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Name That Track

Robert Emslie December 22, 2014 All Things Hoon

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Seeing as it’s the holiday season, and things are a little loose goosey this week, I thought I’d try out something new on you and see how you like it. What I’m planning to do is give you an aerial view of a portion of a famous racetrack, as well as a hint of its general location, and see if you can identify the track from those clues. Sound like fun? Okay, here’s the first one, and the locational hint is that it’s in the U.S.. Go to it!

Image: ©2014 Hooniverse/Robert Emslie, All Rights Reserved

About Last Week’s Mystery Car

Robert Emslie December 22, 2014 Mystery Car

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So far, nobody has posted the correct answer to last week’s Mystery Car, and because it’s the season of giving, I thought I’d give you yet another chance, and a bigger visual hint. I’m pretty sure from the image above that you’ll be able to ID the car. You can also answer the question: does the reflection in the bumper makes me look fat?

Image: ©2014 Hooniverse/Robert Emslie, All Rights Reserved

Hoonivercinema- Monday Movie Trailer

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It’s the holiday season and while this week’s movie, Planes, Trains and Automobiles is set during the Thanksgiving holiday, its theme of travel misery is befitting of any time when you’re desperately trying to get someplace and its seems like kismet is working hard to ensure that you do not.

Starring a top of form Steve Martin and the late great John Candy – also top of his game – this John Hughes film from 1987 is one of the funniest, and at the same time most heart-warming movies I’ve ever seen. Martin plays an account manager for a marketing firm, and all he wants to do is get from a client meeting in New York to his home in the Chicago suburbs so he can spend Thanksgiving with his family. Candy plays a sweet but boorish traveling salesman who alternately aids and stymies Martin’s efforts to get home.

One of the coolest things about the film is all the character actors who show up throughout. Those include Martin Ferrreo – who would later get eaten by a dinosaur while sitting on the crapper in Jurassic Park, Spinal Tap’s Michael McKean, and former Nixon speechwriter and master of the monotone, Ben Stein. The movie is really about as perfectly cast as it is scripted. Check out the trailer – and a little extra treat – after the jump, and if you’re traveling this holiday season, try not to talk to any strangers. … Continue Reading

Hooniverse Asks- What’s the Coolest Classic Cab-Over?

Robert Emslie December 22, 2014 Hooniverse Asks

1965_Dodge_A100_Van

Whether it’s a pickup, van, or wagon, the cab-over design is one of the most space efficient in all of automobiledom. Many of the American designs were based on small car frames, but instead of limiting passenger space to between the wheel arches, the Cab-over extends the cabin all the way to the front bumper. The benefits are maximum use of available space, excellent forward visibility, and ease of entry for driver and front passenger owing to the stepped door opening. On the downside were complicated steering mechanisms, a bus-like driving position, and the likelihood that the first thing to go through your mind in a bad frontal collision will be the windshield.

That last item is why we don’t have consumer-grade Cab-overs on the U.S. market any more. Trying to meet modern crash test requirements with so little crush space is a folly destined for failure. Still, we have a ton of cool Cab-overs remaining in the herd, and a lot of them are now reaching classic status, meaning prices for decent ones are heading up the ladder. Trucks like the Corvair Rampside pickup, Dodge A100 wagon, and Ford Econoline all debuted in the sixties, and by the end of the decade, all were gone, replaced by nosier renditions, or in the case of the open-bed editions, discontinued forever.

Only Volkswagen managed to keep the old school Cab-over flame alive here in the states, offering the Bus and then Vanagon. Both of those are now seeing prices rise, and in fact editions of the original Bus now often go for six figures, which is insane. Does that however, make the first generation Type 2 the coolest Cab-over ever? I don’t know about that, as I myself am partial to the Corvair Greenbrier with its crazy front overhang, and that’s ignoring the Japanese offerings of the eighties. What about you, what do you think is the coolest classic Cab-over?

Image: academic.ru

Last Call- Amongst Enemies Edition

Robert Emslie December 19, 2014 Last Call

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You will easy recognize the cars on either end in the picture above, those being the production Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray and Jaguar XKE FHC. The car in the middle might be a little more difficult to place however, as it was a prototype that, while seriously considered for production, never actually made it off the auto show circuit. That is of course Ford’s 1963 show car, the Cougar II with which FoMoCo cruelly teased an adoring public. Based on the AC frame taken from a Cobra, the 260 V8-powered Cougar offered a fiberglass body just like the Corvette.

As you can see, it was substantially smaller than Chevy’s sports car, but possessed similar lines. An interesting aspect of the Ford show car was an automatically opening panel in the tail that would pivot at high speed to relieve air pressure inside, and hence prevent the wrap-around rear window from popping out. Oh what might have been.

Last Call indicates the end of Hooniverse’s broadcast day. It’s meant to be an open forum for anyone and anything. Thread jacking is not only accepted, it’s encouraged. 

Image: CarStyling.ru

Mystery Car

Robert Emslie December 19, 2014 Mystery Car

mystery_car_19_12_14We are just two days away from the Winter Solstice, which is of course the shortest day of the year here in the Northern Hemisphere. That means time’s running out to solve this week’s Mystery Car by natural light. You might need to be pretty bright to figure out the identity of the above vehicle from its cleverly masked picture. Since you’re so bright, you’ll remember to include the makemodelyear-range, and likely engine in your answer. Oh, and for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, take your time!

Image ©2014 Hooniverse/Robert Emslie, All Rights Reserved

Hooniverse Asks- What’s the Most Impressive Jet-Age Dashboard?

Robert Emslie December 19, 2014 Hooniverse Asks

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Cars have always been about style, and in the fifties and early sixties that style was often derived from the Jet aircraft that were then the whiz-bang latest and greatest technological advancement, at least here in the U.S.. That resulted in wing-like fins, side swoops, and hood ornaments that looked like actual aircraft. On the inside, it meant cabins that emulated the cockpits of these modern aircraft, or at the very least, a look that car stylists thought would make you feel like you were piloting the latest jet fighter.

Chrome played a big part in both the exterior, and somewhat surprisingly considering its highly reflective nature, the interiors of these cars. Car makers of the era celebrated chrome as though it were a long-lost friend, which it had been having been banned from excessive use during the war in the previous decade. Also finding a place in these jet age cars were controls that seemed from the future, things like pushbutton transmission selectors, and self-seeking AM radio dials. It was a glorious age in which to live.

Few of us lived in that era, I know I didn’t, but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate it’s naiveté and sense of hope in the future. Lots of cars from this era had magnificent, baroque dashboards that were excessive endeavors in both venture and execution. Let’s look back and decide if we can find which one was the greatest.

Image: Curbside Classics

Last Call- Cutaway Corvette Edition

Robert Emslie December 18, 2014 Last Call

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This 1969 Corvette C3 Coupe was disassembled by Corvette Specialties in Mounds Minnesota as an advertisement for their parts business. It’s completely drivable, although not exactly what you might call road-worthy. It’s also a cool look into what lies under the fiberglass of all those old C3 ‘Vettes.

Last Call indicates the end of Hooniverse’s broadcast day. It’s meant to be an open forum for anyone and anything. Thread jacking is not only accepted, it’s encouraged. 

Image: Chevy Hardcore

Thursday Trivia

Robert Emslie December 18, 2014 Thursday Trivia

Thirsday Trivia

Welcome to Thursday Trivia where we offer up a historical automotive trivia question and you try and solve it before seeing the answer after the jump. It’s like a history test, with cars!

This week’s question: What is a common factor of every engine of the 1st through 4th generation Camaro?

If you think you know the answer, make the jump and see if you’re correct. … Continue Reading

Hooniverse Asks- What Car or Truck Most Overstayed its Welcome?

Robert Emslie December 18, 2014 Hooniverse Asks

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I once heard this joke: what do you do with party left-overs? You gently help them out the door. Cars, just like people, often don’t know when it’s time to go. Whether it’s the Chrysler PT Cruiser, or Alfa Romeo’s Duetto Spider, some of them could be seen as overstaying their welcome.

I’m not saying that some classic cars don’t always have a place in the pantheon of greats. Well, maybe I am, and perhaps it’s time for companies like Morgan to move on. I mean, seriously, do we still need sliding pillar suspensions to show us how it used to be done? Of course on other occasions, it’s simply a nameplate that needs to go. I think that we could do without Ford’s Taurus, considering that the current Volvo-based car isn’t anything like the revolutionary original. Let it go, Blue Oval guys.

What do you think, are there certain cars – or even brands- that really need to call it a night? What are the cars that have potentially overstayed their welcome?

Image: NBC Bay Area

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