The 2019 Insurance Classic Motor Show : Ten Tropes From Old Motoring (and Car-Related) Adverts The 2019 Insurance Classic Motor Show : Ten Tropes From Old Motoring (and Car-Related) Adverts
Phone for a quote: 01480 484826

Ten Tropes From Old Motoring (and Car-Related) Adverts

Or, the joys of the days when almost every new product seemed to be available in the ‘giant “economy” size for just 6d extra!’ -


1)      Life is Groovy in a New Car


1957 was a major year for British popular culture, not just for  Lonnie Donegan & His Skiffle Band topping the Hit Parade or Terry Dene singing about his White Sport Coat but for the sound of a new advertising jingle –‘A Penny Farthing a Mile & You Travel in Style – In Your New Renault Dauphine!’.

Asides from the remarkably jolly music - – the footage very cleverly features the Renault as a vital part of the British motoring landscape.  

Why -  they could even bring romance into your life -

Eight years later, cinemagoers were presented with this Swinging London-style vision of  the Austin 1100 - – and by 1966 we have Patrick Allen’s quite splendid promotion for the Vauxhall Viva HB -


2)      The 1960s Were Another World


This method of selling the Triumph Herald 12/50 is one that is almost impossible to envisage today (Brylcreemed creep in Buddy Holly pursues young lady -

The producer never actually intended for the Herald to reverse up the steps of the Albert Hall in reality – the plan was to reverse the print.

What the film crew did not allow for was the presence of an underground garage, with a somewhat irate foreman bellowing ‘ you’re bringing the ceiling down!’.

In desperation, the director ordered the stunt driver to engage reverse – and so he retreated  up the steps.


3)      “Super National Aromatics” - and Other Fine Petrols


According to our enthusiastic narrator, the Aromatic petrol would allow Wolseley 1500 drivers to overtake Ford Consul Mk.IIs with verve and aplomb -  And that was not all, as it would apparently ‘ripping’ and ‘super’ - But nothing could beat the Esso Tiger -


4)      ‘Hello – I am a Man Sat Behind A Desk’


In days gone by, many adverts used the same techniques employed by many public information films - i.e. by employing an “authority figure”, the viewer would hopefully be impressed and/or frightened into using their product.

The presenter might be genial, such as our host in Dagenham presenting the Ford line-up for the 1955 Earls Court Motor Show –

Alternatively, he (it almost always was a “he”) might be a role model for Jon Glover’s Miles Cholmondley-Warner -


5)      Interviewing People in The Street


Or at least having Reginald Marsh (later of Terry and June fame) ask scripted questions of his fellow thespians as to why they like Fords.

This lady informs him that there are no complaints from her husband regarding the bills for her Popular 103E - - while this very RADA-sounding tradesman extols the virtues of the Thames 400E -

Meanwhile, this “Doctor” regards his Zodiac Mk. II as ‘very comfortable and roomy’ -


6)      Famous Faces

Donald Campbell promoted Mobil -

Shell famously hired Sammy Davis Jr. and the voices of Bing Crosby - -  and  Michael Holliday –

For the groovy young set, there was Joe Brown .

My favourites are two BP campaigns, one starring the sublime Fenella Fielding - and one featuring the equally missed Terry-Thomas

 Famous man in classic car advert

7)      Advertisements for Very Rare Models


A commercial for the Renault 14 voiced by Tom Baker  - – or a hilariously melodramatic advert for the Chrysler Horizon -

The dulcet tones of Simon Cadell extolled the virtues of the Triumph Acclaim -, and then we have the incredible sight of Tom Bell in a C3 Audi 80 -


8)      Win a New Car!


Eat Kellogg’s Cornflakes, and you too could win a Ford Anglia 105E De Luxe with ‘ every car equipped with transistor radio and fresh air heater’.

Visiting your local shopping parade could mean an encounter with various chaps in extremely unconvincing  “Viking” hats were promoting the Danish Bacon Mini giveaway - but Kellogg’s went one better with the “Sunshine Mini” prizes -

Meanwhile,  Brylcreem wearers had the opportunity to win an MGB -


9)      Meet The “Ajax Power Men”!


Envisage the scene – it is a drab morning in 1965, the BBC Light Programme is playing in the background, and there is the thrilling prospect of shopping at the Co-Op in the afternoon.

Suddenly a Vauxhall Victor FC saloon containing men dressed in very strange costumes pulls up, and your first reaction is to the call the police. However, it is none other than the “Ajax Power Men” descending on suburbia -

If that were not excitement enough, the Daz “White Knights” might arrive in their Ford Consul Cortinas -  - which were also the vehicle of choice of the “Golden Wonder Crisp Men”  -

Just after they had departed, leaving a trail of Smokey Bacon samples in their wake, a Vauxhall Victor FB Estate pulls up bearing packets of Omo powder - while the arrival of an MG 1100 in your housing estate could mean a visit from the “Stork Girl” and the opportunity to win ‘a three pound grocery voucher!’ N.B.   I  remained convinced the “Rainbow Men” was a John Cleese spoof -


10)      Brilliantly Ill-Judged Campaigns


The Goodyear “Talking Tyre” sounds as though he has escaped from a Hammer Horror film - – but much worse was to come in the form of that remarkably ghastly Cleveland Petrol advert from 1969 -

Almost every aspect of this commercial is quite brilliantly dire. And there are no words to describe this “gem” promoting petrol station complementary storage jars -

 Get a quote today and find out why we are the insurance broker of choice for classic car by calling 01480 220 038 or click here and we’ll call you back at a time that’s best for you.




Add Comment

Quick quote

Which department would you like to speak to?