It wasn't just raw horsepower and eye-catching styling that fueled the demand for Pontiac's classic 1960s "wide track" muscle cars such as the GTO, Firebird and Grand Prix. It was also the innovative illustrated ads created by Art Fitzpatrick and Van Kaufman from 1959 to 1971 that helped Pontiac roar to third place most years in sales.
Last week, Fitzpatrick died at 96. He lived in Carlsbad, Calif.
The way it worked, according to Pontiac historian Bob Wicker, is that Fitzpatrick drew the cars while Kaufman, who died in 1995, drew the scenery and the people. It was such a successful combination that Fitz and Van, as they were known, caught the attention of Pontiac General Manager John DeLorean. Wicker says DeLorean wanted only illustrations, not pictures.