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This 1965 GTO ad evokes nostalgia

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Photo by author.

Longtime readers of the Hemmings Daily will recall me mentioning that my parents owned a 1965 GTO when I was very young. It was Burgundy with a black interior, the 360-hp Tri-Power engine, and a four-speed. That Pontiac made a lasting impression on me. Some of my earliest memories of being in a car are those of my Dad rowing through the GTO’s gears with the Hurst shifter.

In the late 1970s when I was about 12 years old, during a family visit at my grandparents’ house, I remembered that there was a large collection of old National Geographic magazines and a few other titles. They covered a lengthy shelf that ran along the lower section of the wall in one of the bedrooms.

I’d never bothered with them before, but I was starting to get more interested in cars, so I wondered if these National Geographic and other magazines from the 1960s and early 1970s had car ads in them. There are many reasons that most people would likely consider more important for reading National Geographic, so I’ll bet very few have looked through them just to find muscle car ads. Nevertheless, while searching those and the other lesser known titles, a smaller version of the 1965 GTO ad shown in this article caught my eye.

The Mayfair Maize convertible leapt off the page. There was the grandeur of the mountain range in the background, and there was a real Tiger…in the car! The tiger theme was prevalent in GTO ads at the time. Of those I’ve seen since then, one had a tiger jumping into the engine bay, another had a tiger skin on the hood, and a third had the GTO painted with tiger stripes. Others had a tiger tail sticking out from under the hood, but this one stuck with me for some reason.

About 30 years later, while tearing the wrapping paper off of a birthday present, the same 1965 GTO ad I had seen as a 12 year old was revealed. It was much bigger, so it must have been from one of the large-format publications of the day. And it was framed.

Without ever having known it was my favorite 1965 GTO ad, my mother had found it in an antique shop and thought that I would like it. Though she knew I was into Pontiacs and had a ’67 GTO and ’77 Trans Am, the chances that she’d choose this one out of all the Pontiac ads out there are still pretty slim. Just a fortunate coincidence, I guess.

The framed ad has prominent placement in my home office to this day. Every time I see it, I’m reminded of how much I like 1965 GTOs, how much I liked the one we owned, and how much I like that particular ad.

Tell us which vintage car ads are special to you and why you like them so much.