Nowadays when you see an ad for a car with any remote semblance of performance, you get imagery of adrenaline-inducing road-holding with the occasional monster or two. But back in 1978, ads for the Ford Capri liked to tout its "safe and predictable" handling. Bummer.
But that sort of thing isn't entirely a bummer, really, if we take all of these old ads that we look at every Saturday morning as items of anthropological study. Though this may be hard to believe for some of our younger readers, there are people, still around, who were actually alive in 1978.
Crazy, I know.
And if you ask them, they'll tell you that Times Were Different. Especially in the UK. The world, believe it or not, was a lot scarier back then. Yes, nowadays we fear death by all sorts of horrific terrorism, but back then, people all over the world feared that, too. Plus there was all that Cold War nonsense, when you might find a multi-megaton hydrogen bomb landing on your head any second of the day. Plus there was all that stagflation nonsense, where the economy was bad and was only getting worse. Plus there was all that Jimmy-Carter-As-Leader-Of-The-Free-World nonsense, which is still terrifying for a lot of people, even today.
But in Britain, where the 1978 Capri was sold, all that was worse. Not only was there the specter of all that eternal atomic war and terrorism, but the economy was also so bad that automotive factory workers were actually considering communism as a viable economic strategy, plus the Prime Minster was James Callaghan, who really didn't think there was that much of a problem during Britain's Winter of Discontent.
You were worried that one day your face might melt in a fit of radioactive fury, and you'd be poor, too, while it happened.
So when you bought a sporty little car, you wanted to know that at least it wouldn't try to throw you into a tree and kill you to death, yes kill you to death, like everything else in 1978 in the UK. You could also stock all the non-perishable fallout shelter crackers and canned meat as you could possibly want in the back.
And it would get you to 60 MPH in 9.5 seconds, which nowadays seems slower than tar, but back then would have you simply tickled with its safety.
So when you watch an old ad like this, remember to put it all into perspective. Nothing was getting better, and one day you might die a horrible death that you have no control over. So when you want to buy the little European alternative to the Ford Mustang, you might want something cheap, practical, and non-threatening.
Which might explain why they didn't have any monsters in the ads back then.
Thing Were Just Different.