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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

10 unforgettable TV ads about cars and trucks

Every one of us has a list of automotive TV commercials that made such a strong impression the first time we saw them, they're now in our memories forever. Whether the message moved you or made you laugh, whether you loved the vehicle or hated it, some ads simply outlast their eras, so well done that you could watch them over and over again.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/entertainment/10-unforgettable-tv-ads-about-cars-and-trucks/
130 REPLIES 130
DMcC
Detailer

Sad that Dan left us too soon.
Krippel
Intermediate Driver

People talk about cars having stories to tell; this one takes that and runs with it. Chokes me up a little if I’m honest https://youtu.be/QhRG_iv_U6c
sclin10
Instructor

I have never seen this one. What a great ad. Thanks for pointing it out.
Buzz
Detailer

One of the most iconic car phrases that people still say because of two rednecks in a clapped out Plymouth Duster.

“That thing got a Hemi in it?”
mags56
Intermediate Driver

Riding high in your Pontiac🎶🎶
Over the mountains and down to the shore 🎶🎶
Riding high in your Pontiac 🎶🎶
Pontiac for 1964🎶🎶
gfviperman
Detailer

"The Farmer" brings tears to my eyes ...
noogies
New Driver

Obviously posted by somebody "of a certain age." You kind of forgot print media and the golden age of automotive advertising. Ever heard of Doyle Dane Bernbach? How about "It's Ugly, but It Gets You There"? Or "Think Small"? Or there's always the best automotive print ad ever, by Roger Proulx at McManus, "There's a Tiger Loose in the Street." Look it up at Wild About Cars. Or you could go back to the 1920's and "Somewhere West of Laramie" and the Jordan Playboy.

I'm just saying that a whole world of automotive advertising existed before the'90s.
TonyT
Technician

I guess I have achieved official dinosaur status because one that sticks out for me was Dinah Shore singing about seeing the USA in your Chevrolet. Can't forget the 67 GTO ad that had a real tiger in the engine bay. And I hold VW responsible for cultural appropriation for ripping off Ronnie and the Daytona's "Little GTO" by changing the tag to "GTI" and singing it in German. The nerve...
DaveP
Detailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BcaNvksvHU
See the USA in your Chevrolet...
Now just try to get that song out of your mind!
DUB6
Specialist

The Tiger-in-engine-bay bit was a '66 GTO, not '67.

Tiger.jpg

The cars are very similar (especially from the front, so easy to mistake, but on a '66 the trim around the grill openings wrap all the way around the bottom, and the grills themselves have small vertical/horizontal "egg-crate" design while on the '67 it's diagonal, like a chain-link fence.

Tim
Technician

No list is going to resonate perfectly with everyone, but I would have to include the famous VW "Darth Vader" commercial.
ppointer
Detailer

I liked the old VW Rabbit commercials that included the Beach Boys little GTO translated to German and GTI. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zcm4oS9IaM

What about their da da da commercial? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmQvOT1Sxkg
coop
Intermediate Driver

Ad? Ja. Beach Boys? Nein
Mcompact
Pit Crew

Correct- Ronnie and the Daytonas performed the original.

ed
Advanced Driver

I've never seen the Accord commercial. The right-hand drive example may explain that.

dbucknh
Pit Crew

The best TV commercial in a long time is the Walter the cat ad for Silverado.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHTi7PBJLnk
majaman
New Driver

Mustang ‘68 the greatest car TV ad of all time.
3 minutes long.
Never have forgotten it since I fist saw it at 12 years old.
https://youtu.be/iZKpME-cUmg

Bunka
Detailer

Only two ads stuck in this old mans head. Cadillac was promoting their Catera and was trying to push leasing. The ad ended with the best pun. "So who is Lisa Catera?" Remember this, not for the car, just the humorous and surprising pun at the end.The second one stuck in my head was a series of ads. I believe it was for Chrysler Motors. Don't remember which car, just remember this really sexy woman in tight white shorts as the sales person. Yes, I believe I may have been a young teenager at the time.
SJBPEP
New Driver

Steve McQueen 🥲
Mark_AJ2X
Intermediate Driver

I recall a few of those. Some of them were OK. But what came immediately to mind for me was the Triumph Spitfire commercial that showed a man and woman in the car side by side with a Supermarine Spitfire aircraft racing down a grass runway. The tag line (sexist but memorable) was, "You not only get a car, and a girl, but a piece of history."

I also liked the Subaru Brat (?) commercial with the Pancho Villa-styled character scoffing at the car's driver, "You're going to take this hunk of tin on the Baja? AHA!"
MustangJim
Technician

All great ads and I remember them! I cannot pick a favorite
trackknife
New Driver

Partial to the two GMC Denali commercials, "best car is not german and not a car" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGL8XbN50Qs and my beloved quadrasteer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0pbf4uNp3I. Let's see your truck handle backing a trailer in a figure eight!
55Customline
Intermediate Driver

I had never seen many of these, so thanks for sharing them! I'd have to say that two of the most unforgettable adds I remember are the VW Beetle being driven to the Snow Plow (VW has a number of great unforgettable ads in my opinion) and the Ford Truck commercial showing scenes from the Movie, Mr Majestic I believe?
Mcompact
Pit Crew

I still think that this one is just brilliant:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Le7nm7JNVk8
Turbo4Joe
Intermediate Driver

What?
No Nissan 1997 SuperBowl commercial!??
Where the guy in the shiny black Nissan pulls out of the Carwash only to be pursued by a squadron of pigeons intent on 'soiling' his clean car.
(And John Ratzenberger voices the squadron leader....LMAO.)

As others have noted.....many of the commercials selected in the list are ho-hum forgettable
Nealm
New Driver

These are great and bring back great memories. Please track down the VW Beetle ads, particularly the ones "how does the driver of the snow plow get to the snow plow"
ehb704
Pit Crew

One word. Freakin' awesome!!! Ok, two.
Reatta
Intermediate Driver

I believe you can finally resign after putting this list up here. All of these are better.
The little old lady from Pasadena saying " Put a Dodge in your garage, honey." 1964.
Dina Shore's commercials "See the USA in your Chevrolet" from her tv shows in the 50s.
The rednecks screaming "Has it got a Hemi! " early 2000s to mid 2000s.
Ricardo Montalban "Corinthian leather and Chrysler's Chrystal key" 1976-1980 Cordoba
"We build Excitement. Pontiac". Fiero, Grand Am, Trans-am. 1980s
Ford Ranger dropped out of airplane 1985
and many more that can be found with little trouble.
I really don't understand why you guys do not put much thought into your articles.
Your top ten lists show no effort.
Best of luck in the future. I hope I see you guys put more than 10 minutes into your work. I only took ten minutes writing this.


Tbone
New Driver

What? No Citroen CX turbo circa 1985? You know, the one where the car drives out of a giant Grace Jones head and has Grace Jones driving it. So freaky, so 80's.
doctorjcnaumann
New Driver

The CITROEN CX commercial featuring surreal images of the car driving out of Grace Jones' mouth was unforgettable.
Maestro1
Technician

Hands down, God Made a Farmer and the Honda Accord ad. And yes, I agree with someone about the Volkswagen ad although the product was a stellar appearance in print.
Thanks guys, very well done and stay well.
brians356
Advanced Driver

During the "Malaise Era" Chrysler featured debonair British actor Rex Harrison singing "The new Dodge Aspen is unbelievable!" as in a Broadway musical.

Also recall worldly Peter Ustinov saying of Gallo wines "Probably the finest wine you've* ever tasted." ( * Not myself, however.)

Studenorton
Instructor

I remembered Jack Jones singing "What a beautiful New Yorker" as a sixties ad, but I looked it up and it's actually a year newer than old Harrison, there. Chrysler must have been on a Broadway kick, as usual at least a decade too late. The jingle comes off well (it's "Talk of The Town"), but there were a lot more beautiful New Yorkers than 1977.
NickB
Intermediate Driver

If I said it was a Bentley you'd believe it.

If I said it was a Lincoln or a Rolls.

If I said it was  Jag-u-ar you'd perceive it.

Or even a Caddy, or an Olds. But if I said the car was Aspen, and that the car was small.

You'd say...Unbelievable!

ps94515
New Driver

Not only a sin to omit this one, but it's the all-time greatest car commercial: 1990 Nissax 300ZX Turbo. As far as I know, only ran once on TV, during the Super Bowl.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCJE1LiHo0s
V8_ICEman
Intermediate Driver

That was to me a "meh" ad compared to the Van Halen/Barbie Doll one played during the 1996 Super Bowl referenced here. That one won Rolling Stone's ad of the year award and actually boosted sales of the 300 which had fallen flat by the mid-90s (hence why Nissan spent so much on the ad and hiring Van Halen who themselves needed coercing to "get it").
Zephyr
Instructor

You left out the greatest ad of all time - the Mitsubishi ad with the girl doing the graceful ballet-like arm movements.
V8_ICEman
Intermediate Driver

It must not have been that great. I don't even remember seeing it. And I watch a *lot* of TV.
ROBBO99
Detailer

My all time fav was the young boy maybe 10 watches a 911 porsche drive by his school . The boy hops on his bike after school and rides directly to a porsche dealership . He's greeted by a salesman who asked if he wanted to sit in car . After he asked salesman for his business card and says i'll be back in 20 yrs . It reminded me of the 1st muscle car i ever drove and fell in love . I have to admit the 1st time i saw that commercial i teared up a little .
itsBobS
New Driver

And then there's the Subaru SUV campaign, "Dog tested, dog approved" -- which starred golden retrievers and a yellow Lab (the mom). The series included one spot of the family stopping at a gas station to use the restroom. Another showed them driving along and suddenly all barking like mad as a U.S.Postal Service truck drives by.
1rarecat
Pit Crew

The Land Rover commercial. A couple driving their Range Rover has tickets for the opera and they see a stranded, scared out of it’s mind dog in the pouring rain and every car is honking at it to get off the road. The next shot you see is the couple at home in front of the fire with the dog. Still get a lump in my throat thinking about that one.
NickB
Intermediate Driver

See...AMC!
If you want...Economy!
Save your money...And how!
On air-conditioned Gremlins...Right now!
La la la lala la la!
terryjudd
Intermediate Driver

I loved the American Motors ads crafted by the Wells, Rich, Greene Agency, which also did equally humorous ads for Benson & Hedges cigarettes and Braniff Airlines. The best of the AMCs featured a meek 1968 Javelin driver repeatedly refusing overtures to drag race because of the goldfish in a bowl he was carrying in the back seat. In the end, the owner grimaces as a garage attendant drags races his babied Javelin to the upper parking deck. Even today, I still get an occasional "Hey Javelin!" for my AMC pony car.
NickB
Intermediate Driver

"Hey punks! Get away from that car!
Hudson
Intermediate Driver

I read through all these to see if the Javelin commercial was listed. I still remember 'the bowl of goldfish.' !
Numberscruncher
Detailer

Enjoyed the Mustang Commercial. I had never seen it. 🙂 Thanks!
DetroitDude
New Driver

What about the Dodge ads from the late 60s with the sheriff saying "you in a heap of trouble boy" and Ricardo Montaba
DetroitDude
New Driver

Carinine leather seats
DetroitDude
New Driver

Anyone remember thr girl strapped Down in the 63 or 64 chevy atop a plautau
DetroitDude
New Driver

How about Jack Palance pulling up trees with a Ford F150