In 1978, Dodge Wanted To Sell Us 'Adult Toys'

Screenshot: Youtube

Dodge has never been afraid to explore new market segments, especially when they build excitement. In 1978, the brand made its biggest step in that direction with a line of “adult toys.” No. NO. Not like that. Accessorized pickups, vans and stuff.

In 1978, Dodge needed some energy. Its muscle cars were not in good shape after the Gas Crisis. Bloated and wheezy, they weren’t going to give anyone James May’s famous fizz.

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But Dodge knew what to do. For 1978, it brought the fizz back with its, erm,adult toy line,” as somehow advertised on television as you can see in the ad above. But these adult toys weren’t meant for the bedroom. They weren’t even supposed to stay in the garage.

Since apparently getting outdoors with friends was apparently “how the grownups play today” back in the late 70s, the adult toys were all versions of Dodge’s Ram trucks and vans as modified by dealers and aftermarket shops. In the ad, there are a few different Ramchargers and Ram pickups, with all manner of accessories fitted. Some are pretty tasteful, actually, like the two-tone Ramcharger featured first and the roofless one seen later on, massive 4x4 decal on the rear door.

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There’s also a Ram van with what looks like every single accessory tacked on including a front splitter, dual-nostril hood intake of dubious functionality and what looks like a roof-mounted spoiler too.

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The ad also features an older set of newlyweds, cruising along in their Ramcharger, “just married” painted on the rear window. It seems like Dodge’s marketing department, between every little wink and nod, wanted to make clear that the its adult toys were meant for grown-ups of all ages. That strikes me as a pretty egalitarian message for a 1978 truck commercial, but hey, what do I know? I wasn’t there.

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Max Finkel

Max Finkel is a Weekend Contributor at Jalopnik.