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Classic Captions Contest – 1976 Buick Century Pace Car Edition


The 1970s and ’80s were peculiar for the widespread proliferation of what I’ll call the tableau-zany school of automotive advertising. These ad shoots were rife with imaginatively odd or awkward social situations and exaggeratedly diverse crowds of admiring onlookers, usually highlighting at least one dorky-looking nebbish. They were intended to invoke chuckles with their “wacky antics,” like a single frame of a Hollywood screwball comedy — either four generations late or a generation early.

This 1976 Buick “Free Spirit” Pace Car ad is perhaps the worst. The crowd of ogling townfolk are supposed to be a cross-section of society, but only serve to demonstrate what sadly passed for diversity in the mid-’70s. I remember thinking the plaid-and-stripes-wearing, balding salesman reflected poorly on dealers when I saw it in magazines as a thirteen-year-old. Also, there’s nothing particularly funny about the ad, it’s just deliberately unrealistic, as though Buick couldn’t portend genuine public commotion over this car with a straight face. A car is an important purchase, and going for zany and kooky never sold me. Rather, it always made me doubt the genuine merits of the vehicle.

Making a comment on a Hooniverse Classic Captions post is NOT an important or meaningful task, however, so going for zany and kooky works here. Go ahead; share your best with us.

jeep-1974-renegade-cj-5Because of the holidays, last week’s CJ-5 contest was predictably under-served with comments. P161911 took the top spot with his comment: “Burt thought, ‘These tires grip pretty good for whitewalls.'” The only other comment to earn more than a pair of up-votes (and my personal favorite) was mdharrell‘s clever, “What do you know, these do perform better when lifted! I should’ve stolen one years ago.”

  • The greatest spectacle in unloading.

  • onrails

    “Nevermind the superficial ‘go-fast’ stickers on the pace car…” thought Frank (glasses, back row, just right of center) “that yellow SkyHawk is the REAL sports car on this trailer!”

    Turns out, Frank was mistaken.

  • Alff

    When life gives you lemons, make colonnade.

    • 0A5599

      I would expect colonade to taste like ass.

  • “Why’d you stop? Don’t turn around and look at me! We all came here to watch you load that thing and get it out of here. We’re keeping our ’75.”

  • smalleyxb122

    “Almost made it! Just a little more of a run-up next time, and we’ll get this thing onto the trailer.”

    • P161911

      “Keep the pedal to the floor! The turbo will kick in in a minute!”
      (My first car was a 1981 Regal Turbo with the carb.)

  • 0A5599

    I like that the ad agency thought to include a “Buick Moves Up” sign in the background when the Buick was obviously descending. It wasn’t effective for selling Buicks, but a few years later they revamped the campaign around Joe Isuzu.

  • Lokki

    “Well”, thought Gomer, “Back Home Again In Indiana, even if they had to trailer the damn car to get it here.”



  • 1977ChevyTruck

    The large crowd dissipated pretty quickly after someone pointed out that the car said “Free Spirit”, and not “Free Spirits”, like they were hoping.

  • “Won’t be a moment, I’ll get this out the way then I’ll unload that Pussy Magnet Yellow Skyhawk you’re gagging for”
    “Heh, you know, this thing is more fun backwards than forwards.”

    • Vairship

      Or Yrutnec?
      Either way, it’s a Kciub.

  • Van_Sarockin

    Why, yes, I am a trailer queen. Any chance you’re going my way?

  • dr zero

    Now could you all try pushing instead of standing around gawking!

  • Wayne Moyer

    Schneider just sat there and waited. He wasn’t going to give in to Drew Carey’s dragoning desire. No matter what. Of course he had sold tickets to the entire town to watch this but this was a sitcom. Oh and Bonnie Franklin was going to be pissed.
    /insert laugh track

  • H Vaughn

    And the crowd went mild.