The Truth About Cars » H2 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 13 Apr 2014 15:27:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » H2 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Not What Marx and Engels Had In Mind: Welcome To Hanoi! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/not-what-marx-and-engels-had-in-mind-welcome-to-hanoi/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/not-what-marx-and-engels-had-in-mind-welcome-to-hanoi/#comments Thu, 22 Mar 2012 14:30:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=435886 I just spent two weeks on vacation in Vietnam, and my pre-trip expectations of seeing fleets of left-behind-by-the-French Peugeots, left-behind-by-the-Americans Falcons, and left-behind-by-the-Soviets GAZs turned out to be ridiculously inaccurate. I saw a few old cars (more on that later), but most of the cars in Vietnam are boring late-model rides like Kia Rios and Toyota Innovas. However, I did see quite a few conspicuous-consumption statusmobiles in Saigon and Hanoi; the grumbling old-time revolutionary veterans no doubt refer to the current Hanoi leadership as CINOs. Here’s an example I spotted near St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Hanoi’s Old Quarter.
You see a lot of old-timey heroic-workers billboards celebrating stuff like the founding of the Vietnamese Communist Party and the sure-didn’t-look-like-victory-at-the-time Tet Offensive around the country, but Vietnam 2012 has— in the words of Ice-T— a capitalist migraine.
For most Vietnamese, being on wheels means rolling on two wheels; the bike-centric Top Gear Vietnam Special captured the spirit very well. Those of us in the USA have become accustomed to the idea that you need a full-sized SUV or minivan if you have even one child… but Vietnamese city dwellers know better. Motorbikes can squeeze through tiny 14th-century alleys, they get high-double-digit fuel economy, and they can negotiate your typical no-traffic-signal Saigon intersection without stopping.
The problem with bikes, though, is that they’re quite poor at flaunting your newfound wealth. Oh, sure, you can get a BMW or Hayabusa two-wheeler, but what the up-and-coming Vietnamese businessman really needs is a totally impractical, gas-sucking luxury ride. I saw plenty of Benzes and Porsches and even the occasional Bentley, but this is the king!
You want post-Cold-War irony? This H2 (which probably can’t even fit on 80% of Hanoi’s streets and is lucky to average 3 MPH while trying to force its way through a maelstrom of Super Cubs stacked with 50-kilo sacks of soybeans, pushcarts laden with a half-ton of hog innards, and bewildered cops in Toyota Crowns) was parked in front of a store selling vintage Communist propaganda posters.
I’m sure the grizzled NVA vets who see this thing shake their fists and yell “I lost all my buddies to B-52 strikes at Khe Sanh for this?”, but something like 80% of the Vietnamese population is under 30… and they probably ignore Grandpa and think “I’ll have one of those someday!”

09 - Hanoi Hummer - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Conspicuous Consumption' Greden 01 - Hanoi Hummer - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Conspicuous Consumption' Greden 02 - Hanoi Hummer - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Conspicuous Consumption' Greden 03 - Hanoi Hummer - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Conspicuous Consumption' Greden 04 - Hanoi Hummer - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Conspicuous Consumption' Greden 05 - Hanoi Hummer - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Conspicuous Consumption' Greden 06 - Hanoi Hummer - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Conspicuous Consumption' Greden 07 - Hanoi Hummer - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Conspicuous Consumption' Greden 08 - Hanoi Hummer - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Conspicuous Consumption' Greden Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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