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V.I.S.I.T. – Fairlady In The Streets

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A few weeks ago, my wife and I were walking around town cruising from bar to bar on our own little fall afternoon bar crawl, only we were going from craft brewery to craft brewery sampling the finest this town has to offer. It was quite fun, and we had some really good brews. As we were cutting through a residential neighborhood to get to the next stop, we saw this nasty old Datsun on the side of the road, and I just had to stop to admire it. It’s rough in all the right places, and it doesn’t have damage or rot, it has ‘patina’. This design has always been a favorite of mine, and I’d certainly love the opportunity to drive one around, but I’m afraid I might not fit. I snapped a few photos here with my potato-phone camera, and here I’ll offer my ‘expert’ analysis of the car after the jump.

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V.I.S.I.T. – Vintage JEEP Forward Control Icebox Keepin’ It Cool

Bradley Brownell December 10, 2014 All Things Hoon

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It should come as no surprise that I like cars with their engines in weird places, I am a Porsche fanatic, after all. This JEEP Forward Control delivery truck has its engine under the seat, and that intrigues me. It doesn’t put its engine under the driver for handling prowess, it does so because that’s where it fits. I could be wrong, because I wasn’t carrying a measuring tape at the time, but this appears to me to be a very early short-wheelbase model built on JEEP’s CJ5 chassis platform. I was out for a stroll with my folks over the Thanksgiving weekend, and we stopped in to a local bar for a quick bite to eat when I saw this vision in the parking lot. There was a sign for the bar in what would be the passenger’s seat, and the truck’s bed has been jettisoned in favor of a strange plug-in cooler box. If it does, in fact, belong to the bar, I am going to start going to that bar a lot more often.

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An Audio Guide To The NASA 25 Hours Of Thunderhill

Bradley Brownell December 5, 2014 Motorsports

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As the two major motorsport nerds around these parts, Mr. Eric Rood and I were discussing how we would like to cover the 25 Hours of Thunderhill for this year. We knew that this was a race we needed to tell you guys about, because its sort of been the diamond in the rough of American motorsport for a lot of years. It does get some attention, but certainly not as much as it deserves. We’d discussed writing something with either of us taking a handful of classes and running through them individually. Knowing that his opinion was probably more valuable than my own, I wanted to give my two cents on each class, but also get Eric’s take. How could we easily provide both of our viewpoints without getting overly verbose and turning off readers? The answer is audio! Click through to listen to our short podcast preview of this weekend’s 25 Hour race.

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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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