Project Car SOTU: Justy Little Project Car


As I focused on the RX-8 race car and a fix-and-flip MR2 project, the Justy didn’t get much attention. Not that it needs a whole lot to keep going—it’s been problem-free since the engine rebuild—but it does have many smaller needs to just make it a better car. I’ve been slowly trying to address these, and I hope 2019 will be The Year of the Justy.

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Project Car SOTU: Dr. Wankel’s Legitimate Pharmacy Mazda RX-8


After Dr. Wankel’s first Lemons race, at Barber Motorsports Park this past winter, most of our team convoyed through sub-zero temperatures up to Illinois—the race car’s new home.

And there it sat, largely untouched in one teammate’s garage, for about 4 or 5 months. Meanwhile, our group of friends mostly spent our free time making dick jokes in a Slack channel we made for ourselves. … Continue Reading

Project Haterade RX-8: Dr. Wankel’s Legitimate Pharmacy DOMINATES Lemons at Barber

Was there ever any doubt? Mazda’s Renesis rotary engine is the best of the breed, a flawless engine design that’s proved perfect both on the street and track. Naturally, then, it was a sure thing that we’d obliterate the Lemons field with our cheaty race car. Or we would step on our own anti-submarine straps and fail horribly. One of the two, for sure.

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Hooniverse Asks: How often do you wax your car?

Alan Cesar October 2, 2017 Hooniverse Asks

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The #Benz under the sun

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The market is littered with products that promise to bring out the best in your car’s paint. When I used to work in the automotive department at a Farm and Fleet, we had no less than 16 feet of waxes, washes, bug removers and cleaning implements. The tubs and bottles contained cleaner waxes, once-a-year polishes, three-step processes, spray-and-wipes, clay bar kits, and Brazilian waxes so exotic you can’t get them in a day spa. I never fully understood the whole spread, but I dabbled enough to keep a reasonably clean look—even if my ride at the time was a basic Escort.

These days, with two kids and too many car projects, I’m satisfied if I get to do it once a year. I use the same tub of whatever-it-is that I’ve had in my garage for probably 4 years. Jeff, on the other hand, is practicing a rub job with his stately Mercedes sedan using high-quality stuff. He likes it when he can see his reflection.

What about you? Do you make a day of it as often as possible, or only when you feel a rubdown is really necessary? Do you work it by hand, or with electric assist? Expensive liquids, or whatever’s close at hand? Maybe you just rub peanut butter all over and let the dog lick it off.

Whatever it is, tell us your… uh… polishing regimen.

Hooniverse Asks: Trailer hitch or roof rack?

Alan Cesar September 26, 2017 Hooniverse Asks


Roof racks and trailer hitches often perform the same tasks, but each have their own benefits and drawbacks.

A roof rack makes a hit on the car’s aerodynamics and can make wind noise even when it’s not in use, but it’s always there if you need to unexpectedly haul big items. When I still lived at home, I picked up a new screen door from the local hardware store with my Escort wagon because my parents’ much-bigger sedans couldn’t accommodate it.

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Hooniverse Asks: Has a car alarm ever stopped a robbery?

Alan Cesar September 22, 2017 Hooniverse Asks

You’ve heard a car alarm before. It was probably going off at the other end of the parking lot while you were trying hopelessly to slip an Ektorp into your five-door and tying the hatch down with that pathetic plastic twine because you didn’t come prepared for your spouse’s need for lots of practical Swedish furniture that you’ll later struggle to assemble.

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Project Haterade RX-8: Five Hundred Dollars My Ass!

Alan Cesar September 5, 2017 All Things Hoon, Featured

I found a Mazda RX-8 for $800. It ran when, about two years ago, it was parked under a tree after the owner diagnosed a misfire from a bad ignition coil. It collected mold inside, leaves outside, and vegetation underneath.

With a little luck, it’ll be racing this December in the 24 Hours of LeMons’ Kim Harmon Scrotium 500 at Road Atlanta.  The fires on the Internet will burn brighter that day with the opinions of keyboard experts.

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Shiny and Chrome Wilton Silver Color Mist Review: Don’t Get it in Your Eyes

About two years ago, The Internet found Wilton Silver Color Mist. It’s a cake decorating spray that looks like a suitable way to replicate the “Shiny and Chrome” spray that the War Boys in Mad Max: Fury Road liked to use right before their (often explosive and fiery) death. The A.V. Club reported that people were leaving troll questions and reviews on the product’s Amazon listing, posing as War Boys. We laughed. We moved on.

Well, most people did. I ordered a can of the stuff from Wal-Mart so I could try it. Halloween is coming up, and if you’re two years behind the times and have a War Boy costume in mind, Hooniverse has the crucial need-to-know information to get the most out of your trip to Valhalla.

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Hooniverse Asks: Would selling Jeep to a Chinese company be all that bad?

Alan Cesar August 29, 2017 Hooniverse Asks

The word “iconic” gets thrown around a lot, but it’s hard to come up with a brand more suited to that title than Jeep. Born out of our military and proved out in World War II, that seven-slot grille is an American symbol known around the world. It would be a shame for that steadfast image of American might to be owned by the Chinese. Or would it?

Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat-Chrysler, has been kicking around the idea of selling off the Jeep brand. It has enormous brand cachet and is capable of pulling in big profits: Combined with Ram trucks, it’s responsible for a mind-boggling 95 percent of Fiat-Chrysler’s profits. Selling such a valuable asset would mean a cash influx of roughly $19 billion for Fiat-Chrysler. Now there’s news that Great Wall, a Chinese automaker, might be nibbling on Marchionne’s offer to sell.

It’s not like this is the first time other countries have had their fingers inside those seven slots. American Motors sourced some parts from Renault when they were making Jeeps. Chrysler itself has been at times owned by a German company and a private investment fund before the Italians. The Jeep Renegade at its core is a rebodied Fiat 500X.

There are other examples outside of that, too: Quintessentially Swedish automaker Volvo, previously owned by Ford, was bought by Geely in 2010. Since then it’s made a valiant return to station wagons and has built some of the most attractive cars in its history.

Jaguar and Land Rover (also previously Ford properties, which they had bought from BWM), now belong to Tata Motors, an Indian company, and is in a 50:50 joint venture with Chinese automaker Chery. Is it more a dilution of the British national pride to for those brands to be owned by Indians or Chinese than Germans or Americans?

Perhaps Jeep is more special than Saab, Lamborghini, or Bentley. Maybe it means more to us and to the world to keep Jeep American. To let it fall into foreign hands is to admit that nothing is sacred; maybe it’s akin to ordering apple pie at a churrascaria—it might be good, but it’s not the same.

So. It’s your turn to hem and haw. Is it heresy to sell Jeep to a Chinese company? Would you still buy one?

Hooniverse Asks: Has brand loyalty come back to bite you?

Alan Cesar August 22, 2017 Hooniverse Asks

Few people have enough first-hand experience with every car brand to be a real expert on what’s really good. We all have our preferences that we’ve built through our limited experiences, so we all suffer from some degree of bias. Your family’s a Honda family. Or your first car was a Saturn, and it took every inch of your teenage beatings.

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