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Big in Berlin – Lucille is a 1972 Ford Country Sedan turned German

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For every thought you entertain about importing a small European city car to the United States and let it loose on the endless prairie roads that will shrink it even further, there’s a counterpart trying to happen. Take an enormous American car, a station wagon as long and wide as you get, and bring it over to Central Europe where the streets are narrow and crowded, “Fun-Sized!”. On Berlin streets where a Volkswagen up! is king, you would be hard pressed to find a car less at odds with its surroundings than a 1972 Ford Galaxie Country Sedan, in wagon form.

A friend of mine, Philipp, did exactly that. A long-time fan of classic Americana, he wanted something quintessentially large and in charge, so he could ship it to his neighbourhood of Kreuzberg, Berlin. Luckily, since a fellow petrolhead will happily try to make dreams come true for another from the other side of the planet, a friend of his sourced him exactly what he wanted, gave it a once-over to see everything was in correct order, and sent it on its way across the Atlantic.

Fast forward to a couple months later, and I was in Berlin. After seeing the sights you have to, I happily took the chance to check out Lucille. Yes, that’s her name. Suits her, doesn’t it?

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Pest Shots – The Greenest, Flashiest Trabant in Hungary

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A friend of Hooniverse, the guy known as Frankiess, packed his bags as lightly as he could and took the next flight to Hungary. He’s wandering around both Buda and Pest, camera phone ready to be drawn, and amongst the numerous Trabants that putter around the Hungarian capital, he found this green gem.

Modified with only the best taste, the Trabant really stands out. I asked for a few more detail shots, all reproduced here for your enjoyment.

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Checking out Dutch classic cars: Volvo 480ES, Citroën CX and more

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As we were driving along towards Maastricht from the point where the three countries, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany meet, I did a double take from the back seat of the black turbodiesel Audi A4 in which we were riding. “Hey, a CX! And an old Skoda! Should we turn around and check them out?”

After finding a semi-suitable parking spot, we could ogle at the weirdness. Just how good could a roadside Citroën CX be?

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Hooniverse Drives to Berlin – via Checkpoints A–B–C–D

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I spent my 30th birthday in Germany. A little bit more than a month later, I was back in Germany, for a New Year’s Eve in The Netherlands. Huh? Well, in Central Europe it doesn’t take long to drive from a country to another, so naturally it would make sense to fly to Düsseldorf, drive to the Limburg region beyond the Dutch border, and then to do a day trip to Berlin after New Year’s. It’s all logical, until you take into account you have to sit in a Peugeot wagon for hours on end…

But there was a Suzuki engine in Berlin, and there was room in the Peugeot. So I woke myself up with a cup of coffee and hopped in. There would be sights along the way.

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Video: Hungarian car gathering for Jalopnik

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We like our Eastern European crapcans over here at Hooniverse. And so do the folks at Jalopnik, as this video right here testifies. As the Jalopnik guys, visiting Budapest, wanted to see a gathering of cars that you don’t usually catch over on the other side of the pond, they got what they asked for – and it being Hungary, a ton of Suzuki Swifts as well. That’s pretty much the national car of Hungary by now.

The first thing you lay your eyes on is an Alfa Romeo Montreal. Then, Matt Hardigree professes his love of the Ford Sierra and the Ford Ka, Tarvis Okulski drives a Tarbant, there’s a Lotus Omega and a Zaporoshets; it’s a pretty cool sortiment of anything that could appear on a random car day. Take a look!

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C’était un Hoonez-vous – BMW 850CiA prowls Dutch streets

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You know C’était un Rendez-vous, right? The amazing French director, Claude Lelouch, strapped a camera onto the front of an unconfirmed car and drove through Paris like a hellhound was on his trail. The resulting ten-minute footage was overdubbed with Ferrari 275 GTB sounds that almost fit the driving, and it’s accepted knowledge that the car in question was a Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 that belonged to the director.

But enough of that 1976 film, and back to modern day. 2015, whoa. What would you use as your ideal camera car for filming a casual blast around some European streets? A friend of mine happens to own a very black and very cool 1994 BMW 850, and the V12 in it is now a 5.4-litre lump instead of the 5.oh with which it was delivered.

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HCOTY 2014 Nominee: 2014 Dodge Challenger R/T Blacktop

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[Editor’s Note: Yes, we suck at this. Two new cars this year… we apologize and it won’t happen again. Antti at least has a good reason for this one.]

Having thought long and hard about the car I would be nominating as my personal Hooniversal Car of the Year candidate, I have no other option than to go way back to the last days of May and the first days of June, when I finally set foot on American soil and American tarmac and received the keys to a 2014 Dodge Challenger R/T Blacktop, reviewed here.

Granted, it’s not a Hellcat by a long stretch, and the at least 707-horsepower super-Challenger has deservedly become the beacon of insanely powerful Challengers since its unveiling, but for myself the old R/T stands for so much more.

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Inside the Classic Remise in Düsseldorf, Germany

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Düsseldorf’s Classic Remise is a great place for anyone who wants to get up close with near-priceless classic metal. A brick building once built for locomotive storage, these days it’s a combination of a classic car dealership, car storage, restoration shop, memorabilia mall and car museum with a really nice restaurant thrown in as a bonus. Admission is free, and it’s one of the best ways to spend a Sunday in Düsseldorf. I especially recommend a Flammkuchen mit Speck with an Altbier as a companion, after a few hours of intensive classic car admiring.

In this photo-heavy post, I’ll show you the Remise as seen through a 50mm “Nifty Fifty” lens.

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Beaterland in Deutschland – Turning 30 in a BMW E30

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As an individual born in late November, 1984, I turned 30 last week. Fanfares, accolades, confetti, all of them successfully softened the blow of reaching my fourth decade. It even gets quite cold and dark here in Finland around this time, so the only hasty choice I could do was to turn back the advancement of autumn just a touch, and book tickets to Germany, as it’s just a touch warmer there. As it happens, they also have legendary racetracks and cheap(er) cars there, along with seriously cheap beer, so it didn’t take a long time for me to jump on the Boeing and make my way to Düsseldorf.

To look at cars, one needs a car. This was the bottom line for my friend Joe, who picked me up in the titular BMW; he’s planning to buy a cheap, frugal runabout or a project Datsun Z or something in between. It’s not clear yet what he’ll be getting, but the actual going-to-look-at-cars will happen in this slightly patinated 1988 BMW 318i saloon. It was loaned to him by the excellent fellow who bought the pea soup coloured Zastava, and as he had also recently bought a gold Subaru wagon the BMW was free to be lent on.

So, there I was, luggage dumped into the steel blue BMW’s trunk, the top of my head touching the headliner of the sunroof-equipped car. This was to be a pretty decent weekend.

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A Hooniverse Thanksgiving Turkey – 2014 Opel Astra ecoFLEX Wagon

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My forays into the world of brand new cars do not come often. I was awaken from my beater status quo by the realization that the current J-generation Opel Astra doesn’t have a long shelf life any more, as it is scheduled to be replaced in 2016-ish.

Right now, the dealers offer attractive deals on already affordable cars: 1,9% financing and even “Bring your road legal penalty box and we’ll value it at 3000 eur” kind of trades, via some networks. Adaptive headlights, 17″ wheels and punchier 140hp engine come into play, with the end price hovering somewhere around 21 000 eur for a five-door version. Since I don’t instantly retreat into the woods when Opel is casually mentioned, I decided to trot over to the local dealer and try out a BROWN MANUAL WAGON. Did I shout that out loud?

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