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The Carchive: Audio Edition! Vauxhall Tape Madness


Before you click the jump, and I know that very few of you will have read this far, such is your eagerness for the riveting audio ecstasy that awaits you, I ask you this. Where else on the internet could you possibly imagine this kind of killer content?

There was a time before the world wide web, I’ve heard. Car manufacturers would strive to spread the word about their products in any way they could. Printed media was, of course, the most popular, but people had to take the time to sit and read it. TV advertising was good, but it’s hellishly expensive to run even a twenty second long slot, and it relied on people being sat there as a captive audience, and attention could easily drift. Radio was good, as it allowed people to go about their daily duties whilst having a promotional message subliminally drummed into their head several times a day.

In 1986, flushed with frenzied excitement following the release of the New Vauxhall Carlton, somebody in GM’s management had the fantastic idea of issuing a promotional tape about the new car, so people could brainwash themselves voluntarily while driving, because it’s safer to listen to a Vauxhall Cassette at 80 than to read the brochure behind the wheel. And now, in a Redusernab World Exclusive, you too can share the excitement of Vauxhall’s hottest release of 1986. You lucky, lucky people.

I am indebted to my mate Sam for gifting me this priceless artefact, which has lain undisturbed for decades in his Grandfathers attic before being donated to me in recognition of my notoriety for collecting bits of old crap of extremely minority interest.

Thanks to my car being equipped with that most ’90s of combinations, the Cassette ‘n Disc Changer, I am officially the first person to have listened to a copy of this tape in at least twenty years. And thanks to the stirring narrative and achingly ’80s musical backing, I’m ready to dance straight into my local Vauxhall dealership and order a new Carlton. It’s just a shame they stopped selling them in 1994.

If anybody else has anything that can top this amazing cultural relic, please upload a stupid video of it like I did so we can all stare at it in slack jawed wonderment.

(Video copyright Redusernab/Chris Haining 2014. Audio copyright General Motors 1986).

  • ChuckyShamrok

    I don't have nuthin', but I do remember my mom's 94' Astro Van having a cassette that was either a brochure or a owners manual. I can't remember which.

  • wisc47

    Hehe…lengthy load.

  • I know in the 1980s/early 1990s it wasn't uncommon for GM to include basically a "mix tape" in new cars to demo the sound system. I think I have a couple of Oldsmobile ones somewhere. It was about 15% advertising, the rest just music. I remember I had one with "Danger Zone" on it.

    • dr zero

      This is what is great about the 'Verse, you mention "Danger Zone" and 6 hours later there still aren't any stale Archer gifs.

  • TJS

    Just a guess based on the dash vent and audio equipment description, might you be behind the wheel of a 98-04 Audi?

    • Man, that's a good eye. Yep, '98. This one in fact:

      <img src="; width="400/">

      • Rover1

        I covet those wheels for my W124

  • dean bigglesworth

    My favourite tape as a kid was a promotional tape for Mitsubishi pick-ups, called "Pick-Up the Best", with only music on it. I wish i could find it somewhere, I remember it had CCR, Jim Croce and Christie on it at least.

  • Van_Sarockin

    Sure, but it's no Firestone Christmas Album. My folks used to get a new LP every fall when we had the snow tires put on. We never ran out of holiday music. We must have had 500.

    Was this tape supposed to be played during a test drive? I can imagine that GM didn't trust their salesmen to get the patter right, or sound plummy enough.

    Thanks, too, for that tour through the country lanes and byways of your green and pleasant land!

  • TurboBrick

    I saw the white Transit coming up and thought "Oh sh*t he's on the wrong… oh yeah, UK".

  • FЯeeMan

    Somewhere or other, I've got the VHS owners manual for an '01 (I think) BMW 745iL. I'd taken the car for a test drive, and the sales guy let me 'borrow' the video. I say 'borrow' because I really didn't plan on returning it – I don't think he expected it back, either, despite telling me that he'd taken it from another car.

    Within 6 month, my youngest son had watched it enough that I figured he'd be able to drive the car on his own, if he could have reached the pedals.

    • I actually paid good money to get the 1994 Corvette vhs tape, back when I bought my 1994 Vette in 1998. Still have the tape, the car was gone 6 months after I got married.

  • Rover1

    A Vauxhall Cassette? What a great model name, and why not? GM Europe made a related Opel Rekord CD. Now for the Hard Drive softroader SUV version.

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