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Face Off--Car Lust Film Festival

Car Lust is devoted, above all else, to the chronicling of the "irrational emotions" we have for our automobiles. In the past, we've talked about how that emotional connection has been exploited to sell us those automobiles, and even traced the practice of what might be called "Car Lust advertising" back to its point of origin (which is somewhere west of Laramie).

It's been a while since we've done one of our "Face Off" interactive polls. For this edition, we invite you the readers to be the prize jury at the Car Lust Film Festival. Vote for which of the following five commercials best communicates the Car Lust ideal. You can view them on embedded video after the poll and the jump, along with my comments on each.

[The poll widget is no longer available because has ceased operations.]

Dodge Challenger: "Love Cars" (2010)

The Challenger is a retro musclecar, and one thing musclecars should be really good at is laying down rubber from a standing start.

The narration says it all: "That's a Dodge Challenger. It was designed by people who really, really love cars ... for people who really, really love cars ... to drive past people who really don't care about cars at all."

Chevrolet: "It's Part of the Family" (2011)

This isn't an official Chevrolet commercial; it was an entry (and the second-place winner) in the MOFILM New York Video Competition, in which contestants were challenged to make a commercial for one of the competition's corporate sponsors.

This is an "Our Cars" post in video form. While it doesn't advance much of an argument for buying a new Chevy truck, it's a very moving declaration of love for an old one.

Chevrolet: "For Sale" (2011)

This is another unofficial Chevy video, described by its creator as a "spec commercial." It's even less of an ad for new cars than the previous contestant. The "Cowboy Cadillac" is not only not a new Chevy, it's a member of a category of vehicle GM hasn't sold in North America for nearly a quarter century.

The baby's facial expression at around 0:47-0:48 is the cherry on the dessert.

Chrysler Cordoba (1975)

Chris has already given this classic commercial its full measure of analysis, so I'll just note that this is a different kind of car lust than the first three. It's lust, but not so much the car itself as what it represents in terms of style, social class, and accomplishment. It should have a label on the window sticker with a picture of Ricardo Montalban and a disclaimer in boldface type: YOU MUST BE THIS SUAVE TO DRIVE THIS CAR.

Ford Mustang: "Dreamer" (2008)

Another flavor of car lust is the lust for the car of your dreams.

It's even more fun when the dream comes true.

My opinion

All five of our entrants illustrate some facet of our emotional relationships with cars: the car as object of desire or status symbol; the distinction between those who use cars for transportation and those who really, really love them; the place a car can earn in our lives, and our family's lives. All are engaging and masterfully done--but one of them really gets to me on a level the other four don't quite reach.

My vote goes to "It's Part of the Family," and it's because of the sequence from about 0:36 to 0:47. It's a beautiful bit of filmmaking that communicates more in eleven seconds and one spoken line than some films can manage in three and a half hours.

The owner holds up the photo from his childhood, he and his father and the truck. He lowers it to see the reflection of his son in the rear view mirror, peering into the garage. It's that moment when he remembers that it's not just an old truck, it's "Dad's truck"--and when he truly realizes that it has the same significance for his own son that it once had for him.

Immediate hard cut to a pen signing a blank check. "Just fix it." An economically irrational decision, but the only one he truly could have made.

With that, it's your turn. As we used to say in my old hometown around Election Day: "Vote early and often!"

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

In Cordoba, I have what I need


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I Know My Own Needs, And What I Need From A Commercial I Know I Get From Ricardo.I Could Ask For Nothing Beyond The Quality Of Montalbon's Voice, The Tastefulness Of His Suit. I Request Nothing Beyond The Thickly Crucial Luxury Of Suits Available With Soft, Gargantuan Lapels.Yet It Is On Film Where Ricardo Best Answers My Demands.(Spanishy Music Bit) I Have Much More In This Latin Actor Than Great Admiraton With A Most Pleasant Voice. I Have Great Confidence, For Which There Can Be No Other. In Montalbon, I Have What I Need.

I Like The Chevy Commercial Alot, And I Understand That This Commercial Is Injected With Car Lust, But In Cordoba, I Have What I Need.

No offense to Chevy, but I feel this is exactly what's wrong with them today... they want to rest on their laurels rather than build something that people want NOW.

Move ahead Chevy, or move over. Quit posting billboards of what you built a generation ago. Look ahead, not back.

f. none of the above.

Try: Subaru Forester: Reunion

I SERIOUSLY agree with That Car Guy on Chevy commercials, but dammit, those 2 commercials here were damn good.

I've been looking for the Chevy pick-up commercial for awhile now, thanks for posting it!

It's the exact opposite of what went down in my life (plus it was an old Ford F150). One would think that telling 'em how much I loved that truck would make my family reconsider, yet they only saw a down-payment for a new truck (and a brat that didn't know how the world works).

The only thing wrong with the El Camino commercial was the Hot Wheels product-placement of a 2010 Camaro convertible (its a Chevy commercial, we know, we get it, jeez)... in what's supposed to be 1985. The rest was golden.

I Do Like The Challenger Commercial. Because Its Correct. But My Other 2 Write Ins Are:
"The Let Freedom Rev" Revolutionary War Dodge Challenger Commercial.
Or This
Im Almost Afraid To Post This, As I Seem To Be The Only Car Luster Who Likes The K-Car

Car Lust: when it may cost more to fix than it's worth, but it's worth more to you than that. Or, you just tell your wife it's cheaper to fix than to buy a new one. Or you just like to drive a funky old car, and it's just membership dues to be part of that club.

Although, there's a part of me that really identifies with the El Camino ad - except that in real life, the car would probably be Toyota Camry or a Volvo 240.

Corinthian leather = lust.

Plain and simple.

I can certainly identify with having the truck fixed. Truck lust, car lust, same difference. However I would have replaced the Challenger commercial with the Ford GT superbowl ad. Probably the most memorable car ad i have ever seen.

"It's Part of the Family" has my vote, for the same reasons the OP detailed. It really hit home because right now I'm in the similar, horrible position of trying to decide whether or not to fix my totalled Celica All-Trac. The cost to rebuild it far exceeds its value on paper, but damned if I'm not having a really hard time imagining life without it.

The Mustang spot reminds me of this banned Corvette superbowl ad, except in my slightly biased opinion, not as effective or well done. The 'Vette ad is one of my all-time faves.

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