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Hooniverse Asks: If you were to visit the ‘Ring, what sort of vehicle would you use to drive ’round it?

I recently returned from a trip to Germany where I stayed in a hotel that’s set right next to the famed Nürburgring. Sadly, my trip didn’t include a lap of the Green Hell but I was able to see a few machines turning laps in anger over the course of the many miles of twisting and turning tarmac.

A handful of outfits have a rental fleet in place should you arrive with an itch to drive. These range from lightly prepped Suzuki Swifts up to Porsche 911 GT3 super coupes and beyond. What sort of vehicle would you want if you arrived at the ‘Ring?

It can be whatever you want, you just have to tell us why you’ve chosen that specific machine. Sound off below.

Hooniverse Asks: What car would you never own?

I hated the Saturn Aura. I drove one years ago back when I used to work at the shitty version of KBB. The Aura was reviewed and at the time I remember writing that they should’ve called it the Saturn Emo because it makes me want to cut myself. I pulled that line from the final story, but I wish I hadn’t.

I would never own a Saturn Aura. 

Compounding my hatred of the car is the fact that a Saturn Aura owner’s group (yes, seriously) found the article and were properly pissed at my article. Too bad that story isn’t on the Internet anymore.

If someone offered me one for free, I’d decline. 

What vehicle would you absolutely never want to own?

OVC is building a brand-new 1965 Shelby GT350R Mustang

When you have the original Shelby crew wrenching on actual 1965 Ford Mustang coupes, you’re going to wind up with something great. The team is now called OVC, or Original Venice Crew, and they’re finding actual ’65 K-Code Mustangs to transform into Shelby GT350R race ready pony cars.

Under the hood is a reworked 289 cubic-inch V-8 engine, and now it’s cranking out 450 horsepower. That power still flows through a four-speed manual gearbox and on out to the rear wheels, but here we find an upgraded trick. You can stick with the classic solid axle, or OVC will provide you with an independent rear suspension setup… which is what they would’ve done back in the day had Ford let its prototype IRS live on.

OVC will build just 36 examples (just like Shelby did back in 1965). Each one starts at $250,000. That’s a ton of cash, but quite a bit less than an original ’65 Shelby GT350R will set you back as those are inching closer to seven figures.

You could roll up to your local high falutin’ valet stand in any exotic… or you can be a hero, and roll up in a car packing heritage, history, and one hell of a sound.

Hooniverse Asks: What’s the best interior/exterior color combo ever offered?

A few year back, Audi showed off its R8 at the New York Auto Show. The color chosen for the display car was a gorgeous hue called Goodwood Green Pearl Effect. Inside, the cabin was delivered in a dark brown scheme. Combined, the two colors created an epic style statement. It wasn’t in your face, nor did it shout its brilliance at you. Instead, the green and brown pairing served as a notice that you can be bold without being brash.

What are some of your favorite color combinations? It doesn’t need to be on something modern, and I fully suspect that the best answers will arise from older machines. Shout it out loud in the comments below.

[Image plucked courtesy of Fourtitude.com]

Hooniverse Asks: Which group of car owners is the friendliest?

We all have our opinion on which group of car owners we think are …less than ideal, when you need to interact with them. On the flip side though, which group of car owners do you think are a pleasure?

You may be tempted to talk about Miata owners, but maybe a the cult of Mazda’s diminutive sports car rubs you the wrong way. Perhaps vintage VW Beetle people are a joy to talk to, but in reality they may get tiresome quite quickly.

We could find a person that has an issue with any car ownership group out there, but I want to read about great encounters that you’ve had, or heard about.

Sound off below.

Podcast: Episode 248 – Pizza Interruptus

I’m solo. Not Solo. Though that would be fun…

This is a solo episode, and today I’m talking about my two Benz project cars. The one that drives and the one that doesn’t. After that it’s question time, and we have plenty of those to run though. We’ll cover everything from project cars, more thoughts on what Ford is doing, and maybe even talk a bit about beer.

Hit play and enjoy Episode 248.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
I swear a lot in this one…

You can walk into a dealership and leave with the keys to a 707-horsepower Jeep Grand Cherokee. It’s called the Trackhawk, and it’s the best, dumbest vehicle ever built.

Of course, you’ll need to drop around $90,000 to get one. Still, what we have here is a Hellcat Jeep packing all-wheel-drive and good cargo space.

Can you live with eight to nine miles per gallon fuel economy? Do you care that everyone in a three-block radius can hear your supercharger whine? Do you want to spend the money it will cost when you eventually need to change a set of 295 Pirelli tires?

HELL YES.

Love live the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk – the planet’s best dumb thing ever built.

[Disclaimer: Jeep tossed us the red key to the Trackhawk and included a tank of fuel. We became close friends with the local fueling station attendant… during the subsequent three trips during the course of a week.]

Hooniverse Asks: What modern upgrades do you enjoy in your older cars or trucks?

Right now, my 1974 Mercedes-Benz 280 sedan is receiving a modern upgrade. No, it’s not under the hood. Nor is it going to affect the way the old Benz rides and drives. Instead, it’s going to upgrade my aural experience. I’m having a new stereo installed thanks to our friends at Clarion.

What I’m not doing, however, is touching the lovely (and still working) Becker head unit that came from the factory. We’re working around that system and utilizing a Clarion Marine audio brain to control a handful of speakers. I’ll go into more details in an upcoming story (and a video as well).

An upgrade like this seems relatively simple, but it can dramatically upgrade your daily experience with your older vehicle. What other upgrades have you done (or are you considering) on any older machines in your fleet?

Up close with the Candylab Toys Drifter

It’s a toy. But as an adult you’re going to want to keep this on your desk. That’s because it’s very well made and will leave you imagining the places you’d go if you owned a real version of the vehicle this toy images itself to be. It comes from an outfit called Candylab Toys, and this specific model is called the Drifter.

… Continue Reading

Podcast: Episode 247 – What makes for good automotive TV?
with guest Patrick Costello

Patrick Costello joins me on this episode of the podcast and we walk about automotive television. He’s an Executive Producer for Truck Night in America and we worked together on Top Gear US (when it was still good, on the History channel). So we wanted to talk a bit about what goes into making a show, why other shows don’t work, and what we do like out of certain shows.

After that we dive into your questions. Also we’re recording from a brewery – thanks again Four Sons Brewing!