Look, I know it’s early in the morning and you’re barely awake and functional, but I need you to chug your coffee or gin or whatever you use to get yourself moving in the mornings and get your shit together, because this is important. I think I have found some sort of, I don’t know, hidden message (?) in a 53-year old Chrysler brochure, and I need your help to figure out what the hell is going on here. Are you ready? Too bad.
First, look at that illustration up there; it’s from a 1970 Chrysler brochure (scanned by Naranthiran Shanmugasundaram and found here) and is an inset in a two-page spread, which I can show you here:
Okay, so, as you can see, the line art illustration is based on the photo above it, and is used to provide callouts to some important features, like rear wheel track or rubber body mounts. This approach is used throughout the brochure, showing transparent line art of these massive and handsome Fuselage-bodied Chryslers, as you can see on this other page:
Okay, so, these line art drawings clearly are traces of the photos, down to outlines of the humans and at least one horse in the background. But in the illustration up there with the two cars, something strange is going on, something I bet you’ve already noticed. Let’s zoom in again:
Um, that car in the background is not the car in the photograph! The caption in the upper right states “4 Door Hardtop background” and that car back there is very much not a Chrysler 300 four-door hardtop. It doesn’t even have four doors. In fact, it’s very clearly a Jensen Interceptor:
Um, what the hell is going on here? Why did the illustrator change the four-door Chrysler 300 hardtop back there into an Interceptor? The only connection I can think of is that Jensen Interceptors did use the same Chrysler V8 engines, both in 383 cubic inch and later, starting in 1971, 440 cubic inch flavors. The engine isn’t what’s called out on the Interceptor, though, it’s the steering column-mounted ignition switch.
There’s nothing in the whole brochure that mentions Jensen Interceptors at all. I read the whole damn thing, and while it’s possible I missed something, it sure doesn’t seem like it. Based on the incorrect caption, I’m not sure this was intentional, and was somehow just slipped in by the illustrator? This gets weirder, though; there’s another version of the brochure that has the illustrations on their own pages instead of inset into pages with photographs, and that version has an illustration with the proper car in it! Look!
The hell is going on here? My guess is this full-page illustration version came first, and when it came time to re-lay out the brochure for the one with the smaller illustration, that’s when the illustrator slipped in the Interceptor. Why? Beyond the fact that Interceptors are cool as shit, I have no idea.
Was this a message? A cry for help? A simple Easter Egg? Guerilla marketing for Jensen? I’m just not sure. So far I’ve found no references to this online, but I bet some Mopar geek has noticed this in the past half-century. They must have, right?
If anything happens to me, you’ll know why: because I knew too much.
And even worse is that the Interceptor is 180 degrees in orientation from the photo car. It’s going the other direction! Yet another easter egg on our faces for some reason.
I would guess that at some point there was a deal in the works to import the Jensen and either sell it at Chrysler dealers or rebadge it; something like what was going with the Opal/Buick thing. I think Jensen was in some major leadership and financial turmoil around then. Maybe the dropped out or couldn’t deliver?
The best part of this is that the Jensen’s ignition switch is located on the dash https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0632/2051/5032/files/1972-jensen-interceptor-mark-111-interior.jpg
I don’t know how the Jensen snuck in, but did you fall asleep on the keyboard when you were typing in the attribution with the name of the … I’ll say person, because I have no idea whether it’s a man or woman, who scanned the brochure? That’s either random letters from a forehead plant, or the coolest name ever.
That illustrator accidently slipped in the car he was looking at buying while designing the Barge.
Chrysler were just very proud that some exclusive european luxury car used some of their parts! 🙂
Like opposite of that time when some Porsche engineers helped develop the quite crappy first SEAT Ibiza, and SEAT then poured Porsche this and Porsche that all over the marketing for that poor thing.
Coffee OR gin ??? You mean I need to choose.
What’s up with that?
I’m curious about the rubber body mounts. How does that work in a unibody car? Maybe they meant the K-member.
I doubt that. Nobody wants a rubber K-member.
That’s what HE said, but she remained silent, and looked away….
Chryslers & the full sized Dodge & Plymouth cars (C bodies) were unibody from the cowl back, but had a separate bolt on stub frame in the front. The A & B body cars were full unibody with just the K member removable.
That is kind of amazing. I feel like the only dude who knew the answer probably passed away last week.
I figure he died during an act of compulsory ritual suicide in the 80s when he was found out.
It’s explained in the text right above the Interceptor: “Your next car should look this great…and perform this well.” Yeah, your next car SHOULD look that great…but instead, you’ll be getting a 1970 gas-guzzling four-wheeled Chrysler aircraft carrier. Hope you enjoy that oil embargo in a few years!
You know, I think you might actually be onto something there.
The Jensen Interceptor was no fuel-sipper, though… IIRC, owners reported single-digit gas mileage. Still, those Interceptors are indeed ineffably cool.
Maybe Ford trying to buy Ferrari gave Chrysler some ideas. Cue the “But we have a Ferrari car company at home” and it’s Jensen memes?
My hypothesis is that nobody in 1970 gave a crap and Joe Average American car buyer would not notice or care so any basic car shape would be fine.
Clearly the Jensen Interceptor did its job and intercepted the Chrysler.
I thought that maybe Jensen had sourced the steering column as well from Mopar, but theirs looks nothing like the one in the 300. The 300’s switch is where one would expect it to be, but the Jensen’s appears to be below the steering column, at the 6:00 position. It’s also mounted differently: in the 300 the key is inserted right-to-left but the Jensen’s is the same as with a dash-mounted switch but lower. Weird.
Also the woman standing behind the Interceptor in the drawing appears to be wearing some serious bell-bottoms.
Side note: in the Jensen pic linked above, for some reason the car was parked with the automatic transmission in neutral and the handbrake on.
Her bell bottoms / weird legs start where the 300 occludes her like someone traced her and the Interceptor but it went awry where they had to do some actual drawing.
And the average British person doesn’t fully understand an automatic today when they’re much more common, a person in the 60’s or 70’s parking like they would a manual doesn’t surprise me.
Someone at the ad agency lost a bet after a liquid lunch and had to sneak in an Easter egg.
Sounds close. Or the graphic artist was just bored. I knew a guy who was a copperwheel engraver at Steuben Glass (think giant crystal bowls with reverse-bas relief pictures that get presented to the Queen). He engraved a bowl with a clipper ship under sail, and added a periscope following behind it in the water that wasn’t in the designer’s sketch. The inspector did catch that, and he had to polish it out.
Did it share a marketing agency with Jensen and they just grabbed a car outline that fit the bill?
Also…while not as “scenic” it seems like drawing the arrow to the steering column on the main foreground car like they did in the other version would have been as effective since the background car is all lonely with only the ignition mention. Unless they’re implying the faceless people all around it will be unable to defeat the locked steering column.
It also took me too long to figure out the other random circle in both background cars was an outline of the tire on the other side of the car and not like, a bizarre spare tire placement.
Didn’t those Interceptors have Chrysler power? https://www.gbclassiccars.co.uk/jensen_interceptor.html
And Torqueflite transmissions
Gosh, I wonder if that’s what Torch meant when he wrote this:
“The only connection I can think of is that Jensen Interceptors did use the same Chrysler V8 engines, both in 383 cubic inch and later, starting in 1971, 440 cubic inch flavors. The engine isn’t what’s called out on the Interceptor, though, it’s the steering column-mounted ignition switch.”
” 5,000 individual weld produce a unit of unusual strength..silence and durability..”
Gotta keep those bodies in the trunk quiet!!
Because after drawing endless Chrysler Dodge products the illustrator was like “Eff it I’m gonna draw something cool.”
Get David Zatz on the line, stat! @Allpar @Motales @Stellpower
If I were the illustrator on that I would have slipped in some callouts for the background horse.
“Adjustable fuel intake at convenient height eliminates the need to bend or stretch when gassing up.”
“Exhaust system produces easily collected solids, reducing air pollution without a catalyst.”
“All-terrain 4-leg drive for confidence even in the desert.”
I’ve been through the desert on that horse, and let me tell you, it got over all the plants and birds and rocks and things.
The Interceptors is my favorite Top Gear bit, even edging out the Peel microcar one. “You know, a karate expert…”
IIRC Ford would sometimes do similar in ads, having a “powered by Ford” random Indy Car (or whatever they were called back then) in the background.
Must be something like that, but a little too subtle to accomplish anything but make the creative folks feel clever. It can’t be a mistake or a designer gone rogue, not the way print publishing worked back in the day. Too many failsafes in the process for that to slip through.
Some day, I hope to have a car collection that is just a Jensen Interceptor, an AMC Pacer, a Brasinca 4200 GT, and a Porsche 928.
Baby got back.
You forgot the Mercury Capri!
And the Monte Carlo SS Aero Coupe.
And Renault Fuego.
And of course the 1978 Corvette Touring Sedan.
And the Studebaker Avanti
How about a ’77-79 Impala two-door?
Needs an Escort EXP to round out the collection.