Is the 1990s Nissan Pulsar the most boring car turned interesting?


A friend of mine has a pretty straight-forward approach towards commuter cars. For winter, his idea is to buy the Nissan Sunny that offers the most value for his money – namely, the longest valid inspection for the least initial cash. He will then proceed to drive the car to the ground or until the road legality inspection runs out, whichever comes first. The idea has been taken as far as to create a currency based on Nissan Sunny values: since beater Nissans are so plentiful here, they can be bought for simply a couple hundred euros. If I suggest another, more expensive car for his winterbeater duties, he’ll most likely respond “But that’s at least a couple Sunny’s worth.” It’s also noteworthy he’s taken a liking to the rounded N14 shape Sunny saloon, as they are more disposable than the already-cool, sharply designed ’80s ones. The underbody is usually quite rusty and the rear wheelarches and wheelwells have as much Bondo in them as is physically possible.

But, in addition to churning out soulless 1.4-litre Sunnys by the boatload in several countries, Nissan also created the GTI-R version from the three-door hatchback. Under the bulging hood was a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine producing 227 horsepower and distributing it to all four wheels by an ATTESA all-wheel-drive system. It could reach 60 mph in five seconds something and hit 140mph, which is certainly far removed from the humdrum family saloon’s abilities. It could well be the biggest single turnaround within one model series, especially considering the bodyshell is still very much a regular-issue Sunny, albeit surely strengthened.

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Dumpy Weekend Edition: The Volvo 300-series is a different box on wheels

Antti Kautonen February 7, 2016 Weekend Edition


The Volvo 300-series was born from a Dutch design, the car that was supposed to become the Daf 77. The daffodil bloomed in a Swedish glasshouse, as Volvo bought a large percentage of the Dutch manufacturer’s automobile division in 1973 and brought the car to the market by 1976. It was still a very much Daf design underneath, with the Variomatic CVT system the company pioneered.

The car managed to be built until the 1990s, and in that time it matured quite a bit.

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Dumpy Weekend Edition: The Saab 96 looks best in brown

Antti Kautonen February 7, 2016 Weekend Edition


Could this be the best-looking promotional image of the Saab 96? The earthy brown suits the duck-billed late model car so very well. Browsing through these shots, I am just imagining how it would have felt like to drive around the nordic fields in a factory fresh little Saab.

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Dumpy Weekend Edition: Liking the Austin Allegro is difficult

Antti Kautonen February 7, 2016 Weekend Edition


The Austin Allegro brings to mind Jalopnik’s Jason Torchinsky and his review of the German Hoffman car. In the video review, he concludes that every possible decision taken while designing the vehicle has been the absolute wrong one. That might not be the case with the Allegro, but it is difficult to follow the thought process where this design has been the end result. This was the best they could agree on.

But still, there’s something about the dumpy, wilfully ugly blob that I find endearing. It’s perfectly easy to liken it to a bulldog with some deeply regrettable genetic faults, but every dog has its day.

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The 1994 Toyota Camry Coupe and the 1976 Mercedes-Benz 280CE are virtually the same thing


Mercedes-Benz unveiled their W123 body cars 40 years ago, in late January 1976. The coupe version, carrying the model code C 123, followed suit in the spring months, and despite having a very attractive hardtop coupe roof, both the front end and the rear matched the saloon’s design. With Mercedes-Benz coupes of yesteryear, this is not unheard-of, but the 123 series makes it clear how high the manufacturer rated a familiar look throughout the body style. The succeeding W124/C124 pair at least tried to disguise the latter as a more slimline effort, but the C123 treads similar water as the Bertone-chopped Volvo 262 C.

But if you were shopping for a new car some fifteen years later, and also wanted a saloon-derived coupe with a six up front – yet one that didn’t stray too far from the saloon’s lines? The obvious choice would be the mid-1990s Toyota Camry Coupe. Obvious, I tell you.

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Weekend Edition: Getting to grips with the Peugeot 405 Mi16


There are two ways to refer to this car. A simple, non-sugarcoated one is to say I have a French car with peeling paint and leaking coolant. The other, a more sympathetic way is to declare that I drive a 1992 Peugeot 405 Mi16 that isn’t yet as good as it could be. Both sentiments are true, but it’s the latter that drives me forward. As does the Mi16, whenever I need it to.

Does it sound like a motivational Facebook poster image yet?

After the previous, introductory post, the Peugeot spent a couple months at the local vocational school’s auto shop. During that time, it received a new cambelt + waterpump combination, along with the strut mounts getting replaced with new OEM ones, as the old ones were just crumbling rusty discs that resembled Finnish rye bread more than anything holding a strut to anything. The shop also noticed the alternator was way past its prime, and proceeded to order one and fit it. A couple weeks ago, I got the car back and felt tremendous relief to actually be able to use it.

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Looking at a Rally Stage – Where We Stand, Exactly

Antti Kautonen January 19, 2016 Motorsports


This snowy video was shot at the Jari-Pekka Ralli in Heinola, Finland this month. It shows quite a few offs, with the cars barreling directly at the spectators because, well, once a rally driver becomes the passenger there’s not that much one can do except hold on and make a grimace. It’s up to the spectators not to stand in the direct tangent line from the point where a rally car would leave the road, isn’t it? At least that’s the common understanding over here at the Hooniverse Water Cooler™.

Check the video and our comments after the yump.

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Weekend Edition: Winter Sports in the 1993 Mazda MX-5


Winter is both awesome and terrible. Spontaneity goes out of the window as cars need to be pre-heated for an hour or so, you have to consider wearing adequate clothing like long johns and then there’s the matter of the white stuff getting absolutely everywhere. Door locks and seals freeze and windows become opaque. With a little planning, none of these things are an issue, but at -25 °C you just can’t fool around like you’ve used to.

It gets a lot easier when it warms up by almost 20 degrees Centigrade. This means it doesn’t feel like a terrible idea anymore to get the German import Japanese roadster out of the shelter, as it doesn’t have a block heater and the battery is fairly small. But with a recent enough tune-up and good quality coolant in the cooling system, you can rely on it not being a block-splittingly bad idea to awaken.

Just make sure you have the Steve Martin comedy album ready for your outing. How’d you get so funky?

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Weekend Edition: Giving Up the Ghost / Mongrel Meets His Maker


The new year is off to a good start. My little Volkswagen Polo has become a running, driveable car instead of a 60 euro paperweight, and with the newfound will to sort out all the loose ends, I’ve now sold my Ford Sierra that has hung around my neck. It’s another tale of a project car not going where it should, until it’s gone for good.

You might remember the burgundy Sierra from these pages. I bought it in the summer of 2014, as I had sold the Saab and the Xantia was on its way out, and I figured I’d try my hand in resurrecting a long-dormant car. The Sierra had sat for a decade in a cold garage, and it had barely passed the 100,000 km mark. Of course, it was a very basic car in every sense, with very little power from its 1.6-litre CVH engine, and the driving thrills were few and far between. But still, I saw something in the bulbous old hulk.

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Santa Class: Try the Mercedes-Benz Christmas Configurator


The unexpected star of this Christmas could be Mercedes-Benz’s chuckle-inducing Santa’s sleigh configurator, which lets you choose from three base models for the new present-dispatching mobile: the retro Silver Arrow, the F 015 concept and a G-Class, the last of which being the most likely Hooniversal vehicle.

You get a 360° view of each, and some pretty funny choices regarding the trim and the options. I won’t spoil you the joy of discovery, so click ahead to make your “Santa Class” (like Mercedes describes it) the way you would want it. Also, you might want to make sure your speakers are on, for the full yuletide feel.

Enter here: christmas.mercedes-benz.com

[Source: Mercedes-Benz]