As with the Edsel introduced in late 1957, Chrysler launched an extensive promotional and marketing campaign before the public was even given a glimpse of the Airflow. Since this was the first new model of a production car that was designed with engineering focused on aerodynamics, the company launched a publicity stunt in which they reversed the axles and steering gear of a conventional 1933 model.
This allowed the car to be driven “backwards” throughout Detroit. The stunt captured the public’s attention. Related advertising campaigns including print, automotive feature articles and even short films to be shown in theaters called attention to the fact that most cars were more streamlined in the rear than the front. Promotion also hinted that soon Chrysler would introduce the car of the future, a vehicle that would transform the driving experience.
This was more than mere hype. The Airflow was, and is, a superb automobile. Still, as with the Edsel, the car sold poorly and did not meet corporate expectations. There is a lesson or two to be learned in the Airflow and Edsel story.
Never under estimate the power of self deception. People can fool themselves into believing all manner of things. The current state of politics in America is one example. Rejection of the Airflow is another. And of course, The Beast, the 1951 Chevy panel truck dominating the driveway in front of the house is yet another.
The Airflow, the Edsel, and other stories of inovation, failure, marketing and related consumer trends are the core of a Jim Hinckley’s America podcast, Car Talk From The Main Street of America, that was launched in July with Stan Hustad as the producer. But sharing America’s story is only part of what we do. We also tell people where to go.
And so there is an element of travel woven into the Car Talk From The Main Street of America podcast. The great American road trip is the primary focus of our second podcast, the live stream Sunday morning Coffee With Jim program on Podbean that is later archived on Spotify and other platforms.
The podcasts are an example of how we are always looking for new ways to tell stories, to inspire road trips and to share the adventure. With that said, Stan and I have decided to add a new level to Car Talk From The Main Street of America. we want to hear, and to share, your automtove stories.
For the first episode we want to hear your story about the car or truck that you regret selling. As an example, on next weeks episode I share my story about a 1956 Ford F100 that was heavily optioned for the time. I acquired that truck by trading a Winchester rife and a ten speed bicyle. And it was eventually traded for a 1964 Pontiac. So, if you have a similar story to share, drop me a note.
The podcasts, and other Jim Hinckley’s America programs such as our speaking engagements, are more than just road trip inspiration, and stories about America. They are a promotional opportunity for sonsors such as Visit Tucumcari. So, if you want to give your community or business a promotional boost, give me a holler. I am quite confident that we can give you a bang for the advertising dollar.
Now, with the business of Jim Hinckley’s America out of the way, I would like to share a few updates and notes. The recent Heartland Tour provided fodder for an array of future programs and projects. As an example, I am chomping at the bit to introduce people to charming and surprising Rushville, Illinois with the amazing Princess Theatre that opened in 1916, and wonderful little cafe in a century old hardware store. And soon, I will be able to share information about two new and exciting book projects.
Stay tuned. Things are about to get very interesting indeed. As the Jim Hinckley’s America theme song by the Road Crew says, come along for the ride.