100 Years of Automotive Ads


Taschen book shows it pays to advertise


As the poet said: ‘April is the cruellest month… mixing memory and desire.’

For many of us this sums up our automotive buying fantasies – adolescent motor memories mixed with up to the minute salary busting desire.

The crew most expert at tapping into, and manipulating, this emotional double whammy are the guys in creative Adland.

Car ads, like any other ads, are so ubiquitous that we hardly register them unless we’re bang in the market at that time, or they are truly standout pieces of work.

But as in all things perspective helps and we’ve just stumbled across this beautiful book that offers just that. With over 400 colour prints it charts over a century of automotive advertising, picking some of the best and most desire-inspiring auto ads ever run.


It starts with the man himself, Henry F. who famously said “a man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time”. (And ‘amen to that’ shout decades of admen from their 911 cabriolets.)

It’s published by those bastions of the ‘real’ printed book, Taschen ,whose books are objects of desire in themselves. This one comes from their compact, reasonably priced series ‘Bibliotheca Universalis’, so you won’t have to take out a loan to buy it.

The book is created in the USA so is pretty heavy on Americana but for the motor enthusiast ,as well as the aspiring adman, it’s worth having in your collection.

And for those of us of a certain age it will be guaranteed to spark old memories and ignite some new automotive desires.