Best Vintage Local TV Commercial (2005)

Thunderbolt Transmission

Yes, it's almost 30 years old, but you can still catch it every so often, and longtime Houston residents are sure to crack a smile when they hear the immortal line, "We put the YEEEE-HAWWW back in your motor and transmission!" It's like a mini-movie: There's romance, action, suspense and a theme song you can't get out of your head. "If yer transmission's got yew down / Or yer motor falls apart / It's the time to come to THUNDERBOLT / Yew don't need a brand-new car!" In the plot, a very, very busty urban cowgirl might not make it to (presumably) Gilley's when her 1976 Cadillac El Dorado convertible breaks down. But thanks to the grimy Thunderbolt mechanics, they've got her and her hat back on the road -- and one lucky grease monkey gets a big ol' hug and kiss (did she skip out on the bill?). Thunderbolt has a more recent version of the circa 1977 spot but, like most remakes, it doesn't hold a candle to the vintage original. And if you ever catch an El Orbits show, the local cover band does its own version of the famous song. Ironically, the author, Bonnie Miller, died with her husband in a 1996 car crash. But her work lives on.


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