Home » What Is This Ship? Cold Start

What Is This Ship? Cold Start

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A few weeks back, the Autopian asked you to help us identify a car that was in a hit and run, and your hive mind didn’t disappoint. We’re asking for your identification skills to help us again for something similar but far less important. Wait, who am I kidding – this is really important stuff!

Many of my favorite views of what “The Future” will look like come from seventies sci-fi: Star Wars, Space 1999, and even Battlestar Gallactica all show an aesthetic that is still burned into my mind as to what the world of a century from now might be. I can usually place what movie or television show a spaceship or SF vehicle comes from, which is why the ship in this vintage Ford Futura ad is bothering me.

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The images are from 1978, and the Futura was a “personal luxury coupe” version of the Fairmont which was the first of the venerable Fox body cars. This platform saw nearly as much use as the Chrysler K chassis in everything from luxury cars (Lincoln Mark VII) to station wagons and the Mustang that saved the name from the Pinto Mustang II doldrums. This rear drive coil-sprung chassis was a breath of fresh air compared to the Ford Maverick it replaced; it was essentially an American-built Volvo 240.

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Still, the Fox Fairmont was hardly advanced. The spandex-clad couple in the picture below, having flown that cool-looking space cruiser, to the location, are in for a real letdown when they walk down the hill and drive home to the dome-colony in the Fairmont. I hope it at least had a 302 V8 (with 139 horsepower) and not the Pinto four or clunky old straight six.

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But what is that ship? Ostensibly it could have been made just for this advertisement, but would a company really spend that kind of cash for a simple image? Admittedly, Ford spent millions of dollars on a racing program just because the head of the company was pissed off at some Italian guy, but the expense of designing and making such a complex prop seems unlikely. Somebody out there must have some information.

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And where was this couple flying back from, anyway? Based on a different Ford glossy print from the same time, the duo was likely fighting enemies from the Great Turbo Death Star. Shit is really going down in this Fox Body World.

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Who is the antagonist they were fighting? I would doubt that it was then-dying Chrysler, since the brand was less powerful than a few Jawas [Ed note: this is almost certainly a Star Wars reference, but it could also be Czech mopeds, which also works]. My guess is General Motors, since The General was in top form in the late seventies with products people wanted to buy; products that in some cases were so good that they’re still commuting today. If so, that Ford couple wouldn’t succeeded in their mission of defeating the great GM enemy until the Taurus era of the eighties.

Regardless, that duo deserves to drive something better than a Fairmont with a basket-handle roof from the T-Bird at the end of a long battle, even if it’s still a Fox Body. Maybe even the Futura-based Durango pickup? A Mustang Pace Car? I love how the identical-under-the-skin Fairmont sedan is lurking in the background of this Ford illustration below.

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Anyway, please let us know about that spacecraft. Not knowing is killing us!

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Ronald Pottol
Ronald Pottol
3 months ago

My family had a 1975 Ford Granada, a 1976 Pinto, and I’ve owned two 240s, please do not equate them. ???? Unlike the 1986 Mercury Sable, which was pretty nice.

3 months ago

That black and Chamois Futura is over the top! That vanilla colored one is the exact copy of one of my most hated teacher’s cars in 1980. God, she was a beeeeeeachhhh. Hopefully hers was a lima 4 automatic dog. Would have served her right. Maybe that’s why she was so mean. It took her forever to get to school and belittle her students

Guillaume Maurice
Guillaume Maurice
3 months ago

I don’t know why but that ship gives me some Gerry Anderson vibes…
It doesn’t seem to be from UFO… Maybe something out of the Terrahawks, but that’s stuff I don’t have much knowledge of beyond the fact that they exists.
It’s al the right timeframe ( 70s/Early 80s )

Erik Hancock
Erik Hancock
3 months ago

That’s a great guess, the look is certainly similar, but Terrahawks started in 1983 and the Futura ad was from ‘78. Also, that show was British.

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