1957 Buick Roadmaster - Speed holes.

No, its not an electric shaver. That's a car, that just happens to look a bit like an electric shaver. And, that car is an electric shaver that looks pretty good, but what's with the marketing gibberish? Did they expect people reading this ad to understand it?

Of course not. What Buick wanted you to do was A) get excited about those kooky words and B) run straight down to your Buick dealer and listen to a sales pitch that explained what the marketing gibberish meant. Here's what the gibberish meant:

Power Pack: Four-barrel carburetor that gave the engine slightly more power.

Dynaflow: Buick's name for their automatic transmission.

Safety-Buzzer; A kind of early cruise control that buzzed at you when you reached a set speed.

Levelized Stopping: Suspension arrangement that reduces the degree to which the car "nose dives" under braking, as the car's weight is thrown forward.

"Nested" chassis: The car sits lower.

General Motors has, for many years, put those little pretend ventilation holes in the sides of their cars, as a swanky decoration. The GM marketing department calls them "Ventiports", and they're supposed to make the car look cool. They originated on a custom car built by GM stylist Ted Nickles. On the original hot rod, there was a ventiport representing each cylinder in the engine, and there was a little light bulb inside each one that flashed in time with the spark plugs. 

This was all intended to look like the exhausts on the sides of WWII airplanes, like the P-51 Mustang. Sometimes, the exhausts on the plane would spit a little fire - usually when the motor has just started, I think. On the custom car, they were a blinking novelty. On production models, they had no lights and didn't ventilate anything. Of course, they caught on, and GM kind of made "Ventiports" a childish affectation design signature. Who doesn't like pretend vents and intakes on their car? Right, kids?

Ventiports have enjoyed something of a revival in the adhesive geegaw market. You can get a set for yourself at any Auto Zone. Peel off the tape, stick them on your fenders (being careful not to be too careful about keeping them straight), and you're a pretend fighter pilot. if you want to avoid getting in trouble with the GM legal department, you can just call your new stick-on Ventiports "speed holes".

Click for big.


fizzy said...

And of course the most modern feature in the ad: the misuse of the apostrophe.

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