When carmakers team up with other companies to sell cars and other products, the results are usually, uh, strange. Like those Harley-Davidson edition Ford F-150s or the Mercury Villager Nautica or even that deeply weird Etienne Aigner-edition Volkswagen Cabriolet. Even in this already questionable context, this partnership between Chrysler’s French subsidiary Simca and Lee slacks remains powerfully, richly weird.
Here’s the ad, from 1960, that seems to be the entire basis of this unlikely alliance:
Yes, Lee Tapered Slacks and a the Simca Elysee. Who doesn’t immediately associate those stylish, belt-free polyester leg-tubes and this charming little 1290cc/48 horsepower French sedan?
It’s just like the ad says of these two “definitely trans-atlantic” items:
“Both car and pants were built for getting around. Easy and light. And fast!”
Oh yeah, I love a pair of slacks that were built for getting around. Especially ones like the Lee Guardsman, with those side-straps, whatever the hell those are.
Yes, put those pants and that car together and “you’re really living,” just like the adman shouts. They couldn’t be more right! Imagine waking up in the morning and bellowing out for the world to hear “Today I’m going to slip on my sleek, beltless Lee Guardsman slacks, and slide into my Simca Elysee, and really live!”
Who came up with this idea? Maybe they focus-grouped potential Simca-buyers and found that, holy crap, most of these people enjoy wearing pants while they drive! This is an oppor—no—a pantsatunity we can’t pass up!
I mean, I suppose this did set some sort of precedent, as a surprising number of car companies have released jeans-edition vehicles over the years. Still, those were cars that had iconic jeans-related elements merged into the design; this Lee-Simca partnership is just a co-advertising venture.
That Simca wasn’t some Lee edition with side-straps and polyester upholstery; the pants didn’t come with a chrome Simca badge on the ass. It was just two very different products, advertised together. Would a Simca dealer have sold you some slacks? Were Lee slacks sold with Simca brochures in the pockets?
Maybe it was, as the colorful text of the ad states, Just for Fun? I mean, that seems like a pretty fun little sedan. What could make it more fun? Slacks! Lots and lots of slacks! Rich, buttery slacks, encasing your legs and groin as you lean into the corners on your Simca’s shockingly soft suspension!
I have so many questions.