Great Car Commercials--1973 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham
Today we're honoring a commercial that had the chutzpah to compare a 1973 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham with the NASA Apollo command module used to transport astronauts from the Earth to the moon. My thoughts under the ad.
0:00 - In a world of airbrushed models and polished, attractive spokespeople, it's a bit jarring to encounter this ad spokesman, with his creased face and gravelly voice. Perhaps they were going for the Walter Cronkite gravitas?
0:02-0:08 - What was he doing, idly flipping random switches? Was he doing the same thing in there before Apollo 13? Where's NASA security during all this? Somebody get him out of there!
0:08 - Ah, now he's running down the really distinctive features of this marvel of engineering. "It's got an electronic ignition system, a reclining seat, a digital clock ..." Yes, these were the features that made Apollo special; it's a good thing for our space program that the Soviets didn't have access to the infinite mysteries of reclining seats and digital clocks.
Gee, I wonder where he's going with this.
0:16 - Oh, the Apollo command module is welded into a single unit? And so are Chrysler/Plymouths? Sold!
0:24 - "This is a unit body that flies!" Catchy. I'm not sure why this wasn't the official NASA slogan during the 1970s.
0:28 - "Of course you can't have one of these (Apollo command module). But you can have one of these (1973 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham)." This statement deserves honored status in the bait-and-switch Hall of Fame. You can't have a space craft, so here's a New Yorker Brougham. Oh, thanks.
0:35 - Now he's running down the similarities between the Apollo and the New Yorker. Boy, I did not see that coming. Oh, I see. The Brougham also has a unit-body construction, electronic ignition, and a reclining seat. "You can even get a digital clock, if you wanna." Wow, just like Apollo!
I'm convinced that an earlier version of this script included the line, "Just like Apollo, the New Yorker is made from metal, can accommodate human passengers, and was made in the 20th century."
0:50 - "But who wants to keep a car for more than 500,000 miles?" Well, Volvo 240 owners.
I understand that he's being clever, but the casual dismissal of the car's ability to last for 500,000 miles sounds a bit odd to modern ears. And how many of these have you seen around lately? And by lately, I mean in the last 20 years.
0:53 - "Chrysler New Yorker; extra care in engineering. It makes a difference!"
Right. Perhaps I'm too cynical, but I don't think of the of the New Yorker Brougham as a triumph of engineering. Perhaps that extra engineering care netted a little bonus sheen on the vinyl roof.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this ad is how dated it feels, and just how much the Apollo program benefits from the comparison. Just think--we were going to the moon with technology developed in a age where cars like these were produced, and when commercials like these were normal.
Just for the record, and all snark aside, it should surprise exactly no one that I'm drawn irresistibly to that New Yorker. I'd buy one in a second and then bore my friends with incessant comparisons to the Apollo command module.