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Truth in Advertising – Period British Sports Car Advertisements

n_Austin Healey 100-6 1958 04-1

This advertisement for the Healey 100-6 is a good example of smaller than normal people in print

Let’s talk about period British sports car advertisements. Going through some images recently I came across these period advertisements for some of our favorite British sports cars. Taking a moment to look at them and admire the images, I was struck by something unusual. Namely, I was taken aback at how small the individuals depicted in the cars look compared with what I know about the size of the cars.

austin-healey-100-ad-autocar

Seriously? Whose head doesn’t stick up over the header rail on a Healey 100

This was a time before the internet and even car magazines were difficult to find except on newsstands in larger cities. In an era when the comparable American family car was a behemoth in contrast to the diminutive models from MG – especially the T-series cars – and Triumph. Even the slightly larger Austin-Healeys are shown with drivers and passengers that appear to have been scaled down to make the vehicles look just that much larger.

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MG TD Midget looks like an MG TD giant in this ad

I can count on one hand the number of British sports car models that I have driven where my head fails to project far above the windscreen header (the Triumph TR4 through the TR7 and the Sunbeam Alpine are particularly good for providing a cockpit) while the hundreds of thousands of miles that I have spent in Healeys and early MGs have all been at great risk to the well being of the top of my head.

Eventually, photographs of actual cars started to be used in print advertisements and even in these images the people shown tend to be smaller examples of humanity. It’s completely understandable and where I in the shoes of the advertising men of the day maybe I would have reached the same decision as they did. After all, nobody wants to be the big man in a little car that’s seen by thousands of people in the pages of Road & Track.



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