Wednesday January 3, 2018
Dim the lights, fire up the projector and settle back in your office chair, and enjoy these promotional shorts that were intended to make you a better dealer - or tempt a fleet buyer to their local dealership…
5) Austin – Return Journey 1957
The story of a Queensland farmer making a business trip to the UK and opting for a two-tone blue and white A95 Westminster hire car – ‘handsome and roomy’ is his accurate assessment of one of BMC’s most enjoyable big saloons. And if that were not entertainment value enough, Return Journey boasts some incredible colour footage of 1957-vintage traffic, the Austin passing RT buses, Nuffield Oxford Taxis and – quite fantastically – even a Škoda 1200.
4) Austin-Rover - Montego Fleet Sales 1984
Our velvet-voiced narrator (who sounds like Simon Cadell) tells of how the Montego created an image for the business driver that ‘he and his company would be proud of’ – such excessive use of the term ‘he’ was still common in 1980s PR material. The Vanden Plas and MG versions still look undeniably impressive although I am not sure how impressed any potential client would have been by a sales representative’s bottom of the range L, for all its ‘lively 1.3 power unit’.
3) Tatra – Šťastnou cestu (Happy Journey) 1962
If this 12-minute masterpiece does not immediately inspire you to rush out and buy a T2-603, for it has virtually all the ingredients for a great promotional film – a Norman Wisdom style garage attendant, 1960s cocktail jazz on the soundtrack and, best of all, motoring from the Czech racing driver Jaroslav Pavelka that would not have been approved by the Highway Code. And any Mercedes-Benz “Fintail” or Lancia Flaminia owner in the decadent West would surely have been open mouthed at the stunt just before the closing credits.
2) Morris Commercial – All In A Day 1956
The story of how Johnny a 15-year-old school leaver (although it must be said that he looks about 32) starts his apprenticeship at the Morris plant. Will he help to build the famous J, as used by the Post Office, the LD or maybe the FE Series III lorry. In fact, All In A Day is priceless social history, with its footage of the Cowley plant, narration from Maurice Denham, one of Britain’s greatest actors, and ‘the latest range of light J2 types’. And the film also gives a vivid impression of just how demanding a job being a ‘night trunker’ was in the mid-1950s – a time before motorways and lorries fitted with direction indicators…
1) Ford – Love Thy Customer 1966 (with music by The Doors)
A Technicolor gem that is not just an opportunity to see Dearborn’s 1966 line-up, it is also one of the best made training films of its type, showing the types of customer that were dreaded by nearly every dealership. And, yes, the soundtrack really is by The Doors, with Jim Morrison on percussion. The band was at that time without a record deal and was grateful at the opportunity to earn $200 for a day’s work in the studio. For many years Love Thy Customer was regarded as ‘lost’ until a copy was unearthed in the archives of the University of California.