Tennis isn't the only thing golf great and drink namesake Arnold Palmer seems a little uncomfortable doing in this vintage Cadillac advertisement. Palmer doesn't look much better "enthusiastically" selling the 1974 Cadillac to potential buyers.
In 1974, Cadillac was the luxury car to beat. Coming off a record sales year in 1973, the company was hoping to do even better for 1974. What better way to encourage those kinds of sales than getting championship golfer Arnold Palmer to sing the praises of the 1974 Cadillac? Topping 1973 sales with an enthusiastic spokesman must have sounded like a great plan. The execution left a little to be desired.
From the awkward tennis shots to his unenthusiastic delivery, we quickly pick up on the fact that Palmer is a much more captivating golfer than salesman. When you stop and look at the car Palmer is selling it isn't too hard to understand where his lack of enthusiasm might stem from. Devoid of the classic styling of only a few years before, the 1974 Cadillac wasn't the most exciting model the company had ever offered. Even though the Eldorado came equipped with a 500 cubic inch V-8, it only produced 210 horsepower. This was not really enough to comfortably power the nearly 5000 pound car.
Unfortunately for Cadillac, in 1974 they had significantly bigger problems to contend with than Arnold Palmer's apparent lack of enthusiasm. The Arab Oil Embargo which began in October of 1973 and lasted until March of 1974 and the ensuing fuel shortage significantly reduced demand for large gas guzzling luxury cars. When the Embargo ended it was clear the reduced demand for gas guzzlers was not just for the 1974 model year but from that point forward. In a way the 1974 Cadillac is a marker of the beginning of the end for the massive and inefficient luxury cars of the past. Interestingly enough, this ad wasn't close to the end of Palmer's relationship with the company. He has since lent his name to new car dealerships which sell, you guessed it, Cadillacs.