1959 Cadillac Dealer Promotional Model

In America’s expanding consumer culture of the 1950s, buying a new car symbolized increased purchasing power and a desire for beauty, comfort, horsepower, and mobility. Big luxury cars sold well, and General Motors, like other manufacturers, kept supplies of model cars in showrooms as teasers and as a color selection guide. Sales representatives gave dealer promotional models to prospective customers, and the same models or similar models could be purchased in stores. This model, which the donor purchased in a toy store, highlighted the latest Cadillac styles and fashions, including soaring, blade-like tail fins with bullet-shaped tail lights. Small but popular marketing tools, model cars accentuated the annual model change as auto makers discarded last year’s features in favor of this year’s novelties and advances.
Object Name
model car
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
overall: 2 1/8 in x 3 1/8 in x 8 3/8 in; 5.3975 cm x 7.9375 cm x 21.2725 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
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Work and Industry: Transportation, Road
American Enterprise
Road Transportation
American Enterprise
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Paul B. McCracken III

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