I really adore this coarse-brushwork style of midcentury brochure illustration, and this 1967 Ford Fairlane brochure is a fantastic example of the genre. But this one has an interesting detail the likes of which I’m not sure I’ve seen in car brochures like this. In Syd Meade paintings of imagined, sleek, stylish futures, sure, but not really in brochures designed to sell mainstream cars. I think there are some kind of imaginary racing technology in this brochure! I’m not entirely sure what they are, but they seem like some kind of futuristic not-quite-aircraft racing machines. Like those pods in that Star Wars movie with Li’l Vader. See those machines up there that aren’t Fairlane? What are they?
Here, let’s look at the one on the right a bit closer:
The one on the left looks like a jet fighter plane, except it seems to lack wings. This one up there, though, that’s no plane. It has those big dual exhausts coming out of the cowl there, suggesting some kind of combustion engine, and what looks like an open cockpit. There’s not really wings, but the whole shape looks like maybe it can generate some lift? Is this is a hovercraft of some kind?
I mean, minus the giant lightning-tethered jet engines, it reminds me a lot of those racing pods, down to the desert-like environment:
There’s another racing scene in the brochure, but that one features conventional and period-correct racing cars:
There’s also a guy there dressed like either a Foot Locker employee or something a good bit more disturbing. And the rest of the brochure is pretty conventional, without any sort of other unknown retro-future tech, just vivid colors suggesting thick vegetation:
So what do we think those things are? Decommissioned fighter planes adapted into ground-effect racers? That’d be pretty cool. An alternative 1967 where football-sized atomic reactors powered all sorts of fun stuff, and yet we still bought Fairlanes? I’m not sure we’ll ever know.
UPDATE: Our social fella Peter says they’re hydro racing boats, and they do seem to resemble those! The color choice of the environment feels so dirt/desert-like that I didn’t even think about them in terms of watercraft. I suppose that could be it! Those were pretty amazing things! Though I still like the racing hovercraft idea.