Those Amazing Psychedelic Pontiac Ads by Fitzpatrick and Kaufman

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.

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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!

  • Pmirp1 Simple. Electrics are not yet prime time. In time, they may become the norm. For now, they are still the new kid on the block. A curosity. A status symbol. They are not the work horse of American life. Everyone knows that. You buy it because it is fast. It makes you feel like, you know, Prius like 10-15 years ago.Electrics have improved. Tesla is without a doubt the standard bearer. Still, long way to go before they can be your ONE vehicle. So companies charge more because these things are coooool. Not real.
  • Rich Benkwitt I’ll take that red and white 2 door and I guess the 4 banger so I can have the manual tranny just like my 1969 Bronco. I have my Wildtrak on order now waiting impatiently!
  • Theflyersfan I was living in one part of the world when China and Russia were completing their 21st century scramble of Africa. They were pumping billions into the economies of these countries building new dams, bridges, skyscrapers, freeways/toll roads, utilities, power plants, you know - projects that would benefit the average resident of said location. All they wanted in exchange were the mineral, mining, fishing, timber, etc., rights of said location. And they got them. So during that era when they were looking at global expansion, we were fighting unwinnable wars and our "leaders" on the left were yelling at the "leaders" on the right and vice versa, and what happens when all you do is stare and focus on one thing like DC is known to do? The world moves on around you. And that's what happened here.We had the same opportunity to build Africa up and to make the same deals as other countries, but our "nation building" tends to take place via the conversion from something solid and standing to something in pieces and in rubble. So it looks like we'll continue to have to deal with hostile nations holding our feet into the fire and working through their many geopolitical issues just so we can continue to get cheap electronics and necessary materials in our manufacturing just because we decided around 40+ years ago to ship it all overseas because we wanted to save 50 cents on a pack of socks and the CEOs needed their next quarterly statement to look even better to the shareholders so they could increase their pay and bonuses, consequences be damned.
  • DweezilSFV I didn't think GM could make a worse looking truck than their full-sizers.Success.
  • DweezilSFV GM. Still trying to make OnStar happen.And still the answer to a question no one ever asked.