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HCOTY 2012: Time to vote, here are all the nominees

Jeff Glucker December 31, 2012 Featured, Hooniversal Car of the Year 110 Comments

HCOTY 2012 lead

Last year, our HCOTY winner was a car that could’ve probably won this year’s award as well. We’re talking about Pete’s ZomBee, and that car is very nearly the damn poster child for Hooniverse. Still, it already won and there are plenty of other deserving vehicles that gained our attention in 2012. In fact, we have 16 nominations for you to vote on, which is six more than last year.

This has quickly become one of our favorite times of year just because we enjoy reminiscing over everything automotive that we’ve loved in the prior year. Also, we start thinking about what might make the jump to being crowned the Hooniverse Car of the Year for the next period of calendar flipping fun. We’ve already got our eye on a few gems in the works, so be sure to stay tuned throughout 2013 – aka The Year of Hooniverse Domination, as was foretold by the Mayans. What, no one saw the other part of their calendar?  

Enough babbling… make the jump to see the nominees and cast your vote!

HCOTY TruckFirst up is the 1990 Utilimaster Aeromate, nominated by Scott Ith. He’s a … well, he’s a nut job, because he nominated a damn van. Still, this is no ordinary van, as it’s Ray Lindenburgs very own Aeromate, and it was intended to handle road trip duty.

It failed.

It failed wonderfully, and the story is equally wonderful. The original purpose of the van was to load it up with scooters and meet other folks who love scooters. Maybe someday Ray…



HCOTY Pontiac Grand Am

Next up is a car that, while not necessarily possessing anything special about it, is here because of the way in which it was being sold. This is a reader submission courtesy of Hooniverse workhorse Marcal, and it’s the 1995 Pontiac Grand Am GT that became an instant Internet legend thanks to its Craigslist ad.

We love every word used in that ad. THAT is how you sell a car…


HCOTY Spec MiataThis ole Longroofian found Hooniversal Joy by way of reader Ralstig. An accountant by day, Ralstig is a hoon by night… and day too, really. He found a Spec Miata for sale on the list of Craigs, bought it, picked it up, and immediately took it racing.

How long did it take him to go from picking up the car to racing it?

Three hours.

HCOTY nominee indeed.



lakester_hcoty_leadOur The News! Man Greg Kacha-, Kachda-, Greg Smith weighed in with a HCOTY 2012 nominee. It’s the Lockhead Lakester, and it’s filled with all sorts of Hoon-worthy excellence.

This machine is built from what used to be a fuel tank plucked from beneath the wings of a Lockhead Super Constellation. Under the hood tube sits a turbocharged four-cylinder HEMI, and it sits in the space that used to be occupied by 700 gallons of aviation grade fuel. No longer used to transport a cool-looking plane, it’s now used to transport cool people.



HCOTY wtfThis vehicle is… interesting. And by interesting, I mean so friggin’ awesome that I’d punch baby seals in their smug faces just to spend a weekend with it. It’s called the Wothahellizat (sound it out), and it’s the glorious creation of Australian Rob Gray.

Not content with the available adventure vehicles on the market, Gray took a retired Fire Tanker and built his own dream machine. The result is a monster mobile complete with a 6.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine, six-wheel-drive, a rear porch, an internal motorcycle garage, and a living space.

Oh, it also has an 1,100-mile range. It’s… scrumtrulescent.


HCOTY - TruckcarWTFYou knew this was coming.

It’s the ’62 International/TruckCar thing, which is clearly the result of a methlab explosion. The fiery inferno trashed two vehicles, but the resulting heat fused together the body panels to create a new hybrid machine.

Once the “builder” came to his senses (that never actually happened), he (you know a man made this) figured it was time to share the truckcar with the world.

Kamil fell in love with it for some reason, and it’s certainly a deserving vehicle for a HCOTY 2012 nomination. If it wins, I’ll find and kill everyone of you.



HCOTY Falcon

Oh mama… This is a true beast, and I’m wildly jealous of our man Jim Yu who got to drive it. It’s a Ford Falcon XB, and it’s not in Australia but rather right here in the United States. In fact, it’s holed up in CARB-loving California.

This is the car that dreams (well…  my dreams) are made of. I mean, MAD MAX drove one of these for chrissake. If I would punch baby seals to drive the Wothahellizat, I’d skin them alive with my teeth to drive this one.

It comes to be a nominee in a crowded year, but I predict a strong showing for the Ford Falcon XB.

(Did I mention Mad Max drove one?)


HCOTY Sleeper Nova

This nomination comes from yours truly, and it’s a car that instantly captured my attention in 2012. In fact, I kept finding myself thinking about it, and figuring out a way to emulate it.

It’s a 1972 Chevrolet Nova, that hides a super sleeper secret. Owner Dru Diesner wanted some extra forward motivation under the hood, and what he wound up with is quite intoxicating. This car is powered by a twin-supercharged LS2 V8 that produces 1,162 horspower.

This car, which comes courtesy of Big Muscle, might just be the devil inCARnate… get it? Wokka wokka!


HCOTY porsche

If there’s one thing Bradley Brownell knows, it’s Porsches. It should come as no surprise then that his HCOTY 2012 nominee hails from a Germanic origin.

It’s called the Frankfurt Flyer, and it’s one mans nod to the classic Glucker Glockler Series I racing machine from 1950. Owner and builder Chris Runge used that vehicle as inspiration, and his own car is something rather special. It’s a homebrewed street stunner that mixes classic looks with well-engineered precision.

It looks as if it belongs in a Porsche museum, but Chris drives it hard and loves owning it… and it shows.


HCOTY WagonOur weekend man, Mr. Jim Brennan, stepped to the plate with a particular delightful HCOTY 2012 nomination. It’s a 1961 Mercury Colony Park wagon, and despite the glorious patina, there’s a bit more going on underneath the sun-marked skin.

Under the hood sits a 4.6-liter V8 plucked from betwixt the fenders of a 1998 Lincoln Mark VIII. Instead of keeping it modern, the fuel injection system was ripped out and a carburetor was fashioned so that a four-barrel unit could be plunked down on top. There’s even more going on with this build, and it certainly deserves a spot here.


HCOTY Scubaru

Everything about this story is fantastic.

Antti Kautonen, our man in Finland, discovered the saga of one special Subaru. It’s a 1996 Legacy, and there shouldn’t be anything special about that.

This one, however, plunged through a lake during an ice-fishing trip. Three months passed before the lake turned back from ice to water, and the Subie was located.

It was pulled from its watery grave, given quite maintenance, and… fired to life on the first try. All hail the Scubaru!


HCOTY Midget

El Presidente himself picked this vehicle as his choice for HCOTY 2012. It’s the vehicular result of Scott Ith’s mind, and it’s oh-so terrific.

Starting with a Midget kit car and a run-down golf kart, Ith took both and created one very special little machine. The EV Midget is an electric car that runs silent, looks fantastic, and shows what can be done with some time, knowledge, and skill.

Since its creation, the EV Midget has taken a turn as a LeMons pit vehicle and it’s also made its way out onto the salt at Bonneville.

Seriously… the contest might be over before it started.


Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) Concept - 2011 Australian International Motorshow (AIMS)Hooniverse needs a man down under, and part-time newbie Joel Strickland fills that bill quite nicely. His nomination comes from his country, and it’s a modern car that certainly fits the mold of a Hooniverse hero machine.

It’s the Ford Performance Vehicles GT RSPEC.

Great name, great engine, and great power. Joel lists it as having 335kW, which translates to nearly 450 horsepower up here in right-side-Upville.

I know we’re more in love with all things old, but as a lover of shiny and new it’s nice to see some modern metal here. (It doesn’t have a chance though… sorry Joel!)


Rustoleum_Roadster_stpatsPencils almost down… reader Michael Sliczniak squeeze one in before we called time. Thankfully, his email arrived with enough time to get this one in. It’s called the Fire Engine Rustoleum Roadster, and the story behind it is an excellent one.

If you didn’t click the link above to read it, you’re clearly a very important person with not a lot of time. (jerk)

Here’s the TL;DR…

A vehicle that has been a part of a family for generations, went through a literal trial by fire, and is still rolling down the road with its happy family in tow.



HCOTY corolla and unimogThere were two more vehicles we thought of before we wanted to wrap this thing up. Two that deserve to be here just as much as the rest, if not more so.

One is the No Style Corolla, which Leo treated us to earlier in the year. It’s a very custom Toyota that houses a supercharged 4.0-liter Lexus V8 under its hood. The supercharger, by the way, comes from a 2003-2004 Mustang Cobra.

The other vehicle is the 1988 Mercedes-Benz Unimog that Deartháir reviewed in June of 2012. This is a rugged machine that belongs in the dream car garage of nearly every reader on the site… and Mitch got to drive one. Great story, great vehicle, we would be remiss to not have it here for voting.



So there you have it, 16 machines vying for the most precious, important, relevant title in all of motoring. This is your field for the 2012 Hooniverse Car of the Year, and it’s now time for you to vote. Do your thing, world! [Poland… we’re watching you]

Which vehicle is the Hooniverse Car of the Year for 2012?

  • EV Midget (35%, 259 Votes)
  • 1988 Mercedes-Benz Unimog (22%, 162 Votes)
  • 1972 Chevrolet Nova Super Sleeper (7%, 49 Votes)
  • No Style Corolla (5%, 40 Votes)
  • SCUBARU! (5%, 34 Votes)
  • Wothahellizat (5%, 34 Votes)
  • 1961 Mercury Colony Park Wagon (4%, 27 Votes)
  • The Frankfurt Flyer (4%, 27 Votes)
  • '62 International Truck/Car thing (3%, 23 Votes)
  • The Fire Engine Rustoleum Roadster (3%, 22 Votes)
  • The Lockhead Lakester (3%, 19 Votes)
  • Ford Falcon XB (2%, 13 Votes)
  • 1995 Pontiac Grand Am GT from Craigslist (2%, 12 Votes)
  • 1990 Utilimaster Aeromate (1%, 11 Votes)
  • Ford Performance Vehicles GT RSPEC (1%, 10 Votes)
  • Ralstig's Spec Miata (1%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 748

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  • Yep.

    <img src="http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt63/PARK-52/2014acuransxavengersjpg.png"&gt;

    Aside: No poll. Do we just chime in with our picks, and the one with the most +1s win?

    • No sorry, the poll is now open – refresh the page

    • pj134


  • MVEilenstein

    "This is a reader submission courtesy of Hooniverse workhorse Marcal,"

    You guys are trying to get me killed.

  • KrusH

    It’s the ’62 International/TruckCar thing. Hand down the worst and most vivid car memory I have from all year

  • MVEilenstein

    Also, isn't the InterPontmobile technically three cars? Alero front clip with the International cab and Grand Am back end. #pedantic

    • Kogashiwa

      That definitely gives it an unfair advantage.

      Which it will need.

  • Poll is now open – stupid wordpress jacked it up upon this post going live.

    • Huzzah!

      '62 International Truck/Car thing (50%, 1 Votes)

      • wunno sev

        i don't think i was trolling when i voted for that, but it's apparently not nearly as popular as the unimog…time to start a smear campaign

        the unimog does not care about the middle class and i heard it was secretly born in germany anyway

    • discontinuuity

      It's not working for me, but I'll check back later.

  • MVEilenstein

    I've only been around a few years, but this is by far the most august selection of vehicles ever assembled on the pages of Hooniverse. Simply astounding.

  • $kaycog
  • Vavon

    I want to vote for the The Frankfurt Flyer (0%, 0 Votes), but no matter what I do, the poll doesn't show up!!!

    • Vavon

      25 minutes later… YAY!!!

      • $kaycog

        Why are you talking to yourself?

        • Scandinavian Flick

          Why aren't you?

          • Scandinavian Flick

            I know, right? It's actually quite satisfying.

            • Scandinavian Flick

              And self fulfilling! Twice the conversation with half the human interaction!

              • Scandinavian Flick

                Indeed, my friend. Indeed. You know, you are quite the brilliant fellow. You should write a book. I, for one, would purchase it post haste!

                • Scandinavian Flick

                  Thank you, sir. You are a gentleman and scholar.

                  • $kaycog

                    I really do talk to myself………all the time, but I never listen.

                    • $kaycog

                      You talking to me?

                    • $kaycog

                      See what I mean?

                    • Vavon


                    • I never talk to myself.

                    • Yes, you do.

  • Scandinavian Flick

    I'm supposed to choose between these…? So many worthy candidates!
    A strange game, this… the only winning move is not to play.

    The poll doesn't seem to be working for me anyway… 🙁
    Edit: Scratch that, it is now!

    • You should go for the Australian V8.

      • Scandinavian Flick

        I'm going for irony. Awesome, but ironic.

        I'm rooting for the EV midget.

      • vwminispeedster

        Jim, is it still in California?

        • As far as I know. I just emailed the owner to tell him about the voting.

          Are you gonna be in Sausalito tomorrow?

          And to all you fellow Hoons, the Anti-Football Run is happening tomorrow. The cars will be parked downtown from 7:30 to 9 a.m.

          • Scandinavian Flick

            Oh crap, I forgot about this… *groan* So early…

            Not to mention, my car isn't in the best shape. 🙁

          • vwminispeedster

            Yes. Dad, Jack Ross and I will be in Jack's white DS (regular SS attendee).

  • Campaining for the MOG

    <img src="http://www.can-do.net/mogs/mydoka/MyDoka23_640x480.jpg&quot; width="600">

    • Deartháir

      His other 'Mog is just like that one, only with a big Canadian flag painted on the hood. So much jealousy.

  • njhoon

    This year might be the hardest to choose one winner from so many fine candidates. Some internal ringers, some really nice rides by people that are certainly in tune with my ideal image of hoonism. Tough choices all around and I feel pained to chose between them, but.."there can be only one".

    • No, you cannot vote for the Toyota Highlander

      • Devin

        Someone needs to tune a second-gen one of those.

        And call it Toyota Highlander II: The Quickening.

  • failboat

    hmm, I came here to vote, but the poll thinks I already voted. so i cant.

    it says i voted for the lakester but I was going to vote for the falcon xb.

    • Deartháir

      Try a hard refresh; mine was doing the same thing. Failing that expunge cookies, light candles in shape of pentagram around computer, pray to The Almighty Murilee, and hold your breath. Works every time.

      • Dean Bigglesworth

        You forgot perhaps the most important part, the candles need to be two-stroke smoke scented ones.

        Also, on an only slightly relevant note, as a citizen of the Hooniverse, I, sorry about he excessive use of commas btw, it's only today, I promise, it's been a really crappy day and it's already way past midnight over here and i'm still sober, but anyway, I ax you where the partay at?

      • njhoon

        Praise be to Murilliee.

  • domino_vitali

    All of the HCOTY nominees are very Hooniversal. The Unimog is nice, but my dream garage contains a Pinzgauer. I wanted to vote for the Fire Engine Rustoleum Roadster, but Ralstig's Spec Miata was my vote for HCOTY.

    The story is very similar to my frequent daydreams, including the Miata. And that's one of the reasons I love Hooniverse, other than the great content and entertaining commenters: fantasy. I may not be able to get my own Miata for the track, or find a Hoon like Ralstig to thrill/scare me in the passenger seat, but a girl can dream. 🙂

    Happy New Year!

    • I completely agree, a Pinzgauer (I just love spelling that) belongs in every Hoon's garage or driveway. The Mog is just way over the top, which we like here too, but I'd settle for a Pinzgauer, as well.

      • OA5599

        I saw a Pinz at a car show. There was a display sign that included the owner's name, which I recognized as my orthopedic surgeon. Technically, it could have been some of my money that bought the thing, but that's probably as close as I'll realistically get to owning one.

  • lilpoindexter

    That unimog is just a truck, nothing hoontastic about it…
    The No Style Corrolla just screams HOON

    • Kogashiwa

      Just like I could only vote for the Corolla once, I can only thumb this up once.

      'tis a travesty.

    • Deartháir

      Agreed, it is just a truck; but that's the reason I created HCOTY years ago. It's not about the car, it's about the story, or about the owner, or about its significance. This was a guy who reached out to me when I happened to spot his 'Mog on the street, and instantly agreed to let me take a closer look. He and his wife drove for a half-hour or so to come to my town to meet me, just to give me a tour of the beast, because he loves those things so goddamned much he wants to share them with anyone who will listen.

      If I recall the story correctly, he imported it from Switzerland himself, and it was delivered to the port in NYC. Shipping it across the continent to Alberta would have been horribly expensive, because the damn thing weighs so bloody much, so he booked a flight to pick it up himself. And his awesome wife went along. They drove that huge beast through NYC traffic, then all the way across North America to get it home. And then, once it was there, had to figure out what he wanted to do with his other two UniMogs. I believe he sold the older 'Mog, but kept the MiniMog just for fun.

      The owner's a Hoon, born, bred and certified. That's why it's on the list.

    • BlackIce_GTS

      edit: / This is why I should have read the story again before assuming I remembered all the parts. So there is a personal and unique story behind it.

      Trucks can be hoontastic, and I think that one is. My problem with it is that…
      For the most part the nominees (now and in the past) are specific individual cars, rather than the norm in this sort of contest of being general models. All the rest (almost) of these have something that is unique to them, even if its just "an _________ in California" or "a ______ in a lake" or "a ________ being sold by an advertising professional who has snapped". The Unimog is just "a Unimog". It's admirable properties (most of them?, at least) are shared with many others. What makes the others special and admirable is vision, dedication, skill, and brain chemical imbalances (possibly artificial). What makes the Unimog is Daimler-Benz AG.
      I voted for the somewhat-similar but also very different Wothahellizat. It's slightly less than two unique personal visions executed with great dedication and increasingly impressive skill very nearly twice.

    • This is why we get to vote.

  • The Professor

    Bah, nothing but little toy cars and trucks. Why isn't there an entry for a real hoon worthy vehicle, like the MAZ 7907?

    <img src="
    http://hooniverse.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/mzkt7.jpg&quot; width="500" border="2" style="border:2px solid black;" alt=" " />

    I say there should be a write in (or comment in) campaign for this truly amazing vehicle! Those of you who agree that the HCOTY should be truly heavy metal, add your comments! We'll drive roughshod over the competition!

  • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    I came here to vote for the Midget, but I see somehow it looks like my computer has voted for the Frankfurt Flyer, which I did not do, cool car that one too though, but even the Unimog was more my choice than that, oh well. So Scott you should have had another vote. Happy new year hoons, back to my family fun now! Bottoms-up!

    • Deartháir

      If it's highlit, that just means that was the last vote cast, not necessarily that it registered a vote from you. A quick glance behind-the-scenes doesn't show a vote from your account yet, so follow my advice above about the hard refresh and the pentagrams, and you should be able to cast a vote properly.

      • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

        Cool the pentagram was the trick! Happy new year Dearthair!

  • OA5599

    I voted for the car only car with an 8-part writeup, which also happens to be the only one that lived under a house for half a century.

    • JayP2112

      Ditto- I was considering the car that lived under water for 3 months because EVEN UNDERWATER FOR THREE MONTHS THAT CAR WAS MORE RELIABLE THAN MY EMMEFFING AUDI A4!!1!!11!

    • B72

      Wothahellizat has a website that will suck you in for days, and it IS a house!

      I didn't vote for it, but damn it was close.

  • I had to vote Unimog. It's the only thing on the list I have carte blanche to purchase under any and all conditions. The owner's story is great too!

  • The EV Midget story just got me right here. Man, that is so cool, and such a Hooniversal success story that it's just a shoo-in for the HCOY award this year. You've got to love the whole epic story, from the basement to the Bonneville Salt Flats. And, it's a Utah story, and I used to live there. Icing on the cake. Happy New Years to my fellow Hoons!


    No Style Corolla

  • discontinuuity

    Not sure if my vote went through, since I got this:

    You Had Already Voted For This Poll. Poll ID #148

    It should be for the Frankfurt Flyer.

    • Try a hard refresh, that seems to clear it for some folks.

  • B72

    To me, the Hooniverse car of the year is a car that is loved despite the odds, despite craptastic roots, despite logic.

    The Utilimaster was certainly craptastic, and has a great story, but in the end it did not earn its owner's love. The Grand Am was merely a brilliant marketing effort. We have no evidence that the seller actually believed his sales pitch. The rolling meth lab – we know it exists, which implies that someone thought it was a good idea at the time, but there is no evidence that it was enjoyed once the creation process was complete. The Miate, Falcon, Ford GT Rspec, and Unimog all started out as good vehicles. Some of them even started as awesome vehicles. They had far less adversity to overcome. While that is admirable, HCOTY is not an award for continual awsomeness, it's an award for awsomeness achieved against the odds. The Colony Park Wagon and the Lakester both scream show car to me. That's great, but there are other forums to recognize them.

    The Nova, Frankfurt Flyer, Scubaru, and Model A came closer, but their stories just didn't stand out when compared to he remaining two contestants, Wothahellizat and the Midget. Wothahellizat is the result of a 3 year build, with several years of enjoyment, then a 9 month rebuild. I spent hours on the web site. The owner's enthusiasm comes through loud and clear, and this is for an ancient military truck that won't clear 60 on the highway and leaks on his throttle pedal when it rains. And he lives in it. The man is a true hoon by our definition. The Midget also came with its own on-line build log and everyone loves it, and at the end of the day it's a lousy golf cart. I used to call my Subaru a golf cart as a pejorative. Who would have thought that all who gaze upon this creation would be so blown away. It was a very tough choice, but I went with the Midget. Overcoming it's golf cart roots to be loved by all who have a chance to experience it is indeed a hoontastic achievement.

    • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      Sometimes somebody comes along and saves me a ton of writing, thanks B! Basically my thinking as well, though I may have had some more weight also to story of owner and family and what car did special in their care, so in my consideration Miata and Mog were a bit higher. But maybe our thinking were not too different cause I also went with Midget too in the end.

  • MVEilenstein

    I can't believe I forgot to vote last night. I was waiting till the last minute so I could give myself time to decide. #epicfail

    EDIT: I'm confused. The vote tallies were already posted when I logged in, but refreshing the page gives me the voting buttons. Oh well – vote early and often.

  • David vs. Goliath.

  • Eggwich James Dio

    To me, it's just a matter of which vehicle is the most impressive, largely in part due to the efforts put forth by the owner.

    There are many desirable vehicles here. There are also some nice backstories. Both of these things are nice.

    The cars that get consideration for my electoral vote are those where you don't need to hear the story. Just looking at them, you know the owner put in serious work, or it wouldn't exist.

    The weird Corolla meets these criteria, but those fender flares, yeesh. Besides well executed, the work has to meet that incredibly subject definition of tasteful, as well. And yes, this is coming from a guy who likes donks. (There was a nice photo of a G-body Monte Carlo on 28s at the Detroit Inst of Arts, so HIGH CULTURE.)

    The Midget EV is crazy. Impressive in every way. Wish I manned up and bought your 510 wagon by the way, Mr. Ith.

    But it's a side project, a ship in a bottle, compared to Wothehellizat. Guy lives in this project. It's amazing. It's unlike anything. So that big chunk of WOAH received my vote pretty easily.

    Also, I clicked on an ad after I voted. I'm so giving this new year!

    • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      You clicked on the GT CL ad too, that WAS a good ad. Happy new year Eggwich!

  • citroen67

    Hmmm. I logged on to the page, and it says that I already voted for the "Whatsitz…whatsit…whatever thingy…aaaaaand, I didn't. Did you guys buy up all the 2000 Presidential election Florida voting machines that were for sale on half.com?

    Disclosure: If I had logged on and found that I mysteriously had voted for either the sleeper Nova, the "No Style" Corolla, or the 'Mog, I would have had no complaints of the suspect voting glitch. 😉

    • Try a hard refresh, it seems to clear up that issue

  • dukeisduke

    Where's the "VOTE" button? All I see are the vote totals. I've tried it in IE, Firefox, and Chrome.

  • Xedicon

    I've tried refreshes in two different browsers… no poll! UNIMOG BABY!!!

    EDIT: The hard refresh got it! 🙂

  • I love how the EV Midget and Unimog are virtually tied. That's so Hooniverse.

  • Go midget

  • TurboBrick

    Scubaru for me. It's probably the least remarkable car of the bunch but the level of absurdity in the story reminds me of everyday living in that part of the world. Dropped your car in the lake? Oh well, wait for the spring, remove all the fish from it, put some fresh gas in and away we go. The whole episode could be Kaurismäki short film.

  • HCOTY is awesome. It is awesome because of the cars, and even more awesome because of the stories. I get to go back and read through posts I'd forgotten, or just see what comments I missed and thumbs up then all. Sometimes I even get reminded of just how much I enjoy Hooniverse.

    With that, I'll get right down to it–for me my one (or so) vote takes on excessive importance as I start the new year. I spent most of the day New Year's Eve re-reading old posts, trying to decide and rank and figure out exactly how to choose just one. My take on the competition here is that personality matters, story matters. Personality and story of the car, the owner, the writer. Hooniverse is all about personal attachment to the car.  Did the vehicle in question, the story about the vehicle in question, cause me to get emotionally attached? Last year, I felt that way about a few of them, and had to whittle it down somehow. This year was no different, only you guys gave me even more choices that I had to sift through carefully. So for what it is worth, here's my take on the HCOTY entries, in no particular order ranked least Hoon to most Hoon. (Acknowledging, however, that least Hoon on this scale starts at like at 10.2 on an 11 scale. Serious closeness in the ranks, compared to normal crap.)

    16. Ford Performance Vehicles GT RSPEC–I love this car. I want to buy this car. Australia still makes cars we want, and I think that anyone who comes to a place called HOONiverse knows it, and harbors a sadness inside every time we see something like this we can't buy. But, it's a new car, without a personal story. Awesome Australian Ride of the Planet? Definitely.

    15. 1995 Pontiac Grand Am GT–I waste me some serious time on the Craugslist, and I agree this ad stands out. Humorous, well written, realistic price expectations, actual photos of the car, it had it all. Even a offended Hooniverse commenter drama, which I found surprising! Just not really much about the car itself saying much to me.

    14. Wothahellizat–Stupendous machine, impeccable build, and a throughly documented ownership journey. The story wasn't really our story, or even exactly this year (which I know, can be somewhat arbitrary and subject to interpretation, but I just have to go with my gut on the topicality of some of these machines.) and for me that sort of sunk zat.

    13. Lockheed Lakester–I love aviation, and cars, and the salt flats, and a belly tank car it and had been on my dream build lists ever since I was a kid learning about thise early glory days of hot rodding. This car never came off the trailer, metaphorically speaking. (And literally speaking, although it was a truck, not a trailer.) The personality of this story is there I feel, but we didn't get it, and was it even a story of 2012?

    12. 1990 Utilimaster–So it may be getting old, but 2012? We can has it? I am actually a little jealous of the buy, cargo vans strike me as semi-cheap sturdy transport fun (in the same vein I have considered buying a short bus and using the wheelchair lift as a parts loader). I just felt like we only got a very small part of the story, a mostly forgotten adventure from times gone by.

    11. 1972 Chevrolet Sleeper Nova–A streetable drag sleeper beast, what isn't too like?! I have admired this car since I first saw it, and wanted to co-opt some of the ideas for cars of my own. (I have this 1965 Galaxie 500 2-door hard top, and I have waffled between drag car, sleeper, gasser, restored, just making the thing go so I can drive it!) The thing is, I am kinda sure I saw this in a Hot Rod magazine, back when I had a subscription, which is at least 3 years ago. I think. How many faded greenish sleeper Novas can there be? So, 2012, and personal storyline bumped this down the list. Despite the serious wants I have for it.

    • In a very exciting turn, Intense Debate decided my comment was too long! First time that ever happened. So I have had to split into 3 parts–here are 10-6!

      10. Scubaru–It's alive! It's Alive! It's not really a Hooni-sclusive. I don't really want to share with the rest of the internets. I want personal, dag nab it! Not just a story about how well engineered a certain type of car is.

      9. No Style Corolla–We are starting to get there now. Some personal connection, yes! Not exactly my cup of tea, but well done, I do dig the Mad Max vibe, unintentional or no. The only thing is, well, while I can't really explain it, there was just some, something missing.

      8. Ralstig Spec Miata–Great story, bonus olelongrooffan points, but, this may sound harsh, it's just another Miata. An aggressively and immediately raced Miata, but I feel like similar stories to this play out semi-frequently, especially in the land of Hoons.

      7. International Alero Pontiam–This might just be the most controversial choice of the bunch. Yes, it is totally atrocious. Yes, it is basically just another Craiglist ad. Yes, it is hideous. But, somebody had a vision. They cared enough to go with the Alero front end, they cared enough to put the cladding in the doors. And it's funny, in an awful midget wrestling sort of way.

      6. 1961 Mercury Colony Park–I heart Jim Brennan weekends. This wagon is a nice find. I wish the guy built it himself, I wish the story was just a little more, I wish the line about the billet wheels was maybe not uttered. I had to leave it just outside the top 5.

    • And now for the top 5!

      5. Mad Max Falcon–This is the Australian that is a serious contender. Mad Max! The owner is a steward of Aussie iron. We had specific Hooniversal interaction! Mad Max! I love this car. I think it would probably win awesome of the year under normal circumstances. But not here. Because Hooniverse.

      4. Frankfurt Flyer–I want to take this minute to personally tell Mr. Brownell just how much I like this car, and I appreciate his nominating it. Last year, his choice scared the bejezus out of me, which I probably mentioned last year. This home built, hand built machine? I love it! I am not really a Porsche aficionado, but I have dreams of learning to hammer tin and build my own car.

      3. Fire Engine Rustoleum Roadster–Reader submission, multi-family, phoenix from the ashes? Yes please, sign me up! Maybe now is a good time to point out that even in the closeness of this top 5, even in the closeness of entire list. Fractions of a decimal we're talking here. This car looks like great fun, the people look like great people, big thank you to mr. mzs zsm msz esq for submitting this!

      2. Driving Test Unimog–I have a soft spot for giant off road beasts. The owner messaged our very own Deartháir in reply to an Instagram post, saying hey, that's mine, would you perhaps like to meet up and talk about it? Completely incredible! They drove out of their way to show someone their truck and talk about it.  Just great Hoons, says I!

      1. The Midget in the Crawlspace–I hate Scott Ith. I mean, did you see the guy's work shop? Tools, space, lush green lawn! Free NOS midget! And he put what, an electric, let me say that one more time, an electric golf cart motor in it?! Not a flathead? Is this Hooniverse? Wha? Where am I? Get off my lawn!

      Okay, all joking aside here, I am inappropriately jealous of Mr. Ith. If you haven't read the story of the Midget, all the parts, including the first that came from a contest at some other place one upon a time, the you are doing yourself a disservice! The way he describes the mystery and wonder that he held for his grandfather's house, and the automobile history there, I remember feeling like that about my grandfather's house, only instead of a midget racer it was a 40s Lincoln Continental, with a glorious V-12.

      My initial feeling was that I wasn't going to rank the Electric Midget this high, that it was going to be not quite my thing. But it is a story of more than a car, it is a family connection, not just his personal family, but the Hoon family. Count me in with a certain Irish Zombieman in saying that I am glad you didn't win that contest, that you are here instead. I hope you and your project win this prestigious award! You certainly have my vote.

      • This "comment" or three is more well thought out than most of our actual work around here. Thanks for the kind words.

      • We need to get you a key to the vault that is Hooniverse. Excellent write up.

        • Deartháir

          Stop trying to steal all my best writers!

      • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

        Hyco, THIS right here is what HCOTY is about, thanks! It also means a lot to me personally that you enjoyed the RR one so much, thanks as well. When I let Harry know that the post would run, he told me he would not champion it at forums for fear of what might happen here, and thanked me for my faith in the old RR, that my interest alone in the car and stories really made his year. That made me happy too. And now I see the RR is tied with the meth car-thing, oh man I would be SO FREAKING happy if it eeked past just that one… My wife tried to vote yesterday, but seems you can't do that, oh well.

    • GregKachadurian

      The Lockheed Lakester (and the Ford truck it rode in on) was featured here back in February.

      It was one of those things where I just happened to see it in person and briefly talked to the buyer, not the builder (which was linked back to in both posts). I would have loved to talk to the builder in person though! I also linked to their project build page that summed it all up nicely – http://eddiesrodandcustom.com/lockheed-lakester.p

  • Van_Sarockin

    EV Midget, back in the lead! This is a LeMons field I'd like to see.

  • RSDeuce

    Wothahellizat wins easy for me. Almost all of the others have great stories, are or awesome cars and they all deserved nomination (ok, maybe not the ugly Trans-AM thing. I really have no idea what happened there, but it doesn't deserve praise.)

    I read every entry in that guys blog, because he tells a hell of a story and I was transfixed by the detailed and handicraft that went into the design and build.

  • WTF I voted the Mog but when I hover my mouse over in the poll over the Midget it says I voted for it. This poll smells HCOTY-gate!!!!

    <img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-cmNGbzaRx-0/UOTeakX_UgI/AAAAAAAADFU/Ih8DgPI7Oc8/s595/WTF.png&quot; width="600">

    • BlackIce_GTS

      That's kind of disappointing, vote scandals are my second favourite part of HCOTY. This is sort of weak.
      I was hoping for a Finnish lake monster vs. Bartleh's House of Meth spamfight.

    • That is very odd… let me look into this for you.

  • mogwild

    Same thing happened to me, I voted for the Unimog (its…mine) and it registered the vote for the EV Midget!

    <img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-_wdoMw_z5Yk/UOUpvyIbtrI/AAAAAAAATGE/8lTqBj-rEoA/w655-h571-p-k/broken.jpg"&gt;

    • perhaps the surge in Unimog votes is attributed to the poll correcting itself?

  • Wow, the Unimog picked up 50 votes overnight.

  • Sorry for any poll issues, no one is messing with the back end. I think it just confuses itself, like baby AI.

    I also think it self-corrected with the mornings adjustment of Mog votes.

    • danleym

      You know, I really thought that of all places, Hooniverse would be able to run a clean, fair election. Now this, allegations of vote fixing. I don't think I even want to know what else is going on. My faith in the democratic system might never recover after this.

  • facelvega

    Hard refreshes don't seem to help me either. I guess it doesn't matter as I'm not sure what to vote for: the one I want to stare at most is the Lakester, strategically I'd vote for the midget to keep the mog from winning, but in the end I'd probably go scubaru because I drive a 96 subaru wagon with hundreds of thousands of miles myself.

  • pj134

    I vote for that awesome 300ZX parts manufacturer we learned about from you. Just fine quality automotive parts.

  • I voted for the only one I've actually driven. As much as I want a Unimog – and I do, and as cool as Dearthair's story is… Scott's Midget is just TOO @#$%& FUN!! And the fact that he let us all zip around the pits with it all weekend made it even cooler.

    (Note to future nominees, if you want to bribe my vote you gotta let me drive it!!)

    <img src="https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/47634_10151378759963855_1101639627_n.jpg&quot; width="650">

    • That's an awesome picture, Pete! I love the shadow in the foreground doing the same as the rest of us in the photo.

    • Van_Sarockin

      What do you expect? Just once crapcan looking out for another! Sweet looking RV, BTW…

      • I completely restored the door and generator compartment on Brownie, the World's Greatest Crappy Old RV ™, built entirely new doors and re-used the skins. Even the seals were perfect, and the doors shut with a satisfying "click".

        Then I backed out of the driveway for a test-drive and slammed into a ninja lightpole. Made a huge mess on the entire street.

        Lesson learned: Don't fix stuff.