Back To Print: Car and Driver, March 1967

In March of 1967, for my 13th birthday, I was given a subscription to CAR and DRIVER magazine. I already had been reading everything I could on the topic of automobiles. Up until this point, the majority of that had been my dad’s Popular Science and Popular Mechanics magazines. While their automotive articles were good, they encompassed but a fraction of those magazines’ editorial content.

 
It was my father who selected C&D among the then-available buff books; it was a decision which profoundly affected and still influences the way I think about automobiles. CAR and DRIVER, in 1967 under the helm of David E. Davis Jr., was already displaying a slant toward European machinery and away from American iron. They were also several years into embracing a tone of irreverence, in part fed by 1960s counter-culture, that would grow stronger in the decade of the 1970s.

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My first issue of CAR and DRIVER magazine, March 1967. Mailing label still attached. 

I recently plucked that March of ’67 issue from the bookshelf for a revisit. Their preference may have been sporty European cars, but they were also in the business of selling magazines (at 60 cents per copy), so the newly-announced 1967 Pontiac Firebird graced the cover. The statistics page at the end of the Firebird road test swings between factual calculations (0-60 in 5.8 sec.), and a “Check List” which uses “excellent”, “very good”, “good”, “fair”, and “poor” for its subjective ratings. Nice to know that the “synchro action” was excellent, while the “trunk space” was poor.

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This says there were 3,450 Pontiac dealers in the U.S. in 1967.

C&D regularly featured articles on personalities and/or topics related to, but not necessarily directly about, cars. Case in point was this article about the photographer Pete Biro. The sharpness of the color photos I find especially enthralling.

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Pete Biro: One Man Show
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Jim Hall and Don Garlits
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Rodriguez in the Ferrari, and Hill in the BRM

Some of the real fun in browsing through an almost-50-year-old magazine is re-reading the advertising. The Volvo ad for the 122 uses the “Stronger Than Dirt” tag line which Volvo aficionados know well. But look at the fine print: “Stronger than dirt copyright Colgate Palmolive, used with permission”. The Porsche ad, like Volvo’s, quotes a 3rd party source for credibility. With prices ranging from $4790 to $6990, these German sports machines were expensive cars, especially compared to other cars featured in ads in this issue such as the Renault 10 for $1647, the Fiat 124 for $1798, and the MGB/GT for $3095.

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Volvo print ad from 1967
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Porsche print ad from 1967

By contrast, note that these two ads from domestic manufacturers are in color. Bigger ad budget perhaps? The Camaro ad pointedly attacks the perceived discomfort and unreliability of other (unnamed European) sports cars, finishing off with “… and go show those purists”. The biggest surprise in the magazine for me is this ad: “Mercury, the Man’s Car”. Really? Try that today. Nevertheless, they still attempt a tie-in with the overseas competition by informing you that “European elegance comes to Cougar Country in Mercury’s Car of the Year”.

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Camaro print ad from 1967

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Bringing up the rear is “The Classified Marketplace”. While Road & Track magazine’s classified section was probably better-known (and more likely to contain exotic sports cars), there are still interesting tidbits here at CAR and DRIVER. Among them are a Lancia Flaminia for $1100, a ’63 Porsche 90 coupe for best offer over $3000, and a 1934 Rolls-Royce for $1450 FOB England. My favorite is the picture ad which ran in C&D for years: “A Playboy’s Dream”, the Volvo 1800 convertible. With all my years around the product, I’ve rarely seen one in the metal, which makes me wonder how many were made, and how many survive?

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The Classified Marketplace

This glance back to March of 1967 was fun, and I think we’ll do this again with other ancient periodicals that may be in the collection.

 

All scans are from the March 1967 issue of CAR and DRIVER magazine; the copy of the magazine is from the author’s collection.

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Back To Print: Car and Driver, March 1967

  1. I’m pretty sure I have that very issue. The ads are great especially the classifieds, although those C&D didn’t hold a candle to the contemporary Road & Track classifieds.
    The reference to the 1800 ragtop conversions reminded me of an ad I saw last year linked on the BarnFinds site for a rusted shell of one. A quick Google search yields a lot of info about them including this research done in 1985 by none other than the 1800 Legend himself Irv Gordon complete with photos of the cars along with those of the reptilian Lazarus clan who produced them:
    http://www.v1800reg.org/pages/Convertibles.pdf

    These two sites also reference these cars with one estimating their number at 50 and the other at 30.
    http://www.volvotips.com/index.php/p1800/history-1800/

    http://www.history-of-cars.com/php/volvo/1966-p1800-convertible-volvoville.php

    The volvotips.com article also mentions a custom one-off that I had never heard ofwith a 4 cylinder Aston Martin engine!

    One of these days, I’ll start ripping open my boxes of old magazines and see if I can locate the Sports Car
    Graphic series where they set a 1800 up for racing and ran it at the Sebring 12 Hour. You will be the first to know when I find it.

    Like

    • Hi Bob, thanks as always for the insightful comments. The research on the production volume of the P1800 convertibles is especially interesting. I believe I’ve seen one or two of them at the Carlisle Import show through the years. The appearance of the car with the top up will cause you to wish for weather that never requires it. This is also not the first time you’ve promised me those SCG magazines. I’m patiently waiting!

      Like

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