Antique Auto Advertising: America Takes On The Imports – Plymouth Duster

Chrysler decided to compete with the compact imports by not competing, and in doing so, they ensured that no Mopar nameplates have made “worst of” lists like their crosstown Detroit rivals, the Pinto and Vega. Chrysler did not make a subcompact like the Pinto, Vega or the AMC Gremlin. Instead they came up with a somewhat awkward, though capacious, fastback rear end for the two-door Plymouth Valiant / Dodge Dart, decontented it enough to get it price competitive with the smaller cars, and sold a ton of them. The Dart/Valiant platform, particularly with the Slant Six engine, was as reliable and durable as anything ever made in Detroit, so unlike the Pinto and Vega, Chrysler’s economy offering in the early 1970s didn’t taint the brand.

For what it’s worth, this ad probably confuses folks looking to find Mad Men type sexism in vintage car commercials. After all, it shows a young woman, an engineer no less, who has technical knowledge about cylinder bores and the like, being treated in a non-patronizing way by a middle aged car salesman. On the other hand, her mother in the back seat is still trying to marry her off, so those looking for gender stereotypes can still seethe to their hearts’ content.

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