Big Man, You’re a Tiger

The 1960s were a very turbulent time, in almost all aspects of life. Blacks integrated with whites; people burned draft cards and bras; and “the Establishment” was slowly losing its grip on the collective kultur.

This 1965 advertisement is from Sunbeam, a long-dead British carmaker who seems to have had a crisis of its own. For some reason, they stuffed a Ford V-8 engine into their Alpine convertible, turning their milquetoast sporty runabout into a ferocious beast called the Tiger. (Well, more ferocious than the Alpine, but not as fast as a modern-day SUV.) If the car looks familiar, it’s because it starred in Get Smart‘s opening scenes for a few years.

One could just imagine the nightmares that Sunbeam’s US advertising agency had, when they thought of ways to market the vehicle: An English-American “hybrid animal” with a decidedly fey brand name. “Easy,” they must’ve exclaimed over martinis in a smoky conference room, “let’s use sex to sell this car! Ask that creepy guy named Bundy down in copy to whip-up a few lines.”

sunbeam_tiger

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