Even the Taliban is in the Supercar Business These Days

This story from earlier this year somehow just came to my attention, via the Twitter account of a former TTAC M.E. And it's a bit bonkers.

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Piston Slap: The Last Afghani Trail to Blaze
M.D.K. writes:

UNCLASSIFIED

I am currently at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan where I will often find myself motoring around the Forward Operating Base (FOB) in one of the last generation Chevy Trailblazers. It is the straight six variety and it has undoubtedly led a difficult life. My requirements are few however…pretty much I need something that can do 25 miles an hour or so and not strand me on the other side of the airfield. As a bonus, the Trailblazer has a working AC and radio. What it doesn’t have is the ability to do 25 or so miles an hour regularly and get me back from the other side of the airfield.

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Afghans Love 4-Speed Automatics

Car guys may mock the Toyota Corolla for its outdated powertrains and total lack of driving thrills, but no car dominates the landscape of Afghanistan in quite the same way.

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Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: Toyota Corollas Come to Afghanistan to Die

Yes I am back! And after Saudi Arabia, we are staying in the (Greater) Middle East to go to Afghanistan.

Now if you have been to Afghanistan already to fight the war or something, you would already know by now what cars are most popular there so I suggest you check out my blog where I cover 154 more countries. Enjoy!

Alright so there are no official car sales figures for Afghanistan, but the country is famous for one thing…

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Pimpin' Number 39: A Tale From Afghanistan's Nascent Car Culture

The confrontation between modern, Western societies and deeply traditional lifestyles in Afghanistan creates a healthy supply of fascinating car stories, as we’ve already heard about such uniquely Afghan manifestations of car culture as the Taliban’s Toyota Hilux-inspired maple leaf tattoos. And now here’s another one, fresh off the Reuters wire: Afghans are reportedly in a tizzy over (get this) license plates containing the number 39. Yes, really.

Afghanistan’s booming car sales industry has been thrown into chaos by a growing aversion to the number “39”, which almost overnight has become an unlikely synonym for pimp and a mark of shame in this deeply conservative country.

Drivers of cars with number plates containing 39, bought before the once-harmless double digits took on their new meaning, are mocked and taunted across Kabul.

“Now even little kids say ‘look, there goes the 39’. This car is a bad luck, I can’t take my family out in it,” said Mohammad Ashraf who works for a United Nations project.

Other “39” owners flew into a rage or refused to speak when asked whether their car was a burden.

The Guardian adds:

I did not think it would matter when I got my car,” said Zalmay Ahmadi, a 22-year-old business student. “But when I drive around all the other cars flash their lights, beep their horns and people point at me. All my classmates now call me Colonel 39.”

We’ve heard of huge demand for certain-numbered license plates before, such as the craze in Arab countries for the lowest possible license number… but we’ve never heard of a taboo number when it comes to license plates. So what gives?

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  • Jimbo1126 Can't believe I'm the first to comment that I find the 4 window sedans much more interesting than the 6 window ones.
  • ToolGuy I was making especially gentle stops on my drive home today... because my brake booster is failing.
  • Tane94 I thought Hyundai was phasing out the 1.6 turbo?
  • Wjtinfwb Jeep could build Wrangler's in Russia and they'd still be a symbol of America. Can't say I thought about it before hand but our 3 Ford's were all built in America (Kentucky & Michigan) and our Subaru was built by Hoosier's in Indiana. We do have a Canada built MDX as well, at least their on the same continent.
  • ToolGuy Modified square wave inverters are a Communist plot.