November 15th, 2010

Pop culture example

This song by Rick Ross and Drake is all about the Aston Martin, arguably one of the nicest luxury cars on the roads in the modern world:


November 13th, 2010

Drag Racing in Tehran: All in Good Fun

Where would you expect to see a drag race between two Chevy Camaros from the early 1970s or between a ’72 Mustang Mach I and a ’71 Dodge Charger? Perhaps in the deserted streets of Detroit or on a country track in the middle of Oklahoma? Probably somewhere in the United States, right? What about on track in Iran?

That’s right, the American muscle car phenomenon of the 1970s is becoming popular once again in post-Revolution Iran. In an article for the New York Times, Jim Koscs details how this trend has come about in a country that has spent much of the past thirty years resisting American trends and adjusting to a theocratic government. The article discusses the Tehran Café Racers, a group of classic car enthusiasts that drive as a large group from the track to a restaurant—all in the name of talking about classic cars. These “road trips” receive attention from the younger generations of the Iranian population and most of the interest is aimed towards the Mercedes and American cars in the procession.

This developing classic car culture in Iran is certainly distinguishable from its American counterpart. A mullah (which is a learned, religious leader of the Islamic clergy) blesses each car at the beginning of a drag race; this is a clear example of how the traditions of Iranian culture—especially after the Iranian Revolution of 1979—have been integrated with this much more western form of entertainment. Koscs explains in the article that during the 1970s, when it was popular for students to study in the United States, an Iranian tax exemption made it possible for students to ship a car back to Iran. This tax exemption, in addition to low gasoline prices, allowed students to see this automobile consumption as a worthwhile investment.

The emphasis placed on Americanization and positive foreign relations with the United States by the Shah’s regime of the 1970s led to an overwhelming presence of American goods—specifically cars—in Iran in the years leading up to the revolution in 1979. The new revolutionary government wanted to isolate the public from all things Western and especially all things American. As a result, most American cars in Iran are the muscle cars of the 1970s. The Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s severely reduced the amount of available oil and led to fuel rationing in Iran, forcing car owners to place their muscle cars in storage or to get rid of them altogether.

As I was reading this article, I started to wonder about the possible reasons for the resurgence of popularity of muscle cars in Iran. It’s possible that a similar desire for freedom or rebellion through cars exists in modern Iran, which existed in the United States during the 1970s. I suppose it could also be as easily explained by simply saying that people like to race their cars—drag racing does not need to be a U.S. specific pastime. What I thought was most interesting was that this was the first article that I found on the New York Times Auto page. Whether it is a reflection of the government’s current political interest in Iran or the intersection between Iranian culture and the American auto-club, this story speaks more about the development of a global car culture.

-Amanda Ball

November 10th, 2010

Chevy Utilizes Cars in Pop Culture

Wen and Maggie’s recent presentation about cars in pop culture reminded me of an old Chevrolet commercial. Cleverly they incorporate many songs that reference the Chevrolet brand to reinforce how coupled cars and pop culture are.

-Ben Van Deusen

November 10th, 2010

Cars in Pop Culture

Death Race: Futuristic battle cars

Training Day: The antagonist’s Monte Carlo constantly reappears in the movie.

-Ben Van Deusen

November 10th, 2010

Cars in pop culture

Fast and the Furious: All about cars.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: The main characters continuously steal a new car to increase their status int he eyes of others.

November 10th, 2010

Cars in Pop Culture

A classic movie about cars and coming of age in the 1960s.

American Graffiti

A movie regarding the future of cars and technology

Back to the Future

Ben Rosen

November 10th, 2010

Cars in Pop Culture: Disney’s “Cars” and the Optimus Prime Truck

Here is the Disney movie simply entitled “Cars” this is the first thing that popped into my head when it comes to cars being the main subject. Also here is the truck they used in “Transformers” the movie; Optimus prime is portrayed as the truck in both the cartoon series and the movie

-Jerry Magalhaes-

November 10th, 2010

Two classic cars

Both of these cars are pop culture icons in their own right

The General Lee

Night Rider

November 10th, 2010

More from the way back machine- Drunk Driving

Withnail and I got me thinking about drunk driving in classic films. Most of the examples I could think of had a slap stick element to them.

First, Charlie Chaplin in City Lights from 1935.

And Cary Grant in North by Northwest. Although, here the character was forced to drink and then placed in the car by spies who are trying to kill him. Even though it’s a murder attempt and suspenseful there are still comical elements. I also thought it was interesting that the mercedes logo is so prominent.


November 10th, 2010

Cars and Pop Culture

In my favorite TV show Weeds the Prius is prominently featured in the first few seasons. Here are 2 clips exemplifying this, I apologize for the profanity!

– Erica

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