1966 Buick Ad, Parked at Philip Johnson's Glass House

Part of the ad reads: "The following safety items are standard in all Buicks: Front and rear seat belts ... Go ahead. Use them."


This 1966 ad for a Buick Electra 225 jumped out at me while searching for an image for this week’s installment of “eBay Saturday: New Canaan.” (In case you missed last week's, this happened.)

Philip Johnson’s Glass House, which is mostly hidden from the street at its address on Ponus Ridge (roughly, across from West School), is for locals a point of interest and standout mid-century home in town that draws visitors to New Canaan.

Johnson lived out his last years (he passed at age 98 in January 2005) on the 47-acre estate that includes the house, which was completed in 1949, and 13 other structures that he designed. Given to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the house can be toured this year between May 2 and Nov. 30.

Maybe because of its rich history and stature, there’s something odd about how the house is featured in this ad for the Buick, a Flint, MI-assembled 360-horsepower car whose roots are in the classic Roadmaster model.

The real classic here though isn't the car but the text of the ad itself—printed in full below, it’s straight out of “Mad Men.”

One thing that seems strange at least to me is how the writer strains to say nice things about this particular Buick model while not offending other ones. Also, in going into detail about things like the engine size and power, transmission and suspension, the ad is a peek into a time when more of us shared a vocabulary about automobiles and the landscape of cars.

And I love the line highlighting how seatbelts are a “standard safety feature” of all Buicks: “As to front and rear seat belts. Go ahead. Use them.” Thanks, Don, I will. (I won’t get into the part about the Electra’s cost—sore subject recently here on New Canaan Patch).

Here’s the full text:

Buick ’66 Electra 225. The one car Buick owners look up to.

You can’t buy a better car than the Buick, and you can’t buy a better Buick than the 1966 Buick Electra 225. When you consider that every Buick gets the best of everything, you can imagine what the best of Buick gets.

Not that we tune the Electra more carefully than other Buicks. Tuning, as you know, is an obsession with us. Everything on every Buick has to blend with everything else. Performance. Styling. Ride. Handling. Everything. For an idea of what we mean, think how an engine responds to a tuneup. Now think about getting the same response from the entire car. The whole, beautifully balanced, meticulously engineered car. That’s Buick tuning.

Now think of a few things that make the Electra 225 what it is today. The majestic Super Turbine transmission. A massive 401-cu. in. Wildcat V8.  A suspension that takes the rough edges off the world.  Luxury, luxury everywhere. (The following safety items are standard in all Buicks: Front and rear seat belts, inside and outside rear view mirrors, padded dash and sun visors, back-up lights, dual-speed windshield wipers and washers. As to front and rear seat belts. Go ahead. Use them.)

Money? Some think a man who can afford an Electra 225 is above thinking about money. We doubt it. (After all, thinking about money is how Electra owners get enough of it to become Electra owners.) So Electras are tuned to last, and cost less than you might have thought in the first place. (With us, green is more than the color of envy. Or grass.) There. Things are looking up already, aren’t they?

Bidding for the ad starts at $19.95 and closes at 5 p.m. on April 11, according to the eBay posting.

Robert Schechter March 16, 2013 at 05:15 PM
The Glass House has been allowed to take over commuter parking spaces because it is claimed parking cars at their site is not allowed. This seems to open up several spots on the waiting list.
Mimi Findlay March 16, 2013 at 07:00 PM
Michael, What a great idea - searching through eBay for local "stuff." You have saved me several hours already and I enjoy your analysis. Thanks so much Mimi
Michael Dinan (Editor) March 17, 2013 at 05:14 AM
Mimi, Thank you so much for these kind words and thanks for reading Patch! I'll keep mining for these items for "eBay Saturday." Mike


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