The 9 Greatest Super Bowl Car Commercials, Ranked

For your pre-game viewing pleasure.

Super Bowl Car Commercials

Much the way the U.S. government has been described as an insurance company with an army, the Super Bowl has basically become an advertising showcase with a football game. Those four quarters could be exciting or humdrum (looking at you, Super Bowl XVLIII), but the ads—commissioned months in advance, with the multi-million dollar budgets you’d expect for something airing in front of more than 100 million people—are as reliably entertaining as a Nirvana reunion concert.

And for us, half the fun of Super Bowl 50 will be watching the car commercials during America’s biggest sports event. It’s tradition. Automakers have been rolling out their best here since at least Super Bowl III, when the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote took a break from their regularly scheduled Sisyphean adventures to canvas the wares of a Plymouth dealership.

In fact, no single regularly-scheduled event in the world—not the Frankfurt Auto Show, not a Formula 1 Grand Prix, not even the Fast & Furious franchise, which is somehow scheduled to continue past at least Super Bowl 55—has managed to consistently pack in as much automotive entertainment-per-second. Sure, there have been some stinkers over the years. But most of the ads have been entertaining. Some have been true works of art.

So, we’ve prepared a list of nine of the greatest Super Bowl ads released by car companies. Think of them as audiovisual canapés, to prepare your palate for the smorgasbord of ads coming this Sunday.

9. Nissan 300ZX, “Dream” (1990)