This 1957 Chevy truck commercial was shot by Alexander Film Company on the declivities of Pikes Peak. At first it seems that this might be nothing more than a routine drive up the Pikes Peak Highway in an attempt to impress the less savvy of their would-be customers with the dramatic backdrops offered by Pikes Peak. But then they actually drive the truck up… well, not straight, but pretty darn straight up at least a part of the mountain. The fact that it’s presented as a kind of mountaineering first ascent film (the drivers wear matching khakis, blue sweatshirts and, eventually, helmets as they bounce across the boulder fields above timberline) with timpanies to punctuate the narrator’s hyperbole, makes it as cheeky as you’d expect from a piece of this vintage. And of course, anyone familiar with the topography of the area will question the route of their ascent, but much of it is still impressive even by today’s standards. We’re sure the Forest Service thanks you in advance for not attempting to repeat it!

Surely the greatest line ever about Pikes Peak: “The most famous mountain in America thunders its defiance.”! Then of course there’s “Straight into virgin timberland into chassis-battering terrain.” And then there’s: “How many nuggets would a Sourdough have offered for one of these trucks?”

What we wouldn’t give to bang out copy writers for Alexander Film Company!

Thanks again to the Pikes Peak Library District for posting this to YouTube and thanks to Big Something reader Keith B. for bringing it to our attention.

 

9 Responses to How to Drive Straight Up Pikes Peak

  1. Jacqueline Ostrom says:

    It should not go without mentioning just how damaging driving a vehicle offroad is to the fragile envrinment above tmberline. Never drive off-road like this any where in the mountains. Shame on Chevrotlet! Reckless, not impressive!

    • Jay Brown says:

      Jacqueline, I don’t think that was the huge concern it is today, given this was 4 years prior to Pikes Peak becoming a national historic landmark.

    • Noel Black says:

      Yes, Jacqueline, as we wrote in the post: “We’re sure the Forest Service thanks you in advance for not attempting to repeat it!”. Not advocating, just marveling that it was ever done.

  2. Paul Richardson says:

    Quite a feat. Thanks for posting.

  3. Bill Cari says:

    Jacqueline:

    After viewing this vintage video, filmed at a quite different time in our culture, all you can come up with is criticism of the accomplishment? Perhaps traveling the Oregon Trail was reckless also? How about landing on the moon? Would you chastise the creator of Mt. Rushmore too? Some people can’t appreciate things for what they are. That is sad.

    • Robert Rowe says:

      so true, they worry so much about forest fires and always think they’re caused by arsenists when lightning can cause it too. if forests get super thick like thay are today below the timberlines from not letting nature take it’s course we actually have massive droubts due to TOO MANY TREES. hey lady you do know you yourself are a co2 machine so why not prevent global warming by shutting down your body?

  4. Aimee Morgado says:

    I can’t imagine what that was like with no power steering! Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

News

The National Museum of Computing
May 29, 2016 | NPR · Museum volunteers were perusing eBay when they happened upon a Lorenz teleprinter used by the Nazis to transmit encrypted messages. It was labeled a telegram machine and sold for just $14.
 

Getty Images
May 29, 2016 | NPR · In one case, migrants saw rescuers and rushed toward them, causing the boat to flip. In another, a large boat cut the line to a smaller boat it was dragging when it began to take on water.
 

WLWT/Screen Shot by NPR
May 29, 2016 | NPR · After a 4-year-old slipped into the gorilla enclosure on a crowded day at the Cincinnati Zoo, a security team killed the gorilla to save the child. A tranquilizer shot was deemed too dicey.
 

Arts & Life

May 29, 2016 | NPR · Beth Howland died in December at age 74. One of her best known roles, was as the original Amy in Stephen Sondheim’s “Company.” Looking into her past can lead you down a pop culture spiral.
 

Claire Harbage
May 29, 2016 | NPR · Oysters, cocaine, fine wine, love triangles: Stephanie Danler’s debut novel Sweetbitter follows a year in the life of a young woman working at a top-tier Manhattan restaurant.
 

AFP/Getty Images
May 29, 2016 | NPR · Levison Wood, who previously walked the length of the Nile River, has now trekked 1,700 miles, from Afghanistan to Bhutan, along the Himalayan mountain range.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
May 29, 2016 | NPR · The British songwriter began her career in 1999 with an album that was a breakout success. Years later, she says she looks on that younger version of herself with the protectiveness of a big sister.
 

Courtesy of the artist
May 29, 2016 | NPR · A classically trained cellist with songs rooted in Haitian folk, McCalla embraces the intersections of art and history in her work. Her new album is A Day for the Hunter, a Day for the Prey.
 

May 28, 2016 | NPR · William Bell cut his first Stax records tracks more than 50 years ago. Now, he’s back on the label. Bell tells NPR’s Scott Simon about his new album, and remixing one of his biggest hits.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab