Sirens of Chrome: The Fabulous Models of Vintage Auto Shows

auto show ladies

Once upon a time, it was a pretty lady in go-go boots who introduced the masses to the newest automobiles.  Ford, GM, Volkswagen,  BMW, Mercedes… all presented their new products at car shows, and it was the job of a smiling young model to put a pretty face alongside their shiny new autos.  After all, which car is going to attract more attention: the Pontiac with the blonde in a miniskirt, or the Corvette all by its lonesome?  I don’t think you need me to answer that.

auto show ladies


By the mid-80s, the car show lady wasn’t quite so “sexed up” as she used to be; using women as hood ornaments became unacceptable.  Sure, you can still find a car show which scantily clad models – but it’s never in association with “legitimate” big auto promotions.  Alas, the golden age of the sexy auto show lady was largely over by Reagan’s second term.


car show vintage ladies


The New York Times explains: “They were a familiar sight at auto shows not that long ago, models clad in tight miniskirts or uncomfortable heels and gowns, smiling and posing fetchingly. They recited from scripts, if they spoke at all. Beginning with the earliest shows, the models were eye candy, there to accentuate the cars and trucks on display. Not much else was required.” [Mary M. Chapman, Oct. 20, 2009]

Eventually, these ladies morphed into a more “respectable” role as “Product Specialists” – but we’re preserving the old-school auto show model today.  So, here’s a stack of photographs during the golden age of the auto show model.  Enjoy.


1972 auto show

(L) 1972 auto show (R) 1969 – Yes, ladies in go-go boots also popped up at races; another avenue to advertise a brand


auto show ladies


Nothing sells a station wagon or used VW like a girl in white go-go boots.


auto show vintage

007_Chicago Auto Show 1968


(L) – 1968 Auto Show.  Do you think these girls ever felt a tad silly in their often gaudy outfits, straddling their cars?  It was a different time – I think not.


1972 auto show - jaguar


1972 auto show – Jaguar


Car Show 1968



1977 auto show

1971 toyota auto show

1971 Toyota auto show



1973 new york car show

1973 New York car show


Chicago Car Shows from the 1960-1970's (10)

Late sixties Chicago auto show


It’s easy to look sexy alongside a new Porsche, but can you do it next to a 1978 Dodge Colt Station Wagon?…..


079_car show girl

car show models

auto show ladies vintage

084_car show girl


The 1968 STP girl on the right better be careful – I’m sure there were some psycho stalkers among the car enthusiasts… and one looks like he’s right behind her.


081_car show girl



I suppose the auto-parts models were a rung down on the caste, but at least they had the dignity to keep rockin’ the white go-go boots.  Have you ever seen so many in your life?


vintage car show ladies


car show models


asian auto model vintage

porsche_tapiro (1)

078_car show girl

s-l1600 (2)

Well, the auto ladies may be gone, but their memory lives on at Flashbak.  Until next time.

1972 Ford Berline

Would you like to support Flashbak?

Please consider making a donation to our site. We don't want to rely on ads to bring you the best of visual culture. You can also support us by signing up to our Mailing List. And you can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For great art and culture delivered to your door, visit our shop.