Home » Ours Was Once A Land of Cinderblock And Log Mountains: Cold Start

Ours Was Once A Land of Cinderblock And Log Mountains: Cold Start

Ford Cinderblock Mountain Cs Ts
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Advertising is much different today than it was forty years ago. Now, your Alexa hears you say something like “hovercraft full of eels” from that Monty Python skit and for the next three days your browser will show you nothing but ads for eel farms and used hovercraft parts. Back in the eighties, however, your exposure to media was much more controlled.

Would you be watching ABC, NBC, or CBS tonight? Other than that, you got nothing. The spots that aired between six and eleven PM needed to be gold since on any given night you’d have a huge chunk of the American population as a captive audience to whatever you had to sell. In many cases, boy, did they not disappoint.

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Some of the more memorable spots were by Ford for their often-best-selling truck, especially in this era when pickups were starting to change from a workman’s vehicle to a valid second car. One of the early ones showed an F-Series climbing to the top of a man-made pile of rocks. Pretty impressive, but couldn’t any of the competitor’s trucks do that? Maybe, so Ford upped the ante by sticking a Chevy truck onto the bed of their pickup and did the climb-the-mountain trick again.

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Ford, YouTube Screenshots

What would they do for an encore? Plenty, as it turns out. This next spot at first appears to be identical to the earlier commercial. There are some close-ups of the Ford “I-Beam” independent suspension doing its thing.

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However, as the camera pans back you can see that the piggy-back-Chevy lash-up Ford is also towing one of Chrysler’s also-ran trucks. Impressive!

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After this, Ford seemed to just go nuts with the possibilities; trucks hanging from choppers, pickups doing 180 flips into nets, towing even more trucks up that rock pile, and a Ford truck towing seemingly a dozen rivals. Today we’re immune to such amazing visuals.

Truck

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Back in the pre-CG days, we knew that we were seeing was real, and we enjoyed these ads all the more for it. Better yet, you got to see these commercials even if Alexa didn’t hear you say “pickup truck”.

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TOSSABL
TOSSABL
4 months ago

Maybe that wood mountain commercial was what my drunk roommate was thinking of 35 years ago when he decided to drive the beater Grand Cherokee over the pile of split wood in the backyard. To its credit, it went over it fine. But, when he tried in reverse, even that Quadratrac struggled: ended up high-centered just short of the top. I was laughing way too hard to be of any help. Good times—but I’m sure the neighbors absolutely hated us as he worked 2nd shift so the shenanigans were always around 2 or 3 am

I must have bailed on him as I don’t remember how he got it off of there

Knowonelse
Knowonelse
4 months ago

I could not find the IG video at all. There should be a way to link directly and not just an account where we have to look around for the video (vainly in this case).

Angel "the Cobra" Martin
Angel "the Cobra" Martin
4 months ago

My favorite is the Ford commercial using footage from Mr. Majestyk. There is no “professional driver on a closed course” garbage. It states that the truck wasn’t modified, but it also is not indicative of how long it will last. If I was of driving age back in ’76, I sure as hell would have tried it out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAFKqkifqBM

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
4 months ago

Underrated Charles Bronson for sure. Though my favorite of those from him is the Mechanic.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
4 months ago

Big deal. My (Lego) rally van made it to the top of (Lincoln) log mountain with ease.

Chronometric
Chronometric
4 months ago

“real”. Yes, probably not computer generated or video retouched.

There are always cleverly placed camera angles, special equipment, and editing – the magic of television in the old days.

Dar Khorse
Dar Khorse
4 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

Was thinking the same thing. I remember reading somewhere (might have been on the old German Lighting site) that these Ford commercials were made with Chevy/Dodge trucks that had the engines removed. But I can’t find any information about that anywhere at the moment.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
4 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

There were a lot of compositing tools and techniques long before the digital age. Even before video.

Rusty S Trusty
Rusty S Trusty
4 months ago

Back then, Detroit was well under way to becoming the wasteland full of abandoned housing and factories that we all know today. Being a Detroit based company, it’s understandable that Ford execs would set out to build a truck capable of going right over all that demolition rubble.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
4 months ago
Reply to  Rusty S Trusty

There are still some ads today that have dystopian themes. I guess they want to sell to the evangelicals who are waiting for the rapture.

Wait, isn’t rapture a trim option on a F150?

Rusty S Trusty
Rusty S Trusty
4 months ago

I will, from this moment on, call every hillbillied out Ford I see that has that weird flag eagle thing in the rear window and wheels that fit so poorly that they’re more sitting next to the truck than under it, an F-150 rapture. Thank you for that

Last edited 4 months ago by Rusty S Trusty
Chris Stevenson
Chris Stevenson
4 months ago

Would you be watching ABC, NBC, or CBS tonight?

Don’t forget PBS for MotorWeek and Monty Python reruns!

Data
Data
4 months ago

And Doctor Who and Blake’s 7.

Marlin May
Marlin May
4 months ago
Reply to  Data

Unless your mom got to the TV first. Then it was Masterpiece Theater.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
4 months ago
Reply to  Marlin May

Mom preferred Benny Hill.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
4 months ago

I must add: Red Dwarf, Black Adder, Bob Ross.

The Dude
The Dude
4 months ago

I’m envious that my kids, if it weren’t for You Tube, would be able to grow up not knowing what a commercial is.

Chronometric
Chronometric
4 months ago
Reply to  The Dude

Since most streaming properties are slowing adding commercials and NPR has had them for years, I doubt your kids will escape the disease.

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
4 months ago

I miss when trucks just had to be tough, but you could still reach over the side of the bed rails.

Cool Dave
Cool Dave
4 months ago

Personal, somewhat unpopular opinion.. The Dodge is the best looking truck of that era.

Mr. Asa
Mr. Asa
4 months ago

33MPG Highway estimated.

Fudging WHAT!?!?

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
4 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Asa

It was getting 33 while in the air, maybe.

Cam.man67
Cam.man67
4 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Asa

Provided you shut the truck off and coasted down every incline, maybe, just maybe, you could hit 33mpg with a 2wd 6.9idi F-250.

Cool Dave
Cool Dave
4 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Asa

That’s the beauty of it, you can estimate whatever you want! I estimate my ‘73 Dodge gets 40mpg out of that old 360.. it won’t do it in reality though!

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
4 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Asa

Fuel economy estimates at the time were wildly inflated. Although, with a 4000lb curb weight, a 4 speed manual, and the base 125hp straight six, maybe, just maybe it could get semi-close, coasting downhill with an empty bed and a non-American (eg, less curvy) driver

UnseenCat
UnseenCat
4 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

I can’t really say what the highway gas mileage was on the 83 F150 I had. It had the straight six, zero options, and then and size-wise I’ve always been within more European than American norms. The truck could certainly handle long trips without guzzling gas. In fact, its ability to cover long distances let to it running out of gas on the way back from a longer trip because the gas gauge or the sender decided to give up the ghost. After that, I just made a note of the odometer reading and filled it up once it got round 300 miles or so from the last reading. (The gauge developed a tendency to drop to around 3/4 of a tank and then start going back up again, which probably qualifies as the strangest failure mode I’ve ever seen for a gas gauge.)

My best guess is that it got anywhere in the range of 18-22 MPG on highway trips. With a 4-speed overdrive transmission, it might have been able to get up to 25 with a good tailwind all the way, but there’s no way a 3-speed could have gotten that much, and 33 seems awfully optimistic. Maybe they “tested” on a lightly-loaded dyno roller, indoors. 🙂

AlterId
AlterId
4 months ago

Somewhere west of Laramie, indeed.

DONALD FOLEY
DONALD FOLEY
4 months ago
Reply to  AlterId

Somewhere west of Laramie there’s a broncho-busting, steer-roping girl who knows what I’m talking about. She can tell what a sassy pony, that’s a cross between greased lightning and the place where it hits, can do with eleven hundred pounds of steel and action when he’s going high, wide and handsome. The truth is—the Playboy was built for her. Built for the lass whose face is brown with the sun when the day is done of revel and romp and race. She loves the cross of the wild and the tame.

Chronometric
Chronometric
4 months ago
Reply to  DONALD FOLEY

With all due respect to “I’d like to buy the world a Coke”, that line from Playboy Automobiles is the best advertising prose ever written.

Last edited 4 months ago by Chronometric
Mantis Toboggan, MD
Mantis Toboggan, MD
4 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

I’m not entirely sure what it means (I imagine some visuals gave it context) but I’m definitely hearing it in the voice of Sam Elliott.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
4 months ago

One of the fun things about watching these commercials on modern video players, like YouTube, is that you can easily slow them down, pause, and replay on parts where the trucks sustain obvious catastrophic damage that was cut too quickly for TV viewers to notice. Not so much in these Ford ads, but more Chevy’s Like a Rock ones where they dump 5 tons of crushed stone into the bed from a 50 ft height

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
4 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

I remember that ad, and can clearly see it in my mind now!

Road-vehicle-wise, I always wondered how many takes were needed to capture the perfect powerslide in those ’80s/’90s commercials where cars (Camaros come immediately to mind) would dramatically move across camera in slow motion, often with a backdrop of a spray of water or fire.

Data
Data
4 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Ride Pontiac Ride!

Mantis Toboggan, MD
Mantis Toboggan, MD
4 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Back in the 90s when I was like 14 or so we had a big gravel driveway so one night I poured gasoline all over it and set it on fire. It just burns with little blue flames that flare up when you kick them. Until I took my Dad’s ’84 Z-28 up the road a bit and came in hot, barely missing a light pole and power sliding down the driveway for 30 or 40 feet spraying rocks and flames everywhere. Then I got the hell off of there before the car caught on fire and my friends and I put the woods, which had caught fire, out before someone called the law. Intoxicating substances may have been involved.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
4 months ago

You win autopian today from my pov. That story pretty much is the illustration of the then-common term “epic!”

Mantis Toboggan, MD
Mantis Toboggan, MD
4 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Thanks, if only we had cameras in our pockets back then…it wouldn’t have looked as good as the old ads but it’d probably have been good enough to go viral! Especially the part where we ran around like chickens with our heads cut off stomping out flames.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
4 months ago

That it was a Z-28 is just <chef’s kiss> perfect. In my mind, there’s also Van Halen playing.

Andreas8088
Andreas8088
4 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

I roughly remember that, but I don’t think I’ve slowed it down…. and now I can’t find it on youtube….

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
4 months ago

Things got real awkward between me and Alexa after I told it to drop its panties now, because I could not wait until lunchtime.

Doug Kingham
Doug Kingham
4 months ago

I will not buy this record, it is scratched.

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