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Car Advertising

Magazine ads, newspaper columns, signs, pens, posters, mugs, and hats have all been produced to advertise the automobile. For car enthusiasts and advertising fans alike, these promotional products have become highly sought after collectibles.

The first car advertisement to appear in a publication of general interest was published in "Harper’s Weekly" in July of 1898. It advertised the Columbia Motor Carriage produced by the Pope Manufacturing Company. Shortly after, in September 1898, an advertisement for the Winton Motor Carriage appeared in "Scientific American." This ad is often identified as the first American automobile advertisement.

The first car ads focused on the functionality and ease of operation of the automobile. Once cars were mass-produced and easy to afford, advertising changed its focus to the places cars could take people, or the status a person could achieve by owning a particular car. Automobile advertising continued to promote status until the '80s, when economy and convenience became the focus of many car ads.


Quick Facts

  • One of the most groundbreaking ad campaigns for an automobile was for the Volkswagen Beetle. Rolled out in the United States in 1959, the Beetle's slogan read, "Think Small"
  • A popular advertising collectible with vintage car enthusiasts is the Boyce Moto Meter. Used on cars between 1913 and the early '30s, the Moto Meter measured the temperature of the water in the cooling system
  • Promotional toy cars were first produced in the '30s, when Tootsietoy of Chicago, Illinois introduced a diecast model of the 1932 Graham. A few years later, the same company produced another diecast model, this time of the 1935 LaSalle

Recommended Items at Auction

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Cadillac-Lasalle Sales Brochure
Nov 13, 10:00 AM EST
Cadillac-Lasalle Sales Brochure
by Copake Auction Inc.
Est: $25- $50
$302 Bids
(2) COCO PORSCHE 911/912 FLOOR MATS
Nov 03, 11:00 AM EDT
(2) COCO PORSCHE 911/912 FLOOR MATS
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Est: $10- $1,000
$102 Bids
EMBOSSED TIN SIGN AUNTIE CHATTER MOTOR OIL FORDS
Feb 12, 9:00 AM CST
EMBOSSED TIN SIGN AUNTIE CHATTER MOTOR OIL FORDS
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
Ferrari California
Nov 04, 6:00 PM CDT
Ferrari California
by Easterly Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
2 SIDED TIN SIGN VANDERBILT PREMIUM TIRES
Dec 03, 9:00 AM CST
2 SIDED TIN SIGN VANDERBILT PREMIUM TIRES
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$100 Bids
OCCUPIED CAMP CAR PORCELAIN SIGN
Oct 30, 10:00 AM EDT
OCCUPIED CAMP CAR PORCELAIN SIGN
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $200- $400
$500 Bids
BUCKEYE CENTRAL RAILROAD CAR SIGN
Oct 30, 10:00 AM EDT
BUCKEYE CENTRAL RAILROAD CAR SIGN
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $600- $800
$1500 Bids
4 piece group Jada Big Time Muscle R/C Cars and more
Nov 07, 10:00 AM CDT
4 piece group Jada Big Time Muscle R/C Cars and more
by Matthew Bullock Auctioneers
Est: $30- $500
$150 Bids
1949 Chevrolet Dealership Sign
Nov 13, 10:00 AM EST
1949 Chevrolet Dealership Sign
by Copake Auction Inc.
Est: $1,500- $2,000
$7500 Bids
Chevrolet. 1940.
Nov 14, 11:00 AM EST
Chevrolet. 1940.
by Poster Auctions International Inc
Est: $1,700- $2,000
$1,4000 Bids
1952 Hudson Hornet & Wasp Magazine Advertisement
Nov 13, 2:00 PM EST
1952 Hudson Hornet & Wasp Magazine Advertisement
by Connoisseur Online
Est: $30- $60
$200 Bids
Advertising Poster Felix Mayol Mors Barrere Vintage Automobile
Nov 13, 2:00 PM GMT
Advertising Poster Felix Mayol Mors Barrere Vintage Automobile
by Antikbar Original Vintage Posters
Est: £90- £180
£600 Bids
Advertising Poster Rally Belle Epoque Vintage Car Lyon Rochetaillee
Nov 13, 2:00 PM GMT
Advertising Poster Rally Belle Epoque Vintage Car Lyon Rochetaillee
by Antikbar Original Vintage Posters
Est: £60- £120
£400 Bids
Misc. Lot
Nov 13, 10:00 AM EST
Misc. Lot
by Copake Auction Inc.
Est: $25- $50
$100 Bids
Trade Sign
Nov 13, 10:00 AM EST
Trade Sign
by Copake Auction Inc.
Est: $750- $950
$3750 Bids
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Porsche lamp. Photos [139821]
Oct 30, 8:00 AM PDT
Porsche lamp. Photos [139821]
by Holabird Western Americana
Est: $120- $200
$600 Bids
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Early Dodge Brothers Truck Emblem [138206]
Nov 01, 8:00 AM PDT
Early Dodge Brothers Truck Emblem [138206]
by Holabird Western Americana
Est: $70- $140
$350 Bids
Chevrolet retro style advertising sign
Oct 29, 11:30 PM EDT
Chevrolet retro style advertising sign
by Baker's Antiques and Auctions
Est: $50- $60
$350 Bids
The Busted Knuckle Garage retro style sign
Oct 29, 11:30 PM EDT
The Busted Knuckle Garage retro style sign
by Baker's Antiques and Auctions
Est: $45- $60
$350 Bids
Ford authorized parts and service retro style sign
Oct 29, 11:30 PM EDT
Ford authorized parts and service retro style sign
by Baker's Antiques and Auctions
Est: $45- $60
$350 Bids
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A Torck folded advertising brochure 1930, Torck catalogues 1936, 1937-38, 1938-39, 1939-40
Nov 24, 7:00 PM CET
A Torck folded advertising brochure 1930, Torck catalogues 1936, 1937-38, 1938-39, 1939-40
by Carlo Bonte Auctions
Est: €600- €800
€5500 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Car Advertising


Yardley Antiques

Yardley Antiques

Copake Auction Inc.

Copake Auction Inc.

Westport Auction

Westport Auction