Hooniverse Asks: What should be HCOTY this year?

Jeff Glucker December 14, 2018 Hooniverse Asks

It’s that time… *queue the music* for the most wonderful time… of the year!

The Hooniverse Car of the Year posts are heading your way starting next week. We have a wide range of nominees and we’re sure that you’ll hate some and love others. But if you were to write in a nomination, what would you pick?

Here’s a rundown of the prior winners:

Legacy Classic Trucks has built a big, bold, bad ass 1949 Dodge Power Wagon

Legacy Classic Trucks takes old machines and makes them new again. We’re not talking about a simple coat of paint and a tune-up though, as the process of restoring a decades old ride to former glory takes thousands of hours. And Legacy isn’t dealing with little machines. Instead, the company led by Winslow Bent things big. Really big. Like, 1949 Dodge Power wagon big.

The truck you see here has been crafted into one big, bold, bad-ass rig. It’s no longer a single cab as there are now more seats and two extra doors. The engine is a Cummins 5.9-liter inline turbodiesel cranking out 350 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque, and that’s while the boost is turned down a bit.

At each corner sits a 17-inch beadlock wheel that wears a 40-inch Toyo Open Country mud terrain tire.  Keeping the nose balanced and the ride comfortable are remote reservoir King front shocks. This rig is a workhorse and it’s put to actual use by its owner. When put to work in its Colorado home, the Power Wagon is used for hauling snowmobiles and Legacy even offers plow attachments for its customers.

As you probably expect, such a truck doesn’t come cheap. This one here costs about $318,000. A fresh build starts at $200,000 and Legacy currently has a two-year wait from the time you order to delivering finished product (6 month wait list plus build time).

Is the price a bit crazy? Sure. But is the Legacy Classic trucks 1949 Dodge Power Wagon two to three times more fascinating than the average $100k daily driver people are rolling around in? No question.

Jaguar’s I-Pace eTrophy race series kicks off this weekend

Jeff Glucker December 13, 2018 Formula E, Motorsports

Jaguar is diving full on into electric powertrains. As proof of that, the automaker has already taken a strong in interest in Formula E. Now comes the arrival of its second step into this electric racing arena as the I-Pace eTrophy support series lands in Ad Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.

This is the first international championship for production-based electric cars, per Jaguar. Additionally, it marks the first time women will compete against men in motorsport within Saudi Arabia. Which is something we should be oddly proud about yet also shake our heads over the fact that it took them this long to not be insane on this particular subject.

Drovers Alice Powell, Kahterine Legge, and Célia Martin are on the grid. They’re lining up against Bryan Sellers, Cacá Bueno, Sérgio Jiminez, Tao Wang, Yaqi Zhang, Simon Evans, Ahmed Bin Khanen, and Badar Alesayi. That covers entries from the UK, USA, France, China, New Zealand, and Saudi Arabia.

The format for the race is a 25-minute battle plus a one-lap full-power sprint race. Since this is an electric race, the circuit has a unique setting. It runs through the old-world look of Ad Diriyah and features 21 turns across a nearly 2.5-kilometer track.

Jaguar’s I-Pace eTrophy race series kicks off on Saturday December 15th.

This owner traded five Toyota MR2s for one Mazda Miata

Jeff Glucker December 13, 2018 All Things Hoon

Owning more than one example of a given car model shows that you’re a devoted fan of that vehicle. Owning five is a sign that you’re obsessed. For one retired college professor in Missouri, his vehicular devotion fell on the first-generation Toyota MR2 AW11. In fact, he set out to own one from each year of AW11 production and he did just that. From 1985 through 1989, there’s a version for everyone.

According to Japanese Nostalgic Car, these cars were just received on trade in at the COAD Toyota dealership in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Each is reportedly in great shape and only the 1985 yellow one has been modified. The rest are bone stock and, in fact, have already been sold off by the dealership.

Why trade in this collection of cars now? The original owner felt it was getting to be too much trouble to maintain this handful of aging machines. So he swapped them all for a 2016 Mazda Miata with 10,000 miles on its odometer.

Head over to Japanese Nostalgic Car to see more photos of this multiple MR2 trade in.

Hooniverse Asks: What do you want out of a smaller truck?

Jeff Glucker December 13, 2018 Hooniverse Asks

I’m heading down to San Diego today to drive the new Ford Ranger (for our friends at Jalopnik). As a former Ranger owner, I’m incredibly curious about what’s going on with the smaller pickup in the Blue Oval lineup. As a general automotive enthusiast, I’m more curious to see what the smaller rig offers and what it can offer its potential buyers. And also, at what cost.

Smaller trucks are beloved by their owners. Ask a Tacoma owner about their ride and be prepared to hear tales of nothing but love. My own experience with my old Ranger showed just how much people want these down-sized pickups. I blew the engine in the truck, and I was easily able to sell it two days later for $750. I could’ve asked $1,000 and I would’ve got it.

So with the return of the Ranger, what do you want out of a smaller truck?

Take a look back at the Ford Escort

Ford is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its Escort. No, we’re not talking about the North American market version that arrived in 1981. The real Escort arrived way back in 1968. Ok, the name was stuck on a version of the Anglia back in the 50’s but the Mk I Escort as we know it turned 50 this year.

This is a car that was a success as a standard road car. But it’s the racing version that captured our hearts and minds. The Mk II version of the car was a dominant vehicle on the world rally stages. Ari Vatanen, in particular, drove the wheels off one in the early 1980s.

While it remains a delightful bit of classic forbidden fruit in the US, the Escort is a true rally racing icon. Click play, raise a glass, and give cheers to the original Ford Escort.

This is the Cosworth-built V12 that will power the Aston Martin Valkyrie
and it sounds amazing

Aston Martin have turned to Cosworth for the engine that will power the insane Valkyrie hypercar. It’s a naturally aspirated 6.5-liter V12 and it screams up to a towering 11,500 rpm redline. Horsepower? It sits at 1,000. Torque? Peak power is 516 pound-feet and it arrives up at 7,000 rpm. The best bit though, is just how the damn thing sounds. Henry Catchpoole from Carfection stopped by the Cosworth HQ to check out the engine, hear it run, and learn a lot more about it.

One of the more fascinating bits comes from the mouth of Bruce Wood. He’s the Managing Director of Cosworth, and he’s revealed that development on the full-size engine started with a smaller one. Before the V12 came to be, Cosworth built a three-cylinder engine so as to develop the proper architecture while also ensuring that the finished product would make power and still be emissions compliant. That three-cylinder engine was also naturally aspirated and produced 250 horsepower.

Cosworth needs to license that engine out to Ford or Mazda, stat.

But back to the bigger power plant. Click play above to hear it scream. The Valkyrie is going to be astounding when it finally hits the road.

The Range Rover Sport comes in very different flavors

Jeff Glucker December 12, 2018 Featured, Hoonivercinema

In one corner, we have the Range Rover Sport TD6. Under its hood sits a 3.0-liter turbodiesel six-cylinder engine that produces 254 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque. That peak torque, by the way, is available at just 1,750 rpm. This is a fun luxury workhorse should you venture on to a dusty path and beyond. It has all of the off-road tech and engineering to head into the woods for the weekend.

At the other end of the RR Sport spectrum sits the SVR badge-wearing truck. There’s no ticking diesel here. Instead, we’re working with a 575-horsepower supercharged V8. This Range Rover Sport hauls tremendous amounts of ass. There’s an insane wave of oppressively wonderful sound flowing out the rear. This is a war machine. Even if it’s one with nice leather on the inside and a top-tier sound system.

Land Rover has a Range Rover Sport for everyone (with enough cash to pay to play, of course). In between these two spectrum ends sit a handful more gas-powered options offering varying levels of power. 

The only version missing for me? An off-road prepped version of the SVR-powered Range Rover Sport. Remove the low-hanging body bits, bolt on smaller wheels with chunky tires, and let’s have a go in the dirt with that one.

Hooniverse Asks: Which new wagon appeals most to you right now?

Jeff Glucker December 12, 2018 Hooniverse Asks

We often cry out about the lack of proper wagon offerings here in the States. The truth is, however, that there are a number of them out there. Volkswagen has its Golf Alltrack. Volvo has the V60 and V90. Spend more bucks and you can find Audi and Mercedes-Benz offerings as well. Yes, we’d love to see more longroofs land over here, but the ones that are here are pretty damn good.

The Volvo V90 – Your luxury longroof is here

So of the current crop of new wagon offerings, which one would get your money were you shopping in that segment?

Employee claims paint a grim picture at the Bob Bondurant driving school

Jeff Glucker December 11, 2018 All Things Hoon

Former employees of the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving say their workplace was a hostile environment. There are claims of racism, belittlement, and unfair treatment, according to a report from the ClassicCars.com Journal. Recently, the school made news when it closed its doors ahead of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. Classes eventually resumed, but the picture painted by former employees is grim.

Jason Bondurant is the adopted son of school founder Bob Bondurant. His mother Pat Bondurant ran the school before stepping into a consulting role. She maintains a 51% stake in the business. Jason stands by the claims of his employees and he too states that the workplace is a hostile one. Pat denies these claims while stating that the school is working to ensure its future and long-term success.

The allegations are numerous and serious. Read about the ongoing state of affairs at the ClassicCars.com Journal (and Jalopnik, as well).

No matter the full truth, it’s a shame to see this performance driving school fall into its current state of disrepair. Bob founded his namesake school in 1968. That was after tremendous success at the wheel of many race cars. Bondurant drove some all time greats and won at the highest levels of motorsport. His first school, the Bondurant Driving School, opened in 1968 in Riverside California. A handful of locations at other tracks soon spawned before the massive purpose-built facility opened in Chandler, Arizona in 1990.

Bob Bondurant stepped away from the grind of his driving school empire because he wanted to enjoy life during his later years. He’s 85 years old now, and his son says Bob would never let his business get into this shape had he been running the show.