Ultra Swank - Retro Adventures

Classic Hand Drawn Car Ads from the US

Written by Christopher Alm • January 21st, 2010
Classic Hand Drawn Car Ads from the US

Found a whole bunch of really nice vintage American car advertisements from the 1950s and 1960s in the Ultra Swank Flickr Group. Wish Detroit still would do classic hand drawn illustrations like this today for their cars.

Which is your favorite American mid century car and why?

Christopher Alm

Christopher founded Ultra Swank in 2005. Has a crush on mid-century graphic design, defunct airlines, Disneyland and the Century 21 Exposition. Is a collector of easy listening music from the 60s and 70s and a Swedish expat living in Barcelona, Spain.

Find out more about Christopher Alm

  • Daddy hi-fi

    I've always been drawn to the early 1950 Buicks, especially the 1952 Super Eight. I love the lines and the teeth like grill. The car just looks elegant and evil all at the same time. Of course, being a modern greaser means I like the car for the ability to chop and drop it and make it look even more predator animal like. Something about the chrome and the attention to details of these cars that made me fall in love with them. You can almost sense the hope in the future and American might in their lines.

  • How about the 1963 Buick Invicta convertible? Almost a factory Batmobile.

  • Harpo in San Diego

    My all-time favorite was the 1955 Thunderbird (http://instapunk.com/images/ford-thunderbird-19…), but the most famous car from that era is the 1956 Chevy, probably because it inspired this old joke:
    What's the difference between a barmaid and a '56 Chevy?
    Not every guy has had a '56 Chevy.

  • Looking good Harpo!

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  • vmacek

    Just found your site, will be very busy checking it out for a while!

    My favorite may be the classic 1953-54 Studebaker coupe – low-slung, clean design that defied the rolling-jukebox style of the time. It underwent some low-budget redesigns of varying success, but held on for over ten years.

    I think the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray officially ushered in the ’60s. My fourth-grade teacher had one of these (red!) – she was a breezy young lady while my other teachers were dour nuns who drove boxy black sedans, so, yeah.

    The ’63 Buick Riviera still looks awesome. Its design was supposedly influenced by both Rolls-Royce and Ferrari. I can see more the first than the second, but it’s a real original.

  • Robert Scott

    The is a website that has awesome classic car prints….www.classiccarviewer.com.  Very kewl stuff!

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  • Tobee

    Hey, are we allowed to use those car pictures for a presentation about the future of mobility? If so who is the author so we can refer to him/her. Thanks for an answer!

  • Mike B.

    A graphic artists by trade I too wish that advertisers still utilized hand drawn illustrations. To my way of thinking these mid-century illustrations capture a moment in time that remains unmatched be photographs. And my favorite mid-century American car is the 1956 Chevy Nomad. I’m sure it has a lot to do with an original hand drawn illustration ad I saw. The thought of driving off to the country with the family for a panic or heading to the beach with a surfboard patruding from the tailgate. And who doesn’t just love the enormous silver jet hood ornament?

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