The Progressive Farmer, November 1972: Centerfold
It would appear that the market for pickup trucks was just as competitive a generation ago as it is today. After picking out a copy of The Progressive Farmer from my stack of old magazines, I figured that it would not have any vintage ads I would be interested in. After all, the front cover was a dull, desaturated photo of a farmer on his tractor, pulling a plow through a dusty, barren field. There were no blurbs on the front, no enticing headlines to draw in the casual farmer/reader. Just those three simple words: The Progressive Farmer. It looked more like a pamphlet from the Soviet Union, espousing the wonders of the next five-year-plan. There was nothing progressive about it.
But what a joy to open it up and find this wonderful centerfold spread inside. (Okay, it wasn't exactly the center, but it was close enough.) Ford was obviously proud of its latest model. As you can see in the following insets, there are so many innovations they had to give each one a little cartoon, some of them with whiz-bang motion arrows. What farmer wouldn't be impressed?
As you can see, the Ford box cover not only looks right, it fits right. That's as opposed to all those other truck makers who designed box covers that look wrong and fit wrong. And that roomiest cab is not only quiet, but it offers unusual quiet, as well as comfort. Who would have thought? I am most impressed with the modern blend-air type of heat. I'm sure one of you older readers out there could tell me some horror stories about those old trucks that had unblended air. I shudder to think of it. And speaking of air, notice Ford offers an optional "air", and if you opt for it, it is all built in. No exposed air ducts running through your truck. That's gotta be a plus.
Love the 5 inch deep full-foam seat. I certainly remember those. They should have cut back a little on the foam and made the cover for the seat a bit thicker. Most pickup trucks that were more than a few years old had holes worn in the seat, and all that full-foam padding tended to crumble and end up scattered on the floor mats and stuck in the back pockets of your jeans.
Not to be outdone, GMC let the progressive farmers know that its 1973 GMC pickup was not only full of features, but it was hard to stop looking at. And as you can see, if you can take your eyes off the truck for a minute, the progressive farmer takes his young, blonde along for the ride. And she'll love to ride along, when you consider the comforts awaiting her.
A smoother ride. Presumably, smoother than the old trucks, or the other guys' trucks. It doesn't say.
More shoulder room. This depends on the shoulders, I would think.
19% more window area. Not a selling point for kids who have to wash the windows.
Bad news for corrosion. Which must have really upset corrosion.
Redesigned door hardware: lets you slam-and-lock automatically. That sounds so cool. Anybody know what that means? I don't.
New quietness inside. I remember riding in these trucks from the Seventies. I cannot imagine how loud the older ones were if these were considered a new quietness.
Flow-thru ventilation. With all the salt on the road in my home state of Illinois, I remember that many cars and trucks had flow-thru ventilation, generally around the footwells. It was always sort of cool to be able to see the road zinging by beneath us.
Here you get to see a non-partisan comparison of some of the new models. There are a few specs on the the International Model 1210. And to be honest, I had no idea that International made a pickup. I'd love to hear from readers about them. Were they any good? I don't ever remember seeing any old ones on the road when I was a youngster.
I love to see this GMC 1973 Sprint. I am quite familiar with the Chevy El Camino, since my grandfather drove one for many years. These little dudes were the original crossovers. As you can see, the boast here is that the Sprint combines the utility of a pickup with trim, passenger-car appearance. Sweet, right?
It may be my imagination, but that sure looks like Robert Conrad chilling out next to the F-100 Ranger XLT. And as we know from the the ad above, it has many new improvements. Below the photo is tells us that this truck is reported to feature the most extensive changes in Ford trucks in six years. Someone at The Progressive Farmer was hedging their bets, and not willing to say this without adding that "is reported" bit. A typical, skeptical journalist.
We finally get away from pickups, but still find some great eye-candy for the farmers. Here we see ammunition, which is sure to get any farmer's heart racing.
All I can really say about this is that if you've used "Hi-Speed" ammunition in the "Power-Pak", you know how convenient these 100 Pak boxes are. If you haven't, then that's just too bad for you. Because it is so convenient, if you've used it, you'll know. If you haven't, it can't really be explained adequately by the ad-man sitting on Fifth Avenue, most likely because he's never used "Hi-Speed" ammunition in the "Power-Pak". Which is a shame, since if he had, he'd know how convenient those 100 Pak boxes are.
And let's not forget that once you have used up all those conveniently placed cartridges, the box becomes a great place to keep spare parts, bolts, nails, fishing lures or what-have-you. Spare parts? Very small spare parts, to be sure.
You know I had to find a car ad. And what a beauty. This fine, 1973 Plymouth Satellite Sebring-Plus has been restyled to give a look Plymouth thinks people are going to like. But that's only the beginning!
They've been able to erase all those irritating little noises your car makes when you drive down the highway. I kid you not. Windwhistle? Gone. Tire noise? Gone. Traffic sounds? Gone. This baby has sound silencers--that is no joke! Real, honest-to-goodness Sound Silencers!--, floor silencers, and yes, even roof pads. It is so quiet, Plymouth likes to call it "Super Quiet".
So stop in at your local Chrysler-Plymouth and listen to the quiet. It is the most quiet car you'll ever hear, I guess. Which gets me to wondering. As you can see with the transparent image of the car, there seems to be no motor. This might explain the incredible silence this car generates.
Today's bonus ad is a fun one. After all, how often do you get to see an ad that shouts such a great headline to the world. These Rats and Mice are Going to Die!
Which reminds me of another old family car that was used on the farm a long time ago. It had its own little family of mice living in it. Which would not have happened if d-Con had had their way. Because d-Con kills rats DEAD. There were some rat poisons at that time that apparently killed them alive. Best of all, d-Con is safe around children, pets, poultry and livestock. (I don't know about chickens, but I can attest to the fact that it is safe for children. My son once ate a pack of d-Con rat poison when he was about one and a half years old. After our initial panic, we spoke with Poison Control on the phone and they informed us he'd be just fine. Just get him to drink water and don't be alarmed by the color of his diapers. So we did our best not to be alarmed, poured water through him like he was a bucket that needed to be washed out, and were mildly intrigued by his dark, emerald-green dirty diapers. Aside from his very bizarre sense of humor, we've never be able to see that the poison had any adverse affect on him. We're still keeping an eye on him. He turns 22 this year. I'm almost convinced he'll be fine.)