Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Ad Nauseam

Ad Nauseam: Auto Zone, or Twilight Zone?

2:46 PM EDT on June 20, 2008

This Auto Zone ad is one for the ages. The dark ages.

A young guy, who looks all of 17, is riding his bike down a rural dirt road when he comes upon an abandoned mid-1970s Ford Torino. A sign on the window reads, "if you can fix her you can have her." The kid smiles, the can-do soft guitar rock kicks in, and off he rides to Auto Zone. Again and again.

"It basically took me the whole summer," the voice over says, "and I don't know how many times I needed to go to Auto Zone. But, at least now when I go, it's not on my bike." 

The final scene shows the same road, but this time the clunker is barreling down it, kicking up a cloud of dust and, in all probability, smoke from the exhaust. (Since we're to assume the kid did all the repairs by the roadside, he could not have removed the engine block to replace the seals and gaskets, and there's no way that car isn't burning oil. Hence: tailpipe smoke.)

What we don't see is what happens next. The kid starts making a lot more trips to Auto Zone, because since he got a "free" car he had to take on a job just to pay for repairs and gas (the Torino, in its day, averaged about 10 miles to the gallon). And that smoke? Well, the damn thing didn't pass the state emissions test, so instead of sinking $1,500 into an engine rebuild and a new exhaust system -- thereby exceeding the car's value by approximately $1,500 -- the kid left the Torino where he found it. He still sees it every day, as he rides his bike to and from work. Every now and then he spits on it.

Video: jakeogden7/YouTube

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Legislation Introduced in Georgia to Fight Temporary License Plate Fraud

The bill is the most significant effort yet to stop the flow of fraudulent paper tags from Georgia car dealerships to New York City streets.

February 23, 2024

Community Board Backs DOT Road Diet for Brooklyn’s Deadly Third Av.

“This is just a beginning of what we could do to fix our community,” said one board member. “This is not done, this is not where we finish off.”

February 23, 2024

Friday’s Headlines: More Lunch Consumption Edition

Streetfilms goes to Paris. Plus more news.

February 23, 2024

Advocates Slam Albany Pols for Using Transit Fund to Encourage Driving

Gov. Hochul and state legislators in Albany are spending a congestion pricing-adjacent fund on toll rebates for drivers and showing zero interest in bus or rail, transit advocates charged.

February 23, 2024

Serious Crash in Greenpoint Again Reveals Flaws in City Design, Enforcement Against Reckless Drivers

A woman was seriously injured — and is clinging to life — because a driver with a long record of recklessness slammed into her on a Greenpoint Street as she came home with milk.

February 22, 2024
See all posts