Last Call- I Wouldn’t Steer You Wrong Edition

Robert Emslie March 3, 2015 Last Call

Steer Car

March 15th marks the date of the 20th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, and this year the show will be highlighting “Cars of the Cowboys.” That will include Leo Carrillo’s famous Steer Car, a 1948 Chrysler Town and Country convertible with a longhorn head mounted between the headlights. I find it both amazing and more than a little disturbing.

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: JaxAirNews

Track Tuesday- Name That Track


Welcome to Track Tuesday where you are asked to identify a (maybe) famous race course from just one closely-cropped aerial image. This week, it’s sweepers. Good luck!

Image: ©2015 Hooniverse/Robert Emslie, All Rights Reserved


Hooniverse Asks- Acknowledging Edsel, What Tainted Car Name Will Never Again be Used?


Does your family have a member so disreputable that no one even dares speak their name? That’s usually the case and it took me a while to figure out that the reason I didn’t know that individual’s ID in my family was because it was me. We’ve all since come to terms with the situation. Many businesses never come to terms with a failed product name, and in fact they typically cast the offending sobriquet onto salted earth, lest it ever spring forth again. That’s why we’ll never likely see another Microsoft Bob, Colgate Kitchen Entrees, or yes, the big Kahuna of tainted names, the Edsel.

When it comes to cars, Edsel remains the gold standard of product cock-ups. It wasn’t that the cars were terrible or anything – they weren’t – it’s just that they were introduced to fill a niche that Ford thought existed, but that in fact, didn’t. It doesn’t help any that Edsel happens to be a Ford family name. D’oh!

Of course while the worst of the worst, Edsel doesn’t stand alone in the cold dark wasteland of failed automotive names, and today I’d like your votes for what other car and truck names have been in some way tainted, either by a crap product, or like the Edsel, through unfortunate positioning. What name do you think will forever be relegated to history?

Image: WSJ.com

Last Call- Beat Up Beetles Edition

Robert Emslie March 2, 2015 Last Call

VW Transporter

I know that the smooshed Volkswagens are the focus of your attention in this old-school image. Or perhaps, it’s the Michelin Man on the Transporter’s grille. For me what’s the most interesting aspect of this photo is the Plymouth Valiant police (or more accurately, Polis) car attending the accident. The Swedish Polis loved their Plymouths, and described them as being so good even a cop couldn’t break it. The cars were assembled locally at an ANA plant in Nykoping out of knock-down kits shipped from the U.S., and were used until the Valiant was replaced by the Volare in the mid-seventies.

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: Go Away Garage Background: Allpar


Hoonivercinema- Monday Movie Trailer

Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 8.06.16 AM

Everybody loves an anti-hero, the character that plays by their own rules and doesn’t take you-can’t-do-that for an answer. You don’t get much more anti-heroic than a car salesman (sorry car salesmen) and no one is better at playing an anti-hero A-hole than Jeremy Piven. Did you know he was in Black Hawk Down?

In The Goods, Live Hard, Sell Hard, the only thing going down is car sales, and in this comedy Piven plays a fixer salesman at his smarmiest. Piven’s Don Ready leads a crew of sales ‘professionals’ that includes Ving Rhames, David Koechner, and Kathryn Hahn, and they are called in by a failing dealership to sell 200 cars over the 4th of July weekend. They’re not the only recognizable faces in the film, and in fact if you’re a fan of the U.S. Office TV show, you’ll recognize a few favorites from that cast.

The movie earned a mediocre 27% on Rottentomatoes, but you can’t tell that from the trailer, which is damn funny. I’m sorry about the trailer’s intro but it’s the only version I could find that was (A) HD quality, and (B) not a red band NSFW version. Anyway, ignore the first 10 seconds or so, and enjoy the rest, especially Ving Rhames’ bit about being away from home. … Continue Reading

Hooniverse Asks- Have All-Electric Cars Reached a Critical Mass of Acceptance?


Electric cars have been around since the dawn of the automotive age. Back in the early days, electric cars – owing to their relative ease of use and demeanor – were marketed as cars for the ladies. That’s perhaps still the case in some instances, as I was once told by Jay Leno that out of his whole collection, his wife’s favorite car was a 1910 Baker Electric.

Over the years the fans of electric cars have grown, but mostly in the home brew crowd, an eclectic bunch who are more interested in building their own silent but deadly rides, and cornering the market on lead-acid batteries. Major manufacturers embracing the electric-only car is something that is only a few years old, but with battery technology improving steadily, and wealthy supporters like Elon Musk providing the backing, it may just be that the electric car’s time has come, and not just for the ladies.

Nissan, Ford, Fiat, Honda and of course Tesla have been at the vanguard of this surge in electric cars offered for sale. And it seems that every year brings a new manufacturer on board with their own battery-powered offering. The question is, will this explosion in electric cars last, or is this just a bubble that will eventually burst when owners find out in a couple of years what it costs to replace their precious power supplies? What do you think, are electric cars a fad, or is this their time to shine?

Image: mlifelounge

Mystery Car

Robert Emslie February 27, 2015 Mystery Car


One more day and February 2015 will be one for the books. This is the shortest month of the year, and seeing how cold it’s been in many places (although thankfully not here in paradise) I’ll bet a lot of you are glad to see it go. Something that might warm your heart before it does is the weekly Mystery Car contest, and this being Friday, get ready to get warm. As always, please provide the make and model, and also as always, best of luck!

Image: ©2015 Hooniverse/Robert Emslie, All Rights Reserved

Hooniverse Asks- What’s the Worst Instance of Automotive Cross-Branding?

Robert Emslie February 27, 2015 Hooniverse Asks


Do you remember the Isuzu Oasis? How about the Hollywood Graham or the Sears Allstate? There have been a lot of cars over the years that have pretended to be members of one family when it was plainly obvious that they belonged to another clan.

Cross-branding has gone on almost since the automobile’s inception, and in fact it’s rumored that there was almost a Curved Dash Ford before there was a model T. Well, yeah I made that last one up, but it’s no crazier than the match-ups that really took place.

Of course, not every match is one that’s made in heaven and today I’d like your opinion of which of them you think was the least well thought out. Thinking of cars like the Aston Martin Cygnet and Cadillac Catera, what do you think was the worst instance of automotive cross-branding?

Image: Moto24

Last Call- Follow Me Edition

Robert Emslie February 26, 2015 Last Call


Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport became internationally known as the terminus for ‘Operation Vittles‘ better known as the Berlin Airlift. For 11 months USAF C-47 Skytrains flew food and supplies into Tempelhof in flagrant disregard of the Soviet Union’s attempt to isolate the divided German city.

Once the C-47s were on the ground, they were no doubt guided to their destination by a car like the Volkswagen above which was specially fitted with signs, spot lights, and an amazing panoramic rear window to ensure that the guide didn’t lose his follower.

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: Berlin-Airport.de


Thursday Trivia

Robert Emslie February 26, 2015 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 American car company experimented with a Porsche engine in the back of an existing front-engine model?

If you think you know the answer, make the jump and see if you are right.


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