'55 Chevy Sport Models - Vacation time.

Note: For those of you living in England, when Americans are "on holiday", we use the term "on vacation". Sorry for the confusion. Please retrieve your monocle from your tea.

Here's a big ad from Chevrolet, hooting about all the fun you can have in their 1955 sport model lineup.
Both the station wagon and the coupe are described as "low". This is a relative term, of course. The denizens of 1955 could learn a few things about "low" from us in The Future. They could also learn a few lessons on looking like an idiot and making a car basically undriveable.

I don't know of any beaches that let you park your car right on the sand. There's too much danger of running over children playing with a beach ball, like in this ad. I was kind of surprised to see how much loft that girl is getting out of the ball. I mean, I know beach balls have almost no mass, but she's only about seven years old. Either she's got a great future in the Olympics or her dad pumped the ball up to 80 psi with the compressor. Also, dad could have a special 50/50 air/helium mix he uses just for inflating beach balls.

More likely, the artist just wanted to get the ball clear of the trees or something, to avoid a cluttered appearance. I think this may have been a mistake, as the beach ball is the first thing that drew my eye when I flipped the page. I bet the ball originally was a little lower in the picture, but somebody asked "What's with the giant sphere sitting on top of the trees?" This is just the kind of insightful remark you get from visually illiterate people on an advertising committee. So, the ball was painted out, moved up and now the little girl seems like a powerhouse. This is just conjecture. I have no idea how the creation of this ad worked out, really.

The artist is easy to identify on this one. Bruce Bomberger. He was a staff illustrator on a bunch of magazines around The Fifties. Here's a page full of his pieces that sold at auction. Nice stuff, but the final prices aren't listed. Boo. I didn't bother to check, but I'm sure you can find lots of eBay listings selling pages of Bruce's work, cut out of magazines and going for $10 a sheet.

This ad reminds us how spoiled we are with horsepower these days. The V-8s available in these cars had between 162 and 180 ponies, which is about what you can expect from a four-cylinder these days. There's more to a car's appeal than sheer power, of course, but these cars must have been a little pokey off the line, even compared to a Corolla. Still, I reckon more than a few readers would happily trade their current transportation appliance for one of these ancient Chevys.

Click for big.


Anonymous said...

Phil, you are not on your A-game on this one. Throwing a beach ball 3 times your height into the air is no problem. I think the artist deliberately put it there to immediately draw one's eyes as it's so bright and colorful (it worked on you.) One's mind then wants to figure out how it got there and invariably ends up looking at the cars. Pretty brilliant IMHO.

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

You may be right, but I think you're giving advertising people too much credit for subtlety. I think they'd be more likely to make the product scream for attention rather than cleverly lead your eye around the page like an artist would.

Actually, now that I look at it again, it kind of seems like the girl is holding up the back of the station wagon (if you completely ignore all rules of perspective the way people do in front of the Eiffel tower). I think she's massively strong.

Thanks for reading, Anon!


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