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

September 24, 2016 | NPR · The National Museum of African-American History and Culture opens on the National Mall on Saturday. NPR’s Sam Sanders talks to visitors and tells us what it was like on the first day.
 

September 24, 2016 | NPR · Michel Martin talks to KUOW reporter Ross Reynolds on the latest on the manhunt for a gunman who killed five people Friday night in a shopping mall in Burlington, Wash.
 

September 24, 2016 | NPR · Michel Martin speaks with reporter Nick de la Canal of member station WFAE in Charlotte, N.C., about what’s happening in the city after police shot Keith Lamont Scott earlier this week.
 

Arts & Life

AP
September 24, 2016 | NPR · More than 100 years after it was originally proposed, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture is opening its doors in Washington, D.C.
 

September 24, 2016 | NPR · In the late 1980s, Curtis filed a patent for a diaper/baby wipe combo, so we’ve invited her to play a game called “Eureka!” Three questions about inventors and their inventions.
 

Getty Images
September 24, 2016 | NPR · The chain restaurant that catered to women helped redefine how Americans eat, according to a new book. For NPR’s Lynn Neary, it also defined how she did and didn’t fit with the counterculture.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
September 24, 2016 | NPR · The international ambassador for Louisiana roots music died early Saturday morning of lung cancer.
 

Courtesy of the artist
September 24, 2016 | NPR · Social media isn’t Jillian Banks’ style, so she told her fans to text her instead. “Something that I’m still learning and have had to learn is how to put boundaries up,” she says.
 

Opera Philadelphia
September 24, 2016 | NPR · Composer Missy Mazzoli wouldn’t call Lars von Trier’s film Breaking the Waves, a feminist project. But its portrayal of a woman’s experience was part of what drew her to help reimagine it onstage.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab