The Best Indian Vintage Car Ads

There is something really fascinating about old car print ads. Of course print was the only medium in India to reach masses (other than Radio) at least till 1990s. No computer graphics, minute photo editing, and stuffs. You won’t find any pretentious display of the car or some nonsense with their celebrity ambassadors or science-fictional themes that only nuts can understand, or social media bullshit (like for Tata Zest). Just clear and simple messages, highlighting few important features with a picture often hand-drawn. You can also find evident postal addresses of the dealer or the manufacturer for further contacts, unlike present-day website links which is again an advertising strategy to lure potential buyers.

However spurious car marketing and advertisements can be, ads in themselves reflect the larger popular culture and motoring trends of any given time. And they are the greatest source of excitements for guys like me who are fond of cars, whether I buy or not. Every vintage car ads bring an array of thoughts and reflections on the motoring and car culture of yesteryear. Even something more than that. You can find many ads bringing in family and societal sentiments. A kind of conservatism can also be traced. Okay, I got it, don’t want to bore you any longer by words.

Here are few car ads of days gone by, those I always found to be thought provoking and inspiring among every vintage ads I have come across in magazines or internet. A hearty thanks to TeamBHPians in particular.I have limited this post up to 1980s era. Let me have an another thread on 1990s and + anytime soon. I have also reserved CV ads for an exclusive post some later day. The order of ads below is not necessarily noteworthy in terms of “best” or “worst”. All of them are equally favorite.

I must have missed many ads worth getting into the list. I’m interested in what you think are best. Please comment and do show us what you have got!

# Goddard & Co. Car for India!! (1920)

# CrossleyThe most Enduring Car

# British Standard The Car for the Owner Driver

# Skoda Light Car ECONOMY (1937)

# PACKARDAsk the man who owns one!



# PAL (Premier Automobiles Limited) – FIAT 1100 The Car with a History!

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Photos Credit: Team BHP

Dhiyanesh Ravichandran

Dhiyanesh is equally crazy about driving cars and writing about them. This guy loves everything with a steering wheel, so, at someday if self-driving cars take up all driving, he is sure to go nuts! He likes sedans of 90s era, esp W140 S-Class and R34 Skyline GT. Apart from usual motoring stuffs, he maintains a strong appetite for sociological perspectives on cars, their historical and cultural footprints. He owns a 1999 Fiat Siena passionately, and drives a Ford Fiesta.

  • Vinay

    interesting to see skoda available since 1930s 🙂

  • Ravi D

    wow this is amazing 🙂 see how car marketing have evolved !