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Selling the American Muscle Car; Book Review

Don't let the MOPAR on the cover there are plenty of Blue Oval cars on the inside.
Don’t let the MOPAR on the cover there are plenty of Blue Oval cars on the inside.

If your wife asks what you want for Christmas here is a terrific suggestion; Selling the American Muscle Car by Diego Rosenberg. I just received my copy and it is far more than I had ever expected. Diego contacted me, what seems like years ago now, about information on the Mercury Cyclone Spoiler/Spoiler II cars and the Cyclone GT 500. He explained his idea for the book and I was rightfully impressed with the topic.

The inside front and back covers are Mercury ads from the late 60s.
The inside front and back covers are Mercury ads from the late 60s.

There are lots of books out there about muscle cars ranging from detailed technical manuals to coffee table picture books. Each has its place but this book has a very different place. The author has done a remarkable job of research on a subject we often overlook. His approach is far more than simply presenting some magazine advertisements which I actually would have liked to see more of. Diego includes lots of muscle car photos and technical details on each. What I found to be especially interesting was a synopsis of each manufactures philosophy of going after a muscle car buyer. I do love cars but also grow a little tired of the same old magazine article or book about the cars themselves.

Did you know Hurst tried to convince Chevy to do a Hurst Camaro? Here is the one and only example.
Did you know Hurst tried to convince Chevy to do a Hurst Camaro? Here is the one and only example.

If you were too young to be purchasing a muscle car new in the late 60s or early 70s you will find this interesting. If you were there at the time  and looking for a new car you will appreciate and remember all those sales techniques that were in play at the time.

Muscle Cars and Youth were the target for some manufactures but other were after the more affluent and slightly older professional buyer.
Muscle Cars and Youth were the target for some manufactures but other were after the more affluent and slightly older professional buyer.

The baby boomers were on there way and looking for fast cars and excitement. Ford hit a homerun with the Mustang and Pontiac did the same with the GTO in 1964. The other auto manufacturers weren’t impressed at first but soon all of the manufacturers were scrambling to find or develop competitive products in their lineup to keep from being left in the muscle car dust. Catchy marketing campaigns were necessary to entice the new younger buying public into their dealerships. General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, with all their divisions, as well as AMC and Studebaker, inevitably sank billions of dollars into one-upmanship in an effort to vie for the consumer’s last dollar.

Ford Fights Back - The Going Thing - Total Performance
Ford Fights Back – The Going Thing – Total Performance

Automotive writer Diego Rosenberg examines the tactics and components used by manufacturers in waging war against one another in the muscle car era. Manufacturers poured millions into racing programs, operating under the principle of “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday.” Cars were given catchy nicknames, such as The GTO Judge, Plymouth Roadrunner, Cobra, and Dodge Super Bee. Entire manufacturer lines were given catchy marketing campaigns, such as Dodge’s Scat Pack, AMC’s Go Package, and Ford’s Total Performance. From racing to commercials to print ads, from dealer showrooms to national auto shows, each manufacturer had its own approach in vying for the buyer’s attention, and gimmicks and tactics ranged from comical to dead serious.

Mercury Takes Flight
Mercury Takes Flight

Selling the American Muscle Car: Marketing Detroit Iron in the 60s and 70s takes you back to an era when options were plentiful and performance was cheap. You will relive or be introduced to some of the cleverest marketing campaigns created during a time when America was changing every day.

Spoiler II makes the book but not a Talladega. Diego missed that opportunity. The Talladega was the NASCAR Champion with David Pearson.
Spoiler II makes the book but not a Talladega. Diego missed that opportunity. The Talladega was the NASCAR Champion with David Pearson.

 

There is still more to be learned about the 1968 GT 500 sales campaigns with the race tracks.
There is still more to be learned about the 1968 GT 500 sales campaigns with the race tracks.

For me, this is not a book I will read from cover to cover. Rather, it is a book I will skip around in and read what interests me the most first. I immediately went to the Mercury section first and then to the Ford. I will eventually get to all of them. Just in my first brief read of a few paragraphs in each manufacturer’s chapter I learned something new. I am sure you will to.

This belongs in you car library. It is published by Car Tech and retails for $39.95 but check Amazon for availability and price.

If you want your own personally signed copy by Diego go to his web site at www.sellingmuscle.net/store.

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Richard

I grew up and lived in Iowa for a good portion of my life before moving to Southern California. After 20+ years we now live outside Nashville Tennessee. I have been into cars since I was old enough to remember. I don't have a brand loyalty although I do prefer American Muscle especially the 1969/1970 NASCAR Aero Cars. (Check out our other web site at www.TalladegaSpoilerRegistry.com site) As long as it has four wheels and an engine I get excited. Few men are lucky enough to be able to share their passion for cars with the woman they love. Fortunately, my wife, Katriana, is also a gear head and many of our activities revolve around the cars. We have a small collection that includes at least one car from each of the Big Three. It includes a Best of Show winner, a survivor, a driver with lots of patina and several others. Katrina prefers all original cars while I like to modify them so we have a few of each. When we aren't playing with cars we are out working with or showing our miniature donkeys. You can see more about that part of our lives at http://www.LegendaryFarms.com.

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