PH Ad Break: Chrysler Laser


Old car ads make bloomin’ brilliant viewing these days. Watching cars we now consider to be crusty old heaps touted as the next big thing never fails to amuse. And so much the better if said ad includes ‘snazzy’ graphics, utterly retro music and glorious hyperbole.

Ah, see, it goes around cones. It must be sporty.
Ah, see, it goes around cones. It must be sporty.
Now that so many of such ads are popping up on video hosting sites, it feels like the perfect time to take a nostalgic look back at them. Welcome to PH Ad Break. A bit like Time For Tea?, but for old car ads. And with less tea. Or not, should you wish.

First up is a commercial that typifies what we’re talking about. It’s for the Chrysler Laser, a mostly-forgotten American sportscar that was anything but. It was launched in 1984, with marketing that pitched it as the car of the future; with front-wheel drive and turbocharged engines, it was the ultimate combination of efficiency, practicality and pure driving enjoyment. Or so the spiel would have had you believe. In reality, the top-line 2.2-litre 142hp turbo was asthmatic, while the entry-level naturally-aspirated 2.2-litre was downright embarrassing, with all of its 93hp to play with. The suspension had more lean in it than the USS Nimitz, and there wasn’t even the usual US car payoff of silly rear-drive tail-happiness to make things more enjoyable. It was, in short, an 80s American muscle car with all of the bad bits and none of the good.   

Ooh look. A brain. Supposedly.
Ooh look. A brain. Supposedly.
Which is what makes this old ad for the Laser all the more mirth-inducing. Without so much as a hint of irony, James Earl Jones tells us that ‘Lee Iacocca told his engineers to build a sports car,’ before going on to inform us of the Laser's ‘fuel-injected turbo power’, that it ‘breaks new ground in advanced technology’, and that they’ve given it ‘a brain’ – also known, if the overlaid VT is to be believed, as a digital dash. Oh yes, it certainly is a cracker, this one. Enjoy.

 

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Comments (73) Join the discussion on the forum

  • tgx 20 Feb 2013

    Don't forget Knight Rider was all the rage at the time.
    The black paint and digital dash would have played well
    with audiences.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knight_Rider_%281982_...

  • qube_TA 20 Feb 2013

    hiltoa said:
    I had a Dodge Daytona (same car, different badging) back in the 80s and it was awesome. Mine seemed to have a thumping V8 and the ability to power oversteer at will though.
    One of my favourite matchbox cars, and the dream is now shattered.

    I had that exact toy, up until now I'd thought it was a Mustang smile



    80's cars all looked the same, good job that doesn't happen now





  • Munich 20 Feb 2013

    Scrof said:
    hiltoa said:
    I had a Dodge Daytona (same car, different badging) back in the 80s and it was awesome. Mine seemed to have a thumping V8 and the ability to power oversteer at will though.
    One of my favourite matchbox cars, and the dream is now shattered.

    OMG. I owned one of these! The Matchbox car, that is, not the real Daytona. Apparently it soldiered on long after the Laser died, gaining a series of facelifts and becoming progressively less cruddy. Or so I read.
    so did I but I one looked like this:

  • St John Smythe 20 Feb 2013

    AJLintern said:
    St John Smythe said:
    Mavican said:
    samliggett said:
    Slightly reminiscent of...

    Classic! Oh the memories....
    x2, I remember having one of those!

    and as for the Laser, for some reason I want one smile

    edited to add - it's funny how you remember how great these things were but in actual fact they were a bit crap - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aCeg-EbOAI

    Edited by St John Smythe on Tuesday 19th February 20:59
    I had one of those smile (probably still got it somewhere!)
    It worked unlike the one in the vid - the idea being to get the furthest distance on the trip meter before your fuel ran out. If you hit the trees the trip stopped but the fuel kept going down.
    At primary school I even set it up at the fete and charged people for goes - the winner at the end of the day with the furthest trip got a crappy 'cup' made of bog roll and foil with a twix or something biggrin
    Quality biggrin

  • AJLintern 20 Feb 2013

    St John Smythe said:
    Mavican said:
    samliggett said:
    Slightly reminiscent of...

    Classic! Oh the memories....
    x2, I remember having one of those!

    and as for the Laser, for some reason I want one smile

    edited to add - it's funny how you remember how great these things were but in actual fact they were a bit crap - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aCeg-EbOAI

    Edited by St John Smythe on Tuesday 19th February 20:59
    I had one of those smile (probably still got it somewhere!)
    It worked unlike the one in the vid - the idea being to get the furthest distance on the trip meter before your fuel ran out. If you hit the trees the trip stopped but the fuel kept going down.
    At primary school I even set it up at the fete and charged people for goes - the winner at the end of the day with the furthest trip got a crappy 'cup' made of bog roll and foil with a twix or something biggrin

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