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Andrew Clark bought a 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan. (Chrysler)
Andrew Clark bought a 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan. (Chrysler)

Road Sage

Auto recall means the honeymoon's over Add to ...

Tell you what, Chrysler, do me a favour, next time kiss me first.

What? You don't know what I'm talking about? I'm making a scene? Can't we be rational about all this?

No, I think not and I'll tell you why. Last fall, I bought one of your minivans - a 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan. You might have read the columns I wrote praising my new vehicle. I told all those superficial posers who drive cars with fancy names, they were blowing smoke. My Dodge was going to get me where I was going with the style and substance to which I was accustomed.

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And then, last week, I got the press release telling me that Chrysler is recalling 250,000 vehicles, among them 42,000 Canuck Grand Caravans, to fix a "potential" engine stalling problem. The Canadian Press reported that there have been 32 complaints and two rear-end crashes.

Wow. Thanks, Chrysler!

Owning a minivan is already an exercise in tantric humiliation. When you drive one, you can't be any more of a bourgeois fall-asleep-on-the-couch-watching-Grey's-Anatomy domesticated loser. Now the "Grand" Caravan is being recalled for having a "stalling engine." Nice.

Apparently, "some vehicles may experience inadvertent ignition key displacement from the run to accessory position while driving causing the engine to shut off." So, what you're saying is that you sold a minivan in which the key more or less occasionally slips out of the ignition hole causing the engine to shut off?

Well, Chrysler, you may not make great cars, but you sure weave one hell of a metaphor!

How about the next time you make a flawed minivan you have it recalled for employing a key that jams into the ignition with such macho virility that the car explodes into a flaming ball of passion?

Of course, it's not only Chrysler who's got recall fever. Toyota, as we all know, is the reigning Stanley Cup champion of recalls. Honda just recalled 2,064 Civic Hybrids because the DC-to-DC converter could fail. And Mazda went all Survivor on us and announced it was recalling 50,000 Mazda6s 2008 to 2010 models because they were vulnerable to - get this - spider attack. Arachnids, it seems, are capable of weaving a web in a vent connected to the fuel tank system mucking up the ventilation. So far, two incidents have been reported. Spiders hate Mazdas. Who knew?

Perhaps auto manufacturers should start offering "precalls." You know, rather than wait until they discover they've sold a bunch of faulty vehicles and then have to "recall" them; they could simply add a disclaiming along the lines of "may contain nuts," which would relieve them of all responsibility and embarrassment.

"Caution: This vehicle may or may not start, brake, run, have wheels, keep rain out, have a working sound system, and/or a roof. It may accelerate and never stop. It may be vulnerable to spider attack or assault by any other of our insect foes. This vehicle may not be a car at all, and may, in fact, be a cardboard box that only resembles a car. This vehicle may cease operation at any time due to bad design, manufacturing, construction or the robots/guys working that day being hungover and not really being into the car-making thing. Every car company in existence and any car company that will ever be in existence are hereby relieved of any, all, or any and all liability, responsibility or karma."

It would cut down on time between purchase and disappointment and soften the "I told you so" factor.

As for me and my Caravan, here's hoping I can keep my key in the ignition. At some point in the future, I will be receiving a notification letter. Once in possession of this epistle, I can look forward to taking time off work to take it in to get repairs.

Drive Angry 3D

A hell of a ride

The movie Drive Angry 3D combines two of my favourite things (driving and anger) and so I was in the theatre opening weekend ready to get my mind blown watching Nicholas Cage as Milton, a doomed soul who leaves Satan's gated community in order to exact revenge and save his infant granddaughter.

It's a modern spin on Jacobean revenge tragedy with all the high camp, memento mori and sick jokes the genre exudes (spoiler alert: Nic drinks a beer from the villain's skull). Cage spends almost the entire movie driving, fornicating or fighting, occasionally at the same time.

Foremost in my thoughts, however, was a matter of practicality.

Namely: What car am I going to use to bust out of hell?

It's a tough one. You can't bust out of hell in a Kia. That's like ordering a slice of hell to go. A Honda? Few know this, but one of the worst punishments in the second circle of hell is commuting to a marketing job in a Civic while listening to EZ Rock. A Miata? If you look into the mirror at midnight and say Miata seven times fast you instantly are transported to Hades.

No, if you want to successfully burst through the fiery gates and leave Lucifer eating your dust, then you need a muscle car.

Think about it. When it comes to getting out of paying for the crap you've done, no one beats America. Drive Angry 3D proves this truth.

Milton flees Beelzebub in a host of cars, among them a 1969 Dodge Charger, a 1971 Chevelle, a 1964 Buick Riviera and a 1957 Chevy. The driving is spectacular (none of that CGI crap) and the cars are awe-inspiring.

So, if you've done some stuff you're not proud of, be sure to have yourself buried in a 1969 Charger. You'll at least cop a day pass.

In other words: Leaving hell? Muscle car.

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