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Last weekend, Mrs. Tanshanomi and I got away for an extended weekend and spent two days snowmobiling in the Arapahoe National Forest with a few friends. The Grand Lake area is a snowmobile mecca, and these three minutes of video demonstrate why. Needless to say, we came back in a very, very good mood.
Living at 1000 feet ASL and much too far south, snowmobiling is not really a practical option for us most of the time, so this sort of activity is something special for us that we only get to do every couple of years. Back in the mid ’80s, I did work in a Twin Cities Yamaha dealer for several seasons and stole demo sleds on the weekends as often as they’d let me. However, as much fun as snowmobiling is in the Midwest, it pales in comparison to the environment and vistas the Continental Divide offers.
Our Polaris 550 Trail Touring sleds were the sort of typically low-spec machine common to rental establishments: an old-style, short-tracked model powered by a fan-cooled 550cc two-stroke twin. It was pleasant enough on the trail, but had neither the lungs nor the track length to venture into anything other than hard-packed snow. Among hardcore ‘bilers, Polaris sleds — especially their two strokes — have a chorus of detractors, but the fact that all of our sleds were in fairly serviceable condition after six years and 12-15K of hard rental use is a testament to the design’s underlying robustness. The only problems we had were a couple of inop electric starters and grip heaters (the latter the victims of obvious crash damage).
The soundtrack is one I found on Newgrounds, which I’ll give a plug for here because it’s a fantastic community and a great source for Creative Commons licensed works.
Ready for something weird? Really weird? French weird?
Most all of us appreciate the utility and inherent good looks afforded by the longroof editions of our favorite sedans. Another plus for cars that extend weather and wind protection over what would normally be the trunk is the ability to put people back there instead of just cargo. Now, I know what you Mafiosos are thinking; people ride in trunks all the time, what’s the big deal? Well, some of us like to enjoy the view when we’re passengers, even when relegated to the rear-most set of perches.
It seems like almost all of today’s SUVs – and of course Minivans – position the third seat facing forward. That’s fine if you want to see where you’re going, but what if you’ve heard that maxim that hindsight is 20/20 and you want to see what that’s all about? Then you’d need to avail yourself of one of the many mid-size station wagons – especially those hailing from Europe, as many of those offered rear-facing third rows.
That of course makes it easier to get in and out of the seat – just pop the hatch and out you go. It even helps a little if mom pulls the car forward suddenly while you’re stepping out. Keeps you on your toes. On the downside, rear-facing seats can be nausea-inducing for those with weak constitutions, and nobody wants to be trapped back there with a spewin’ Stew. I guess you’ve got to take the good with the bad and today I want your take on which is the better form of third row. What’s your preference: front-facing, or back?
March 15th marks the date of the 20th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, and this year the show will be highlighting “Cars of the Cowboys.” That will include Leo Carrillo’s famous Steer Car, a 1948 Chrysler Town and Country convertible with a longhorn head mounted between the headlights. I find it both amazing and more than a little disturbing.
Last Call indicates the end of Hooniverse’s broadcast day. It’s meant to be an open forum for anyone and anything. Thread jacking is not only accepted, it’s encouraged.
Thanks to BF Goodrich, I am in Phoenix, AZ to test out the new Comp 2 All Season tire (don’t worry, a full review will be coming shortly). Last night, however, there was no driving being done, just an orientation on the tire, a history of the company’s revolutionary and perhaps radical application of technology in racing, some dinner, and a few drinks. As part of that orientation, BF Goodrich trotted out a few of their more important “Rolling Historic” touchstones. I certainly enjoyed being in the same room as a Le Mans winner, a Pikes Peak winner, and a tire innovation watershed car all in the same evening. I only have these questionable phone camera snaps of the cars, but hey, better than nothing, right? Click through the jump to see what else they brought (Don’t worry, it’s well worth your time!)
I’m as guilty as everybody else. We all coo and wow over every new shiny projectile that shows up in Hooniverse News. We also all salivate over whatever extraordinary artefact Hooniverse dredges up from Craiglist, whether it be an unseen-by-human-eyes-for-decades barnfind or some insane combination of chassis, engine and build-sheet that defies any possible explanation and is all the more awesome because of it.
We love this shit. But I can’t help but feel that we all look a little too far from home to find something to celebrate.
So, I’m laying down a challenge to
everbody anybody willing to accept. Your challenge is to go outside, right now, to your daily driver and photograph just one thing that you really, really like about it. If you can’t think of anything right now, the chances are you’re driving the wrong car. But go and take another look and find something. Then come back and show us.
Meanwhile, to provide inspiration and to show that beauty can be found anywhere, take the jump to see two features I like on a 1997 Rover.
This is the 1997-2003 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP. It features a supercharged V6, a heads-up display, a gimmicky car information center, a CD player with seven-band equalizer, five-spoke alloy wheels, a trunklid spoiler, so much body cladding, weird lines, acceptable crash test ratings (Take that, Grand Am!), and probably water in the taillights. This is an attainable aspirational vehicle in the downtrodden and depressed parts of the Rust Belt. This is the JuggaLambo.
What then, dear readers, is the JuggaLexus?
Front wheel drive is boring… it is, right? The actual answer depends on the car you’re driving. My Honda Civic Si was a blast to drive, and our own Kamil Kaluski is pumped to get his Integra on the road. Ask anyone who’s attended the Team O’Neil Rally School in New Hampshire about front-wheel-drive fun, and watch a wide smile spread across their face.
Fun in a front-wheel-drive car is possible, it just depend on the car. Honda has just gone and dropped the mic when it comes to what’s possible in a FWD machine. The automaker has posted a video to YouTube that shows a 2016 Civic Type R development car being driven by around the Nürburgring by a professional shoe.
The time? 7:50.63! According to the running lap times posted on Wikipedia, the Civic lapped the Green Hell faster than a number of cars that would make your head spin. Hop past the jump to watch the lap, and also to read about two little problems we have with the lap and the car as well.
Welcome to Track Tuesday where you are asked to identify a (maybe) famous race course from just one closely-cropped aerial image. This week, it’s sweepers. Good luck!
Image: ©2015 Hooniverse/Robert Emslie, All Rights Reserved
Welcome to another edition of some-weird-cars-that-are-living-and-dying-in-Poland. As always big thanks go out to zlomnik.pl and all the readers of that very
weird interesting website. Today we look at cars that we have have not covered before, such as Romanian cars, cars of what was once Yugoslavia, and some random ones that we have covered before but which, for one reason or another, did not fit the mold of the other posts.
In lieu of the typical World War II reference I would make at this point, I would like to begin with some disturbing news. There are discussions about banning old junky cars from Warsaw. Berlin and Paris have already imposed such ridiculous rules and now Poland’s capital city wants to follow. All of this is in the name of smog and environment, of course. Many Polish people are in support of this, mostly because they want to see their city clean and opulent, but to me, a person who purposely went on many walks just to look at weird decrepit vehicles, this is depressing. I guess you can take communism away from the communists, but you can’t take the communists away from communism.
For now crappy cars are still all over Warsaw, so let’s enjoy them while we can. After the jump are over fifty of Eastern Bloc-made cars that are still living and/or dying in Poland. Enjoy.