By on February 7, 2012

The latest crop of Super Bowl car ads boasted some high-production-value salaciousness, but no car advertisement will ever come close to the perfection of the Quaaludes-and-disco Black Gold Man and Black Gold Woman and their gorgeous 10th Anniversary Edition 280ZX. Yes, many of you have seen this ad before, but I will not rest until all have experienced Black Gold (plus I’ve included a few Bonus Sexy Malaise Era car ads after the jump).

The only 10th Anniversary Edition Black Gold 280ZX I’ve ever seen in person was about to get crushed, and I was still in junior high when this car was new, but I still crave a car so lavishly appointed that there are virtually no options. Driven to the ultimate!

A few years before there was Black Gold, there was a very slinky Farrah Fawcett and her pet cougar taking her ’75 Cougar XR-7 to the beach. Glove-soft vinyl on deeply padded bucket seats! Poised opera window!

For ’78, the Cougar had Cheryl Tiegs in her padded-tire-deck-equipped XR-7… and an appropriately disco soundtrack.

The competition sort of gave up, once Black Gold Man and Black Gold Woman roared into a Martian sunset in their 280ZX; here’s the ’81 Mustang and its white-powder-fueled 90-pound driver heading to the disco.

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29 Comments on “The Greatest— and Sexiest— Car Ad of All Time: 1980 Black Gold Datsun 280ZX!...”

  • avatar

    What we have here is a period of time when women shoppers were believed to be an untapped market for Detroit. While we may believe that these ladies are being presented to us in order to appeal to men, that would be a tad shallow. No harm if they did. What these ads show are confident sexy young women who are fashionable, slim, athletic and quietly gorgeous. If you want to be like that, these are the cars for you. Like a hot bump in jeans, these Cougars come with a padded hot bump as well. All it needed was a Jordash label on that trunk desk, right?

    Ladies in this Boomer generation were higher educated and earned more money than ever. They were told to be in control over their destinies. It was considered modern to be a feminist. It was considered modern to control your feminine body with douches, pills and powders. It was considered modern to display your femininity in Spandex, furs and Farrah Fawcett hair.

    The Datsun ad is different because the woman is just an option in the fully loaded car. Her long fingernails caress the cracks in the soft leather skin. Her long fingernails are all over the place as the interior of the car becomes a part of the man. He can’t wait to grab that knobby stick and take her! With this car, you the man! You can win over one hot lady and put her in your place. Your place is a sharp rocket painted black and gold that she can’t resist!

    See that lady in the Cougar with the padded butt trunk? Go get her! Maybe she took her pill!

  • avatar

    The Datsun “We Are Driven” commercials from the late 70s until the mid-80’s “The Name is Nissan” era were some of the best car commercials ever. The right voiceover, the right music, the right copy, the right message (fuel economy or performance or value depending the model)and the right visuals all came together beautifully. The “Awesome” tagline for the ZXs was icing on the cake.

  • avatar

    This ad epitomized almost everything that I felt was wrong with the times. in late 1979, I was in the market for my first new car and had long admired the 240/260/280 Z. With the then-new ZX, Nissan abandoned the whole idea of it being a sports car. Trashy looks, excess weight and a focus on marketing to people with whom I didn’t identify (meaning people who didn’t get sports cars) drove me to the Mazda dealer for a stripped RX-7. I had visited a Nissan dealer and looked at a ZX in a sickening green paint scheme with velour seats and turned my stomach. That they wanted almost $10K for it ($2500 more than I paid for my RX) just made it even more awful.

  • avatar

    How about those bastard 390 mm TRX wheels on the 79-82 Mustang?

    Anyone who bought them certainly lived to regret it, and probably switched to “inch” rims after the first tire purchase.

  • avatar

    I got to drive a 10th anniversary 280ZX home from a bar when my buddy had too much to drink. I felt like John Travolta getting out of that thing. Allegedly it had special cams and carbs and all that other stuff that dreams are made of.

    I must be getting old, I saw all these ads on TV. The Farrah Faucett one was the best, of course when she ran to the beach no man was looking at the car.

  • avatar

    Interesting that they mentioned (and pictured) the Mark IV in the 75 Cougar spot. While I’m sure they were trying to highlight the differences, to my modern eyes, the Cougar looks just like a Mark IV without the hidden headlamps (which is essentially what it was).

    • 0 avatar

      The Cougar was on a different platform. It was basically a tarted up Torino. That was the most bloated of all 70’s “intermediate” platforms but still nothing compared to the aircraft-carrier dimensions of a Mark IV.

  • avatar

    Wow, looking at those Cougars from the mid to late 1970s, I can’t fathom for the life of me why Mercury ended up going the way of the dodo. Hot stuff, baby.

  • avatar

    the datsun still looks good to me! i love the long low swoopy look, different from the fat face upright ass of most current cars.

  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    Gee, I always thought that guy from Hall and Oates was gay.

  • avatar

    That’s one big pussy.

  • avatar

    My favorite car commercial for sexy women is the one I saw on this site from Nissan for it’s Tiida mocking Ford , it was banned from being aired I believe . You don’t see curvy women like that in U.S. ads anymore . Funny pornstache in that old Datsun ad though !

  • avatar

    The “We Are Driven” campaign for the then-new 280ZX Turbo is probably what got my dad to abandon a lifelong rule of not buying any car from the former Axis powers. It really wasn’t the type of car he had been buying in the ’70s (basically bouncing between Cadillac and Jaguar), but it was a heck of a lot of fun to drive.

    • 0 avatar

      I had a dark silver 1981 280ZX Turbo and loved driving that car. I never thought of it as a sports car but as a GT kind of thing for long highway drives. It looked quite different from the regular ZX, with nicer wheels and mods like an aluminum hood. It had a lot of adventures, including a two-month rebuild after a kid in the auto body shop decided to take it out for a “test drive” and rammed a tree with it. The rustworm eventually destroyed it but not before 260,000 kms. I still miss it and I was never a disco guy…

  • avatar

    That Z commercial is awesome nuclear grade cheese for sure. Though that radio is hideous and who grips a shifter like that?

  • avatar

    My first car was a 78 non-XR midnight blue Cougar. Oh the memories. I could lay rubber, in wet leaves, all the way down my street.

  • avatar

    Drool no more… only 31,500 beans.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Love these cheesy ads, almost like they were done by the same guys that did tv ads for cigarettes back when that sort of advertising was legal.

  • avatar

    Gotta love that “glove-soft vinyl”

  • avatar

    Another fine example of 80’s cheese:


    • 0 avatar

      “Feel the performance of the world’s first computer-activated manual transmission! A Corvette with never before available unidirectional turbine finned wheels!”

      I don’t know what those things can do for me, but I’m pretty sure I need them.

  • avatar

    Or this one for the ’86 Trans Am… the ultimate chick magnet!


  • avatar

    There are some things I miss about the 70’s, and the Mercury Cougar commercials are one of them. Farrah and Cheryl and the mid sized Cougars. Yum!

    We used to laugh at the 280 ZXs back in the day. We knew they were tarted up Z’s, loaded with stuff that really didn’t make them any faster, but good for the boulevard. I wasn’t part of the disco scene back then, but you knew the guys who were driving these things.
    Tony and Andy and whomever, all these guys with the shirts open to their navel and gold chains in their chest hair. Yeesh.

    One car that is not mentioned here is Ford’s own entry into the black and gold stylistic trap: The Mercury Capri Black Magic model.

    In 1981 & 82, Ford marketed a special Mercury Capri. It was so special, it came in either black or white paint (with gold pinstriping), but was still called the “Black Magic”. Typical muddled Mercury marketing.

    Oh, how I wanted one.

  • avatar

    Holy crap. Someone give that woman in the Ford Mustang ad a ‘samwich.

  • avatar

    Wait a second, they took all the instruments, and put them in a cluster?!?! Genius!

  • avatar

    Around 1975 or so disco descended upon the USA landscape and the format change among so many FM radio stations was all-too-obvious.

    Many of the warship’s crew lamented the change and cassette tapes became increasingly popular and communal vinyl record “burns” were conducted across the USA instigated by still-rockin’ FM stations and other sundry groups.

    Not that rock-n-roll “died” but disco was rather intrusive.

    A cultural change was also occurring; from the quasi-unique late 60s and early 70s “radicalism” to a new fun-seeking climate.

    Underground newspapers disappeared.

    Some head shops closed.

    Various changes.

    Many historians believe the end of the military draft was a BIG cultural changer within the USA and I, the Disgruntled One, agrees.

    Of course, one’s geo-cultural-political location within the USA was mightily influential.

    The kin within rural Nebraska still existed at what many would consider a pert-near pre-industrial era.

    Those of us floating across the heaving seas were well-aware that the Cold War was still ongoing despite the lack of so many mostly-minor events receiving little to no media coverage in the “real world.”

    Crazy times, kids.

  • avatar

    i got a nosebleed just watching these videos.

  • avatar

    Is that an arm or a leg alongside the 280ZX passenger seat near the end?

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