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Top 5 Banned Car Commercials (Okay, Top 6)

Advertising is powerful. Advertising is pervasive. Advertising is also frequently ignored because it’s absolutely everywhere. Except Sao Paolo, Brazil. But other than that, it’s on buses, benches, billboards, bicycles, and burritos. You’ve never seen a burrito with an ad on it? You need to get out more.

We’ve been inspired by Hyundai’s latest banned ad – seen above, developed by Amsterdam ad agency Fitzroy and only mildly creepy – to compile a list of our all-time favourite banned car commercials. Here are the top 5 (that’s not including the one above!)!

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Calgary Reduces Car Theft By Using…Cars

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Fun fact of the day: On average, 11 cars are stolen in Calgary each day. That’s bad news if you live in Stampede capital. And it’s even worse news if you own a Honda Civic, or a Ford or Dodge pick-up, because apparently, those vehicles are at the top of car thieves’ most wanted list.

But there’s good news. Police have been steadily using bait to catch the thieves. The bait? The cars themselves.

Find out how after the jump.

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Tested: Dodge Challenger SRT8

2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8

Dodge should include a warning label inside every new Challenger they sell that says, “This Car Will Get You Noticed.” Chances are anyone wanting to buy one already knows that, but it’s always nice to be reminded every once in a while. During my time with a blaze-orange SRT8 version, I couldn’t count the number of near-misses and cell-phone camera shots this big Dodge was the star of.

The thing is bloody huge too – or maybe it’s just the colour – but you start to get an idea of what A-Listers have to put up with just to go get some groceries. Give yourself triple the amount of time you think it’ll take you as inevitably you’ll get questions every time you get behind the wheel. Pumping gas. At a stoplight. On the highway. Doesn’t matter. People will hang out of their car windows and ask you the price. Drivers in clapped out Nissans will rev at you. And yes, you’ll inevitably be asked, “Does that thing have a HEMI?”

The only guys who are cool about seeing the Challenger are the ones who are driving real, original muscle cars. Three or four times I saw an old Nova or Beaumont, or a Cutlass. Those guys would just flash their lights, honk discreetly, or give a two-fingered salute. Nice, polite, “Hey, how ‘ya doin’?” There’s respect there.

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One Point For The Canadian Military (Dodge Challenger Storage)

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According to Jalopnik, one of our military bases here in Canada is hosting a Dodge Challenger “meet” of sorts. This meet isn’t for the same Challengers you see on the street though. No, those ones have owners. This is for the ones that are direct from the Brampton, Ontario plant that can’t seem to find a good home. Maybe we should see if the rest of the Top Gear staff wants one. Follow the jump to find out where exactly in the Great White North this jackpot is hiding. 

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Cuba: A Look Back At The 1950′s

 

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I’ve just returned from Cuba with the kind of tan that an Albertan farmer would be proud to own. Cuba is a fascinating country that has had many of its road-going machines frozen in time for the last 50 years. It was fifty years ago that Che Guevera, Camilo Cienfuegos, Fidel Castro, Raul Castro and their revolutionaries declared victory over Fulgencio Batista’s oppressive, corrupt, and US-backed regime. Since then, what we would consider classic cars have been kept running for lack of a better alternative. A United States embargo, a restrictive communist government, and a lack of discretionary spending have necessitated that ’58 Bel-Airs, ’59 Cadillacs, and Fiat 600′s roam the streets of Havana as we speak. 

Interestingly enough, the last few years have brought increased freedoms and foreign currency into the island nation. This has resulted in the ability of residents to buy new cars (that aren’t decrepit Russian Ladas) for the first time in their lives. For most people, this means the choice between a Peugeot 206 and a Hyundai Elantra, as these are the only two new cars the average person can buy. To get your hands on something else, you have to be either very wealthy, a foreign ambassador, or a very good smuggler. 

If you get the chance to visit Cuba, and manage to get away from your lush resort, you’ll find that there are also a fair few horse-drawn carriages. These became more popular after oil became tough to obtain subsequent to the instant collapse to the USSR, Cuba’s preferred trading partner for, well, everything. 

I’ve included a mega-gallery after the jump, to share with you what I’ve seen. 

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What are you going to drive after the apocalypse?

We won’t harp on what is already a massively over-hyped financial situation. Yes, it’s tougher to obtain credit these days, but it was far too easy a couple of years ago. Previously, the banks were a joke. I think that the conversation between bank lender and customer went something like this: “You don’t have a job right now? No worries, the payments are low enough that you can afford a 3,000 sq ft house for the first year. Then when the payments balloon when the interest rate resets, you’ll have a job and be earning enough money to pay it!”

Except the customer didn’t. But the bank took that risk because houses were appreciating at such a brisk rate that they could always be put back on the market if the customer defaulted. Except the houses didn’t keep appreciating because too many people defaulted so too many homes were for sale.

Compounding the problem were people who bet on whether or not this unemployed  customer would default on their loan. These bets are called Credit Default Swaps, or CDSs, and they are a blurry underground derivative market that no one outside of the financial industry fully understands. All we know is that CDS derivative transactions amounted to about $55 Capital T-rillion in 2007.

So when banks started miscalculating the rate of defaults thanks to a burst housing bubble, the whole financial industry that had been playing this derivative shell game was brought to its knees. The greedy bankers got burned and now we’re all paying the price (except here in Alberta and in Saskatchewan where we are as well-sheltered as can be expected). 

That’s what started this whole r-word. But I honestly believe that if people didn’t watch the news, the stock markets would be fine and this would be no more of a recession than 2001 was. Instead, thanks to fear-mongering “news” channels like CNN and Fox, we’re approaching something akin to Black Tuesday (not to be confused with the shopping holiday, which is on a Friday) and the dust-bowls of the 1930′s. But after we’re done turning towards demagogues like Barack Obama to solve all our problems and we’ve finished with protectionism of our auto manufacturers, what will we drive? 

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