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Can a rally driver become a drifter?

Can a rally driver jump into a drift car and give it a go? Will the learned skills honed on gravel, snow, and tarmac transfer when you’re behind the wheel of a beat-to-hell Nissan 240SX? If you’re My Life As A Rallyist’s Ryan Symancek, then the answer is a smoky smooth yes.

Ryan trekked down to New Jersey’s Club Loose to try his hand at good ole skid racing. He borrowed a drift-prepped 240SX from Broken Motorsports and set out on the course. How’d he fare? You’ve got to watch the video, but a spoiler alert will tell you that the kid can wheel.

Night School: Episode 4 – Exhaust

You’ve met the truck. We’ve swapped out the bad clutch for a fresh unit from Centerforce. The camshaft and valve seals have been replaced. Now? It’s time to bring the noise. On this episode of Valvoline’s Night School, we’re ditching the glasspack setup that’s on the truck now for a clean bit of plumbing courtesy of our friends at Magnaflow.

Tim is responsible for most of the action in Episode 4… because I’d burn his garage to the ground if he let me try the welder.

Check out the video above, but also head over to Team Valvoline for more great content.

Driving Chris Forsberg’s Datsun 280Z

The car is a 1975 Datsun 280Z. It’s a beloved project beast owned by champion drifter Chris Forsberg, and it was completed with support from a number of sponsors including Clarion.

The old L-series engine is gone. In its place sits the mighty RB25DET, which is a turbocharged engine usually found between the fenders of the R32 Skyline. Here it’s been tweaked and upgraded so that it’s producing somewhere in the neighborhood of a reported 500 horsepower.

Inside the car, (and you can find gorgeous photos of all of this on Speedhunters) is an interior with a bunch of Forsberg’s own logos and plenty of suede. There’s the massive hydraulic brake lever you’d expect to find in a drifter’s daily, and a pumped up audio system with navigation.

The steering responds to inputs with immediacy. There’s some lag from the turbo, but keep your foot planted and the revs rise up then you’re into some serious boost. It sounds amazing and reminds you that if you’re not hearing that noise, then you’re not driving the car hard enough.

Still, it’s a project and all projects are nearly always just that. The car is running hot because Chris is letting ham-fisted journalists have a go. The throttle is sticking, so the engine sounds a bit upset between shifts. Finally, the gearbox is a bit sloppier than I expected. Chris could find gears in his own gear with no issues, but I was trying to stir a bowl of spaghetti. With more time, that would be a non issue but it’s daunting when the owner of the car is riding shotgun and you’re staring down turns on a racing circuit.

It’s a gorgeous machine and an absolute blast to drive. Thanks to Chris and Clarion for the opportunity.

Podcast: Episode 201 – Original Formulation

From the arid plains of Texas we are joined by a mythical figure, few dare utter his name and fewer still believed the legend that he would one day return to reclaim his rightful throne to rule with an iron fist adorned in vintage style clothing with a belly full of beer and a complete disregard for microphone etiquette. 

That’s right, it’s the return of Mr. Rong.


Hooniverse – Original Formulation

Night School: Episode 3 – Camshaft and Valve Seals

Attention class, I need you to sit down because it’s time to take in Episode 3 of Valvoline’s Night School. In this episode we will be diving a bit more deeply into the engine of my 1965 Ford F100. That’s because we’re swapping in an upgraded camshaft and also replacing the valve seals. I want more lope, and I definitely get …way more loud.

Don’t forget to head to Valvoline to check out tons more great content from us, and a number of other folks out there.

First Drive: 2018 Audi S4 and Audi S5

Instead of sampling one new Audi, let’s try out two!

That’s what I did when I trekked to Palm Springs to take in both the 2018 Audi S4 and the 2018 Audi S5. Both are powered by a 354-horsepower 3.0-liter turbocharged V6, and both are a nice improvement over the car they’re replacing.

There’s more noise, more refinement, and an overall greater driving experience. So hit play and enjoy a two-for-one first drive video review.

[Disclaimer: Audi provided a hotel, food, and booze.]

I bought another Benz… say hello to my 1974 280

I did a thing… #MercedesBenz #W114 First step, find Euro bumpers. #HooniverseThings

A post shared by hooniversejeff (@hooniversejeff) on

So yeah… I went and bought another old Mercedes-Benz. First off, no the 300TD wagon we call The Wombat hasn’t been sold off. It’s still being discussed and schemed upon, I promise. Secondly, no I’m not selling the truck yet either (Unless someone gives me a decent enough number then PEACE OUT BRO!). I bought this 1974 Mercedes-Benz because I wanted something cool to cruise around in that I could also feel comfortable letting my daughter tag along in her seat in the back.

Found on Craigslist, this particular car was originally owned by a little old lady down in Carlsbad who bought it new from Hoehn Motors. I still have the business card of the guy who sold the car, complete with his picture and super excellent mustache. She eventually sold the car to a mechanic neighbor who spruced it up and quickly sold it off to the young Newport Beach surfer lad who sold it to me.

Under the hood is the M110 DOHC straight six engine that sucks air and fuel through a carburetor. A four-speed automatic backs up the mill.

Yes, this is sadly the first year they forced those god awful 5-mph bumpers on US imports. It’s still a sharp looking machine, but I do want to source some Euro bumpers eventually. I don’t mind the US headlamps though. On the outside, she needs some love but the body is otherwise pretty straight. Inside, we’re looking alright as well. The original Becker Europa is in place and works fine, and no I’m not removing it for something else. I may hide a more modern system though. The exterior of the seats is in excellent shape but the horsehair is crumbly underneath, so I need the seating all restuffed.

Mechanically, she’s quite sound. A front ball joint causes some pull under braking, but that’s about all I’m finding at the moment. On the highway, she’ll happily cruise at 80 miles per hour (standard Southern California highway speed) and in fact seems to get smoother the faster I go. The steering requires minimal effort and the brakes (despite the pull) actually stop far better than I expected.

I’ll have a post up soon where I walk through the car in more detail and with more photos (and video) very soon. I just wanted to let you all know now, however, that there’s a new face in the Hooniverse Project Car Stable. I’m not sure what I want to do with the car just yet beyond making it look nicer. In fact, I’m not sure I need to do much more than that.

I also can’t think of a name for the car… sound off below if you’ve got something and maybe I’ll find another set of dumb ass vanity plates for this one too.

Night School: Episode 2 – The Clutch

Welcome back to Night School. Today’s lesson is about wrenching on the spinny bits that connect the power of the engine to the transmission. I’m talking about the clutch. On my 1965 Ford F100, I managed to destroy the previous clutch in a surprisingly spectacular manner. So, our friends at Centerforce hooked us up with a new unit and it’s time to that into the truck.

Tim is doing most of the work this time around because I’m busy getting elbows deep in my own engine. That sounds like a euphemism for something. Maybe it is…

Anyway, click play and check out Episode 2 of Team Valvoline’s Night School. Then head over to the Team Valvoline portal for some more great content.

Podcast: Episode 200 – We’ve been doing this how long now?!

This is Episode 200. It’s a bit crazy to think we’ve been gathering to talk into microphones, laptops, handheld recorders, and other bits of tech for a number of years now. To celebrate Episode 200, we decided to record this one in person. A handful of folks gathered at Four Sons Brewery in Huntington Beach, CA and we chatting about our favorite subject.

Guests on this episode include Matt Farah from The Smoking Tire and Bradley Brownell from Hooniverse, Flat Six Society on The Drive, and a pair of podcasts on this network (Cammed & Tubbed and The DFL Show).

Listen in as we talk through another episode. This time with people staring back at us and drinking beer.


Hooniverse – We’ve been doing this how long now?!

Someone at Automotive News thinks the Dodge Demon should be banned

Jeff Glucker April 25, 2017 All Things Hoon

The Dodge Demon is a ridiculous car. Running on 100 octane fuel, it will crank out 840 horsepower and dash across 1,320-feet of tarmac in 9.65 seconds. It’s a focused machine that cares very much about power and straight-line speed, and it’s amazing that any automaker decided this was the right way to spend its own money… and we, of course, love it.

Someone over at Automotive News feels a bit differently. We’d tell you which author has this opinion, but no one has assigned a byline to this rather ridiculous editorial piece. To save you a trip, the gist here is that the author wants the Dodge Demon to be banned from public roads.

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