With hip ’60s messaging, American Motors battles to shake off its granny-car image in this classic television spot for the sporty Marlin fastback.
Viewers may detect more than a hint of sexism in this 1966 spot for the American Motors Marlin—but hey, it was the tone of the times. The real purpose of the bantering narrative between the husband and wife in our clip was to plant the idea that that Marlin was both a practical, full-sized sedan and a “sports car.” Or at least a sporty-ish car with distinctive styling, as exemplified in the trademark fastback roof.
The flamboyantly styled—or just plain weird, some might say—Marlin is an intriguing chapter in American Motors history. (Read the Mac’s Motor City Garage feature here.) The company was struggling to change its image from economy-car maker to full-line auto manufacturer, with the Marlin intended to help signify this shift. And in this commercial, you can see the automaker carefully straddling a brand transition from Rambler, the company’s public identity for the previous 10 years, to the American Motors Corporation. Near the end, there’s an invitation to visit “your American Motors Rambler dealer.” Video below.