Lamley Daily: The Enterprise Rent-A-Car Talking Promotional Pontiac Grand Prix

It’s not often I come across a diecast car that makes me do a double take, but this is definitely one of those cars. Positioned somewhere between forgotten marketing piece and those nostalgic memories of the 90’s, lies this unnamed, unbranded, talking advertisement on wheels — and it’s so oddball, it’s cool.

If you watched any TV in the mid to late 1990’s you’ll probably remember the Enterprise Rent-A-Car commercials that featured a brown-paper-wrapped sedan picking up people that were suspiciously too happy about renting a car. The commercials were a bit corny, but they worked well by physically demonstrating the over-the-top customer service that Enterprise was trying to portray. I’ve included a Youtube link below to one of the now-retro Enterprise ads in case you’ve made it through life without feasting your eyes on one of these gems.

From what I can tell the ads (and the wrapped car) made their debut around 1990-1991, which would match the model year of Pontiac Grand Prix sedan used in some of the initial commercials. In fact, Enterprise used the same shot of the original wrapped Grand Prix driving through the woods all the way into the early 2000s.

Around the year 2000*, when Enterprise was celebrating their 40th year of business, they decided to include that all-so-recognizable brown-wrapped car as one of their marketing giveaways/SWAG items — which meant recreating the car in 1/64th scale.

(*I say “around 2000” because according to Enterprise’s own website, they launched in 1957, so 40 years of business would have been 1997…but some of the dates associated with the diecast point to as late as 2002 )

Now when I say Enterprise recreated the car, they did, and they went to pretty impressive lengths to get the major details right — all the way down to the string securing the car’s “paper” wrapper. They also did a decent job at molding wavy paper-like shapes into various parts of the body, most notably the trunk area. To their credit, they did mold little notches into the bumpers to help keep the string in place too.

The car also has Enterprise’s signature green “E” boxed logo on each side of the car and includes some additional slogans and contact info on the trunk. They blacked out the window as well, partly due to the fact the car doesn’t have an interior – well, it has some interior bits, just not seats.

While they did a good job on the paper wrap design, the shape of the underlying car itself is rather glossed over. I imagine this was done for two reasons: the increased costs of a more detailed design and a nondescript car could represent whichever car brand they needed to be representing at the time. Whatever the reason, the car has a very undefined shape. As far as I know, late model Grand Prixs have only been represented in 1/64th scale in their NASCAR/stock car coupe variation, so I figured comparing one of them to the Enterprise car is as close as I could get to a proper head-to-head design competition.

Remember those interior bits I was referring to earlier? The car’s guts hold a small circuit board, speaker, and a few watch batteries to power the sound function. Yup, the car talks!

Pressing down on the front axle triggers a switch which activates the car’s sound effects – which is Enterprise’s slogan “Pick Enterprise, we’ll pick you up!”. Much to my surprise, two out of the three cars I snagged off eBay still had their original batteries and actually worked!

You can see more of the car and hear the sounds on the video I did featuring it below:

I’m not going to lie, this is one of the coolest marketing giveaways and most oddball diecast cars I’ve seen in a long time – – and who doesn’t love a good oddball casting? Have an even more obscure casting? Let me know in the comments below as I’d love to cover more cars like this.

Buy the Enterprise Talking Car on eBay and help support this writer’s diecast habit 🏁

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