One nice thing about obsessively looking at old car brochures is that you notice patterns and trends in the Car Brochureverse that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. Patterns like what I’ve seen in Oldsmobile brochures from the 1970s. In the ’70s, Oldsmobile’s world-class Brochure Concept Task Force (BCTF) had an idea: surround Oldsmobiles with animals! They did not do this in the ’60s or the ’80s, but in the ’70s? Oh yeah, absolutely animal-slathered. Let’s look at some examples!
Okay, first, let’s look at what Oldsmobile was doing in the 1960s:
Look at that! That amazing purple Toronado! And it’s shot in a black void, with a trench-coated man standing back there, looking all mysterious.
Okay, let’s jump to 1979, and see where things end up:
…and we’re back in the dark void! The warm, welcoming comfort of the darkness!
Okay, but what happened in between? Animals!
Sheep! Lots and lots of sheep! So many sheep! And, from up top, cattle!
Dark, dark cattle, hardly distinguishable from that tree back there, almost silhouettes!
What the hell, let’s get some horses in here, too. What I like about these photos is the fact that all of these cars are incredibly ill-suited to all of these things, really. I mean, maybe the station wagon there on the dirt road is viable, but I’ve driven these cars, and the idea of driving a Delta 88 onto a field of potentially wet grass and soggy ground seems like a recipe for getting stuck. These things didn’t have great traction in the best circumstances, so putting them out in a field of cattle just isn’t something I’d want to do.
That said, Oldsmobile did have this:
Look at that! Those high-mounted stop and turn signals! Such forward thinking! They’re useful and clever and of course they were gone very soon after this model, never to return again. Like all those animals.