Three pressured independents. Therefore, independents emphasized their points of differentiation like styling from others. Automotive advertising became more opulent and lifestyle oriented.

1950 Studebaker

The October 1949 ad in Holiday for the 1950 “bullet-nose” Studebaker proclaimed, “Presenting the ‘new look’ in cars.” “Success breeds success! The car that led in modern design now moves still more spectacularly out ahead!” Other specifications mention improvements like higher compression power and self-stabilizing coil springs. The color photo showed a couple motoring in their Commander Regal De Luxe Starlight coupe along the riverside with a cityscape in the background.

Raymond Loewy with 1953 Studebaker

Studebaker’s May 1953 ad in Country Gentleman continued the theme of the previous six years-that of styling innovation. The couple in a Commander Starliner hard-top coupe motors through a park-like setting in the color photo. The tagline shouted, “New and different! Exciting 1953 Studebaker!” Supporting copy commands, “See it and try it! America’s most talked about new car! Hard-top convertible shown above is less than five feet high! Only in a Studebaker do you get this long and low new styling — and it’s yours to enjoy at a down to earth price.” The ad stresses points of differentiation with long and low styling and pricing.

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Coupe
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Coupe

Following the lead of independent’s ads, Chevrolet’s 1956 ad in National Geographic touts “Nothing without wings climbs like a ’56 Chevrolet. Aim this new Chevrolet up a steep grade – and you’ll see why it’s the Pikes Peak record holder.” This was the second year for the new Chevrolet V8 engine. The copy further claims “In the merest fraction of a second you sense that big bore V8 lengthening out its stride. And up you go with a silken rush of power that makes a mountain seem as flat as a roadmap. The car that proved its fired-up performance, cat-sure cornering ability and nailed-down stability on the rugged, twisting Pikes Peak road. And all these qualities mean more driving safety and pleasure for you.” The color illustration showed a sporty driver hunkered down in his Bel Air Sport Sedan climbing the road to Pikes Peak.

These postwar advertisements reflect the seller’s market for automobiles. Performance would go on to trump opulence and lifestyle as the Big Three market leaders began to dominate the market.

For more information on our automotive heritage, follow this link.

Auto advertising in the 1950’s

In the 1950’s, intense competition from the Big Three pressured independents. Therefore, independents emphasized their points of differentiation like styling from others. Automotive advertising became more opulent and lifestyle oriented.

1950 Studebaker

The October 1949 ad in Holiday for the 1950 “bullet-nose” Studebaker proclaimed, “Presenting the ‘new look’ in cars.” “Success breeds success! The car that led in modern design now moves still more spectacularly out ahead!” Other specifications mention improvements like higher compression power and self-stabilizing coil springs. The color photo showed a couple motoring in their Commander Regal De Luxe Starlight coupe along the riverside with a cityscape in the background.

1953 Studebaker

Studebaker’s May 1953 ad in Country Gentleman continued the theme of the previous six years-that of styling innovation. The couple in a Commander Starliner hard-top coupe motors through a park-like setting in the color photo. The tagline shouted, “New and different! Exciting 1953 Studebaker!” Supporting copy commands, “See it and try it! America’s most talked about new car! Hard-top convertible shown above is less than five feet high! Only in a Studebaker do you get this long and low new styling — and it’s yours to enjoy at a down to earth price.” The ad stresses points of differentiation with long and low styling and pricing.

1956 Chevrolet

Following the lead of independent’s ads, Chevrolet’s 1956 ad in National Geographic touts “Nothing without wings climbs like a ’56 Chevrolet. Aim this new Chevrolet up a steep grade – and you’ll see why it’s the Pikes Peak record holder.” This was the second year for the new Chevrolet V8 engine. The copy further claims “In the merest fraction of a second you sense that big bore V8 lengthening out its stride. And up you go with a silken rush of power that makes a mountain seem as flat as a roadmap. The car that proved its fired-up performance, cat-sure cornering ability and nailed-down stability on the rugged, twisting Pikes Peak road. And all these qualities mean more driving safety and pleasure for you.” The color illustration showed a sporty driver hunkered down in his Bel Air Sport Sedan climbing the road to Pikes Peak.

These postwar advertisements reflect the seller’s market for automobiles. Performance would go on to trump opulence and lifestyle as the Big Three market leaders began to dominate the market.

For more information on Indiana cars & companies follow this link.

Indiana Cars in My Four Car Fantasy Garage

What would be the cars in my “Four Car Fantasy Garage?”

If you’ve been following my blog for some time, you know my selection will be heavily slanted to Indiana-built automobiles. In fact, my selections are three Hoosier autos plus one domestic built one ranging from 63 to 82 years old.

Twenty Grand Duesenberg
Twenty Grand Duesenberg

My first pick is the “Twenty Grand” Duesenberg build for exposition at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. The regal Duesenberg Model SJ Arlington Torpedo Sedan is probably one of the most well-known Duesys. Designed by the legendary Duesenberg stylist Gordon Buehrig, the car was bodied in Pasadena by the Walter M. Murphy Company and aptly named for its staggering price in 1933. That price the “Twenty Grand” would buy you 40 new Plymouth business coupes with change to spare! It was the most expensive automobile of the year. This was the ultimate motorcar of the era. No other American car, not Lincoln, or Packard, or even Cadillac, had so powerful an image. Today it resides in the Nethercutt Collection in Sylmar, California.

1936 Cord Model 810 sedan
1936 Cord Model 810 sedan

My second choice was also designed by Gordon Buehrig, the 1936 Cord Model 810. The car debuted at the New York Auto Show on November 2, 1935. The first Cord 810 rolled off the assembly line in Connersville on February 15, 1936. Innovations on the Cord 810 included disappearing headlights, concealed door hinges, rheostat-controlled instrument lights, variable speed windshield wipers, Bendix Electric Hand (steering column mounted-electric gear pre-selection unit), and factory installed radio. Some of the internationally known celebrities purchasing Cord automobiles were movie stars Sonja Heine and Tom Mix. In fact, actress Jean Harlow ordered a Cord with paint and upholstery to match her platinum blonde hair. The 1951 New York Museum of Modern Art exhibit regarded “the Cord as the outstanding American contribution to automobile design.”

1963-Avanti-Front
1963 Avanti

My third draft is the 1962 Studebaker Avanti. Studebaker President Sherwood Egbert enlisted Raymond Loewy’s group to design this remarkable sport coupe for introduction at the New York International Auto Show in April 1962, By the fall of 1961, orders were placed with outside suppliers for items that Studebaker could not produce internally. The Avanti is best known for its under-the-bumper air intake and “Coke-bottle,” wedge shape design. The fiberglass body sat on a modified Lark Daytona convertible chassis. Avanti’s safety theme was prominent throughout with a recessed and padded instrument panel with red lights for night vision, built-in roll bar, and safety-cone door locks. The car was also one of the first American passenger cars to use caliper-type disc brakes. Iterations of the Avanti and the Avanti II were produced until 1985. You can still find reasonably priced Avanti’s in today’s vintage automobile market.

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Coupe
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Coupe
Copyright © 1957 General Motors

Of course, I still have a soft spot in my heart for my first car, a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Coupe. One of these would be the other car in my fantasy garage. What drew me to my 57 Chevy in 1965, was what still draws me today – styling. I believe this styling of the 1955-1957 Chevrolet’s is the best execution of this “everyman’s car.” From the anodized grille to the sleek tailfins, this car talks to me. My two-tone hardtop had a Canyon Coral body with an India Ivory Top and black interior with silver accents. It was powered by a 283 V-8 and Turboglide transmission. This was one sharp set of wheels. If only knew then what I know, I would have put this automotive icon in a time capsule for today.

So, what would you choose for your “Four Car Fantasy Garage?” Tell us about it.

For more information on Indiana cars & companies follow this link.

My reflections on Chevrolet Ownership

November 3, 2011 marked Chevrolet’s Centennial. What a great time to reflect on this automotive icon.

My connection to Chevrolet goes back to my childhood because all the cars that my dad owned were Chevys. The first one I remember well was a 1953 Two-Ten 2-door sedan with a Blue Flame Six engine. This car was replaced by a coral pink with white top, 1957 Bel Air 4-door sedan with a 283 V-eight engine. I remember washing this car many times and cleaning the vinyl interior with saddle soap. This probably launched my desire to own a 1957 Chevy of my own.

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Coupe
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Coupe
Copyright © 1957 General Motors

Yes, my first car was a 1957 Bel Air sport coupe. This iconic car would be the first in a line of my Chevrolet ownership. Next, I ordered a 1969 Chevelle 2-door coupe in LeMans blue with black vinyl top with a 307 V-eight engine before I got out of the Navy. I drove this sporty car through college, when I entered corporate America.

The Chevrolet brand served me well as company cars. The first of these was a silver with black vinyl top 1975 Malibu 2-door Colonade Coupe, followed by a two-tone blue 1980 Citation 2-door hatchback coupe and a 1985 Citation 4-door hatchback sedan.

As you can see, I owned some of the brand’s best over some 30 years. The 1957 Chevrolet is still popular in today’s collectible marketplace. The mid-1970’s Chevelles and Malibus were respected in their market. The 1980’s Citations were somewhat popular as economic models.

It was great owning one of Chevrolet’s most popular models. I salute the Chevrolet Centennial and wish the company much success in its next 100 years.

For more on our automotive heritage follow this link.

W. Hare & Son started in 1847

W. Hare & Son, one of the country’s oldest transportation dealerships, resides in Noblesville, Indiana, a few miles northeast of Indianapolis. The company continues to hold the title of the country’s longest-lived family-owned vehicle retailer. Today the Chevrolet dealership sells about 300 cars per month and employs 150 people. You can follow a record of its history through the murals around the walls of the main showroom.

Hare Chevrolet mural
Hare Chevrolet mural
Copyright © 2009 Dennis E. Horvath

The company’s story started in 1847, which beckoned Easterners to join the westward movement in the search for gold in California. Entrepreneurs like Wesley Hare knew how to make money from these events. He started building wagons, carriages and buggies out of his log cabin in Noblesville. Westbound travelers stopped here for their wagons. Soon he had a thriving business and added 45 employees.

The company gained its current name shortly after the Civil War ended in 1865, when he handed the business to his son E.M., who moved the operations into a four-story building, then the second-largest structure in town. The manufacturing output soon grew to about 700 buggies annually.

At the turn of the century, E.M. envisioned a great future with the advent of the new-fangled automobile. He started selling upstarts with names like Hupmobile, Studebaker and Cadillac. By 1912, these automobiles comprised most of his business. Bill Hare then signed a Chevrolet exclusive contract in 1921.

Like most other businesses, the Great Depression hit hard. Hare had to rely on its towing service to make ends meet. But, the dealership survived through these lean times.

Hare faced another nearly fatal blow during World War II. All U.S. car manufacturers stopped production of cars in order to concentrate on equipment for the troops. Hare had no cars to sell for three and a half years. Survival meant the dealership had to rely on lube jobs, tune-ups and tire sales.

Hare Chevrolet
Hare Chevrolet
Copyright © 2009 Dennis E. Horvath

Today the dealership has weathered all the past and present economic difficulties. In order to remain competitive, Hare had to keep up with the current marketing trends. Current managers Courtney Cole and Monica Peck, who are the great-great-great granddaughters of Wesley Hare, offer 50 service stalls, a photo booth for online ads, and hundreds of new Chevrolets in its sales lot.

The company still recognizes the importance of its past. As a reminder, one of Wesley Hare’s buggies hangs over the entrance to the showroom.

For more information about Indiana’s car culture follow this link.