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The ten best car commercials ever

Illustration for article titled The ten best car commercials ever

Automakers spend billions of dollars on television ads every year — more than film producers and pharmaceutical companies combined. Although we've already shown you the ten worst car commercials, we figured it was time to finally ask Jalopnik readers to sort through history's greatest car ads us the ten best car commercials ever.


Welcome back to Answers of the Day — our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!

10.) Isuzu Gemini Acrobatics

Suggested By:zacarious

Why it's best: These little circa 1985 Isuzus make all the other synchronized driving ads look like a leisurely drive to the grocery store. Cars perform perfectly in these circuses because they never look nervous, they never sweat, they always look straight-faced and composed. Compared to the jumps, spins, waves, and crosshatches that these Geminis make through all kinds of land and cityscapes, nothing else comes close.

9.) Rich Corinthian Leather

Suggested By: lok502

Why it's best: Much as Ricardo Montalban and Chrysler hope that we all forget this cheesiest of cheesy ads, there is no chance that we will let this icon slip from our minds. Somehow, the combination of that accent, that script, and that B-list personal luxury car, has become unforgettable, for good or bad.

8.) "This is the man"

Suggested By: Dougith

Why it's best: There are no explosions, no incomprehensible technical specifications, no chintz. All we have in this VW Golf GTi ad is a short story, simple to follow, quick to entertain, and long to stay in our memory.

7.) "The Cog"

Suggested By: SennaMP4

Why it's best: The whole Rube Goldberg sequence that you see here was done in a single take and without any CGI. Awesome. It took maybe a hundred tries to get it all to work, but it was worth it. Watch as a British Honda Accord wagon is awakened by its disassembled zombie components.

6.) "The Impossible Dream"

Suggested By: JackTrade

Why it's best: It's got a manly man with a mustache singing! Best ad ever! Oh, and it also shows off the history of Honda in the best way possible, giving some heart to the massive corporation. Isle of Man Tourist Trophy racing bikes and a nostalgic Formula One racer don't hurt, neither.

5.) "The One"

Suggested By: $kaycog

Why it's best: Johnny Lieberman penned an ode to this gearhead wet dream a few years back, pointing to the ad's significance with these words: "I find it noteworthy because it was America's first peek at modern car porn. Sure, the Brits have had Top Gear for what? 90 seasons? But in the US of A, we had nothing of the sort, at least until Tom Brady bested Jake Delhomme. And while most of the country was in a tizzy over Janet Jackson's boob, pistonheads were worked up over a sexier exposure."

4.) Like a Rock

Suggested By: Honda_Hooning_Daily_Driver

Why it's best: There is no questioning this old Chevrolet spot as one of the most iconic car ads the world has seen. Or rather, that the world has had drilled into their minds with the dulcet tones of Bob Seger. Chevrolet had been making Amerigasm videos for some time, but only with "Like a rock" did they truly earworm their way into the collective unconscious.

3.) "Star"

Suggested By: Cyfun

Why it's best: Every automaker wants to turn their launch into a big film production. They're almost all awful. But BMW did it first and BMW did it right with "The Hire" series featuring the always disheveled Clive Owen scaring the piss (or is that coffee?) out of Madonna. That it was directed by Madonna's then-husband Guy Ritchie, pays homage to The Blues Brothers and includes Blur's riff on Pavement only makes it all the better.

2.) Shell/Ferrari

Suggested By: geistkoenig

Why it's best: Shell and Ferrari may have only been trying to make their products look good and advertise, but what they were actually doing was entertaining our every fantasy of driving down a road we've taken every day for years and dream that we were in a race car, clipping the apex of every turn and howling down makeshift straight-aways. Some of these scenes are just mind blowing.

1.) "Toys"

Suggested By: My X-type is too a real Jaguar

Why it's best: The fantasy that all we want is a flashy red sports car to tear around bends in to impress the opposite sex is sort of the basis of car culture. Nissan took the childishness of this dream and turned it into something playful and wonderful, with a micro 300ZX racing through a suburban home to pick up Barbie and leave Ken high and dry. All these fast cars may be toys, but they'll put a smile on your face, not unlike this little ad. Plus, unlike the Shell/Ferrari commercial, it totally works for the car enthusiast and Joe Public alike.

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Spikejnz - Ezekiel 25:17, trolls!

I call shens on "The Cog" being 100% real. How do you get a tire to bump into another tire, and cause that tire to ACCELERATE whilst going up a ramp and then impart that momentum to TWO MORE tires?

Physics...someone missed that lesson.

There are a handfull of events in that video that make me call BS.