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Wrench Game looks to bring the garage experience to VR

Jeff Glucker August 16, 2017 All Things Hoon

Wrenching is a lot of things. It’s time consuming. Wholly frustrating at times. Incredibly rewarding at others. It’s also a great way to connect with your car or truck. Now it also has the potential to be virtual. As in virtual reality, because one game developer is looking to bringing wrenching into the VR space.

The above video shows off a prototype called Wrench. Your hands will work in the virtual space to bring a complete car to life. Eventually, the creator says, the idea would be to take the game mechanics at play here and adapt it so that the full game involves diagnosing problems, setting up cars for motorsports, and managing a shop.

From this initial prototype display, this game appears to be moving down a very interesting path. There could be some great uses for this tech, including an adaption by repair manual companies. Imagine this system being used by Haynes. You have all sorts of DLC that exists for various vehicles. You need to know how to work on certain parts of your real life 1974 Mercedes-Benz 280? Download the files, fire up the game, and test out repairs in the virtual space.

We’re going to pay close attention to Wrench as it evolves, and we think you’ll want to do the same.

[Found on Reddit

Podcast: Episode 213 – HooniverseCon?

Chris and I are talking about some bits of news this week. Infiniti has made one of the best concept cars ever. FCA might become a Chinese company. Singer is working on a monster of an engine. After that, we dive into your questions.

Seriously though, how awesome is that Infiniti concept racer? And that Singer engine? This is a good week for news.


Hooniverse – HooniverseCon?

Which would you choose: the Audi S4 or the Audi RS3?

Audi has an excellent sporting sedan with its updated S4. There’s a problem though, and it exists within the automaker’s own family. It’s called the Audi RS3.

Which would you choose if you were in the market for such a car? The S4 has more room and can be had for less depending on how its spec’d. The RS3 makes 400 horsepower from its inline five-cylinder engine, awesome noise from its exhaust, and features RS-tuned suspension, steering, and quattro all-wheel-drive.

You’re not going to wind up with a bad car, no matter which one wins your heart (and cash). You might be reconsidering though, anytime you find yourself next to the other in traffic.

Which one would you choose?

The Aston Martin DB11 summed up in about 3 minutes

Gone is the DB9.

It’s moved on so that Aston Martin can begin its Second Century Plan, and with that comes a brand-new DB-badged car. It’s called the DB11, and it’s a properly exotic grand tourer.

With this new plan comes turbochargers, which the DB11 has two of under its finely honed hood. Those forced induction bits help the 5.2-liter V12 engine do its breathing. That gives us 600 horsepower and over 515 pound-feet of torque, which is routed out through the preferred drive wheels thanks to a ZF-sourced eight-speed gearbox.

It’s not cheap. It’s certainly not perfect. It is, however, rather special, and a good sign of things to come in Aston Martin’s second century.

[Disclaimer: Aston Martin tossed us the key fob to the DB11 and dropped the car off with a full tank of fuel. I then crammed a child seat in the back, which makes this the perfect family car.]

Shift Happens: Quick peek at a 1967 Chevelle we’re going to review

Old cars are better. We know this and you know this, and that’s why we want to feature more old or interesting cars on our YouTube channel whenever possible. We’re still going to cover new car stuff as well, but it’s the older metal that really gets us going. Case in point: this 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle.

Owned by a friend, we’ve been angling to shoot this car for awhile. Now we’re going to get off our asses and make that a reality. Then we’re going to shoot the owners other car, which is an old Nova… and after that we’ll shoot his El Camino.

From there, we’re looking to get our hands on anything old, cool, interesting, unique, whatever… just something to break up the onslaught of new-car videos we’ve been bringing you for a bit now.

These won’t be quick Shift Happens-type videos like the one above either. We’re going to break out the big cameras and shoot them with the care and respect they deserve… at least, at the level we can provide. We’re not Petrolicious, so we’re happy to see them keep doing beautiful films.

Ours will be a dive into the car itself and hopefully we’ll learn something about the person who owns and drives them as well.

Paint stripper gets to work attacking the old finish on the Porsche 911

Jeff Glucker August 9, 2017 All Things Hoon

Larry Kosilla is documenting the revival of his beloved 964. His Porsche 911 is undergoing a serious restoration, and there are cameras pointed at it for each step. The old roof was cut out and replaced, the rust in the cowl addressed, and now the paint work is being addressed.

To remove the black paint currently on the car, the team working on it covers exterior bits with aircraft paint stripper. After just 15 minutes or so of sitting on a painted surface, the goop is aggressive enough that it starts causing the paint to rip, pop, and pull away from the metal surface. It’s fascinating to watch it work its chemical magic.

For Larry, it’s clearly hard to watch his car undergo such a step but it’s a necessary one. As paint is being removed, the skilled person working on it can tell how many times the rear fender has been repainted. Much more of his skill is shown, however, when working on the hood.

Every minute little blemish is dealt with so that this hood should be perfect for years to come. Even the creases that start to develop from years of the hood being closed with a press of the Porsche badge are being addressed. It’s impressive effort on all involved, and we can’t wait to see it all come together in the end.

Podcast: Episode 212 – Back to the News!

We kick this one out old school… we’re bringing back the news! It’s time to return to the slightly more structured format from where we started. That means when we don’t have a guest we’re to start the episode off by running down some interesting news items from the past week or so.

Today we’re talking about:

  • Mazda getting ready to bring a production HCCI engine into its lineup.
  • Forza adds 101 more cars to Forza Motorsport 7.
  • Volkswagen says it’s going to bring us a Passat GT.
  • The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk gets a price tag.

After that, we dive into your questions and then give some updates about what we’re driving and where we’re going.


Hooniverse – Back to the News!

First Drive: 2018 Audi TT RS and 2018 Audi RS3

The inline five-cylinder engine is one that should be quite familiar to fans of Audi’s racing history. It will soon be familiar to fans of the latest that the German automaker has to offer and it arrives in two flavors; the new 2018 Audi TT RS and 2018 Audi RS3.

Each comes packing 400 horsepower courtesy of an inline five-cylinder engine that’s backed up by 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

On the outside of both cars, you’ll notice clues to the lively mill hiding between the fenders. The front fascia is more aggressive and the rear sport exhaust belches noise from a pair of large, black, oval exhaust tips.

Inside you have RS stitched into the sport seats and a bit of suede mingling with leather. If you opt for the slightly more sporty TT RS, you also get the steering wheel lifted straight out of the Audi R8. Each car has lots of character, tremendous levels of performance, and serves up delightful noise. One has room for more to party while the other is fully focused on the task at hand. You can’t make a wrong choice here, because either path leads you into the Audi Sport family and you have an RS-badged machine parked in your garage.

We check both of the vehicles out on the turns of Lime Rock Park and the open road of rural Connecticut.

[Disclaimer: Audi flew us to NYC and put us up in a swank hotel. We choppered to and from the track and ate way too much Greek food. I’m now 65% feta cheese.]

Evaluating old cars for insurance purposes is tricky business

Jeff Glucker August 7, 2017 All Things Hoon

Benjamin Hunting is a Canadian automotive journalist whose work you might read at places like Roadkill or SlashGear. He’s a friend of the site, and I’m personally a fan of the cars that Ben owns. His daily driver is a first-generation Cadillac CTS-V, but it’s his track machine that I find most appealing.

Ben has the gorgeous Datsun 240Z you see pictured above. It’s setup exactly how Ben wants it, and he drives the thing in anger on race tracks. His goal was to mimic the style one might’ve found on a Japanese weekend-warrior street and track machine from the 80’s or 90’s. It’s this aesthetic he’s wanted, and he’s worked hard to get there with his car.

Recently, Ben had the car evaluated for insurance purposes. To have his Datsun properly insured, the insuring company requires an evaluation. This means someone would come to Ben’s garage and pore over the details of his beloved machine. The problem there though, is that a car setup in this manner doesn’t exactly fit into any predefined boxes.

It’s a car that won’t be valued properly in the eyes of the person who’s pieced it together. Is it worth what Ben thinks it’s worth, what the insurance company decides it’s worth, or ultimately what someone else would pay for it in the marketplace should Ben ever decide to sell it?

It’s a tough call and arguments could be made on all sides. Read about Ben’s thoughts on the matter over on his personal blog. (There’s more pictures of the Datsun over there too)

[Image “borrowed” from Ben’s blog]

Shift Happens: Building a McLaren 720S …LEGO car

Awhile back, the good folks at McLaren sent me a LEGO kit. It’s part of the LEGO Speed Champions series, and this one features the new McLaren 720S. It also has a designer. He’s got his drafting table, a model car, a cup of coffee, and a lamp. He’s also got a helmet, because he can jump from being the designer to being the driver.

The kit is a fun toy to have on my desk, and it was pretty easy to put together. There are a few single block pieces that are a little small, and the stickers can be tricky if you don’t take your time… especially with oafish hands like mine. But it really was a relatively quick and easy job piecing this one together.

Now I want to find more Speed Champion sets to join this one…

[Disclaimer: McLaren sent me this kit out of the blue. I think they retail in the $20 range.]