Friday, December 23, 2016

Selling the American Muscle Car: Marketing Detroit Iron in the 60s and 70s

As the muscle car wars developed in the early 1960s, auto manufacturers scrambled to find catchy marketing campaigns to entice the buying public into their dealerships. General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, with all their divisions, as well as AMC and Studebaker, inevitably sank billions of dollars into one-upmanship in an effort to vie for the consumer's last dollar.

Automotive writer Diego Rosenberg examines the tactics and components used by manufacturers in waging war against one another in the muscle car era.

Cars were given catchy nicknames, such as The GTO Judge, Plymouth Roadrunner, Cobra, and Dodge Super Bee. Entire manufacturer lines were given catchy marketing campaigns, such as Dodge's Scat Pack, AMC's Go Package, and Ford's Total Performance. From racing to commercials to print ads, from dealer showrooms to national auto shows, each manufacturer had its own approach in vying for the buyer's attention, and gimmicks and tactics ranged from comical to dead serious.

The author tells the story of how the car companies helped the racers, and how the racers provided fodder for marketing, which in turn helped both the racers and the manufacturers. It’s a scrambled stew of goodness starting with A) the high performance versions of the manufacturer’s cars, then B) what the racers did to and with those cars to win, and finally C) what marketing did to capitalize on the performance car goodness and the racers’ results.

Each manufacturer’s offerings are covered, along with images and background on who was racing what, and then promotional material used by the manufacturers to get the word out on their successes. Inside documents, rare promotional material, and of course great shots of many of the muscle cars and limited edition racing versions are included to provide complete look at the selling of American muscle cars.

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