Toyota, with the assistance of comedian Michael Showalter, released a new campaign recently detailing the simple and affordable Yaris car. The straightforward, yet hilarious ads are meant to show with utter obviousness: this car comes with no special features. It makes me think of my first car and how its lack of features is what made it special, too.
I had an ’86 Buick Century. It was urine yellow and had twelve inches of brownish-orange trim along the bottom. The trim, albeit beautiful, was, in fact, rust and every time I’d close a door or hit a bump, pieces of car would fall to the ground. This actually came in handy. Before GPS navigation, I could simply follow the metal crumbs all the way home.
The roof lining on the car was sensitive to humidity. It served as an excellent barometer. The higher the dew point, the more it would sag down. In most cases the ceiling would not only block me from seeing out the rear view mirror, but would massage my head. I left my car with pieces of ceiling upholstery in my hair frequently.
All of the typical things you’d expect from a junk car, this car had. Heat and A/C didn’t work—which is just perfect for Wisconsin winters. I would go outside 45 minutes before I’d have to leave and turn on the car. I’d bank on the engine heating up enough to defrost the lower one-inch of my window. Then, like an old lady in Florida, I’d peek my eyes through the steering wheel and drive. If that didn’t work, I’d roll down my window (if it wasn’t frozen shut) and stick my head out the side…all the way to school.
The radio would reprogram itself every time I turned the ignition on or hit a small to medium-sized pothole. Quite frankly, I was just glad it worked at all. The car would frequently stall out at the most inconvenient times—typically after I applied the gas. The most common occurrence was after a red light had turned green. The people behind me were always very supportive.
I named her Ol’ Faithful because, despite her outward appearance, she DID start up every winter. I had a lot of memories in that car (many of which I won’t mention here) and over the years we only grew closer. By the time she ran out of gas, I had such an emotional attachment to her that I felt like I was losing a part of me. Not only had she taken me from point A to point B, but she also helped shape who I was as a person.
I traded the car in for fifty bucks and bought a Geo Prizm that had a pink stripe going down the side. I later named it Barbie. I left the dealership feeling depressed and ashamed. As I drove home, I was reminded of Ol’ Faithful everywhere. Pieces of the door and bumper littered the streets all the way back. To this day, rusty soda cans and hubcaps bring tears to my eyes. I even have the old license plate and keep it in a place I know she’d appreciate. Next to the toilet.
With such a tangent, lest I not forget to show a sample of this campaign, which, honestly, could have done wonders to help the sales of my car back when it was released in 1986.
View the entire campaign here.
Author: Eric Swenson