Automobile dealers have long sought to make used cars attractive to customers. Often this has involved branding or characterizing the product as something other than simply “used.” Used cars have been tagged as “A-1” or “Certified.” Sometimes they have even been redefined as “pre-owned,” as if new cars begin their lives in the public domain!
Last night, while listening to Rhythm Sweet and Hot, co-hosted by my friend Mike Plaskett, I heard a Ford Motor Company radio ad that ran in 1936. The ad was part of a transcription of a musical broadcast. The ad promoted Ford’s V8-powered automobiles, but it also promoted Ford used cars, characterized as “renewed and guaranteed.” Apparently, the attempt to make a used car seem like a safe and smart purchase is not at all recent.
A Web search turned up the newspaper ad below, from Michigan’s Ludington Daily News of September 16, 1936. The ad announces that “R & G Used Cars” carry a “written money-back guarantee.” That’s something one seldom gets even today.