If your wife asks what you want for Christmas here is a terrific suggestion; Selling the American Muscle Car by Diego Rosenberg. I just received my copy and it is far more than I had ever expected. Diego contacted me, what seems like years ago now, about information on the Spoiler/Spoiler II cars and the Cyclone GT 500. He explained his idea for the book and I was rightfully impressed with the topic.
There are lots of books out there about muscle cars ranging from detailed technical manuals to coffee table picture books. Each has its place but this book has a very different place. The author has done a remarkable job of research on a subject we often overlook. His approach is far more than simply presenting some magazine advertisements which I actually would have liked to see more of. Diego includes lots of muscle car photos and technical details on each. What I found to be especially interesting was a synopsis of each manufactures philosophy of going after a muscle car buyer.
If you were too young to be purchasing a muscle car new in the late 60s or early 70s you will find this interesting. If you were there at the time and looking for a new car you will appreciate and remember all those sales techniques that were in play at the time.
The baby boomers were on there way and looking for fast cars and excitement. Ford hit a homerun with the Mustang and Pontiac did the same with the GTO in 1964. The other auto manufacturers weren’t impressed at first but soon all of the manufacturers were scrambling to find or develop competitive products in their lineup to keep from being left in the muscle car dust. Catchy marketing campaigns were necessary to entice the new younger 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. Manufacturers poured millions into racing programs, operating under the principle of “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday.” 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.
Selling the American Muscle Car: Marketing Detroit Iron in the 60s and 70s takes you back to an era when options were plentiful and performance was cheap. You will relive or be introduced to some of the cleverest marketing campaigns created during a time when America was changing every day.
Being Ford and Mercury lovers you will be pleased to know that our brands are well covered and play a prominent role in the book. Diego even included one of the best descriptions of the 1968 Mercury Cyclone GT 500 advertising campaigns I have ever read.
For me, this is not a book I will read from cover to cover. Rather, it is a book I will skip around in and read what interests me the most first. I immediately went to the Mercury section first and then to the Ford. I will eventually get to all of them. Just in my first brief read of a few paragraphs in each manufacturer’s chapter I learned something new. I am sure you will to.
This belongs in you car library. It is published by Car Tech and retails for $39.95 but check Amazon for availability and price.