Podcast: Episode 228 – Heidts Suspension [SEMA 2017]

Jeff Glucker November 30, 2017 Hooniverse Podcast

Our SEMA journey continues, this time with the good folks at Heidts Suspension. This is a brand that’s been around for sometime now, and they know all about chassis improvement.

Hit that play button and come along as we talk about all things suspension… and then some.

Hooniverse – Heidts Suspension – SEMA 2017

Out with the old: Bidding farewell to the Aston Martin Vanquish S

It’s old technology. An old chassis, wrapped around an old dinosaur of an engine, and coddled with outdated gadgets. I’m talking about the Aston Martin Vanquish, and it’s time to say good-bye to this fantastic machine.

That old engine I mentioned is a nearly 6.0-liter V12. Here it’s making 580 horsepower. Perhaps more importantly, it’s making tremendous noise and it’s not having its pipes chopped down thanks to any added induction. This is a naturally aspirated mill, and it’s might is apparent when it’s allowed to bark.

Aston Martin are moving into their Second Century Plan. That’s being realized by the DB11 (both V12 and V8), the new Vantage, and a few more models still to come. While those will all likely be emotionally gratifying machines, none of them will wail and howl like this Vanquish.

It’s an aged monster, and it’s fading into the darkness not with a whimper but with a guttural roar.

An update on my 1974 W114 Mercedes-Benz 280

The new car stuff has been fun lately, but now it’s time for a brief update on my old Benz. This is my 1974 W114 Mercedes-Benz 280 sedan that serves as my daily driver. It’s in decent shape for a car that’s 43 years old. Still, it has some issues that need to be worked out.

Recently, the headlight switch decided to crap out on me. In the process of taking that out, I have to remove the entire gauge cluster. I also need to address some trim pieces on the Benz. The driver’s side door seal and window channel need to be replaced, as does the side mirror bolt cover.

There’s more to cover on the car, but I’m going to save that for a future Shift Happens where I actually drive the thing and talk about what that’s like.

For now, please enjoy this update on the Benz as she sits in my garage… waiting for parts to arrive.

Wagon Wednesday: Is this Mercedes-Benz E63 wagon worth your time or a headache in the making?

Jeff Glucker November 22, 2017 Wagon Wednesday

Wednesday always seems like a good day to plunk those magic letters “w-a-g-o-n” into Craigslist to see what’s out there. Today that search term has returned an interesting and rare beast of a longroof. The car above is a 2007 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG wagon. Between 2007 and 2009, just 166 were sold in the States, according to the seller. This specific color combination of the exterior and interior is apparently one of… one.

When new, the base MSRP was just under $90,000. This isn’t a vehicle that suffers too greatly from depreciation either, as the amount of units in the market is low. So why is the seller asking just $24,000 for this one?

Because it has 162,500 miles on its odometer.

It’s reportedly in excellent shape and wears nearly new Michelin tires. There have been no aftermarket modifications, the engine runs strong, and the transmission shifts well. Those are promising things to read. But the lingering thought of any mechanical work conjures up colossal bills totaling more than the amount being asked of the car in the first place.

I don’t have $24,000 to gamble with on a car like this, and I don’t have the technical know-how to DIY an otherwise costly dealer fix. Are any of you souls out there brave enough for an endeavor like this one, or is the idea of something going wrong too daunting?

[Source: Craigslist]

Podcast: Episode 227 – Dan McNiff of Dinan [SEMA 2017]

Jeff Glucker November 22, 2017 Hooniverse Podcast

Dan McNiff has turned into one of our favorite podcast guests over the last few years. Dan is a technical project manager and oversees warrantying all the beautiful upgrades for BMWs (and Minis) at Dinan. Reprising his SEMA role from last year Dan stops by to share details on their new product offerings but as per usual we deviate from the roadmap shortly thereafter. 

We get the inside story on Dinan’s forays into the VW/Audi world only to be interrupted by their parent company purchasing APR tuning. Beyond business dealings though, we discuss some of the common maladies of modern BMWs and the limitations they reach building warrantee-ready upgrades that can be overcome by their more ambitious clientele.

Check out Dinan’s product offerings at https://www.dinancars.com/


Once again thanks to Magnaflow for hosting ShoutEngine podcast on their stage at SEMA 2017

Hooniverse – Dan McNiff of Dinan – SEMA 2017

First Drive: 2018 Kia Stinger GT

Here’s a car we’ve been looking forward to driving for some time now. The roll out of the 2018 Kia Stinger GT has been happening for awhile and we’ve waited quite a bit to see if the car lives up to the hype it’s generating. First off, you should know it lives up to its own hype because it’s an entertaining, stylish, grand-touring sedan with a hatchback booty and 376 horsepower under the hood.

Is it good *enough* though to get folks with the necessary cash to head into Kia dealerships to pick one up? That’s a far tougher question to answer. This is a good car, with an appropriate price tag but it’s a price tag that keeps it out of reach for the younger enthusiast crowd that might long to own such a machine.

On paper, the Kia Stinger GT is a true competitor to the likes of the BMW 440 and 640 Gran Coupe, the Audi S5 Sportback, and the base (BASE, people… Not the V8s) Porsche Panamera. It’s quick, comfortable, and good looking and it can be had for a good deal less than that mighty competitive set.

My fear with the Stinger GT, however, is that it will be a car beloved by enthusiasts and journalists… and purchased by few. I really hope I’m wrong though, and I truly believe that if it sells well it could be the car that gets people finally worrying about what the badging on the nose and tail.

This is the all-new Aston Martin Vantage

Say hello to a brand-new Vantage.

This is Aston Martin’s latest machine to wear a name that goes back to 1951. Today it’s applied to a vehicle that doesn’t just continue on with a storied legacy, but rockets the Vantage into the future.

It’s aggressively styled. From the oversized grille to the integrated rear ducktail and massive diffuser, there’s a lot to take in here. With its short wheelbase, it appears eager and ready for action and the aero elements should help keep that action firmly planted to the ground.

Inside the cabin space, you’ll find a more focused cockpit compared not just to Vantages of old but to the latest DB11 as well. This is the sports car, the drivers car, compared to the more grand touring nature of the larger DB11.

Without an engine to power it, of course, a car like this is nothing more than rolling art. Thankfully, Aston Martin have fitted the Vantage with an AMG-developed 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8. It’s set low in the chassis and far enough back that the engineers have created a 50:50 weight distribution. B

ring the engine to life with a press of a button and you have 503 horsepower and 505 lb-ft of torque at your disposal. That peak torque figure runs from 2k rpm up through 5k rpm, which coupled with a dry weight of 3300 lbs means copious vehicular shenanigans are a mere throttle blip away.

Like the other modern Aston Martin products, the engine is controlled through a rear-mounted ZF 8spd gearbox. Press the paddle to call up first gear, and you can move from 0-60 miles per hour in 3.6 seconds and onward to a 195 mile per hour top speed. Aston Martin’s most sporting model is all-new and appears to be better than ever.

It goes on sale now with a starting price of $150k. Stay tuned because we’ll tell you how it drives in the very near futureā€¦

Hooniverse Asks: Which vehicle are you thankful for this year?

Jeff Glucker November 20, 2017 Hooniverse Asks

I still can’t believe it’s a vehicle that you can go to a dealership and purchase. The asking price is well under $100,000. The horsepower figure is over 700. Inside, you’ll find room for five adults. The top speed is 204 miles per hour. It’s a Dodge. It’s the Dodge Charger Hellcat, to be more precise… and it’s one of the most insane cars ever built, and I’m thankful for the fact that it exists even if I can’t afford one of my own.

We live in crazy times. Cars are a nice way to refocus on the good in our lives. What vehicle are reminds you of this? Which vehicle out there, new or old, are you thankful that it exists?

Hooniverse Asks: We’re about to drive the new Kia Stinger, what do you want to know?

Jeff Glucker November 16, 2017 Hooniverse Asks

Today, I’m in Hollywood to attend a launch event for Kia’s latest machine. It’s the 2018 Kia Stinger and it has its sight set on some lofty goals. Is this really a potential BMW 3-Series or Infiniti Q50 competitor?

That I don’t know yet, but I do know that I am incredibly intrigued by the idea of a rear-wheel-drive (or all-wheel-drive if you want it) sports sedan/hatchback.

There’s a four-cylinder engine offered, but we’re here to sample the larger 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6 and its 365 horsepower output.

I worry that this will be a car that I’ll really enjoy… and no one will buy. Regardless, it’s nearly time for me to take the keys to one. What do you want to know about it?

I’ll put my thoughts in the video review and also answer some questions here later in the day.

Watch Budweiser pay tribute to Dale Earnardt Jr with One Last Ride

Dale Earnhardt Jr is approaching his final NASCAR race. His professional racing career, which started when he was 17 years old, is turning the corner into its final chapter in a series that’s seen an Earnhardt run for decades. As part of the goodbye tour for Dale, one of his long-standing sponsors has created a video to show its appreciation for all that Jr has done for them in this arena.

Now, I’m no big NASCAR fan. That’s the other J Gluck. But Dale Jr has always seen like a stand-up guy working for wins against a sea of racers that want to beat him solely because he’s his father’s son. Dale is a two-time Busch Series champion, two-time winner of the Daytona 500, and a perennial fan favorite. He’s the guy you want to see do well in this sport, and he also clearly has fun with it as well.

So if, like myself, you’re not much of a NASCAR fan, you can be a Dale Jr fan. Hit play on the video above and watch this well-produced short ode to a man who is a major part of the NASCAR universe, and will continue to be when he moves into the broadcast booth next season.

Also… sidenote: I’d love to see a craft brewery compete in this space. Someone needs to step up with the dollars and sponsor the Fontana or Sonoma events.