Home » Gonna Let You In On A Secret: Cold Start

Gonna Let You In On A Secret: Cold Start

Cs Losfeliztrainstation

See that massive avocado-colored ’78 Plymouth Fury there? And see how it’s parked in front of what looks like a train station? The Los Feliz Passenger Station? Well here’s a truth bomb for you: That’s not a real train station! Well, I mean, it sort of is, but it’s not like the train there is public transportation. It’s one of those tiny park trains for kid rides and stuff, and just loops around Griffith Park. I used to take my kid there all the time when I lived in LA, like five minutes away from there. And you can’t normally park where the Fury is. So don’t be fooled! That family isn’t heading up to Fresno in that thing!

Maybe they’re not trying to deceive us. I’m not really sure. But it’s not often I’ll find an old brochure photo that’s in a location I know exactly and have been before, so I was excited, you see.

Cs Furytext

Also, I want to note how strange it is to see such an aggressive name like “Fury” rendered in that wedding-invite script up there. But 1970s typography loved that crap, especially for car badging. That’s just about extinct now.

Also note the no-break-a-nail bit in the text there, too. I guess that was once an issue?

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36 Responses

  1. Family photo-shopped in, but the car looks like it was driven there. There are some tracks behind the left rear tyre…which basically means they drove it from the train tracks, over the wrought-iron fence. Well done.

  2. That car is definitely not actually parked there, the lighting is completely wrong. It’s a cut-and-paste job. Not as sophisticated as what we can do today, but good enough if you’re not trying to see through the illusion, and just as common back in the day as it is now.

    1. Nah, I don’t think so. You can see the pictures in the bottom image that they’re shooting interior shots at the same location – the station is in the background. And the family (“family”) shows up in the reflection on the hood. I think it’s just the “Golden Hour” lighting that you’d get with the sunlight coming in under the smog right near the end of the day.

      1. The car and family were shot together and then pasted onto the train station background. That’s why the foreground is relatively shiny and colorful, while the background is flat, dark, and—even by 1970s standards—brown. Yes, artificial lighting can create a similar effect, but you’d have to go out of your way to make it look that unnatural, and for a car ad why would you? It would be particularly tough to get the lower parts of the car lit without spilling some of the light onto the ground around it.

        In the interior shots, it’s the location that has been pasted in. They cut out the background of whatever studio they were shooting in, and pasted the train station into the door and window openings.

        Honestly, it’s super-duper common. Maybe half of the vintage car ads shown in Cold Starts here use some cutting and pasting. It’s just much easier to do your shooting in the studio (or in the lot out back, if you want some tree reflections on the hood of the car) and then use a stock photo for whatever location you want the car to be in.

  3. I see that the Leaning Tower of Power (i.e. the 225ci slant-six) was the base engine – oof. I like the LToP but that looks like a lot of car for it to haul around: the 225 was better-suited to lightweight A-bodies like the Dart and Duster.

    The 318 and 360 mentioned in the brochure were good engines, though the 400 was less popular. The 360 (5.9-liter) went into a lot of trucks, but there was a special 4-bbl 360 that was available in the police package for the Dodge Diplomat; the option code for that was E58.

    1. My grandfather’s car of choice was usually a Fury or Belvedere with a slant six. He had a bunch over the years. Apparently they were common as official municipal vehicles (but not cop cars) in Kansas in the 60s/70s, and they went cheap at auctions because everybody wanted a V8. And yeah, they were leisurely.

    1. “Why does the family look edited in?” Because it probably was. The parents and kids were probably not in the same shot either, and the boy and girl could be separate shots too, because it’s almost impossible to have client-approved expressions on everyone’s face at the same time. Given the limitations of depth of field, the car and background were probably separate shots to get them both in focus.

  4. That’s a rare case where stacked rectangular headlights actually work. Usually they ruin a design originally done for round units.

    I can feel my thighs sizzling on that green vinyl after a day at the shore.

    Also, seeing Fury in fancy script reminds me of our wedding invitations, which also looked incongruous with our reception venue’s name–The Yellow Brick Toad.

    1. I’m getting strong familicide vibes from them. It’s always the families that try too hard to look happy and normal that end in tragedy. And we all know who will be the one to snap and create enough murder show fodder to give Netflix execs raging boners.

      The little girl. She’s going to kill them all. How’s that for a shocking twist? Call me, Netflix.

      1. Yes! There’s something about the way the husband has his hand on his wife’s shoulder. It’s just inches away from being around her neck and that smirking expression says “just wait until the camera turns away.” But, I agree with you, the little girl is the only one in this picture alive at the end of the story.

  5. That vinyl top looks a lot like the one that was on my Dad’s pale yellow early 70s Polara. It was matte avocado and textured sort of like elephant hide.

  6. When my four siblings and I crawled out of our 73 Grand Fury wagon after many miles of my sister throwing up into a grocery bag and my dad’s chain-smoked Kool smoke forming a cloud above the rear-facing third row seats where my brother and I sat, we couldn’t even force a look of family happiness. These kids may have been drugged. Ours was a Harvest Gold base model – not even fake wood on the sides.

  7. My dad had a dark green ’76 Fury Salon company car with that same green vinyl interior, but no vinyl roof – vinyl roofs and Pittsburgh weather were a bad combination. He looked like an undercover cop.

  8. As a Brit I know this car as “generic Cop car” from so many American TV shows.

    Dukes of Hazard, Hill Street Blues, that kind of thing. And I think it was in the shopping mall scene in The Blues Brothers.

    I would LOVE to drive one, just to see what it was like.

    1. The police cars in Blues Brothers were ’74 Monacos, just like the Bluesmobile. The above “Roscoe” fury is what replaced them on the streets, making so many available for the studio to purchase and smash.

      1. most of the pursuing police cars were slightly newer ’75-’77 Monacos and Polaras, probably to create at least a slight visual distinction from the Blues Brothers’ ’74.

  9. My dad had one of these as a company car. Complete dog, made worse by the improperly set up differential from the factory that ground itself to pieces.

  10. Just last night I scored a 70 year old train bell from the diesel that operated at Horlick’s Kiddieland in Racine Wi.
    It’ll go into service on my sailboat in Kenosha.

  11. “Ok Justin, I know you’ve been wondering for a while now why you’re the only one in the family with dark hair, and it’s because we found you on a train when you were a baby. Yep, this was the station where we jumped off the train, we wanted a kid so much, and that dark -haired couple wouldn’t have made good parents given how easily your mom managed to distract them.
    How we laughed when we found out three weeks later that Sue was pregnant.
    So yeah, that’s also why you two are both in the same class in school.”

  12. Had a ’75 Malibu Classic as my first car. It had script like that also. It was forest green with a pea green vinyl top and matching pea green interior. 350 with a 2 bbl and an autotragic. Sometimes I miss that car. Not often, but sometimes.

  13. The only redeeming quality of that car were the turn signal indicators on the fenders, just aft of the headlamp housing. Otherwise, just about everything else about that series could have rolled off the assembly line 10 or 20 years earlier, including the indicators if someone at Chrysler had thought of it.

    My goodness, the malaise era was strong in those Chrysler B bodies.

  14. The top pic has serial killer vibes. And what is up with the green pain in general of the late 60s and 70s? My grandmothers Rolls Royce was a 1968 Malibu with that horrendous green. I can still smell that GM plastic.

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