Chasing Aurora with some help from the Audi S7

We may have mostly figured out space travel, chemotherapy and all sorts of other tough stuff. Underwater welding, levitating trains, lab-grown artificial meat. This is good and all, but there’s something us guys haven’t quite figured out yet: What’s the best first date plan? The right mix of accessible and …

The Cammed & Tubbed Podcast: Episode 181 – Return Of The Ds

This week on C&T, Jason is caught up at work and can’t join us, so it’s an old-school Cam and Brad episode. As such, we decided to bring back the old Three Ds segment for the heck of it. Cam and Brad plan on car projects for this year, discuss …

The Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is your adventure wagon

Dear Fellow American… buy more wagons! Yes, you think you need that crossover or sport utility vehicle. Well, the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is here to prove you wrong. This is basically the Audi Allroad Jr. It’s a near-premium longroof that looks good, drives well, and can go deeper into the …

24 Hours of LeMons: Sears Pointless 2017 Preview

Remember that part of Truth in 24 where Jason Statham growls “It always rains at Le Mans?” In the 24 Hours of LeMons, that would be “It always rains at Sonoma.” Ok, not really, but LeMons’ spring and winter races at Sonoma regularly seem plagued by rainstorms that make the …

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Last Call: Sherbet Edition

Robert Emslie March 27, 2017 Last Call

Why, oh why don’t they offer wonderful pastels on trucks any more? California license plates were also once much more pleasing to the eye.

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.

Image: ©2017 Hooniverse/Robert Emslie, All Rights Reserved

Vauxhall SRV: State of the dart in 1970

The Vauxhall XVR concept actually had its feet bound firmly to 1965, despite styling that couldn’t look any more outlandish if you ate your own body weight of LSD and looked at it after spinning around really fast.

One of the names associated with its very existence was one Wayne Cherry, who went on to style a great many General Motors products – his overseeing the Vauxhall Astra GTE being of particular note. His concept game wasn’t over after the XVR, either. Witness the Vauxhall SRV of 1970 – a car which ventured far, far beyond the relative sanity of the XVR.

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QuickVid: The Ranchero 2.0 LIVES!

…as you can see from this very quick clip posted by Murilee Martin.

There were some issues the team had to work through during the recent race. Still, it’s great to see a Hooniverse machine out there running again. Word is that new transmission is a massive upgrade and the engine makes good power, but there are some bugs that still need sorting out.

Chasing Aurora with some help from the Audi S7

Andy Didorosi March 27, 2017 Featured, Road Trip

We may have mostly figured out space travel, chemotherapy and all sorts of other tough stuff. Underwater welding, levitating trains, lab-grown artificial meat. This is good and all, but there’s something us guys haven’t quite figured out yet: What’s the best first date plan? The right mix of accessible and intriguing to both interest your potential mate but not scare them away. A fine line. I humbly submit taking a 2016 Audi S7 on a 22-hour road trip through Michigan in pursuit of seeing the Aurora Borealis.


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Because it’s Monday: Let’s Watch the Happy Wanderers Intro

When I was a kid, the non-network affiliated TV stations in the LA market were da-bomb. There was so much that was weird and wonderful on local TV back then, stuff that the networks were too busy or too focused on profits to air. I remember a cartoon show hosted by a freaky clown named Hobo Kelly. It never occurred to me that the reason she lived in a shack down by the river was probably tied to her horrifying clown makeup. We had Popeye cartoons hosted by good ol’ Tom Hatten, and on Sunday mornings Davey and Goliath, which was like Gumby for Christians.

There was one show that I didn’t watch other than the intro because I liked the theme song. That was a prime time travel show called The Happy Wanderers. By the time I was aware of its airing it was well into reruns, but when it originally aired in the mid-sixties on KTLA Channel 5, it rose to become the highest rated locally-produced television show in Los Angeles.

The Happy Wanderers was a travelog, hosted by a married couple, Slim and Henrietta Barnard with narration by Stan Bohrman. The show had the Barnards traveling around and offered tips for trips so that viewers could get the most out of their vacation time too.

One notable factor of the show was Ford’s involvement as the Southern California Dealer’s Association was its primary sponsor, hence all the cars on the show are fabulous Fords. That’s all well and good, but it’s the kitschy and catchy theme song that I remember. Here we are decades later and it’s still stuck in my head (Val-deri,Val-dera) and after watching the above video of the show’s intro, it will be stuck in yours too.

Source: YouTube

Race, Daily, Restore: I Say Aluminum, You Say Aluminium

The aluminum 215 c.i. V8 that GM developed in the late ’50’s debuted to much fanfare for the 1961 model year, but the design and tooling was solely owned by Rover in the U.K. by early 1965. Rover, which had lobbied hard to purchase the lightweight wonder, undoubtedly ended up getting the better end of that particular Tango Atlantico. It stayed in production in some form for four decades, which probably has caused some seller’s remorse and gnashing of teeth in Detroit over the years. Today, it feels like the quintessential British V8 in much the same way the iconic small block Chevy holds that title for American cars. Interestingly, we Yanks tend to subtly complement our ethnosymbolic selves by persisting in referring to it as the Buick-Rover V8, whereas it’s simply the Rover V8 to Brits and the rest of the world. But I guess the birth father does retain some bragging rights, eh?

Due to its overseas adoption and the disfunctional home it would grow up in, the lightweight alloy darling ended up in a remarkable variety of vehicles, three of which we will consider today. (Click on the name for a larger view of the images above).

  • 1961 Buick Special 4-door sedan – The Special had neither the turbocharged engine nor the rear transaxle of its more notable Y-body brethren from Olds and Pontiac. Thanks to the longevity of the Rover engine, however, it’s probably the most practical of the three “senior compacts” to own today.
  • 1968 Rover P5B 3.5-Litre – The alloy V8, now equipped with SU carbs, rejuvenated the aging Rover P5 platform with more power, better fuel economy, and better handling compared to Rover’s previous inline-6.
  • 1973 MGB GT V8 – By the early ’70s, the British government had collected most of its hemorrhaging domestic auto industry under the corporate umbrella of British Leyland, which allowed the aluminium V8 to migrate into a wider selection of cars. The fixed-head coupe version of the MGB, the GT, could be had with the V8 from ’73–’76. As with the P5, the V8 actually weighed significantly less than the older, less efficient iron-block engine it replaced. Sadly, the MGB GT V8 was never sold in North America.

These three vehicles share very little in common besides the alloy lump under the hood…er, “bonnet.” Which would you choose to:

  • RACE – build into some sort of dedicated racing machine (not street legal) for your choice of competition — any legitimate, sanctioned form of motorsport: road course, rally, drag, LSR, Baja, etc.;
  • DAILY – have as your sole street-registered car, for all your commuting and general transportation needs.
  • RESTORE – do a museum-quality, factory-correct, frame-off restoration, then add to your collection, but not register to drive on the street.

Your choices should be accompanied by your persuasive justification, or at the very least which choice you felt most strongly about. As always, more caveats (there are always caveats) appear after the jump.
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Hooniverse Asks: What’s the Most Grown Up Car There Is?

If the past few months’ political circus has proven anything it’s that age and maturity do not go hand in hand. In the automotive world there are cars that are designed to be expressions of youthful exuberance, as well as those that imply stately comportment for people who like to consider themselves “grown ups.”

Now, I may have a few years under my belt, but I’m loathe to think of myself as a grown up. I mean, I still appreciate a good fart joke, think every non-cannonball dive into the pool is a missed opportunity, and like my cars with a little noize in them. Of course, not everyone shares my immaturity nor the joy that it brings, and that’s who those grown up cars are for.

What we’d like to know today is your opinion on which are the most grown up of  cars. Not necessarily the most expensive, but those that filter the expression of decorum and distain for indecorous actions to which grown ups aspire. What car do you think is the most grown up whip there is?

Image: Odyssey

We’re Live At Lemons Sonoma “Sears Pointless” Race

Starting this morning at around 10AM, the green flag will fly on the Lemons race here in Sonoma, California. Prior to the race start, we will begin broadcasting live on Racecast.me, where you can watch a live feed from a handful of Lemons race car onboards, including the Hooniverse Huevo Ranchero 2.0 (below). Even more than that, though, we’ll have a running live commentary provided by Hooniverse motorsport mavericks (idiot savants?) Eric Rood and myself in conjunction with Julian Cordle of Racecast. 

You can tune in on Racecast by clicking this link. Watch live, ask questions, and be a part of the experience with the Hooniverse crew. 

[Photos by Bradley C. Brownell, Copyright Hooniverse.com 2017]


Last Call: Tetris Edition

Robert Emslie March 24, 2017 Last Call

This is why they keep the spray paint under lock and key at the hardware store.

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.

Image: AcidCow

Vauxhall XVR: The Little Vette that Wasn’t

This is a Vauxhall. You know, the famous French British arm of General Motors. Though it’s cars have been – badges and steering wheel side aside – virtually identical since the early ‘Eighties, there was a time when the the Griffin-badged company was fiercely independent.

Its cars may not always have been the most exciting on the road, but every now and again the Luton company would let its hair down and come up with something other than the humdrum family saloons that made  its bread and butter. And there’s no better example of this than the XVR concept of 1966. Remind you of anything?

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