Cruising Down Memory Lane With 40+ Hilarious Vintage Car Ads

By Israel O

Check a few auto advertisements today, and you’ll notice that the majority mainly highlight the vehicle’s capabilities, comfortable interiors, and powerful engines. Most of the time, you’ll also see a beautiful woman trying to sell you the car. In comparison, ads from the past didn’t rely on features to sell vehicles; they used humor and information to grab people’s attention.

Indeed, vintage car ads are a fascinating glimpse into the past. They often have a unique charm and humor that are seriously lacking in modern ads. Car companies today can learn a lesson or two from the people who designed effective and catchy campaigns back then. To prove our point, here are 45 examples of vintage car ads that remain funny and marketable today.

1. Gremlin’s Anatomy 

When you hear the word gremlin, what comes to mind first is the mischievous folklore creature known for causing mishaps to aircraft. Well, this is not an aircraft or a gremlin, but the name of a car produced by the American Motors Corporation.

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This is such a humorous ad considering the time and period. Not only did it emphasize the car’s qualities, but they made sure to pictorially educate people on where to sit and where to keep their pets. Let’s remember to buckle up advice in the bottom right corner.

2. Good Ol’ Economy Car 

To this day, sports cars still cost a fortune, and although not everyone is willing to admit it, they’d be delighted to have a sports car sitting in their garage. However, only some have deep pockets, so most car companies are willing to let you pay in installments.

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This ad wisely and hilariously convinces people to tell their banks this Dodge Daytona ES is an economy car. It is the only way to get a car loan approved aside from marrying the loan manager’s cousin, who, for all we know, may not be that good-looking.

3. Classified Problem

Harley Davidson is a motorcycle company that has been in business since 1903 and has dominated the American motorcycle scene, so it’s no surprise that everyone wants their bikes. Harley has some of the most eye-catching ads too.

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This man is in a big dilemma; his girlfriend is pregnant, his wife knows, and the lawyer wants money. We hope he was able to sell this Harley and that his wife only ended up with some of the assets in the divorce.

4. For The Young People 

Here is an example of excellent marketing from Porsche. The writing was articulate and straightforward, and the ad was clearly meant for young people who don’t earn a lot and are still in the stage of trying to figure out their lives.

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If Porsches were this cheap today, almost all Gen Z’s would be able to afford one. It is the perfect car in terms of affordability, quality, and design. The older generation must have been flexing hard; what a time to be alive.

5. Sleep Before Anything 

Napping in cars can be uncomfortable, but Nash Motors Company had the perfect solution back in the day. As you can see in the ad, their cars came with sleeping chairs that could be easily reclined for a better sleep experience.

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We bet this ad was a hit back then, and they must have sold numerous units. We know you’re wondering about the seatbelts, but they weren’t required until 1968. We hope no children were launched into the air when drivers stepped on the brakes. 

6. Finding True Love

When it comes to excellent advertising, BMW always stands out, and although the company meant this as a joke, we can’t lie that we felt this one too. You must be specific when wishing for things, or else you’ll be disappointed.

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Finding true love is challenging, and sometimes falling in love with cars is easier than it is with people, especially if you’re talking about a BMW convertible. What’s not to love about BMWs? We can’t think of anything, can you?

7. For Both Genders

This ad’s title sounds more like a clothing brand than an automobile. Although it’s a clever marketing strategy on Hurst’s part, “His and Hers” touches a sensitive nerve in the heart of consumers, especially couples.

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The ad tries its best to include both genders in its campaign. “His” signifies that it has some outstanding performance-related features, which men typically look for. “Hers” means that women can drive it confidently, thanks to the automatic transmission. Clever!

8. Hello, Son

This commercial is one of the best Volkswagen has ever put out. The Beetle is the father, while the Cabriolet is the son. The resemblance between the two is striking, and it’s easy to see that the idea for the Cabriolet came from the original Beetle design.

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We love how the wordplay is consistent throughout the ad. ASAP is written at the top differently. Also, because it has an open top that allows users to enjoy the morning sun, the Beetle Cabriolet is actually called “Sun” and not “Son.”

9. Back In The Days

While men today can expect to get slapped for whistling at women, back in the day, it was considered a sign of interest or even appreciation. Chevrolet decided to jump in on the trend in a fun way with this ad.

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Old Chevrolets have always been a beauty, and some of these cars are still in excellent condition today. However, as the ad says, you need to be sure it’s you they’re checking out and not the Chevrolet so that you don’t end up embarrassing yourself.

10. The Mid-Engine Porsche 

The value of money constantly changes because of inflation, so when you look at cars sold decades ago, they’d seem cheap with the kind of money people have now. This Porsche, however, was considered affordable even during its time, and the company knew exactly how to work the price in its ads.

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Imagine being able to purchase the Mid-Engine, which usually sells for $36,000, for just $3,595. Many people would be lining up to get their hands on this car. Although there’s a big difference in appearance between the two vehicles, a Porsche is still a Porche.

11. Small But Tough

Here is another innovative advertisement from Volkswagen. According to this ad, the Polo is a compact but durable vehicle that can withstand bullets. The car is advertised as highly trustworthy and well-built, with a strong marketing catchphrase.

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Although Volkswagen remains one of the most popular car companies today, there has been a significant scandal for the automobile giant. The Polo was disgraced in 2015 for releasing harmful gases after it was found to be routinely cheating on emissions testing.

12. Tailgating Isn’t Worth It

We are not fans of run-of-the-mill billboards; we want something innovative and out-of-the-box like this one. This ad conveys a straightforward message: the benefit of giving truckers greater space while on the road. Truck tailgating is just not worth it.

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If you tailgate, your vehicle can end up wrecked, and they certainly brought the message home with this billboard. The design and the presentation are excellent, making the billboard so lifelike. If this doesn’t convince you to stop tailgating, we don’t know what will.

13. Size Isn’t Important 

While looking at several vintage car ads, this one was among the few that stood out the most and left quite an impression on us. This advertisement is for a Minivan, a vehicle that remains popular today and true to its name; Mini cars are compact.

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Suffice it to say that the statement can be used not only to describe the mini. To be happy, you don’t need to have the biggest things; size isn’t the measurement of satisfaction. Sometimes, big things do come in small packages

14. Fierce Competition 

Not one to rest on its laurels, Citroen has automobiles that are among the best in the world, and when an opportunity to came up to highlight this, they took the bull by the horn and made the audacious move to compare their cars with other top brands in the market. 

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Citroen did not shy away from comparing its vehicles with Porsche, Rolls Royce, and Ferrari. Of course, the company also made it a point to point out the many ways their vehicle outperformed the competition. If that doesn’t say confidence, we don’t know what does.

15. Most Realistic Billboard Ad

Firstly, this isn’t a marketing ad for an automobile company; it is a public service message and a very good one at that. What are the many risks of tailgating? Well, you might end up with a convertible, and it’s not the kind of vehicle you have in mind.

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Tailgating is dangerous and can result in severe injuries and even death. What you see on the very realistic billboard is one of the many ways tailgating can change your vehicle and life. Always drive with caution and give these vehicles ahead of you extra room.

16. Great Value For Money 

This advertisement is for a classic Dodge Daytona, a vehicle that has become a collectible today. What’s great about this ad is that it highlights the car’s incredibly affordable price and that it can accelerate from 0 to 149 mph in a matter of seconds.

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The car has other things going for it, but these points should convince drivers to put their signature on the dotted line and take home a Dodge Daytona. A deal as reasonable as this will be tough to say no to.

17. What Do You Think? 

Sometimes no words are needed, and a picture is more than enough to get your point across. This ad is the perfect example of that. The fact that it doesn’t look like most ads will make you pay even closer attention to it.

There are some obvious hints here but it all depends on how the viewer interprets what they see. To us, it’s pretty simple; the motorcycle is lightweight and very comfortable to ride. Did you understand the ad differently?

18. Creative Ad Part 1

Chrysler is one of the big three automobile manufacturers in the United States that has been around for almost a century. What you see here is one of their Japanese car ads that use both the English and Japanese languages to deliver an effective marketing campaign. 

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The clever combination of language and excellent wordplay resulted in one of the most memorable car ads people still find hilarious today. If you want to get people’s attention and leave your competitors in the dust, this is how you do it.

19. Want To Race?

We love what they did with this Porsche ad. It’s simple but still manages to drive the point home that the Porsche is one of the fastest cars. Nothing fancy, just an emphasis on the car’s horsepower and racing ability.

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Indeed, Porsche has always been a force to be reckoned with in the automobile industry. Although other car models have become obsolete within a few years of their release, this one remains one of the most coveted, and that says a lot about the brand.

20. Buy One, Get One Free

Before you think you’re getting two cars stacked on top of each other, you need to look at the ad again. The ad says that you’re getting two features for the price of one, and what a deal that is!

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Hyundai says, “Cars that make sense.” We wholeheartedly agree with it because we can’t think of anything better than spending less and getting more in return. If you need an example of how to market a product correctly, this is it.

21. Writer Unavailable 

Someone beat us to the punch and made a meme from this old advertisement before we could get to it. Well, it was only a matter of time before an automobile ad as entertaining as this made the rounds on the Internet. 

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Are they implying that the Velar is so exceptional that a headline is unnecessary? Or is it just that they had to post the ad immediately, but their writer wasn’t available like the meme says? Whatever the reason, an ad this confusing has the desired effect; it gets people talking!

22. Last Option

Don’t worry if you’re low on cash and in need of a car; Ford has something for people like you. We live in a world where beggars can’t be choosers, and if you have no other option and are limited in finances, this vehicle might do the trick.

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Indeed, only people who don’t have money will consider buying this car. First off, it has approximately 300,000 miles on it. Secondly, it isn’t in good condition at all. Lastly, driving it won’t make a lot of difference from walking.

23. Drive in Peace 

Allow us to translate the ad for you. The overall message is for drivers to drive peacefully and share the road regardless of the type of vehicle they are driving. You might be wondering what this has to do with a vintage vehicle advertisement; the answer is nada. 

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Although it isn’t specifically a car ad, it is still a fantastic marketing strategy that cleverly tackles a rather important point. Most times, drivers tend to overtake, and road rage has become quite common too, so bravo to whoever created this ad.

24. It’s A Sports Car

We love how catchy the headline is because, for a change, it doesn’t try to convince people. It only states facts and asks customers to decide for themselves. Ibishu wasn’t bent on designing a sports car, but somewhere along the way, they ended up doing so.

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It then emphasizes the many features that make it a rather convincing sports car, even if the company insists that it isn’t. With an ad such as this, people will flock to the nearest dealership to get their hands on the Ibishu.

25. Perfect For The Older Citizens 

Peugeot is a French brand of automobiles owned by Stellanis. They claim that if you are between 50 and 70, this vehicle is ideal for you. This 1987 205 GTi commercial is precisely what we need today, an ad that speaks to a specific group of people.

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The advertisement’s entire 50-70 line hides a rather brilliant message. Peugeot is attempting to convey through this advertisement that the body slows down in this stage of life and that they indeed care for the older citizens with a car specially designed for them.

26. Billboard War

This is a classic billboard war between two giants of the automobile industry, BMW and Audi. The two brands are talking smack and are trying to outdo one another with some of the most creative ads. Which side are you going to take?

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Audi started things off with a billboard, and BMW responded with one of its own that said “Checkmate.” However, Audi refused to back down and came back swinging with a second billboard stating that BMW’s pawn cannot compete with their king, but BMW ended up with the last laugh with a blimp that reads “Game Over.”

27. Titanic 

Fiat Motors is an important name in the Italian automobile industry. They did an outstanding job of recreating this epic scene from the movie Titanic with their very own version of Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. 

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The main idea of this ad was to show off that the car has a very sizable sunroof with ample space for couples to mimic the iconic Titanic pose. This is excellent marketing that shows they are abreast with the latest trends.

28. Environment Friendly 

Fiat Automobiles was established more than a hundred years ago. Since then, it has become one of the largest automakers in Europe. This ad by Fiat may not be considered vintage, but in our defense, it is a brilliant one, hence its presence on this list.

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This ad zooms in on the fact that the vehicle is environmentally friendly with the lowest range of CO2 emissions in Europe. They also used a panda for the crash test to drive home the point that their car has a low impact on the environment.

29. What A Silly Joke! 

When we first saw this advertisement, we asked ourselves, “What’s the point of this ad, especially when the vehicle is not for sale in the first place?” But after much thought, we finally realized this was meant to show off the Toyota 2005, but in a way no one could have imagined.

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We feel bad for whoever came across this ad, genuinely wanted to purchase the car, and ended up disappointed. To us, it seems like the person simply wants people to know that he owns a 2005 Toyota, in fantastic condition.

30. No Guts, No Glory 

BMW’s advertisements have always been top-notch and their creative people are some of the best in the industry. Here is an excellent example of an outstanding ad showing one of the company’s cars in comparison with seven vehicles from other manufacturers.

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It takes a lot of guts to pull an ad like this because that’s quite the roast but BMW is a brand that can certainly back up their claims. They have been dominating the field for decades and they continue to stand out from the competition.

31. Police Cars 

Although the Volkswagen police car looks very different from what police officers drive nowadays, it was fairly common from the 1960s all the way to the 1980s. People might not think much of it, but it was equipped with everything people in law enforcement required.

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As nice as it may be, we still prefer something with four doors, or at least something roomier. We wonder how passengers—especially criminals—sat in the rear seat. But then again, the police are not in the business of making life comfortable for criminals.

32. Creative Ad Part 2 

This has got to be one of the funniest ads Doge has ever come up with. It seamlessly switches between English and Japanese, doesn’t require you to do a lot of translation, and has a tagline that will crack you up.

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What? You didn’t get the joke? You didn’t understand the Japanese word? Let us help you out, the Colt goes like a bat out of hell. Wouldn’t you want to get your hands on a car as fast as that?

33. 2-in-1 

This ad by Dodge almost gives the impression that they were marketing two vehicles instead of one. Not only does it show two very different cars, but it also lists features that people don’t normally expect to find in a single vehicle.

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The first look is that of a muscle car while the second look is more suitable for the beach with the top down. The 1992 Dodge Shadow can be both muscle and beach cars, so people who buy it are pretty much getting a 2-for-1 deal.

34. Savagery At Its Finest 

Sometimes a good ad requires a little bit of savagery. If you think that Audi and BMW were the only brands that can dish out epic comebacks, you certainly have not heard of this ad by Subaru. This is how you make the competition’s ads work for you.

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Remember the series of ads by Audi and BMW trying to upstage one another? Subaru is throwing major shade by describing that as a beauty contest and reminding everyone that it won the award for International Engine of the Year in 2006.

35. Save Money Using SmartCar

Billboards are an effective way to advertise a product or service or share a message because they are seen by millions of people who are driving or commuting. This billboard ad, for example, is reminding people that they can save money by sharing parking meters.

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In a subtle way, it’s also encouraging people to switch to a SmartCar. SmartCar is one of the smallest vehicles, hence the message about sharing parking meters and saving money. Suffice it to say that they have the car industry’s most creative marketers and advertisers.

36. Audi’s Warning

If there is one word to describe this ad, it has to be ballsy because it’s shading the residents of Lake Forest while marketing a product at the same time. Whoever came up with the idea for this billboard ad must be a genius.

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For the safety of all Lake Forest residents, please read this announcement. Due to the sale of an Audi R8 GT in your community, your town is now moving faster. It is therefore advisable that all slow-moving vehicles keep to the right.

37. The Porsche Experience 

This advertising is telling the truth. There’s no such thing as getaway cars in Germany and if you’re wondering why, look at a photo of their police cars. Their justice system is fairly quick because their police officers drive Porsches.

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That is a smart marketing strategy by Porsche. It deters people from committing crimes and showcases their vehicles as excellent police cars at the same time. With a Porsche chasing you, it’s quite difficult to imagine getting away from the law.

38. Protected By Prenups

This car by Aston Martin claims to be the most protected by prenups. We all know that a prenup is an agreement that couples enter into to protect assets before marriage and most of the time they favor one party over another.

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We have to admit that is a great line for a car ad. It strongly suggests that the car is highly coveted and hints that you should think about purchasing it. We can’t disagree, it’s an Aston Martin, after all.

39. Spot The Difference 

According to this ad, there are not many differences between a Lamborghini Countach and a Volvo, but when you look at this image, you’d agree when we say that they look nothing alike. They are complete opposites, like night and day.

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The ad is trying to convey that there’s actually little or no difference between the two cars in terms of space and speed. However, we actually think that the Volvo Station wagon has more storage than the Lamborghini and that the Lamborghini is faster. Nevertheless, Volvo made a great effort with this.

40. Wilt Chamberlain In A Beetle 

Here is a 1966 Volkswagen Beetle alongside Wilt Chamberlain, a basketball legend who stood a massive 7 ft 2 in tall. Without us saying anything, you can easily understand the concept behind this marketing strategy, that as small as the car may be, a giant such as Chamberlain can easily fit in it.

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Volkswagen has created a brilliant ad by skillfully combining humor and sincerity. Most people assume that when you’re tall, the Beetle isn’t the car for you but this ad proves them wrong. We have to admit that Volkswagen back then had some rather clever marketing strategies!

41. A Bit Sexist 

This is one of the best ads that show men are judged by the kind of car they drive and like most vintage car ads, it is rather sexist too. It starts off by saying that if you want to impress your neighbors, you shouldn’t buy the Dyane then it goes on to enumerate the many things that make the car impressive.

The ad also suggests that men tell everyone that the car belongs to their wives, in case people start judging them for it. Although this must have been a sought-after car in those days, we admit the ad is a little weird.

42. Best Reason For Owning A Volkswagen 

Just as we said before, when it comes to marketing ads, Volkswagen always brings it home in grand style. What this ad is trying to portray is the car’s ability to withstand damage. Read the first line of the description.

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It says “Women are soft and gentle, but they hit things.” Although that is a little biased, we can’t deny the creativity behind this one. This is definitely one of the reasons for owning a Volkswagen. No matter what you hit, it always looks good.

43. Breaking From The Norm

Volkswagen always comes up with the coolest ads and this one is no exception. The Scirocco is an 80s car with a completely different design than most people would expect from a sports car. It advanced the sportscar traditions by doing something completely different from the norm.

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For example, the engine is turned sideways to create a shorter compartment. The car has a roomier and more comfortable interior than most sports cars and the front-wheel drive gives exceptional direction control. Volkswagen indeed does it again!

44. Perfect Hiding Place

Given that most of the ads we’ve seen solely focus on the car’s features, this one is quite out-of-box and unique compared to others. This advertisement sells convenience to its audience, which is, if you ask us, a very smart marketing strategy.

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The caption says that you can hide anything, subtly suggesting that this vehicle is ideal if you ever want to conceal a dead body discreetly. We are not suggesting you do that though, you can simply store items there as well.

45. Small Car Vs Tall Person

Here’s another tall person vs small car ad by Volkswagen. We are beginning to think that they were one of the few car companies back then to invest so much in marketing. This ad implies that basketball player Wilt Chamberlain’s 7’2 frame will fit comfortably in the Rabbit. 

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The Rabbit not only boasts of having more headroom than a Rolls Royce but also an interior not found in any other small car in the world. With a Rabbit, you get the comfort of driving comfortably, regardless of your height.