When I was a kid there was an advertising campaign that encouraged a
generation of Americans to see the USA in your Chevrolet. To ensure that we got the message there were two fellows named Buzz and Todd whose adventures played out each week on television. They drove a Chevrolet Corvette, and even though few episodes were actually filmed on U.S. 66, the show immortalized Route 66.
For several generations, a simple slogan inspired people to aspire to own a premier luxury automobile – Ask The Man Who Owns One. The slogan served Packard well for decades.
With the passing of years automotive slogans often serve a secondary purpose as windows into a rapidly changing world where the horse drawn wagon or carriage were still in competition with the automobile. Consider the advertising campaign for the Jackson manufactured in Jackson, Michigan. What does it say about road conditions when a company advertises that “No Hill Is To Steep, No Sand To Deep” if you own a Jackson? The Allen was billed as, “The King of Hill Climbers.” The Maytag was, “The Hill Climber.”
Studebaker was billed as “The Automobile With A Reputation Behind It.” The company did have a long reputation for the manufacture of wheeled vehicles, for innovation, and for innovative styling. Consider this, the company promoted its 1952 models as a century of Studebaker! In the mid 19th century, Studebaker was the largest manufacturer of wheeled vehicle in the world. Among the companies first forays into automobile manufacturing was an electric designed by Thomas Edison.
The Rickenbaker was a “Car Worthy of the Name.” At the time of its manufacture the Rickenbaker names was as well known as Dale Earnhardt or John McCain to future generations. Edward Rickenbacker was an American fighter pilot in WWI with a larger than life reputation based on fact as he was a Medal of Honor recipient. He was also a daring race car driver, automotive designer, golf champion, and a pioneer in aviation development.
Some of the early slogans leave you scratching your head in wonder. The Cartercar was the car with “No Clutch to Slip, No Gears to Strip.” The Durant was “Just A Real Good Car.” The Premier was the car with an “Aluminum Six With Magnetic Gear Shift.” The Martin was the “Little Brother of the Aeroplane.” The King was a “Car of No Regrets.” Dodge was simply “Dependable.” The Elmore was “The Car That Has No Valves.” The Gearless was “A Common Sense Car With No Tender of Delicate Parts.”
And then there are the slogans and advertising campaigns that are delightfully simple. “Ride in A Glide And Then Decide.” The Star was “Worth The Money.” The Pope-Toledo was the “Quiet Mile A Minute Car.”
Even among automotive enthusiasts, the marketing campaigns and slogans that enabled the companies to compete with GM and Ford are less than historic footnotes. If you are looking for some interesting history, I suggest looking into the world of automotive advertisement, especially in the years before the dominance of the automobile was assured.