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Classic Quick Spin: Lancia Fulvia Sport Zagato

Bradley Brownell November 10, 2014 Featured, Quick Spin

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When someone throws you the keys to a Lancia Fulvia Sport Zagato, it doesn’t take more than a split second to say yes. A few months back, I was given the opportunity at a Lancia club gathering to drive this beautiful vision of Italian design, and I could not have been more excited to slip behind the wheel. I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to drive a front wheel drive car, especially considering it only carried a 1216cc V4 rated at around 80 horsepower.

The great thing about the Zagato, though, is that lightweight hand-formed aluminum bodywork forming a modern-for-its-era angular shape. It took a bit for me to get used to the driving experience, as it wasn’t exactly modern. Once accustomed, though, it was quite a joy to drive.

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The Hooniverse Dream Car Garage: Project Two-Tone Toyota UZJ60

Bradley Brownell October 30, 2014 Project Cars

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How far can you go with your lust for a car before it becomes an obsession? I don’t know why the sudden change, but I have for the last two years or so grown to adore these ‘J60 generation’ Toyota Land Cruisers of the 1980s, most specifically the pre-facelift version, and even more specifically, trucks with two-tone paint jobs. There is just something about that boxed shape that has attracted my attention, and the legendary reliability surely did nothing to tarnish it’s reputation. It could have something to do with my recent move to the land of deserts and mountains. Growing up in the midwest, I had no desire for anything that was capable off road, and certainly no need for one. Now that I’m out west, however, I constantly find myself drifting into daydreams of driving the various trails around the Reno/Tahoe area. What better way to go off road than to do it in style?

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V.I.S.I.T. – A Pair Of Open Air Porsches

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The other day, we went out for a drive to the farmers market, and I spotted a pair of beautiful Porsches on the way. One was an old 6-pot swapped 914, while the other was a very well cared for 964 Carrera 4 Cabriolet in Porsche Purple Metallic. I’ve seen both cars a number of times around town, but usually while I’m in a hurry or concentrating on driving. The fact that I finally managed to track both of them down and get photos (albeit terrible cell-phone photos) of them on the same day borders on miraculous. Hit the jump for a few more pictures.

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The Hooniverse Dream Car Garage: Project Kapra Streke, A Quasi-Vintage Street/Track Machine With A Twist

Bradley Brownell October 17, 2014 Project Cars
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Chris Runge’s Frankfurt Flyer serves as major inspiration for this project.

I don’t quite know why, but this idea has been rolling around in my head for about two years now, I guess it’s time to get it out to the world. I want to build a quasi-street/trackday speedster to give a vintage racer sort of feel. I have a strange pull to the ‘cars of yesteryear’, specifically the 1-off racing specials built by So-Cal speed shops on a wing, a prayer, parts laying around, and practically zero budget. This idea was inspired a while ago when I was at the Monterey historics looking at some small, lightweight, sport runabouts. The swoopy fenders of Maser Birdcages, Lister Jaguars, and Porsche spyders provided the visual stimuli, but I was drawn to the simplicity of the Denzel 1500s, and was reminded of Chris Runge’s Frankfurt Flyer (as well as the original Glockler Porsches).

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Ride Onboard The Revs Institute’s Ferrari 250LM With Gunnar Jeannette

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It doesn’t take much for me to get really really excited. You should have seen me when I walked into the paddock area of Laguna Seca and saw this Ferrari 250LM. Even though it was the third one I’d seen in my life, and the second one I’d seen that morning, my hearts still skipped a couple of beats. The 250LM is unequivocally my favorite car (followed closely by the Porsche 904 and the 250GTO), and that beautiful shape never fails to get my engine revved up (pun intended).

While ogling the car, a chap from the Revs Institute (the Collier Collection in Florida) started chatting about all of the data logging they were doing on the car that week while they were running it on track. Imagine that, running a 10 million dollar car on a track with other cars valued similarly. He also mentioned that they would be loading some video from the racing sessions to their YouTube channel. It took me about 3 seconds to subscribe to their channel, but it was a slow burn, as they just recently uploaded this video. It was worth the wait. 20 minutes of professional racer Gunnar Jeannette running the little red beast through its paces. Click the jump to get the video.

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Review: All-New Porsche Macan S and Macan Turbo

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Going into this event, I was at the same time excited and disappointed. Excited because I’d be driving a brand new front-engine turbocharged Porsche, disappointed because it was another sport utility vehicle. As a P-car nut job, it was hard to contain my concern for the company I’d grown to love, fearing that their current trajectory would see them making pickups and people movers in no time flat. To make matters worse, this new Porsche Macan uses a chassis developed by Volkswagen and Audi (Tiguan and Q5 respectively), rather than the Cayenne’s chassis, which was developed by Porsche. The Macan is the first Porsche since 1983 to wear anything other than a 5X130 bolt pattern, using instead VAG’s traditional 5X112.

Could it possibly live up to the Porsche brand name? Click through to find out my thoughts on the subject.

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Crowdfunding A Mid-Life Crisis Cross-Country Scooter Trip

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So you’re turning the big Four-Oh, and you’re itching to go on an adventure. Cross country road trips are adventures, right? Minimalist cross country road trips are surely worth double points. What if your road trip takes you from Daytona Beach to Long Beach? How do you get back across the United States? Do the Forest Gump, and turn right back around and head back the way you came. In order to complicate things even further, why not do this whole thing on two wheels? Screw it, step your game up and make it happen on a 125cc Yamaha Zuma scooter. Grab life by the cojones and hit the open road. Show the world that Forty isn’t boring!

This is exactly the plan that Mr. Thomas Heath has in mind. To make matters even better, he’s planning to document the whole trip in beautiful high-definition photography and literary prose, planning to publish a book on the trip as soon as he gets back. That’s where you come in, dear reader. Mr. Heath can’t make this massive undertaking on his own, so he is asking anyone who can to provide funding, resources, or support for the cause. If you check out his Indiegogo page, you’ll see there are a number of perks included in exchange for your support. Buy the guy lunch, give him a place to stay, or pay for some fuel costs, and you could grab yourself a copy of that book as soon as it is published. Heath is planning to get this road on the show as early as October, and assuming funding comes through, he says his book will be ready to publish as early as January of next year. That’s a pretty quick turnaround, and I’m sure interested in the outcome!

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Hooniverse Bookshelf: Memoirs Of A Hack Mechanic

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I just finished reading this book, and I can tell you, dear reader, that this book belongs on your bookshelf. Don’t dawdle, get a copy today, this afternoon, right now! When I read, I don’t often pick up a memoir, as I tend to find the stories of other people’s lives somewhat unexciting. This time, though, the book came highly recommended from a friend who’s opinion I trust greatly. I was in Ohio to attend this friend’s wedding as a member of the wedding party, and as thanks for showing up, the book was thrust into my hands. I’d finished my previous book on the plane ride from west to east anyhow, and needed something to read on the way back to Nevada. Why not give it a shot? This friend of mine is a BMW fanatic of the first degree, and while I have great respect for the brand, I’ve never owned one, and don’t really aspire to (exempting a few models; E30 M3, E28 M5, E9 3.0 CSL, 2002 Turbo, M1, and surprisingly the new i8). As such, I was expecting a book that panders to Bimmerphiles and I might not relate to as closely. Boy was I ever wrong.

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The Hooniverse Dream Car Build Garage: Project Porsche Vierundzwanzig GT

Bradley Brownell September 24, 2014 Project Cars

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Those who know me, or anyone who has ever read anything I’ve written, already know that I’m an absolute Porscheholic, and love pretty much everything that has ever come out of Zuffenhausen. I might even be accused of being a ” Porsche apologist” for some of their less popular models, like the 924. As such, I’ve always wanted to build the worlds greatest 924 and prove to “the haters” just how wrong they are. Is there any reason that a 924 shouldn’t have a 400 horsepower turbocharged 3.2 liter inline four cylinder engine? Speak now, or forever hold your peace.

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Enthusiast’s Guide To FIA Formula E

Bradley Brownell September 11, 2014 Featured, Motorsports

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Remember how excited people got about the Audi R10 TDi racers when they debuted? They were something completely new and different. They were the pinnacle of technology, they were fast, they were quiet, and they wiped the floor with their competition. Starting this weekend, the FIA is trying to capitalize on that alternative energy racing craze that Audi pioneered all the way back in 2006. Instead of a now-accepted diesel racing car, however, they are introducing electric racing to the world stage in an open-wheel series dubbed “Formula E”. Some people have called it crazy, some are condemning it to failure before it’s even begun. In comparison with traditional racing, Formula E does have some downsides, primarily a spec chassis, a spec powertrain, and spec tires, combined with a relatively low top-speed (only about 140 miles per hour), and an inability to produce aurally pleasing exhaust notes.

Is Formula E going to be the Formula 1 replacement for the Prius driver? I don’t think so. This should be an excellent racing series that provides some pretty exciting racing action, and while it won’t provide the sounds and smells you’re used to in open-wheel racing, it should be pretty indicative of the future of motorsport. We need to find a way forward if we want motorsport to continue into a non-fossil-fueled future. Maybe Formula E is the stepping stone we need to develop the technology for sustainable motor racing. Maybe it’ll fall on its face right out of the starting gate, but personally I really hope it doesn’t.

After the jump, we continue our series of articles covering the various road racing series and important races all over the world. In previous installments,  we have covered The United Sports Car Championship, the 12 hours of Sebring, the Bathurst 12 hour,Indycar, the Pirelli World Challenge, the FIA World Endurance ChampionshipFormula 1Global Rallycross, The 24 Hours of Le Mans, and The 24 Hours of the Nurburgring.

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