British Car Advertising of the 1960s


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About the Book

During the 1960s, the automobile finally secured its position as an indispensable component of daily life in Britain. Car ownership more than doubled from approximately one car for every 10 people in 1960 to one car for every 4.8 people by 1970. Consumers no longer asked “Do we need a car?” but “What car shall we have?”
This well-illustrated history analyzes how both domestic car manufacturers and importers advertised their products in this growing market, identifying trends and themes. Over 180 advertisement illustrations are included.

About the Author(s)

Heon Stevenson has written for several classic car magazines. He is an Individual Friend of the History of Advertising Trust. He lives in Cambridge, England.

Bibliographic Details

Heon Stevenson
Format: softcover (8.5 x 11)
Pages: 429
Bibliographic Info: 188 photos (8 in color), appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016 [2005]
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6789-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1130-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v

Preface      ix

Introduction      1

Part One—Family Marques: Engines of an Industry

1. Austin: “You invest in an Austin”      33

2. Ford: “Made with care by Ford of Britain”      49

3. Hillman: “A better buy because it’s better built!”      82

4. Morris: “People feel strong about Morris”      93

5. Reliant: “Make your family self-reliant”      102

6. Singer: “Motoring’s most elegant experience”      106

7. Standard: “There’s a real V.I.P. car”      117

8. Vauxhall: “Everyone drives better in a Vauxhall”      125

Part Two—Luxury and Sporting Marques: Aspiration and Escape

9. The “Bond Bombshell” and Other Specialists      155

10. Aston Martin and Lagonda: “Body beautiful (with a nature to match)”      163

11. Bentley: “Take a Bentley into partnership”      169

12. Daimler: “Prestige motoring in the modern manner”      173

13. Humber: “Luxury with a capital H”      181

14. Jaguar: “Grace…Space…Pace”      190

15. Jensen: “Pianissimo power”      200

16. MG: “Safety Fast!”      205

17. Riley: “Riley for Magnificent Motoring”      212

18. Rolls-Royce: “The Best Car in the World”      220

19. Rover: “One of the world’s best engineered cars”      225

20. (Reliant) Scimitar: “Join the GTE set!”      237

21. Sunbeam: “For people with a ZEST for living”      242

22. Triumph: “Triumph put in what the others leave out”      249

23. Vanden Plas: “Prestige without ostentation”      260

24. Wolseley: “Buy wisely—buy Wolseley”      267

Part Three—Imported Marques: Britain Embraces the World

25. Volkswagen, Renault and Citroën: Special Cases      279

26. Alfa Romeo to Wartburg: Importers Spread Their Wings      294

Conclusion      309


1. Year Letter Suffixes of Car Number (License) Plates      321

2. United Kingdom Purchase Tax Rates for Four-Wheeled Passenger Cars      322

3. The Value of the Pound 1958–1970 (2001)       323

4. The Value of the U.S. Dollar Against the Pound: Exchange Rates (1958–1970)      324

5. UK Car Production, Registrations, Exports and Imports (1958–1970)      325

6. Imports of Cars from Selected Countries (1958–1973)      326

7. Exports of Cars to Selected Markets (1958–1970)      327

8. Leading Automotive Advertisers (January–May 1968)      328

9. Division of Advertising Expenditure by Media Category (January–May 1968)      329

10. Car Manufacturers’ and Importers’ Advertising Agencies (1958–1970)      330

11. Contemporary Estimates of Advertising Expenditures by Marque and Model      337

12. Ages and Incomes of Owners of New Fords (1963)      357

Notes      359

Bibliography      381

Index      401

Book Reviews & Awards

“meticulously researched and well presented…fascinating…detailed”—Classic Car Mart; “extremely scholarly work…an amazing piece of scholarship”—The Automobile; “informative…a good book”—Classics Monthly; “what a brilliant book!…fabulous”—Classic Cars; “Stevenson flexes historical muscle”—Old Cars Weekly; “gives great insight into the world of selling cars via the printed page…enlightening”—The Sacred Octagon; “fascinating…thorough…well illustrated…thoroughly and impartially recommended”—Newsletter of the History of Advertising Trust; “a book of the richest scholarship, most engagingly presented…a veritable trip down memory lane…desirable and entertaining”—The Flying Lady; “this exhaustive work appears to be a unique look at an important advertising category and is worth the price of admission”—SpeedReaders.