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Hooniverse Weekend Edition – A Real Hoon Challenge; Four Completely Different Rides to Choose From

Jim Brennan March 11, 2012 For Sale, Showdown 40 Comments

Here is a real challenge for the fans of the Verse that is Hoon. I decided to throw a wrench into your thinking and to challenge your Hoon mindset by making you choose between four very desirable cars and trucks. Each has the qualities that make any true enthusiast lust for; They can be rare, they can be diamonds in the rough, they can be relatively affordable, and any one of them can become the Hooniverse Staff Vahicle. So, without any further interruption, you will have to choose between the following; A 1984 Toyota FJ60 Land Cruiser with 81,000 Miles, A 1979 Maserati Merak SS with 23,000 Miles, a 1978 Mercury Zephyr Box Top with a Stick and 86,000 Miles, and a 1992 GMC Typhoon with 45,000 Miles. Get ready to have your mind blown…

Our first contestant is a legendary Toyota FJ60 Land Cruiser. This is one of the more desirable Toyotas ever, and it was just before the US Land Cruiser became a “Luxury SUV”. According to the listing:

1984 FJ60 Land cruiser. Purchased in 2007 from Colorado on eBay with 75K mileage, used for coast guard. I have driven only few miles during restoration, currently has 81 K miles. If you know your vehicles, you will know that no mechanic touched this SUV, looking under the hood all hardware and fasteners are in place. I am selling because, currently have a back issue and too tuff of a drive for me.

Condition: Extremely clean in and out. Strong engine, powerful 4 speed gear box. All working electrical, cold AC, new shocks, and suspension bushing. New windshield, good tires, new paint. All chromes door handles, emblems, removed before paint job. New CD player and speakers. Undercoated the wheel well. Chassis rust removed, and painted with PRO15 black rust proof paint. No tears on weather stripper or on window ceils, all in good condition. New brake slave cylinder. Exhaust Manifold surface has been cut and installed with a new gasket, and new spark plug. Vehicle has been an accident before. Driver side door and fender replaced with used original parts. Drive rear quarter panel was damaged, but has been repaired by Best Choice Auto Body Shop in Victorville, CA. Vehicle does have a salvage title, however has no frame damage. Knowing insurance companies on how they try to total all older vehicles, and this vehicle wasn’t because of the good mechanical and cosmetic condition. This truck can go over 200K miles with no problem.

With over 5 days left for the auction to close, the Buy-It-Now price is $9,500. So, is this a very Hoonworthy Truck that should beat all the others for your hard earned money. Take a look at the listing, and be sure to vote below if you think this is the one for you.

Our next contestant is a very desirable and rare Maserati Merak SS. I chose this car for this contest because it shares many of the features from the Citroën SM, which is a very lustworthy car within the Hoon mindset. This is an unrestored Maserati with a V-6 instead of a V-8, and according to the listing:

I AM SELLING A VERY RARE 1979 MASERATI MERAK SS – SUPER SPORT! I BELEIVE THAT THERE WERE ONLY 267 CARS PRODUCED FOR USA IN 1979!
23,001 ORIGINAL MILES – YES, TWENTY THREE THOUSAND ORIGINAL MILES!
PERFECT INTERIOR – STUNNING BORA DASH, INSTRUMENTS, GAUGES, PERFECT SEATS, CARPETS, DOOR PANELS, ETC.
THE INTERIOR IS SIMPLY STUNNING – THE SMELL OF THE VINTAGE ITALIAN LEATHER IS UNCOMPARABLE TO ANYTHING ELSE!
MECHANICALLY VERY STRONG – 3 WEBERS HAVE BEEN ADJUSTED AND SET AND OF COURSE SYNTHETIC FLUIDS – 5W50 SYNTEC WITH THE BEST RACING OIL FILTER!

3.0 V6 220 HP WITH TRIPLE WEBER CARBS
75/140 SYNTHETIC GEAR OIL!
NEW PLUGS, WIRES, ETC.
YOU CAN DRIVE CROSS THE COUNTRY WITH NO PROBLEMS!

PAINT IS THE WORST PART OF THE CAR – IT IS A “10 FOOTER” AND DESERVES TO BE COMPLETELY STRIPPED AND REPAINTED BUT NOT BAD FOR A DAILY DRIVER! I WILL ALSO INCLUDE A BRAND NEW NOS SET OF LEFT & RIGHT REAR TAIL LAMP CLUSTERS ORIGINAL CARELLO THAT COST ME $ 800 DOLLARS FOR THE PAIR! COMES WITH A CLEAN NEW JERSEY TITLE IN MY HAND!

IT COMES WITH THE FOLLOWING:
ORIGINAL TOOL ROLL AND TOOLS
ORIGINAL JACK
COMPLETE SERVICE MANUAL – HARDBOUND
COMPLETE PARTS MANUAL – HARDBOUND
ORIGINAL FACTORY BROCHURE
ORIGINAL MASERATI OWNER’S MANUAL LEATHER CASE

The listing states that this is probably the last affordable Italian exotic available. He is probably right, and with 15 days to go, the Buy-It-Now price tag is $20,900. Take a look at the listing here, and tell me if this is the car that shines above the three others in this comparison.

Contestant number three is a bit of a ringer. This is a 1978 Mercury Zephyr 2-Door Boxtop Sedan, equipped with the 3.3L inline six-cylinder engine, and a floor shifted three-speed manual transmission. According to the listing:

1978 MERCURY ZEPHYR 2 DOOR “BOX-TOP” 86,600 ORIGINAL MILES!! (SUPER RARE DRIVELINE COMBINATION)
RUNS EXCELLENT, STARTS RIGHT UP EVEN WHEN SUPER COLD OUT, CLUTCH AND TRANSMISSION WORK FINE, CRUISES DOWN THE ROAD VERY WELL.
3.3 LITER INLINE 6 CYLINDER ENGINE
3 SPEED MANUAL TRANSMISSION ON THE FLOOR
7.5″ REAR AXLE
POWER STEERING
MANUAL BRAKES
NO AIR CONDITIONING
HAS MANUAL WINDOWS AND DOOR LOCKS
HAS FACTORY REAR DEFROSTER
NEWER SHOCKS AND STRUTS
NEW PCV VALVE AND FUEL FILTER.
EXHAUST IN GOOD CONDITION

TIRES ARE IN GREAT SHAPE EXCEPT RIGHT FRONT HAS OUTER EDGE WEAR.
LIGHTS, TURN SIGNALS, HORN, HEATER, PARKING BRAKE ALL WORK WELL.
NO RUST ON BODY OR UNDERSIDE (SOME SURFACE RUST ON THE UNDERHOOD PARTS BUT NOTHING TO CAUSE ANY TROUBLES)
DRIVES GREAT, HAS GOOD INSPECTION STICKER TILL NEXT YEAR
NEEDS CARPET, DRIVER SIDE SEAT BACK HAS SOME HOLES, HEADLINER IS MISSING MATERIAL BUT THE BOARD IS PRESENT,MISSING RADIO, THE FASTEN SEAT BELT LIGHT STAYS ON ALL THE TIME, AND THE TRUNK WILL NOT STAY OPEN ON ITS OWN (THE TORSION SPRING CAME OUT AND SHOULD BE ABLE TO BE PUT BACK IN TO FIX THIS).THE EMISSION’S AIR PUMP IS NOT OPERATIONAL.
HAVE A CLEAN TITLE FOR IT.
THIS CAR CAN BE USED AS IT IS OR HOLDS A LOT OF POTENTIAL TO BE TURNED INTO A HOT ROD. THIS CAR IS A FOX BODY UNDERNEATH MEANING MOST MUSTANG PARTS WILL WORK ON IT. THE PAINT JOB IS IN FAIR/GOOD CONDITION WITH A COUPLE CHIPS AND SOME TINY DINGS. IT HAS BEEN REPAINTED RED, ORIGINALLY GREEN, THE DOOR JAMS, TRUNK AND UNDERHOOD ARE STILL GREEN.
COMES WITH OWNER’S MANUAL AND BUILD SHEET!!!!

Yes, this is a Fox Body, and can be turned into a real sleeper if you have the know how, and the energy to do so. There is five days left for the auction with a top bid of $2,425 so far, with no reserve. Take a look at the listing here, and tell me if you want to follow in the footsteps of our own LTDScott, and build a Fox Body Sleeper of your own.

Our final contestant is this 1992 GMC Typhoon, a vehicle that seems to stir a fair amount of lust deep within the hearts of our fans. According to the listing for this Typhoon:

Black on black. 45k miles. I’ve owned the truck for about a year and did some minor mods during that time. I upgraded the fuel pump and throttle body and it runs awesome. I also put a new heater core from GM in it, updated the resistor, blower motor, and switch relay. The truck is super clean. Orignal paint, cladding, wheels, exhaust, etc. Inspected in a PA until June 2012. Everything works properly from the AWD to the A/C. It’s a really nice example of a clean original Typhoon. I have all original parts for the truck and would be willing to set the truck back to 100% stock and negotiate the price if the buyer would rather have the truck in stock form. I’ve been messing with Turbo Buicks and Sy/Ty’s for a few years and really enjoy these vehicles. The time has just come for this one to go. The truck kelly blue book’s at $17,200

-Stock Exhaust
-Stock untouched bottom end
-Stock stock untouched heads
-Stock ECU/Chip tuned with datmaster
-Walbro 255 lph
-QA-1 12 way adj. rear shocks
-RPM 52mm throttle body
-RPM vacccum brake hose with AN fitting w/ boost tap
-RPM cold air intake
-RPM charge pipe
-RPM fuel pressure gauge
-halfast enginuity EGR delete
-Innovate wideband (all electrical ran, needs o2 bung welded into test pipe or aftermarket exhaust, your choice)
-VDO 30psi gauge
-Hot wired intercooler pump
-New cap and rotor
-Taylor 8MM wires new plugs
The truck should easily run a low 13, and with a chip and exhaust in the 12’s.

With only a few hours to go, the seller wants $17,000, but is open to reasonable offers. Take a look at the listing here, and tell me if this is the vehicle that tops all the others.

Which of these four vehicles is the most Hooniworthy?

View Results

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  • M44Power

    Maserati all the way… it can torture with both Italian beauty and Italian quality.

    There was a great article comparing the Citroen SM and Maserati Merak in Hemming Sports & Exotic Car a few months ago if anyone is interested in the "twins."

    • tonyola

      Actually, by the time this Merak was built (1979), most of the Citroen hardware had been purged by Maserati, not least because the SM went out of production in 1975.

      • M44Power

        Right, that one was well into the DeTomaso era of Maserati. Still, the Hemmings article is a great read on the history (even if early) of these cars.

  • mark

    I vote FJ, but I assume it is slow as molasses. Still, it's awesome and would make a great beach or mountain vehicle. The Mercury appeals to me, too, the exterior is very clean and it would be fun to drop a 302 in it and surprise some people on a Saturday night. The price is right, too. You could buy the it and swap out the engine and tranny for far less than the cost of the Maser and have a faster, more reliable car. I think you'd have to be a masochist to own the Maserati. I can still see Jeremy Clarkson and all the "fun" he had with his on the Top Gear Affordable Exotics episode. Didn't they put it on a dyno and discover it was sending all of 80HP to the rear wheels?

    • Savant_Idiot

      The FJ with a V8 transplant would probably be faster than the Maser, but it will always lack the Italian lust factor. Red, mid-engined, with a storied nameplate trumps Japanese truck any day.

      If it's speed you're looking for, the S-10 based trucklet with the big turbo will be your ride, with its auto trans, "plasticy" interior and all of it's GM "quality".

      The Merc with a V8 transplant would be a hoot. Paint that box beige, put on steelies/hubcaps and hunt fart can wearing Civics.

  • smalleyxb122

    This is really two separate comparisons for me: Two vehicles that I really want that turned me away on price, and two vehicles that I didn't want until I got to their prices.

    The FJ doesn't really thrill me, but even with a salvage title, that is a lot of cool for under $10k. But the winner of this match up is the Mercury. I know what a dog that engine/trans combo is, but there is a lot of potential there, and it seems like a better base than an $8k Buick Apollo.

    The Maserati is incredibly cool, but even as the cheapest Italian exotic, at $21k, it's not cheapest enough. $17k for a Typhoon feels awfully optimistic as well. Ignoring the prices, I'd pick the Typhoon, but with the prices factored in, there is sadly no winner in this pairing.

    I guess the Mercury would get my vote, if I hadn't already voted for "Only on Hooniverse…"

  • Kogashiwa

    I'm in the mode today (again) of sadly clicking through pages of MR2 ads on Yahoo Auto Japan, so I reflexively voted for the Maserati cos it's the correct colour and engine location.

    Looking at that engine bay though, looks more like a farm implement than an exotic.

    • What prefecture do you live in?

      • Kogashiwa

        I'm in Canada actually. I've imported a couple JDM cars before, a WRX and an MR2, both sold now, both missed. But the MR2 is the one I want back.

  • tonyola

    Merak = Pretty, slow, and money pit. Seems like a good price, but understand what you're getting yourself into here.

    Zephyr = Really dull, but it has the virtues of being cheap and simple. No A/C is a liability here in Florida.

    Typhoon = Has it been thrashed? That's the big question. A-pillar gauges are never a good sign.

    Land Cruiser = Nice, but too expensive especially with the scary salvage title. I can find clean and clean-titled late-'90s LCs in my area for similar money.

    Conclusion? None of these ring my bell.

    • OA5599

      I don't count A-pillar gauges against the Typhoon. It's not a bad thing to be able to monitor fuel pressure, and the other added one is to keep an eye on boost a lot more reliably than the stock one.

      The truck still has the metal intercooler lines running across the engine, where they tend to soak up heat and make the IC run hotter. Anybody who thrashes their SyTy tends to remove these and replace them with $25 worth of heater hose routed along the fenders and firewall to keep them away from the engine heat. I suspect this truck hasn't been beat up on enough to have serious issues yet.

  • mnm4ever

    Surprising how much the Merak looks like a badly assembled kit car under the hood and in the interior. Exterior too come to think of it…

    • HSA

      Umm, you think it's surprising that a poorly assembled kit car is somehow different from a poorly assembled kit car? Yes I know, it's not a kit car, but any 70s Italian with very small production run is more or less handicrafted. The engineering effort has been directed somewhere else than at optimizing the production line. But when it comes to Italian specialties, that doesn't matter. I want the Maserati anyway.

  • owlman

    That Merak's been messed around with something rotten – I suspect the suspect paint job hides rotton doors and sills and someones taken red paint underneth the engine cover but its late enough for even maserati to have sorted the timing chain debacle. You'd have to budget the same again to get it in order… and then some more and the a whole lot more cash than that – Tonyola ain't wrong

    So, sensible says Typhoon, but when are Hoons sensible? Maser every time!!

  • lilpoindexter

    The Fairmont…cause hey…I once owned a Maverick.
    Here's the parts car to fix that Fairmont. http://losangeles.craigslist.org/ant/cto/28883270
    Swap in the seats, entire drivetrain from the rear end forward,…the whole K member up front with all the suspension goodies, rack, etc.
    add in a little creative wiring, and BAM…smoke Ferarris all day long

    • alberto matias

      what was the goodie car i bougth the fairmont i want to swap everything but i dont know what other ford will work like now i want to converted to 5 lug wheels and dont know what year mustang rear rend would work i want a possi 8.8 email to me at hotwheels02906@aol.com thank u

  • Van_Sarockin

    The Merak, because, hey, it's an affordable Maserati that looks together and isn't a fright pig. Might be a while before you find that again. I mean, what's the worst that could happen?

  • I understand what it is, am familiar with the Italian temper and I still want it. That said, I'd rock any of these.

    • I take it back. A floor shifted three speed in 1978? Sign me up!

      • The aspect I find most jarring is not so much the presence of the floor shift as the absence of a column shift. Without it, the area around the steering wheel defies so many expectations as to be unsettling. I approve.

  • Jim-Bob

    I'll take the Zephyr please. It just oozes style in a way the Maser never could. After all, boxy cars are far better looking than wedgy sports cars. Plus, with a 302/T-5/8.8 swap it would be both faster and more reliable as well as infinitely cheaper to modify further. The chassis is a bit of a letdown in the corners but there are plenty of pieces to improve it from the Mustang.

    As for the trucks, it would be the Toyota over the GMC if for no other reason than the Syclone only came in an automatic. However, I wouldn't really want the Toyota either. It's too big and for the same money I could get an infinitely better FJ-40.

    • alberto matias

      give me the mustang swap that will work on my zephy and the years

  • skitter

    Only on Hooniverse could you compare a Land Cruiser, Zephyr, Merak, and Typhoon…
    … and the hoons looked on, and saw that it was good.

    Were this the cover story on a print magazine, I would buy it on general principle.

  • This is why I buy the premium subscription to Hooniverse.

  • $kaycog

    I would choose the Maserati, because Maserati.

  • Mr. Smee

    Jim, you mad bastard.
    Merak – for the Eurotrash in all of us.
    Toyota – Like owning a good shotgun, it will always have your back
    Ford – For those who want different but don't want to have the cliche associated with a Volvo
    Typhoon – Mullets are still cool, right?
    I was wishing the Ford was a super-rare one-off 2-door version of the LTD-LX, but since it's not, I'll go 'Yota

  • buzzboy7

    That Merc would be mine. Currently I drive a red, two door sedan, mercury with a floor shifted 3 speed. I love it. I think it would deserve a little engine overhaul or a 300 swap and make sure it has a nice high economy rear end.

    Second place goes to the FJ60. My best friend had one as his first car, and still has it. Instead of calling it a truck it was always the "fast tractor" which it lives up to. It doesn't have a good top speed, and 0-60 is over 20 seconds, but the low end torque is superb with the 2F. Also the first time I've seen a front wheel burnout from a 4×4.

  • I voted Mercury, because:

    A. It is an orphan brand
    B. It's name recalls an awesome vintage
    C. It is boxy, and a two door
    D. Two door POST!
    E. Three speed floor shifter
    F. It fits my imaginary price range
    G. Red!
    H. It holds the third position in the Showdown Challenge, which is the spot of honor Jim always reserves for his favorite!*

    *I have absolutely zero proof of this.

  • hedgedigger

    i am too scared of the salvage title on the fj, so that means i must take the agony and the ecstasy of the italian. to be honest, i'd just giggle every time i saw it sitting in my driveway…like a young girl with a crush on a boy on the playground. then we would hang out and i'd start to see how complicated relationships like this can be.

  • tonyola

    It's a little odd that Ford used a three-on-the-floor with the 1978 Fox with the 200 Six. For 1977, Ford made four-on-the-floor the base transmission with the 200 in the Granada (the 200 was dropped in favor of the 250 Six for 1978, but the four-speed remained). The four-speed was basically the old three-speed with an added overdrive top gear. Looks like Ford dropped the three-speed from the Foxes for 1979 in favor of four-on-floor. The three-speed on the featured car is something of a demerit for me, even at the cheap price.

  • I like the GMC… it has "hoon" right in the name!

  • facelvega

    I'll take the Typhoon's bonkers engine with the Cruiser's chassis and mechanicals under the Maser's alluring bodywork. Oh wait, this is hooniverse, so make it the Maser engine in the Mercury with a typhoon interior.

  • Maymar

    I do like the FJ, a lot. It's good and honest and simple. On the other hand, so's an XJ Cherokee, which costs half as much for a nice example, and seems fuel efficient by comparison. But then the Zephyr's clean and honest too, and has quite a bit of potential.

    The Typhoon's interesting, but a little pricey for my blood, and the Maser's just slightly scary on multiple levels (including the user being registered in Toronto, but the car's in NJ).

  • JayP2112

    That Mercury looks looks the part. If it were closer, I'd be making a big on it.

  • C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

    The Typhoon, just 'cause I have a weakness for them…though the A-pillar gauges, regardless of their functionality, MUST BE RELOCATED.

    The Fairmont…meh. If that's "some underhood rust", I'd hate to see a description of "light damage".

    OTOH, the Land Bruiser is quite nice.

  • For me, the Typhoon. It makes no sense whatsoever. An SUV that would smoke a Corvette, back in its day? Ridiculous. I've always wanted one. One of the most bizarre and pointless vehicles ever made by GM, and I get the joke. Very cool.

  • Rockford_Brodie

    I voted for the Merak, but I do dig the juxtaposition of stick shift and grandma fresh interior in the Fox body. As an aside, while a Windsor would be cool, why not go the other way and have yourself a Zephyr SVO?

  • Carl Bucci

    I vote for the Mercury Zephr…. it is a VINTAGE STAND OUT!

  • maineiac

    when is this contest over?