Nice car, patronising car ad.
For those of us who grew up in the 1970’s, it doesn’t necessarily always feel that long ago. Revisiting this print ad, I realise it was. Advertisements like this were not all that unusual then, especially when it came to advertising more ‘masculine’ cars. Like so many things we can now look back in astonishment over, this form of casual and gleeful sexism not only portrays women as emasculating killjoys, but also as quite incapable of appreciating a nice car – let alone being capable of driving one.
Perhaps the unspoken undercurrent beneath the copy is the notion that all men secretly want to have an affair. Because without knowing quite how, our hero has become saddled with a nagging hausfrau and two drugged-looking children. Actually, you look a bit gormless yourself there mate, but on the upside, you’ve fooled the poor dear into thinking you’ve bought a family car. Well done.
Now of course the other elephant in the backseat is the fact that while the 128 Tre Porte Berlinetta is a perfectly nice little warmed-over coupé, it falls somewhere short of Sexy. Yes, it was nice of Fiat to invest in something bespoke rather than just tart-up a 128 Berlina – (although they offered that too) – this combined with the sweet little X1/9 really was above and beyond the call. Especially given the parlous state Fiat was in by 1975. Yet reading this ad leads me respect it and Fiat a little less.