Watch this dorky Ford promo video about the most forgotten car

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screenshot: youtube

I’m going down a bunch of weird automotive rabbit holes today, but at some point you just have to stop, grab the crazy thing in front of you, and come for air. So, in the interest of actually doing my job today, allow me to introduce you to one of the most delightfully dorky promo videos I’ve seen in a long time. this is About the 1987 Mercury Topaz Ford United Featuring a pair of named dorks prepared in the palette of a fried seafood platter and a goofy conceit.

Our video begins with the JD&RT decking out a metallic beige Mercury Topaz—which, it’s worth noting, fits the dominant color theme for this video, intense beigeThe interior of the car is beige in colour, along with almost everything else on the two humble occupants.

JD and RT are discussing some of the Topaz’s lighting details, including plastic aero headlights, “wraparound parking lamps” (which were also indicators, by the way) and “full width wraparound tail”. Lamp.”

In short, this is a conversation I would have been very engaged and eagerly participating in if I were there. Shit starts to get nice and goofy when JD or maybe RT — the spectacled one — starts using some automotive buzzwords that, like “aerodynamics,” became quite famous in the mid-’80s. Regardless, Beggy actually throws McGlass away. loop, causing him to begin poking what looks like a calculator.

But, you see, and that’s where the forecasting part gets cool, it’s No The calculator! It’s a handheld computing device designed to translate automotive jargon into plain English!

Image for an article titled This hilarious dorky Ford promo video about a mostly forgotten car

screenshot: youtube

Of course, Ford’s props department really called it out here, because it’s a very cheap calculator with a Translator 8000 badge on the top, with crappy Kairon text clumsily slapped into the edit.

(Improvement: I was very wrong. These were the actual translation machines of the 1980s! Langenscheidt 8000 series, with a real dot-matrix display and all. Amazing that this could have been pulled off in the 80s- I guess it was a simple word-to-word lookup type of thing!)

Now, I have to give credit to Ford for imagining our current world of everyone having powerful handheld computers, and I’m sure there’s some kind of jargon-to-common-speech translation app out there somewhere.

Sometimes, similar terms are so absurd that no one has ever used it anywhere, such as “MTX” for “manual five-speed transaxle”.

Image for an article titled This hilarious dorky Ford promo video about a mostly forgotten car

screenshot: youtube

Man, that half-assed thought balloon. In fact, it’s not even a balloon of an idea! Thought balloons are cloud-shaped, with small bubbles extending into the cranium, where speech balloons are smooth-edged, with a pointed tail. This is visual language 101, people.

Anyway, you just need to watch this thing, because it’s a real experience:

Also interesting is the fascinating automotive footnote/oddity that’s mentioned in detail here: the fact that you could once get a Mercury Topaz (or its sibling, the Ford Tempo, with an all-wheel drive system!

Image for an article titled This hilarious dorky Ford promo video about a mostly forgotten car

screenshot: youtube

It was a really interesting system, in the sense of how interesting it was designed to be. The AWD Topaz and tempo looked the same as the normal FWD ones, with only a half-inch extra lift, and the system was activated with a slightly nondescript dash switch.

It was less to make the car an off-road toy and more to give nervous parents a sense of security (perhaps confusion) in bad weather. The AWD ones were never exactly popular, but they were the ancestors of the more common AWD cars we see today.

There’s a particularly funny part in the video when they talk about safety, and show a re-enactment of a wreck where a woman was rescued by an airbag:

What’s strange about this is what the driver says about the moments before the wreck: She didn’t want to feel the pain of the wreck, so she closed her eyes, hoping nothing would happen?

I think it’s actually a pretty human response, but it’s still kind of weird, especially in this context.

Aside from that slightly serious touch, it’s a goofy, goofy romp and I believe watching it is an excellent use of your time.

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