Season seven (which we now know is set in 1969) of AMC’s “Mad Men” premiered recently in the UK. Because cars have figured into the show more than tangentially during the past six seasons, here’s what we think the characters should be driving for season seven and why:
- Roger Sterling (1969 Corvette): The 1969 version of Roger appears to be a cross between the Botany 500 era Johnny Carson with a bad ticker combined with a super bad Larry Tate from “Bewitched.” And since SC&P has the Chevy account, in a nod to that other great TV ad man (the aforementioned Larry Tate), why not give him Larry’s favorite ride, a 1969 Corvette Stingray? We’ll go with the highly Roger appropriate shade of “Cortez Silver.”
- Peter Campbell (1969 Porsche 911T): Pete’s in L.A. now and in pre-social media days, he’s far enough away from anyone who’s likely to rat him out for driving a foreign car while his firm holds the Chevy account, so we’re going to give him a 1969 Porsche 911T coupe with a sunroof. Admittedly, a Porsche is a little out of character for an “old money” guy like Pete Campbell, and because Pete really isn’t a car guy and he grew up in Manhattan, we’re going to say that he’s not really super proficient with a manual transmission — particularly the Porsche 901 five-speed, with its tricky dogleg first gear. With that in mind, we’re going to put him in in a 911T with steel wheels and a Sportomatic — Porsche’s new-for-1969 semi-automatic transmission — in Sand Beige (the shade seems to fit Pete and it dials down the flashiness of the Porsche).
- Megan Draper (1969 VW Beetle Convertible): Megan is flirting with the counter-culture and something flashy and high dollar won’t do for a struggling actress, so we’re going to put her in a 1969 Beetle cabriolet. Just the image she wants to project, plus it would have the added bonus of upsetting Don, who famously hated both the Beetle and the groundbreaking “Think Small” campaign. Given the pharmaceutical climate of 1969, we’ll go with Poppy Red as the appropriate color.
- Don Draper (1969 Cadillac Eldorado): Don remains a hat-wearing conservative even into 1969, a good eight years after the Kennedy inauguration forever put the men’s hat industry into an unrecoverable flat line. And although he’s currently unemployed, we’ll wager that’s going to change. The ’69 Eldo, while not quite the beauty that the 1967 model was, seems to suit Don, who has been a Cadillac man in the past. The wild card? John Z. DeLorean’s all-new for 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix, in black for Don’s state of mind.
- Peggy Olsen (1969 Chevrolet Nova four-door sedan): Let’s face it, Peggy doesn’t really need a car and probably won’t own one at any time in “Mad Men’s” last season. But if she did, we’d say that in deference to the Chevy account, she’d go with a 1969 Nova four-door sedan or maybe even a four-door Corvair (she does have the underdog thing going on), although in truth, by 1969 the Corvair was solidly in GM’s departure lounge. White seems right given that Peggy probably views cars as appliances.
- Bert Cooper (1969 Mercedes-Benz 280SE sedan): In spite of his generation, Bert’s an iconoclast and a Japanophile, certainly not someone you could see shying away on principle from owning a car built by one of the other Axis powers . We think a black Mercedes 280SE sedan would suit him better than, say, the proto-Lexus, a Toyota Crown sedan.
- Joan Harris (1969 Jaguar XJ6): OK, this one might not happen given the firm’s history with the Jaguar account and Joan’s personal history with Jaguar, as well as partner Lane Pryce’s suicide attempt in a Jaguar E-Type, but we’re just saying: if in the unlikely event she could put all of that past her, the new for 1969 XJ6 would be totally Joan.