HomeUncategorizedBritish car ads compiled into book series

British car ads compiled into book series

More than 1,000 print advertisements from the 20th century reproduced


British publishing house Auto Heritage has compiled what it calls the “ultimate history” of British car advertising in the 20th century, with more than 1,000 such ads reproduced in a series of 16 paperback reference books.

“This monumental work chronicles the huge changes in the way British cars were marketed in the main motoring magazines and elsewhere from the basic sketches and simple text promoting the crude early cars of the 1900s, to the exceptionally slick thought-provoking adverts designed to sell many thousands of the much more advanced cars of the post-war years,” the company said in its announcement.

“Presented in a handy anthology of 16 individual paperback reference books, more than 1,000 adverts are featured. These include those for the most popular British cars of the 20th Century, such as the Mini, Morris Minor and MGB, to numerous highly obscure models such as the Crouch Carette, Gilbern Genie and Tornado Talisman.”

Auto Heritage notes that while automotive advertising is done primarily in digital and video in recent years, “for most of the 20th Century, it was print adverts in leading magazines which played a hugely important role in determining the level of sales of each individual model, and to a significant extent, the success or otherwise of the companies themselves.”

Further, it notes, “Many highly imaginative marketing slogans were also created, with some of the most memorable being: Invest in an Austin; Grace, Space and Pace (for Jaguar); The Finest Motor Car in the World (for Rolls-Royce); Proudly Made, Proudly Owned (for Daimler); As Old as the Industry, as modern as the Hour (for Riley); Hand Over to Land Rover and Buy Wiseley Buy Wolseley.”

In addition to color photos and dramatic paintings of cars, Auto Heritage points out the celebrities involved in advertising vehicles.

“In the 1910s, Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George and other leading politicians were all featured by the Napier company to sell its latest model,” Auto Heritage reports. “Similar, between the wars, many of the country’s leading race drivers helped to increase the sales of numerous models from MG to SS Cars (Jaguar). 

“In the 1970s, Lulu, Twiggy, Eric Sykes and other popular entertainers of the period all featured in various adverts for the Mini. Meanwhile, in the 1980s and 90s, motor racing champion Nigel Mansell and Hollywood A-list actress Joan Collins, amongst others, helped to bring glitz and glamour to the Metro.”

The books were compiled by marketing historian Tim Cleave and are priced at £5.99 ($8.10) each, or at £79.99 ($109) for the full set. The full set also is available as a computer download for £59.99 ($81.25).

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


  1. I have a collection of most American car mag and many Brit one. Thousands.
    About 30 years ago I went thru them all and copied all the Morgan ads.
    After being retired for 23 years , i plan on going thru the duplicate ones and cutting out the actual ads.
    I do not know what to do with all the boxes. No one seems to want them. My daughter in law says she
    is going to put all my stuff on the curb some day. We are talking about a three story barn!


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