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Looking at a Rally Stage – Where We Stand, Exactly

Antti Kautonen January 19, 2016 Motorsports

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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

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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

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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

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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]

HCOTY Nominee: The 60 Euro Volkswagen Polo Classic ’86

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The Mazda MX-5 I bought early in 2015 injected me with a new-found passion for rear-wheel-drive, introduced open-top daily driving into my life and took me to Nordkapp, the northernmost point in mainland Europe that’s reachable by car. It proved itself to be an immensely great buy for very little money, and there’s no doubt it’s my personal favourite car of 2015.

It’s not my Hooniversal Car of the Year, though. The 60 Euro Polo is. It works, finally!

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Weekend Edition: Is Climb Dance the best rallye video so far?

It’s pretty much as simple a film as C’etait un Rendezvous, even if it’s not exactly shrouded in mystery. But the beginning of Climb Dance is brilliantly cut, with scenes depicting the clouds of dust as Ari Vatanen’s Peugeot 405 T16 has just roared by, with a ghostlike presence there.

The material that ended up on the 1989 short film showcasing Vatanen’s 10:47.220 Pikes Peak effort – with a bit of Robby Unser’s driving spliced in – is some of the most daring driving caught on film, with the 405 making its way up the mountain in blinding sunlight, steered with one hand on the wheel. It remains captivating and no matter how many times it gets posted on the Internet, it’s always worth celebrating.

 

Wagon Wednesday: Highway to the Dangel Zone with a Peugeot 505

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One of the weirdest-looking go-anywhere, do-anything conversions of somewhat everyday cars is the Peugeot 505 Dangel. Following in the footsteps of the earlier 504 Dangels, the 505 received a lift kit, a 4×4 setup and enormous fender flares to really mark them out from regular ride height 505 wagons.

The specialist company Dangel is still in business these days, but sadly they do not produce factory-fresh high-riding 505:s currently. All in all, they’ve churned out 22,000 converted vehicles.

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Classic Nameplates: Volvo brings back the S90 saloon for 2016

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For a number of Volvo drivers, the S90 badge stands for the last “real” Volvo. It was indeed the last one in a long line of rear wheel drive Volvos, and it was more closely related to the early-1980s 740/760 than the added plushness and filed corners wanted to make clear. But everybody knew what a straight piece of iron it was, and a lot of people loved the cars for it – the V90 wagon included.

In a satisfying turn of events, the S90-replacing S80 name is now being replaced by, yes, S90 again. For 2016, Volvo unveils this larger, more menacing, more noticeable executive saloon that has nothing apologetic about its design. Make the jump for more photos.

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Weekend Edition: Bilenkin Vintage re-imagines Volga with BMW tech

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With a number of Weekend Editions dedicated to old Soviet and Russian automarkers, I welcome this re-imagining of a USSR personal luxury coupe built on modern BMW mechanicals. The Bilenkin Vintage combines intricate mid-1900s detailing with a stout BMW 4-series coupe base, and the end result is… imaginative.

Behind the project, unveiled at Dubai Motor Show, are Moscow-based car designer Kirill Bilenkin and a car customizer house called CARDI. Check out more photos after the jump.

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Weekend Edition: Cheap 1992 Peugeot 405 Mi16 is a winterbeater find

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What is the best justification for a car purchase? Buying one out of need, want, or nostalgia? This 1992 Peugeot 405 Mi16 combines all of those three, and I got it home last weekend.

I’ve found it funny for a while, that despite having several cars, I’m constantly lacking a honest-to-god daily driver that does it all. It’s already late November, which means that my MX-5 is going into winter storage, under cover, freshly inspected and washed and waxed. I won’t daily it like I did last winter, as it needs some rust work and I’d hate it to develop any more rot than it already has on its rockers and rear arches.

The 205 will also go off the road, as I have purchased a lot of interior parts for it, and the seats will be taken out and refurbished. The torn driver’s seat is the single biggest blemish on the car at the moment, and it needs to be put right. My humble VW Polo is on its way to be finished, but it’s hardly a highway car. And the Sierra? The less said, the better, but it’s been out of use for the best part of 2015, and motivation to put it right is dwindling along with little, insignificant parts breaking.

So, there you have four cars that necessitate the purchase of a fifth. And here, you have the fifth one. Four cylinders, four doors, 16 valves, 600 euros. A perfect recipe.

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