Rotten Rental Car Review: Dodge Journey

The small people-hauler didn’t die with the Mazda5. It got restyled into an SUV, and as a result, lost a substantial amount of its utility in the conversion. This is what’s left of the affordable minivan market, and it’s a dismal place to be.

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Gadget Review: Recon Rings Silicone Wedding Band

The welding world is full of horror stories about accidents involving wedding rings. The one I heard from the instructor in a community college welding class ended in the words, “peeled off his skin like a glove.” I’ll spare you the details; you can find as many stories as you can stomach all over the Internet. Though I don’t do much welding, the possibility of getting hurt while wrenching because of my wedding band has always been in the back of my head. Well, for as long as I’ve been married.

It turns out that my nascent fear wasn’t unfounded; losing your ring finger is a risk for any of us who work with our hands. While you’re busy not searching for welding accidents, you also shouldn’t search for images of ring avulsion either. A minor accident or slip while wearing a wedding band can have severe consequences. One doctor writes: “It is difficult for patients to understand how otherwise inconsequential stumbles or movements can result in the damage or loss of a digit when a ring is involved.”

That’s how I ended up trying a silicone wedding band in place of the tungsten carbide one I’ve been wearing for years.

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Justy Little Project Car: Firing it Up, and Justy Few Videos

Alan Cesar February 6, 2017 Featured, Project Cars

I tried so many times to get a video of the first time I started my Justy after the engine rebuild.

“Alright, here we go!”

Not quite. Turns out the wiper blades are on. Remember how you put the oil pressure gauge on the windshield?

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Gaming Autonomous Traffic: How You Can Beat Robot Rush Hour

Alan Cesar February 2, 2017 All Things Hoon, Featured

In a world of autonomous cars, the autonomous driver will be king.

We’re all familiar with the image of that one person walking steadfast against the throng of automatons. It’s a delicious visual, especially for the palate of rugged-individualist America. When autonomous cars become affordable for the average person, it’s only a matter of time before there’s enough of them that traffic becomes a smooth-flowing stream of cars free from human error.

That’s the utopian hellscape that car enthusiasts fear, and we cling tightly to our keys and steering wheels as symbols of vehicular freedom. You can have my stickshift when you pry it from my cold, dead fist.

But the daily commute is currently just a miserable chore. In the future, it’s a chance to fully explore your freedom.

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Justy Little Project Car: Approaching Completion (?)

Alan Cesar January 11, 2017 Featured, Project Cars


My wife fully gestated and expelled a baby in less time than it’s taken me to finish my engine rebuild. It was September 2015 when I removed the engine from my ’91 Subaru Justy project car. I had it apart shortly after that, pricing out exhaust valves, bearings and machine work to see if a rebuild was financially feasible (and if a motorcycle engine swap was a better idea). By the end of November 2015, the machine work was done and I had most of the parts I’d need, but it wasn’t until this month that I put the engine back in the car.

Now I’m making the final push to get this car mobile so I can let another project gestate in my garage. A Pontiac race car with a due date 10 months out. Read on.

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Justy Little Project Car: Hurricane Matthew Preparedness Edition

Alan Cesar October 17, 2016 All Things Hoon


The week before last, I was battling minor anxiety and major amounts of texts imploring me to get the hell out of Dodge Daytona Beach. Hurricane Matthew threatened to make landfall right on top of us, and, this being my first real hurricane, I was excited to ride it out like the Salt Lifers. I was also reading everything I could find on hurricane prep so I could make a smart decision on whether to leave or not. The Justy played a surprise role in getting the house ready for high-energy winds, but I thankfully didn’t have to call on the canoe.

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Gymkhana Nine Already? Gymkhana Nine Already

Alan Cesar September 13, 2016 All Things Hoon, Featured


Your favorite burnouts-and-donuts wheelman-turned-shoe-salesman-turned-energy-drink-salesman is now also selling video games. But nevermind that, there are burnouts and donuts and other stuntin-and-splodin to watch. It’s been less than a year since Gymkhana Eight, where Ken Block took a different Focus around scenes at the oil-rich city of Dubai. This series has clearly become a big moneymaker for Block since his first one almost eight years ago. He has since switched from Subaru to Ford, and the automaker has poured support behind these videos.

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What is this sorcery? Pontiac Sunbird Turbo!


When I saw a 1991 Pontiac J-Body on Craigslist with an asking price of $4500, I had to take a closer look to determine the level of crazy involved. It’s weird enough to see a Michigan-plated car listed for sale in Florida without acres and acres of rust, but what caught my eye was the bright red underhood photos and the word “turbo.” It wouldn’t have surprised me so much if the car was boxier and the model year something closer to the mid-’80s, but it’s unusual to see a mass-market car that traipsed into the ’90s before shedding forced induction.

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Jim’s Proto-SUV could be yours if you can get home from Nebraska

Alan Cesar August 11, 2016 All Things Hoon


If you ever wanted a reason to visit Lincoln, Nebraska other than the SCCA Solo Nationals and their plethora of pylon puns, a nondescript used-car lot has a Chevy-powered Willys Overland 4×4 Sport Wagon for you. One of their long-time employees, Jim, apparently has quite a collection of cars and they’re helping him sell them off one by one. This not-quite-flat-black two-door Willys wagon caught our attention. It’s got metal everywhere and is purt’near guaranteed to make the 50 mile round-trip to Greenwood, Nebraska. Any further than that and all bets are off. Especially if it rains.

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Project Car SOTU 2016: Justy Little Project Creep


Making a car look good is hard work. The details make all the difference, and with a project as huge as an engine rebuild, there are a lot of details to tidy up. Little performance improvement options also encourage project creep, especially if they’re cheap on the surface—or worse, if they’ll take Justy little extra time.

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