Ford & Canadians Go Free Wheelin’ in 1979: Throwback Thursday

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Custom interiors, wild paint jobs, and a plethora of personalized options for 1979 Ford vans and trucks were ‘it’ in Canada.

This week’s “Throwback Thursday” video features a Canadian TV commercial for the 1979 Ford trucks and vans. In the late 1970s, the Motor Company was promoting their lineup of vehicles under the “Free Wheelin’ Ford” marketing campaign with a catchy jingle bound to get stuck in your head.


At first, the “Free Wheelin Ford” slogan might sound like some sort of off-roading ability or another performance aspect, but it isn’t. The commercial starts by showing a handful of 1979 vehicles in off-road settings, but as the commercial goes on to explain that Free Wheelin’ Ford trucks and vans are all about customization.

In this video by Pat French, we see vehicles like the Ford Econoline van, a flareside F-150, a heavy-duty F-Series pickup, a full-size Bronco and the compact Courier–all of which are bright colored and have stripes, pinstripes, and elaborate paneling systems in the big vans. These were designed to give buyers the custom look without any real custom work, leading to some of the colorful exterior designs and the living room-like interiors that make vans from the late ’70s and early ’80s so cool.

As it turns out, the campaign was for nothing else than to show how Ford listens to their customers and offers solutions for every lifestyle.

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