There’s always been an element of danger when it comes to being cool. That’s why smoking looks cool, because it’s a tube of poison leaves on fire near your head. The danger can take the form of a certain cavalier attitude toward dangerous things, or looking a bit dangerous yourself, too. The latter seems to be the tack taken in this 1970 Pontiac Grand Prix brochure, though I think whoever painted this otherwise lovely painting maybe took the idea too far, and the Grand Prix driver doesn’t so much look like a cool guy with a bit of a sexy, dangerous streak, but more like a terrifying psychopath moments before his hands close around your neck and he gets erotically stimulated as he watches the life leech slowly out of your eyes.
Here’s the full painting from the brochure, for context:
My, that beak-like prow on that Pontiac sure is striking! And What a picturesque old building there! It looks European, with streets far, far too narrow for that barge of a car. And that pink-suited lady, looking coquettishly over her shoulder, she’s charming! But, I’ll admit, I’m worried about her, because of that guy putting on those gloves looks like he intends to do some harm. Real harm. I mean, look at him:
(Spit take) Yikes! What the hell is going on with that guy? What’s with his face? Are those lesions? He’s even dressed like a murderer. I don’t like this. I want to get out of here. Motherfucker looks like a genuine psychopath. How do I get out of here? Where’s the exit? Should you close the window? Click the logo to go back to the homepage? Please, do something, let’s just get the hell away from this monster, now, come on, let’s go now now NOW
Oh, so you think the lady in pink is in trouble? The gent may think he’s dangerous, but he’s about to have a rendezvous with France’s most dangerous assassin, Mlle. Pic à glace.
He’s slipping a roll of quarters into the gloved hand.
I gotta calm down!
Note to Autopian Founders:
Want to increase your subscription base in a hurry?
Threaten to send over the Gran Prix guy if they don’t sign up!
I’m sleeping with the lights on tonight!
Could be a Grand Prix grille lying on the foot of the bed when I wake up.
This is Fitzpatrick and Kaufman who were responsible for all of those great Pontiac print add illustrations of the Wide Track era. They were key players in establishing the brand that Pontiac built over this very successful period for the brand. The whole team under the leadership of Knudsen and DeLorean reinvented Pontiac out of whole cloth. PAnd F&K totally got it.
Google their illustrations. The cars look longer, lower and wider than they actually were. Stylish, classy but sporting. And the cars are always placed in settings that were all of the above with people that were all of the above, with unreal interplay of light and form.
This particular rogue appears in at least one other illustration. He is dressed and posed exactly the same, which gives me pause. I’ve never seen this illustration. I almost wonder if it’s genuine. It may be, but it’s far from their best. I have to look it up to know if the car is the same. Memory tells me it’s is, but in green. The woman is different, in specific and style ,
as is the setting,, which always struck me in the original as St. Tropez.
I believe Fitz did the cars and Kauffman the backgrounds. Pontiac provided them with vehicles for personal use that would be featured in upcoming campaigns. I want to say three at a time. They drove new Pontiacs before anyone did. And they traveled for inspiration. They traveled to these places on Pontiac’s dime.
Settings were sometimes foreign, near the water. day or night, the latter after recent rain, sometimes urban. A club or casino.
Always sophisticated and with smart people. I’m not referring to intelligence.
They also did work for Pontiac of Canada.
For anyone interested in Pontiac history of this era , or brand marketing, K&F are worth a deep dive. The brand that Pontiac built, leaps off K&F pages. This one isn’t the best, but they turned out scores of great illustrations.
You’re correct, Fitz did the cars and Van the backgrounds. Fitz actually had been a car designer for Chrysler, Van worked in advertising and had lived in Europe which is why he knew all about these exotic locations.
They worked from photographs, and in real life the cars were never at the locations pictured. The paintings were also quite small to save time.
I say we hop into the Grand Prix and burn rubber out of there!
Kato, you fool! I said I want to go to a Grand Prix, not drive a Grand Prix!
The woman in pink can barely contain her glee. With the driver’s upcoming demise from Rocky Mountain Spot Rot, she’ll finally be able to trade that damn Pontiac for the fancy import she’s always craved. Now to decide: Peugeot 504, Saab 99, or BMW 2500?
That’s just Golden Dee-light, one of the finest fetish pimps in the biz. He knows that having a golden Pontiac will easily put him over the top for Pimp of the Year 1970 and be a calling card to all regarding his special offerings.
Pink Passion is one of the finest “tributaries” in his collection. Right now she’s just going to buy him a new cane since he broke his last one when another one of his tributaries failed to give him all of his monies. Damn shame, but she learned to go with the flow when it comes to Golden Dee-light.
Yeah Huggy Bear wearing dark sunglasses and putting on gloves where are Starsky & Hutch when you need them?
The artist(s) would have been Fitz (Art Fitzpatrick) and Van (Kaufman), who did all the Pontiac advertising illustrations from 1959 until 1972, when they moved to Opel for a couple of years. Prior to working for Pontiac, they worked for Mercury and then Buick.