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1920s Car Advertisements

Updated on February 22, 2017

Automobile Advertisements from the 1920's

The following is a selection of 1920's car advertisements taken from my vintage automobile ad collection that illustrate the beautiful cars and fantastic color illustrations that are typical of automobile advertising throughout most of the 1920's era.

Prior to the advent of television and radio advertising, print media was the most popular form of advertising. Popular periodicals of the 1920's almost always contained car advertisements from the major car manufacturers—that even included women's magazines, since women were, and are still, a major influence in car buying! You will see from the 1920's ads below that the marketing methods used by car manufacturers way back then are still being used just as successfully today.

The period between 1925 and the end of 1929 was the peak period for color in car advertisements. Prior to 1925. most car ads were black and white. Following the stock market crash of October 1929, many magazine car advertisements reverted to black and white again. Only the more expensive and profitable car brands could afford color ads during the depression years as car makers struggled just to survive.

Nothing stays the same forever. Toward the very end of the 1920s, and especially in the early 1930s, color photographs began to be used in advertisements; but to me, the magic of the advertisements was gone.

This is a celebration of 1920's car illustrations before photos destroyed the magic. These beautiful illustrations by talented American illustrators, showcase the wonderful cars of the roaring twenties.

Idealized Illustrated Car Ads

1927 Cadillac LaSalle Coupe in Rural Setting
1927 Cadillac LaSalle Coupe in Rural Setting


Rather than expensive photo shoots in remote or exotic locations, why don't car manufacturers revert to the 1920s method of illustrated backgrounds and vehicles as in the ad above. It opens up the possibility of fantasy backgrounds and unique advertisements to catch buyers' attention and overshadow the competition.

Introduction of Color Photos in Car Advertisements

Photo from Late 1920's Cadillac Advertisement
Photo from Late 1920's Cadillac Advertisement

Cadillac were one of the first car manufacturers to take advantage of the new and exciting developments in color photography and use color photos of their vehicles in advertising. However, in my opinion, this photo of a 1930 Cadillac which was used in advertisements is not as appealing as the illustrated advertisement above, which preceded it!

Color photographs had novelty value, and new is always considered better - but is it really? Fashions often go full circle and visit the old. Perhaps car illustrations will once again revisit the 1920s style.

Car Advert by Chevrolet Targeting Women Drivers

1928 Chevrolet 2-Door Sedan
1928 Chevrolet 2-Door Sedan

A Ford Car Advertisement Targeting Business Women

1924 Ford Model T sedan
1924 Ford Model T sedan

Smaller cars for women drivers.

Art Deco Style Franklin Sedan Advertisement

1926 Franklin Sedan
1926 Franklin Sedan

Dodge Cars Were Big on Appearance and Reliability

1927 Dodge Brothers Six
1927 Dodge Brothers Six

Beautiful cars with a reputation for toughness, from Dodge Brothers.

A General Motors Pontiac Big Six From $745

1930 Pontiac "Big Six" Sedan
1930 Pontiac "Big Six" Sedan

Emphasizing speed and power. Still the emphasis of much advertising today!

An Up-Market Straight-Eight Coupe From Pierce Arrow

1930 Pierce Arrow Coupe
1930 Pierce Arrow Coupe

Only $895 for an Oakland V-Eight!

1930 Oakland Eight Sedan
1930 Oakland Eight Sedan

Associating cars with aeroplanes - a marketing technique that is still used with great effect in car ads and commercials today!

Associating a coupe with outdoor recreation - in this case, golf.

Comments or Questions on 1920's Car Advertisements - Leave your feedback on vintage car ads

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    • profile image

      Oosquid 10 years ago

      Great illustrations. I particularly like the Franklin advertisement. Thanks for making the lens, 5 stars.

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      CapitalAutoLoan.com 10 years ago

      Hey There! Nice lens, I gave it a 5 star rating. I'm putting together a lens on

      bad credit auto loan financing to assist people with resources in getting an auto loan and credit help. Come by and check us out sometime!

    • Karendelac profile image

      Karendelac 10 years ago

      Once again I have to give you 5 stars for the wonderful car pictures Keep up the great work!

      All the Best, Karen at Karen's Kinkade Art Store

    • Signhappy profile image

      Signhappy 9 years ago

      Great lens to showcase this fabulous art. 5 stars!

    • profile image

      j.wilson 9 years ago

      very good lens. you deserves 5 stars.

    • profile image

      harry2 9 years ago

      Hi,

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      Aika 9 years ago

      love vintage. Great lens indeed! Giving you 5 stars!

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      thomasz 9 years ago

      Nice lens. Great info.

    • profile image

      bdkz 9 years ago

      Awesome lens! 5 Stars and a Squid Angel Blessing!

    • petergrizzly lm profile image

      petergrizzly lm 9 years ago

      Aaah... Nostalgia. Love this lens. :) I just wish for more ads from the 50s-70s, they're too cool to miss!

      I hope this goes way up the ranks. 5 stars!

      -Peter G

      Co-owner,

      CLassic Cars for Sale

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Another 5 star lens. Roger

    • profile image

      mangaaa 8 years ago

      This is definitely a well deserved 5 Star Rating. Thank you for sharing this unique lens!

      If you get the chance, please visit my Used Vintage Cars blog. Thank you!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Beautifully done. I so wish modern advertising companies would go back to the illustration art! Such gorgeous work was done back then.

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      outsource123 6 years ago

      Cheers, that lense was pure awesome.

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      myfavouriteadverts 6 years ago

      I love looking at old adverts. This is an interesting collection, thanks for sharing.

      I've made a lens about ?UK TV adverts, feel free to check it out if you get chance :)

    • profile image

      BadSoulPhotography 6 years ago

      Well done, very interesting

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