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

February 9, 2016 | NPR · Get live results, news and hear the latest special broadcast or podcast.
 

iStockphoto
February 9, 2016 | NPR · Blood alcohol levels match well with a person’s impairment. But the THC in marijuana doesn’t move around the body the same way, so blood tests can miss people who are stoned.
 

AP
February 9, 2016 | NPR · The war against ISIS is hardly Iraq’s only problem. Many factions are angling for power, sectarian differences abound and falling oil prices have left the economy in shambles.
 

Arts & Life

NPR
February 9, 2016 | NPR · Pierce Brown finishes his trilogy with a lot of exposition, and a really satisfying bang.
 

AP
February 8, 2016 | NPR · We talk about the game, the quarterbacks, the halftime show in which Coldplay was hopelessly outshined, and lots more.
 

February 8, 2016 | NPR · After NPR’s Bob Mondello used The Music Man to help explain the Iowa caucuses, he wished there was a musical of Our Town so he could do the same for New Hampshire. It turns out there is one.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artists
February 9, 2016 | NPR · America, in a new video from the Danish electro-pop band Liima, is anything but the promised land.
 

Getty Images
February 9, 2016 | NPR · The Barbadian pop star’s album Anti includes so many musical styles that it’s been tagged “adrift” or “confusing.” But there’s method — and plenty of Caribbean history — behind the madness.
 

Courtesy of the artist
February 9, 2016 | NPR · A surging, hard-won roots-rock epic, indebted to the classics and wise beyond its singer’s 27 years.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab