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Modern automaker ads are full of flash and emotion, playing with your feelings with puppies growing old or showing off feats of strength not seen since Festivus. But what about the classic ads. When automakers weren’t afraid to show you a truck that was doing an impression of a taco, where they would set the brakes on fire with an acetylene torch to prove they worked, and when trucks were shown to be gargantuan, larger than life, instead of being looked down on for their size? Or how about when there was friendly gunfire and car crashes? These are classic truck ads from Chevrolet and GMC and they call back to an era that, well, wasn’t maybe better, but was sure as heck different.

1971 Chevrolet Inflation Fighter


Who loves a parade? Chevrolet, apparently, with a discounted pickup they’re pitching as an “inflation fighter.” Which, we assume, means that despite their insistence to the opposite that it comes with a lot less stuff. What the Inflation Fighter does offer is 7-inches of foam in the bench seat, which will help to protect against inflation of your waist. Oh, and don’t forget the twin paint strips. That’s how you know it’s got loads of good stuff. It must have worked, because Chevrolet sold more than 739,000 total trucks that year, at the time a record for the brand. It was also the first year for the Cheyenne, the top spec trim that we’re guessing had no problems with taking full advantage of inflation.


1965 3/4 Ton Camper Shootout


Who’s got the best 3/4 ton for 1965? Well, Chevrolet says they beat Ford with amazing features like “I can see well,” and “everything’s handy.” And of course a seat that will hold all of the protagonist’s “beef.” Apparently the Ford’s for thin people? Then, how do you show off 3/4 ton camper specials? With a drag race, of course. The Chevy 327 has no problem pulling away from the Ford 351. Then it’s the ride and handling track, again the perfect place to show off your pickup.

What comes next? Well some friendly gunfire, of course. They shoot out eachother’s tires and then bad things happen to the Ford. Of course bad things should happen to everyone when you start shooting at eachother, and we don’t mean in the form of workplace assault like you’ll find in this ad.


Chevrolet Cheyenne Log Hauler


Just look at this Chevrolet crying for mercy. It’s 187 tons of logs on six trailers, all pulled by a 3/4 ton Cheyenne with a 350 V8. Desipite the extra springs Chevrolet says they’ve added, that orange and white two-tone paint does a great job of showing a pickup that’s about to fold in half. The driver pulls away in the automatic and you can actually hear the torque converter shudder in the brief bit of time before a quick cut saves you from seeing it shaking itself apart getting started. Sure, we’ve got no doubt that it can do it, after all modern ads feature a Toyota Tundra hauling the space shuttle, but this is the first time we’ve seen one do the tough truck challenge with so little grace.


1963 Chevrolet Full-Line Trucks


For 1963, Chevrolet says it drove all of its new trucks from Michigan to Baja, Mexico. From proving ground to real proving ground including desert driving and water crossings. This one has the Suburban and the big trucks, too. Diesel power, and a pair of new six-cylinder “high torque” options. Ok, really this one’s not so impressive for the Sorcerer-style off-road driving, but more for the hear it to believe soundtrack. Chevrolet, olé! is the cry, making it over “the toughest run under the sun.” At least they let you know that these goat paths aren’t normal roads for Mexico. The meter and rhyme of the whole thing is just perfect, for example rhyming done with Michigan is far from the longest stretch.


1975 Chevrolet Suburban


If you’re wondering how long advertisers have been using cats to sell vehicles, well, it’s been going on since well before the internet. With apologies to Pontiac’s GTO ads, and the Mercury Cougar, this 1975 Suburban ad has a much friendlier cat getting a ride in the back of a vet clinic ‘Burb. But look more closely at the vehicle that’s transporting this tiger. Sure there are some flimsy looking metal bars separating the drive, but there is absolutely nothing stopping the tiger from going out a window. Or from eating the green vinyl-covered spare tire that’s sitting right there waiting to become a not so fun chew toy. Don’t worry, very quickly the same truck is transporting a boat and at least seven people (without a seatbelt in sight) along with that tiger, who it turns out is just a friendly housecat this time.


1984 GMC


Pick up your life in a new GMC. Sure it’s kinda clever, but it’s the call to action at the end that has us laughing. “A truck you can live with” isn’t exactly going to drag people into the showroom, is it? Imagine, “GMC, it’s ok, we guess.” Or “GMC, beats walking!” Of course this 1984 ad marks the last time we saw a Sonoma in that clean condition. Just look at the red interior, and taking the Sierra to valet parking at what we assume has to be a fancy restaurant. This is “be all you can be”? If only these poor trucks could see what their descendents have become, they wouldn’t know what to do with themselves.


1969 Chevrolet Swimming Pool


We’re not sure if this was some sort of camera trick, or maybe finding the perfect harmonic resonance, but check out this 1969 ad that features a Chevrolet pickup that’s had the bed transformed into a swimming pool. Why? So they can drive over a lattice of lumber without any water spilling in order to show you how smooth the ride was. We’re actually pretty impressed, since this eight-foot box looks to be two thirds to three-quarters full. That, by our math, means somewhere between about 350 to 425 gallons of water. Or 2,844 to 4,000 lbs of water, plus our friendly swimmer and inner tube. Since the high end of that is more than the weight of the truck, it’s pretty impressive. But really this one’s just funny for having a guy with a snorkel and mask sitting in the back of a moving truck-pool. Don’t try this at home?


1976 Shot Put Pickup


Think GM’s ads poking at the Ford aluminum bed were a new thing? Hitting the truck with a hammer, a cinder block, and lots of other stuff you should maybe be a little more gentle with. Try this on for size, throwing a 16-lb steel shot into the wall of their own pickup bed to show how strong the dual-wall bed was. But forget that supertanker-tech bedside, check out songwriter, novelist, and Chevrolet spokesperson Tom T. Hall in that white leisure suit. You can practically see the 1970s in every single frame. Does the outer bedside dent? Of course not, there’s loads of space in the middle to take up the impact. Today, of course, the Silverado has almost no bed wall space at all, making for even more cargo room in the back.


These Brakes are on Fire!


Ok, this time they’ve lost the plot completely. Chevrolet’s marketing department wants to show you how good front disc brakes are, so what are they doing? Shooting flames from an oxyacetylene torch (set to dirty flame setting) directly at the front braks to do it. With some poor guy in the truck. The real flame, Chevrolet says is behind the massive igniter flames you can see, but they’re starting the test at 600 degrees. Or at least that’s what they’re saying. Does that hurt the truck? Well, we’re pretty sure it would set the tires on fire, but Chevrolet says that it works just fine. Bonus points here for that classic GM disc brake rubber pedal pad (you really should bring that one back, GM) in case the flaming truck rolling down a mountain isn’t enough.


Objects in Ad are Smaller Than They Appear


This one isn’t that old, but it’s strange seeing an automaker show their pickups to actual size like this. Larger than the mountains, bigger than the ranch, it’s exactly what we needed in the first half of 2001. To see that pickup trucks were larger than the world. Back before anyone was concerned with things like pedestrian safety and just before the start of taking off your shoes to get on an airplane. Even better, they were still using Like a Rock in this series of giant truck ads the brand ran at the time. Chevrolet would only use the song for three more years before dropping the iconic jingle for the blink and you’ll miss it An American Revolution slogan. Lets try bringing in some Dwane Johnson and a new take on the song, Chevrolet, and maybe we can make it like what the rock is cooking? As an aside, that really was a good-looking generation of pickup.




The post The 10 Best Classic Ads for Chevrolet and GMC Trucks appeared first on GM Inside News.

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