McLaren 650S Spider: An open-top time machine

What happens when you have an automaker that learns about going fast by winning races on one of the world’s greatest stages? You wind up with truly superior road-going cars, and you’re obviously talking about McLaren. It’s been decades since the McLaren F1 rocked our minds, yet we still speak …

Podcast: Episode 97 – Pop pop pop…

In this episode Blake and I are initially joined by producer Chrisy Hayes before taking a brief break and returning with Friends of Hooniverse Cory Burns and Zack Klapman. We talk about Blakes Miata, my HoonTruck, and the 2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Supercharged that I’m driving this week… and then …

Hooniverse Garage: DIY Installation of a Leaf Spring Lift

This week we’re kicking off a series of DIY maintenance, fixes and upgrades to my 1969 Jeep Wagoneer with the installation of a four inch lift from Hell Creek Suspension. With leaf springs front and rear, this is about as simple as suspension modifications get: jack it up, unbolt the …

Hooniverse’s Massively Oversized Guide to Motorsports, 2015

Every week, Hooniverse gives you a simple weekly guide to the looming weekend in motorsport. Racing in those previews runs the gamut from the unobtainium-grade engineering of Formula 1 to the duct-tape-and-beer-can-aluminum garage necesseering of the 24 Hours of LeMons. However, in a quest to simplify those previews and create …

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Weekend Edition: Mystery Car Sighting: The Westland Empire Aristocrat Edition


So awhiles back in my V.I.S.I.T. post about that Deux Chevaux this olelongrooffan had spotted, I mentioned I was returning from picking up TheKenMan’s generously provided AuctionsAmerica weekend pass for their auctions over the past few days. So on this past Saturday morning after making sure the underside of the lid of my washing machine was clean, (yeah that is a joke only a few of my fellow Hoons and thejeepjunkie will get), this olelongrooffan headed across Alligator Alley for the 93 minute drive to the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center there in the Port of the Everglades for the show that is Auctions America. Now while I was there I saw a whole bunch of cool ass carp, a lot of which I had seen before but it was cool to see it all once again. There was, however, one vehicle I have only seen in a partly obstructed view and that was here in the Hooniverse. Yes, it was one of the esteemed Mr. Esmlie’s Mystery Car posts from way back in 2011 which, surprisingly, this olelongrooffan remembered. Check that post out here and the ultimate identification of that ride by none other than commenter P161911. Yeah, my fellow Hoons, this olelongrooffan was pure assed flabbergasted to have spotted it and even more so to have remembered it. I guess the blue Skyy hasn’t killed all of the brain cells in this double nickeled aged old man.

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Weekend Edition: Top Gear Botswana Special (2007)


It’s difficult to say which of the Top Gear adventure specials feels the best. After careful thinking of at least five minutes, I decided to nominate the Botswana Special – it simply works so well, and there’s genuine affection towards the Opel Kadett, nicknamed “Oliver” by Richard Hammond. The car choices of the other two guys are brilliant as well, Clarkson’s car being the ridiculously inappropriate Lancia Beta and James May going for the indestructible Mercedes-Benz W123.

If one would attempt something in this scale, a Peugeot 504/505 would absolutely be the ticket. Then again, I would feel as bad stripping one to a bare chassis, as Hammond with his Opel, so it would have to remain untouched and un-improved.

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Weekend Edition: Top Gear £100 Car Challenge (2004)


One of the cheap car challenges BBC Top Gear did best, and one that speaks to Hooniverse-esque people the most, is the original one from Series 4. Given a seriously modest £100 budget and told to perform various tasks in questionable cars never fails to entertain, and it’s something I would like to try again and again.

The cars featured in the challenge were a Volvo 760, an Audi 80 and a Rover 216 GTi, all in various states of beaterness. Ever since seeing the episode, I’ve been tickled by the idea of getting something as cheaply as possible. It’s likely the purchase of my 350 euro Peugeot 205 was influenced by this, and I would like nothing more than get three seriously cheap cars with my petrolhead friends and try to see how long they could go with only token maintenance. When a Top Gear episode is fuel for adventures, it’s doing the same thing as a rock album would for a guitar strumming hopeful. It’s why all the Facebook car advert groups even exist, for people to foist terrible vehicles on each other. “You need this in your life!”

Weekend Edition: Top Gear Polar Special (2007)


One of the greatest “extreme” challenges BBC Top Gear ever did was the Polar Special, aired in July in 2007. Has it really been that long? The idea behind it was to reach the Magnetic North Pole by car, and their vehicle of choice was a modified 2006 Toyota Hilux, specced up by the Reykjavik-based Toyota Iceland subsidiary Arctic Trucks.

There’s something about North Pole being accessible by relatively average guys in a balloon-tired Hilux that really tingles my brain, and makes the episode so well worth watching. Obviously there’s goofing around, but not to the extent that it would make one reach for the skip button.

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Weekend Edition: A Top Gear Prologue


So, after the daytime soap opera that was the so-called fracas, or #steakgate, BBC Top Gear isn’t going to be the way it was, with Jeremy Clarkson having to find fresher pastures on which to perform donuts.

Then again, it hasn’t been the way it was for a while, has it? The past few seasons, or even years, have been filled with painfully sub-par content, compared to the earlier, simpler times. As they wanted to woo people who rated slapstick japes and obviously scripted shenanigans over plain old petrolhead banter, the show became The Three Vaguely Automotive-Related Stooges. Over at FinalGear.com, every freshly aired episode is eagerly dissected and discussed and rated, and in the recent years I found it increasingly difficult to give the episodes any of the higher blobs. FinalGear itself had to face a DMCA take-down notice only recently, and ended up retiring the main site, holding on to the forums that had become a thing in their own respect. It only befits that a few months later Top Gear itself faced turmoil, and it’s not really clear if there will be anything worth torrenting anymore.

It never really pays to bite the hand of an enormous fansite, but with Clarkson gone and the two remaining chums apparently honoring the pact of camaraderie, I have sizable doubts whether I would even want to be a fan of Top Gear anymore. It’s funny, the show and the paper version were the things that drove me to FinalGear to begin with, and that was the place where I started dabbling with the early stages of automotive journalism. Fast forward a few years and I ended up at Hooniverse. These days, I write about four-to-18-wheeled things for a living. And it all began with buying the April 1998 issue of Top Gear Magazine, the one with a Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph on the cover.

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Last Call: Parking Lot in Life Edition

Robert Emslie March 27, 2015 Last Call



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

Cars You Should Know – Phoenix Hotel Parking Lot Roundup


A couple of weeks ago I was in Phoenix to drive around on BF Goodrich tires, and be driven around on BF Goodrich tires. It was a riot of a time. During some downtime after our day at the track, I checked out a few of the cars in the hotel’s parking lot. There was a surprising amount of really cool stuff in this on lot. Everything from highly modified sports cars to a weird looking vintage Travco motor home. It was a very hoony parking lot that day, so I had to walk around with my camera. Here are the results.

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McLaren 650S Spider: An open-top time machine

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What happens when you have an automaker that learns about going fast by winning races on one of the world’s greatest stages? You wind up with truly superior road-going cars, and you’re obviously talking about McLaren.

It’s been decades since the McLaren F1 rocked our minds, yet we still speak of that ultra-speed machine to this day. McLaren has been hard at work creating cars for a new generation of go-fast well-heeled enthusiasts, however, and the 650S Spider is proof positive of that.

The McLaren 650S Spider is the fastest, greatest handling vehicle we’ve tested in the Hooniverse. It’s not even the fastest, greatest handling vehicle that McLaren makes… and that thought warps our mind, yet makes us smile.

Racing knowledge and technology can certainly come together to produce tremendous sports cars, and exotic experiences. The experience of the 650S is one we won’t soon forget…

It’s an open-top time machine that warps the world around you.

The News for March 27th, 2015

Greg Kachadurian March 27, 2015 The News!


Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. I just throw in a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:

  • McLaren announces the 570S

  • Jaguar shows off the all-new XF

  • Porsche’s new 919 Hybrid is ready for Le Mans

  • Toyota’s new TS040 Hybrid is also ready for Le Mans

  • Aston Martin will bring the Vulcan to New York

  • Mazda to debut MX-5 Club Edition

  • Ford Focus RS to make US debut at NY

  • What’s your automotive news?

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Mystery Car

Robert Emslie March 27, 2015 Mystery Car


April Fools Day is just around the corner, an opportunity to prank and be pranked. There’s no fooling that today is Friday and that means it’s time for our weekly Mystery Car contest. Don’t fool around otherwise someone else might beat you to the answer. Good luck!

Image: ©2015 Hooniverse/Robert Emslie, All Rights Reserved


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