September 29, 2023

Jim Wangers, the advert man who had John DeLorean’s ear and helped make the Nineteen Sixties Pontiac’s decade, handed away peacefully early within the morning of April 29, 2023. He was 96 years previous.

Wangers auspiciously joined Campbell-Ewald as a copywriter proper when the model was transitioning from an austere member of the “Low-Priced Three” to “The Hot One.” He tried convincing his superiors that NASCAR‘s Velocity Week was a wonderful alternative to hype the brand new 180-horse Energy Pack for the small-block V8, however Wangers was informed that “Chevrolet is just not into racing.” He went to Daytona on his personal dime and documented the success of the impartial Chevy racers, however response from superiors continued to be underwhelming, along with his bosses feeling Velocity Week was some outlaw racing factor, one thing commonplace in an period the place the automobile scene continued to be seen as stuffed with undesirables.

The all-new 1955 Bel Air wonderfully redefined Chevrolet with huge kudos to Jim Wangers.

The all-new 1955 Bel Air splendidly redefined Chevrolet with enormous kudos to Jim Wangers.

With phrase of Daytona spreading by the media, dealerships have been unprepared to cater to lovers inquiring about high-performance Chevrolets. Phrase finally received again to Chevrolet’s central workplace, so Campbell-Ewald was compelled to acknowledge the advertising and marketing alternative and, lo and behold, curiosity in Wangers’ report acquired correct consideration.

Chevrolet would by no means be the identical ever once more, a juggernaut of fashion, engineering and efficiency unmatched within the trade. In reality, because of Chevrolet’s success and Normal Motors proudly owning half {the marketplace}, GM doubled down on the 1957 Vehicle Producers Affiliation racing ban in 1963 and received out of racing in order to maintain the Feds at bay with potential monopolistic accusations.

1964 Pontiac GTO brought Pontiac’s efforts from the racetrack to the street, but it was the marketing that changed the rules.

1964 Pontiac GTO introduced Pontiac’s efforts from the racetrack to the road, but it surely was the advertising and marketing that modified the principles.

Amongst all of GM’s manufacturers, Pontiac had developed a popularity as being a novel sporty model, much more so than Chevrolet. With Tri-Energy and Tremendous Responsibility emblems, it appeared Pontiac’s funding in racing had all been for naught. “Fact was we have been taking Pontiac efficiency off the race monitor, just like the Company needed, and placing it on the road,” with the GTO, “just like the Company didn’t need,” wrote Wangers in his e book Glory Days. The story has been retold many instances, however Wangers loved a novel position because the unofficial spokesman for Pontiac, a person with one hand on the heart beat of the Pontiac because of his shut relationship with Chief Engineer John DeLorean, the opposite on the heart beat of the road — in any case, Wangers gained the 1960 NHRA Prime Inventory Eliminator title driving a Royal Pontiac-prepped Catalina, so he knew what was up on Detroit-area strips and native highways like Woodward and Telegraph. (He continued to be part of the road scene into the Nineteen Eighties.)

1977 Pontiac Can Am

1977 Pontiac Can Am

When DeLorean moved on to Chevrolet, Pontiac’s new individuals weren’t heat to Wangers. Really, there already have been many indicators on the market as a result of the high-performance market was tanking. Wangers took it as an indication and tried his hand operating a automobile dealership in Milwaukee. When that didn’t work out, he went again to Detroit and fashioned Motortown, a store that gave lesser vehicles just like the Mustang II, Pontiac LeMans Sport Coupe, AMC Hornet, and Plymouth Volare and Dodge Aspen twins a muscle automobile picture from a earlier period and turned them into the Cobra II, Can Am, Hornet AMX, and the Volare Street Runner and Aspen R/T, respectively. Even Nineteen Eighties vehicles acquired the Motortown contact, together with the Dodge Charger 2.2. Even when it appeared there was none, Wangers by no means forgot that horsepower and fervour dominated Detroit.

Wangers and Hurst’s Dave Landrith presented AMC with the idea for the SC/Rambler. For 1970, he joined with Hurst to develop the Rebel Machine.

Wangers and Hurst’s Dave Landrith offered AMC with the thought for the SC/Rambler. For 1970, he joined with Hurst to develop the Insurgent Machine.

Clearly Jim Wangers was an achieved man, however his largest accomplishment was the founding of Automotive Advertising and marketing Consultants Inc. (AMCI) in 1981. This firm ran licensed USAC testing/comparisons to be used in advertising and marketing — for instance, claims like “Greatest in Class” for a specific metric in an commercial may very well be backed up by AMCI documentation.

9 years in the past, he was identified with dementia and presumably Alzheimer’s illness, and 5 years in the past, he moved into an assisted residing facility in Orange County, California. After all, it’s not these moments that outline Jim. After all, his fame comes from being the Godfather of the GTO, however there’s a lot extra to the person who devoted nearly 60 years to the auto trade, automobile interest and philanthropy. It doesn’t matter what your model allegiance, it’s seemingly your little fanatic’s coronary heart owes a debt of gratitude to Jim Wangers.

This text, written by Diego Rosenberg, was initially published on, an editorial accomplice of Motor Authority.