Vintage Ad: Automatic Automobiles! These Amazing New 1933 Studebakers All But Drive Themselves! 12 Mechanical Brains!

This ad’s headline caught my attention. Automatic Automobiles, in 1933? There weren’t even automatic transmissions then. But Studebaker was trumpeting cars “from which 61% of the physical effort and practically 100% of the mental strain of driving have been eliminated.”  That’s quite a claim.

There are “12 uncanny ‘mechanical brains’ that not only ‘think’ automatically but act automatically. You have almost nothing to do but steer”. Really? Automatic shifting, braking and throttle? Impressive?

Truth in advertising?

A little digging turns up that Studebaker did offer a number of fairly advanced devices to make driving a bit less complicated, like Bendix vacuum-boosted power brakes, automatic choke, automatic starter, and automatic manifold heat control. I don’t want to give the impression that these weren’t all useful improvements. It’s just that the claims in the ad are a bit over the top.