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Hooniverse Asks: Where has your car let you down?

Last night, I ran out to pick up dinner for my wife and I. The location of said food was a mere 5-7 minute drive from our house, and my 1974 Mercedes-Benz had no issues on the drive over. When I received my food and returned to my car, however, the old blue baby was acting up. Actually, it wasn’t acting at all… because putting the key in the ignition and turning resulted in nothing.

The battery is fine. All the gauges sprung to life and the radio would turn on. The buzzer would let me know the door is open with the key in the ignition. But turning to the final spot where I’d normally hear my M110 engine work its way to life, I got nothing.

No clicking. No straining. No four-barrel Weber (someone in prior ownership of the car replaced the Zeniths with a Weber) coughing air and fuel into the engine. My Benz would be sleeping in this spot for the evening.

This isn’t the worst spot to be let down. I called my wife and she came to pick me up along with our slightly colder than anticipated dinner. The car is now at a local shop getting work done, including other items that were on the schedule so the timing is fine.

Where have you been let down by your vehicle? Share your stories below.

Hooniverse Asks: What alternative fuel source would you like to see explored?

The internal combustion engine has ruled the roost for over a century now. Electric vehicles are growing in popularity to meet rising demand. There are a number of hydrogen offerings in the marketplace, should you live in a state or country that has the infrastructure to support those vehicles. You have a few choices when it comes the way in which your vehicle derives its power.

What are some other options you wish we’d explored, be it today, tomorrow, or in the past? Should solar-powered cars have received more attention? Coal cruisers could’ve been a thing. Perhaps nuclear hot rods could have you living out your Fallout-inspired fantasies.

What would you like to or liked to have seen in the space of vehicular powerplants? 

Aston Martin DB11 AMR – First Drive

Aston Martin has hit the rest button on its V12-packing DB11. The updated version is called the AMR, and it’s received adjustments to the engine, exhaust, steering response, suspension, and stability control.

There’s more horsepower (630 hp) from the 5.2-liter twin-turbocharged V12, and there’s also more noise. An ever slightly stiffer front roll bar dials in a dash more response from the nose while revised suspension damping flattens rear roll.

This is the DB11 V12 that Aston Martin should’ve launched with from the get to, but the car rides on a brand new platform and it comes with a learning curve. A curve that’s been aggressively tweaked thanks to former Lotus chassis tuning boss Matt Becker.

In short, Aston Martin looked at the issues from the first run on the DB11 V12 and fixed them. Thus we’ve arrived at the DB11 AMR… a smarter, sharper, louder, more focused grand tourer that’s still dripping with style and luxury.

Now it’s just got a bit more bite to go with its improved bark.

[Disclaimer: Aston Martin put me on six planes in total to get me to Germany to drive the car. There were hotels, food, and drink along the way.]

Can you handle the ennui of a regional auto show?

TeamClearCoat was invited to their local auto show. The 2018 Denver Auto Show allowed the two men behind the YouTube channel and podcast examine more than just cars… they got in touch with their very souls amidst a sea of economy compacts and mid-size crossovers.

You don’t need to understand French. You don’t need an art degree to dissect the nuance. Just hit play and enjoy something different for a change. You’ll love it it… or you’ll hate it, there’s no in between on this one.

Personally, I think it’s hilarious. Well done, gents.

Podcast: Episode 250 – It’s the Blake and Jonathon show!

Blake BZR Rong returns alongside friend of Hooniverse Jonathon Klein to deliver an on-the-road podcast. The pair are attending a press event in Utah and they decided to sit down and chat about all things automotive. Well, first they make fun of Chris and I and then they get to talking about cars.. eventually.

Regardless, they’re funny and you should listen.

Formula One makes a dream come true for a blind super fan

For all the gruff we may give the current Formula One cars, drivers, teams, and ownership, the series still has truly passionate fans based all over the globe. The reach of this sport touches far and wide. In fact, you don’t even need to be able to see the action to be one of its biggest fans. 

Charaf-Eddit Ait-Tales started going blind as a young man. Before he lost his sight, he’d already fallen deeply in love with F1. During a race weekend, Charaf will close his store early on Thursdays to start following the myriad press conferences and qualifying laps. Sometime Monday he’ll open back up.

Charaf recently attended the 2018 Spanish Grand Prix. It was there that he was given the chance of a lifetime. Donning a helmet and race suit, Charaf set out in the rear seat of a special tandem F1 Experiences race car.

It clearly overwhelmed Charaf. And it should warm your heart to see someone so in love with a sport get to experience it in a way he never thought possible.

We can’t embed the video here, because F1 doesn’t allow video playback away from their YouTube page (See, we can still find something to complain about). So you’ll have to quick through to watch the clip.

It’s worth it. Click here to see for yourself.

Podcast: Episode 249 – We peaked awhile ago

Josh Ostrander joins Chris Hayes and myself on this episode of the podcast. We’re recording at 4 Sons Brewing once again, and we have a few things to talk about. Josh still enjoys his boring Alltrack. Chris still wants to sell his Fiesta. I still need to fix things on my Benz.

Also I drove an Aston Martin DB11 AMR, and I can’t tell you how that went just yet. But go look at the released specs compared to the current DB11 V12, and read the press release to see the changes and you’ll have a good idea of what’s going on there.

Finally, we dive into some questions before I cut them off to talk negatively about someone else… for good reason.

The Velar is a real deal Range Rover but with added style

The trail ahead of me is steep and heavily rutted. My friend in a Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro went before me and made it look easy, though I know that’s not the case. Still, the vehicle in which I’m sitting bears badging that traces a path filled with heritage, history, and heaps of mud and dirt along the way. This is a Land Rover. That means the path in front of me can go anywhere I’d like it, within reason. I’m just worried that the level of “reason” afforded me isn’t quite what it used to be… because this particular Land Rover is the new Range Rover Velar.

Is this a quest for more style over true capable substance? Thankfully, the answer is no. The Velar likes to get its fancy skin covered in dirt and far from the beaten path.

… Continue Reading

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?