Those Amazing Psychedelic Pontiac Ads by Fitzpatrick and Kaufman

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer
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those amazing psychedelic pontiac ads by fitzpatrick and kaufman

A good window into someone’s soul is their screen saver/wallpaper. You’re looking at mine. I don’t reveal my innermost secrets everyday; except, of course, all over the pages of my Auto-biography. This ad crystallizes my psychedelic experience as a seven-year old arriving in NYC from Austria on a hot summer night in 1960. You can read it here. But let me just say there really was a 1960 Pontiac parked at the curb as we stumbled out of the International Terminal after our twenty-four hour trip.

The Grand Prix CC reminded me of all these wonderful Fitzpatrick and Kaufman print ads that graced our optimistic early sixties. They worked as a duo; Art Fitzpatrick rendered the cars, wider than reality by a long shot, and Van Kaufman filled in the backdrops and the happy people. Does this seem like a different world?

Wide Track Pontiac’s just got that much wider, as the two master painters took on Pontiac’s new image with a vengeance!

They captured the times perfectly, as long as those times lasted. Their style was still working fairly well onto the middle of the decade, like these GP ads of 1963 and 1965.

By the latter part of the decade, their version of surrealism wasn’t working quite as well anymore, despite the counter-culture’s embrace of a new version. Ads had to become more realistic, so you’ll note that the the exaggerated widths are out by about 1969.

This ’69 GTO ad even featured snow!

The FK style petered out about this time; photo-realism and new photography techniques ruled the seventies. But the fact that Pontiac’s golden decade corresponded with the legendary art work of Fitzpatrick and Kaufman is probably no mere coincidence.

Paul Niedermeyer
Paul Niedermeyer

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  • Mark MacInnis Mark MacInnis on Jan 12, 2010

    This is what made me realize that euthanizing Pontiac is a good thing. This division of GM has been a shell of itself for nigh on 3 decades......and rather than letting the proud Pontiac name continue to be sullied by the weak-ass vehicles which Gummint Motors chose to throw out there, letting Pontiac die a dignified death is the right thing. Thanks to sites like TTAC and others, the best of the proud Pontiac tradition will continue to live (in limited numbers) on the road, and in our memories and that part of our hearts which all American males reserve for our favorite cars.... These ads were always prominent in the scorebooks and programs at Tiger Stadium in the days of my youth. I remember lusting after the late-60's Pontiacs between innings while watching Al Kaline, Willie Horton and Mickey Lolich rock the ballpark..... RIP Pontiac.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Jan 12, 2010

    VW did the same thing with their advertising either right before or after WWII. Lots of Loooong VW vans and swoopy Beetles. Somebody ought to build an aircooled van or Beetle that actually resembled what the ads showed. LOL!

  • Carsofchaos Bike lanes are in use what maybe 10 to 12 hours a day? The other periods of the day they aren't in use whatsoever. A bike can carry one person and a vehicle can carry multiple people. It's very simple math to figure out that a bike lane in no way shape or form will handle more people than cars will.The bigger issue is double parked delivery vehicles. They are often double parked and taking up lanes because there are cars parked on the curb. You combine that with a bike lane and pedestrians Crossing wherever they feel like it and it's a recipe for disaster. I think if we could just go back to two lanes of traffic things would flow much better. I started coming to the city in 2003 before a lot of these bike lanes were implemented and the traffic is definitely much worse now than it was back then. Sadly at this point I don't really think there is a solution but I can guarantee that congestion pricing will not fix this problem.
  • Charles When I lived in Los Angeles I saw a 9-5 a few times and instanly admired the sweeping low slug aerodynamic jet tech influenced lines and all that beautiful glass. The car was very different from what I expected from a Saab even though the 900 Turbo was nice. A casual lady friend had a Saab Sonnet, never drove or rode in it but nonetheless chilled my enthusiasm and I eventually forgot about Saabs. In the following years I have had seven Mercedes's, three or four Jaguars even two Daimlers both the 250 V-8 and the massive and powerful Majestic Major. Daily drivers of a brand new 300ZX 2+2 and Lincolns, plus a few diesel trucks. Having moved to my big farm in central New York, trucks and SUV's are the standard, even though I have a Mercedes S500 in one of my barns. Due to circumstances with my Ford Explorer and needing a second driver I found the 2006 9-5 locally. Very little surface rust, none undercarriage, original owner, garage kept, wife driver and all the original literature and a ton of paid receipts and history. The car just turned 200,000 miles and I love it. Feels new like I'm back in my Nissan 300ZX with a lot more European class and ready power with the awesome turbo. So fun to drive, the smooth power and torque is incredible! Great price paid to justify going through the car and giving her everything she needs, i.e., new tires, battery, all shocks, struts, control arms, timing chain and rust removable to come, plus more. The problem now is I want to restore it and likely put it in my concrete barn and only drive in good weather. As to the writer, Alex Dykes, I take great exception calling the 9-5 Saab "ugly," finding myself looking back at her beauty and uniqueness. Moreover, I get new looks from others not quite recognizing, like the days out west with my more expensive European cars. There are Saabs eclipsing 300K rourinely and one at a million miles and I believe one car with 500K on the original engine. So clearly, this is a keeper, in love already with my SportCombi. I want to be in that elite club.
  • Marky S. I own the same C.C. XSE Hybrid AWD as in this article, but in Barcelona Red with the black roof. I love my car for its size, packaging, and the fact that it offers both AWD and Hybrid technology together. Visibility is impressive, as is its small turning circle. I consider the C.C. more of a "station wagon" by proportion, rather than an “SUV.” It is fun to drive, with zippy response and perky pick-up. It is a pleasant car to drive and ride in. It is not trying to be a “Butch Off-Roader”, or a cosseting “Luxury Cruiser.” Those are not its goals or purpose. The Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid AWD is a wonderful All-Purpose Car (O.K. – “SUV” if you must hear me say it!) with a combination of all the features it has at a reasonable price.
  • Ernesto Perez There's a line in the movie Armageddon where Bruce Willis says " is this the best idea NASA came up with?". Don't quote me. I'm asking is this the best idea NY came up with? What's next? Charging pedestrians to walk in certain parts of the city? Every year the price for everything gets more expensive and most of the services we pay for gets worse. Obviously more money is not the solution. What we need are better ideas, strategies and inventions. You want to charge drivers in the city - then put tolls on the free bridges like the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. There's always a better way or product. It's just the idiots on top think they know best.
  • Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.