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.
Because 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.”