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Advertisement for Chrysler New Yorker

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Advertisement for Chrysler New Yorker


This object appears in the following sections:

Suburban Strip: Sandy Boulevard, Portland, Oregon, 1949
Suburban Strip: Sandy Boulevard, Portland, Oregon, 1949 — Making the Sale

“The Big, Beautiful Kaiser Traveler”

“The Beautiful 1950 Chrysler New Yorker”
Currently on display
Not a part of the official Smithsonian Collection
In this Chrysler Town and Country New Yorker ad, aesthetics and luxury were promoted by the copy that declared the car was the “ultimate in the long, low and lovely. And this classic of modern streamlining appeals not alone to you pride in your own good taste...for its beauty also refects the sound and inspired engineering and solid comfort inside.” Images of glamourous and urbane women were put to use as marketers tried to sell the American public on the idea that cars gave their owners more than a way to get around.
Physical Description
Date Made:

During World War II, American auto manufacturers stopped making cars and converted their assembly lines and factories over to war production. The supply of new automobiles dried up. Reverting to peacetime production levels took a while: American factories produced fewer cars in 1945 (dealers sold just under 70,000 cars) than they had in 1909, before the advent of mass production. Pent-up demand and short supply caused consumers to buy any and all varieties of automobile—even the offering from the Kaiser-Frazer Company, which was a new entry into the automobile market at war’s end. In the fluid years after the war, independent car makers like Nash and Studebaker grabbed a bigger market share than they had before the war. But as output soared—in 1950, car companies sold six million cars—competition heated up.

Late 1940s and early 1950s automobile advertising reflects that competition. As more and more cars were sold in the late 1940s and early 1950s, just simply owning a car was no longer a sign of high social status. So advertisements tried to create market niches for various vehicles, and sold the postwar car as a symbol of whatever variant of the American dream took your fancy. Satirist and novelist John Keats declared, in 1957, that “Detroit believes, and operates on the theory that Americans don’t buy automobiles, but instead buy dreams of sex, speed, power, and wealth.” The text and imagery of car advertisements show how marketers tried to make automobiles a symbol of the owner’s personality and psyche.

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