Advert of the week : Montego 1.6L
When the Austin Montego hit the dealers in 1984, it proved to be something of a compromise choice in the repmobile market. Not quite sporting and dynamic enough to compete with the darling Vauxhall Cavalier Mk2, and not quite fleet-friendly enough to wrestle the value for money crown from the Ford Sierra, it was stuck in a brown velour limbo-land that probably affected its ability to sell as strongly as it could.
And then in 1987, the Kevin Morley under the leadership of Graham Day decided to sex up the Montego, by dropping the ‘Austin’ off its boodlid, giving it two-tone paint (a-la Vauxhall Cavalier SRi and Ford Sierra LX), and pushing out a dynamic set of print and TV adverts. The print ones were memorable enough – pushing the 1.6L’s sub-11 second 0-60mph time (‘the Sierra will be along in a couple of seconds’), but the TV advert, starring stunt-driver extrordinaire Russ Swift was a case of sheer brilliance.
Did the advertising campaign work? Well, judging by the sales figures, probably not. But who cares. They probably couldn’t make car adverts like this anymore – so enjoy this one for the dear old Monty. And remember… driving is believing!