The bond between car and owner can thrive in the humblest of situations

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focus and shelby waiting on green light youtube / Ford Motorcraft

In the daily flood of new product introductions, press releases, news of automotive executives getting sent to court, and other executives escaping from Japanese jail, we sometimes need a reminder of why we love cars.

A few years ago, Ford’s Motorcraft division in the Netherlands produced this charming little film titled Welcome Home. It was ostensibly about promoting a 155-Euro special offer on maintenance, but it’s really a salient message that you don’t have to own a six-figure supercar or a highly-modified custom to inspire passion for automobiles. The objects of our passion, after all, need the same rest, relaxation, and repair that we sometimes do.

The plot of the commercial has a world-weary Ford mechanic watch a used Focus hatchback roll up in front of his garage, provoking a reverie wherein his mind’s eye watches the little car getting thrashed as it creates memories for its owner. The Focus is a bit worse for the wear, wheezing and creaking to a stop, with a mismatched front bumper and fender, a rear bumper held on with duct-tape, and a number plate that’s just hanging on. Most of the action causing that wear and tear is realistic, well, at least for a first-time car owner. Losing hubcaps, banging into grocery carts, and getting pulled over by the authorities is something that just happens. 

However, as cute as the the short scene of the Focus taking on a ’68 GT350 Shelby Mustang in an impromptu stop-light drag race might be, I just don’t think there are that many vintage Shelbys tooling around Amsterdam in the 21st century. But maybe I should suspend my disbelief and just savor the daydream.

The vignettes include a short visit to a wrecking yard, where the Focus anthropomorphically watches a car getting crushed, just before showing up at the garage, an implicit message that it sometimes makes more sense to repair rather than to recycle. That message is made explicit by the advert’s Dutch tagline, “Elke Ford verdeint betaalbaar onderhoud (Every Ford deserves affordable maintenance).”

Business is business, but sometimes commercials are more than just about commerce.

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