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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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Ferrari 250 Granturismo Coupe Pininfarina Sales Literature
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Sellers Who Sell Car Advertising


Matthews Auctions, LLC

Matthews Auctions, LLC

Zwiggelaar Auctions

Zwiggelaar Auctions

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Galerie Moderne

Galerie Moderne