Hooniverse Asks: Why Is the El Camino More Venerated Than the Ranchero?

Let’s just get this out of the way, the first pickup trucks were car-based and that makes the Chevy El Camino and Ford Ranchero the defacto inheritors of the form’s traditional lineage. Today, Ford’s F-series trucks may claim the title of best-selling vehicle in the U.S., but that proprietary pickup platform didn’t even arrive until 1948. 

By the fifties however, cars and pickups had made their split. At the same time that schism arose, so too did the era of the “lifestyle truck.” Betoken examples were the likes of the Chevy Cameo and the subject of today’s discussion, the Ford Ranchero and the Chevy El Camino, which reunited car and truck forms. There have been a number of other car-based pickups since then, mostly smaller and FWD, while in places like Australia they make an entire industry even today, but the Ranchero and El Camino are considered the progenitors of them all.

Now, with that in mind, the status of each is not equal by a long shot today. While the El Camino has long been the standard bearer or the form, the Ranchero seems to be a perennial also-ran. Both car-trucks seem to have had equal support by their makers throughout most of their lives, and the Ranchero comes from the same company that considers great value in the sales of their trucks. Why is it then that the El Camino has long been more popular than the Ranchero?

Images: Hemmings /UniqueCarsandParts

Last Call: Quit Loafing Around Edition

Robert Emslie April 12, 2017 Last Call

This is just how I imagine artisanal breads should be delivered the world round—in the back a well-worn and homey Renault R4 van.

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: Hanger.Amsterdam

Craigslist Crapshoot

Welcome to Craigslist Crapshoot, our weekly search for the most bizarre, awesome, and/or terrible vehicles that the online classifieds has to offer.

Wranglers aren’t just jeans, they’re also Jeeps, and that’s what we wen’t looking for last week, Wranglers and CJs, all for under five-grand. We’ll what’s off the road and on the table in a sec, but first this week’s quest.

I was heading to a bar with some friends last Saturday, in an eclectic little community called Highland Park. It hugs the Arroyo Seco Parkway between LA and Pasadena and has some of the best bars and restaurants LA’s East Side has to offer. There’s also a bunch of cool cars running around town there, and one that caught my eye was a ’78 Chevy Caprice coupe as it slinked around a corner. This was one of the ones with the folded glass back window, a cool feature in anybody’s book, if you ask me.
That car got me thinking that along with the Station Wagon, another of the SUV and Crossover’s casualties is the big coupe. That’s too bad, and so this week, in their honor, let’s see if we can find the best big coupes that—again—$5,000 can buy. What defines big? Well, I’ll leave that up to you. Surprise me. 

As always, we want your finds to go down in infamy and not in the site’s spam filter. Since we’ve changed commenting systems, you may need to update your commenter account. Make sure you have a Disqus account – they’re free and easy to get – and then comment away.

Got that? Good, now let’s talk about a heap ‘o Jeeps! … Continue Reading

Hooniverse Asks: What’s History’s Greatest Poor People’s Car To Have Been Embraced By The Not So Poor?

Whether it’s the gentrification of a neighborhood down on its luck, or the fancification of what’s generally considered to be “peasant food,” the commandeering of the  simple trappings of life by the well to do has long been an annoying industry.

Cross-class appropriate even occurs in the automotive world. You may not be completely familiar with the history of Ford’s original Fiesta, and if you are not I highly recommend Ate Up With Motor’s comprehensive treatise on the matter. In much fewer words, the Fiesta was a car that was intended by Ford to appeal to car buyers in the southern European nations, where cheap wheels like the Renault 5 and Fiat 127 were popular. It was in fact planned to be such a low margin car that the bean counters almost nixed the entire deal arguing that the Fiesta would never recoup its development costs.

The bean counters were wrong and the Fiesta not only sold in substantial numbers in its intended markets but became one of Ford’s more popular models across the rest of Europe. Sales were so brisk in fact that Ford ended sales of the first generation Fiesta in the U.S. ahead of original schedule to provide more production capacity for their European dealers. Why would people who could potentially afford more buy a Fiesta? Because it was a damn-good little car, with clean Tom Tjaarda styling, an available and willing Kent four under the hood, and a decent amount of luxury accouterments if you had a little more cash available.

That’s just one example of a car for the poors that was appropriated by the rich. Was it however, history’s greatest? What do you think?

Image: RetroAdri

Last Call: Pontiacs in Australia Edition

Robert Emslie April 11, 2017 Last Call

Fun fact: the bumper/grille portion of the 1968 Pontiac Catalina’s nose is reversible!

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: Reddit

Track Tuesday: Name That Track

Robert Emslie April 11, 2017 Track Tuesday

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

Image: ©2017 Hooniverse/Robert Emslie, All Rights Reserved

Hooniverse Asks: Has Every Possible Motorcycle Engine Configuration Already Been Tried?

One thing that both motorcycles and automobiles share is a penchant for a variety of different engine layouts. For both types of machines you can find inline engines, V-units, and horizontally-opposed. With the death of the Wankel in production guise that pretty much covers all the forms available today. That doesn’t mean that there haven’t been some brave souls who have attempted other layouts in the past, and that seems to one area where motorcycles might just have the edge on the car.

Can you think of any engine configuration for a production motorcycle that hasn’t ever been tried? I guess we’ll first off have to make a compendium of all those that have.

Image: AuTo CaR

Last Call: Kermie Edition

Robert Emslie April 10, 2017 Last Call

I feel for ya’ Kermit, I don’t think she’s funny either.

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: Imgrum

Because it’s Monday: Let’s Watch This VERY NSFW Chrysler Plymouth Dealer Ad Parody

That’s Chick Lambert, and that’s Chick’s dog “Storm on the hood of that fine Ford product. This ad parody is from 1969 and is waaay inappropriate for mixed company so make sure grandma and the nuns are out of the room before you watch it. Why can’t ads be this good in real life?

Source: YouTube

Hooniverse Asks: What Was Your Favorite Model Car as a Kid?

Did you build model kits when you were a kid? I sure did, and my favorites were cars and WWII airplanes. It was really the construction that I enjoyed more so than the pride in the completed output, so much so that I oftentimes wouldn’t even bother painting my models, leaving them denuded in white plastic. My favorite model company? Well, that would have to be Revell since their models always seemed to be the most detailed. On occasion I would pick up some foreign-made models but seeing as my primary resource for model shopping was a department store called GEMCO those options were limited.

I blame my eventual waning interest in model building not on maturation—pffft, seriously?—but instead on drug addicts. That’s right, junkies junked my junk! See, the thing of it was, when I was a kid we used this stuff called “model cement” or “model glue” to hold together our plastic models. It possessed a particular odor and apparently you could cop a buzz by squeezing it out and sniffing it. Once that was discovered the high-inducing model glue was taken off the market and replaced with this lemon-smelling crap that was about as effective in holding models together as my spit. About the same time model makers started coming out with snap-together models that didn’t even require glue. What’s the fun in that? If I had wanted something that just snapped together I’d have still been playing with Legos.

At any rate, I stopped assembling models in my early teens, and that was about the same time that I started working on real cars. Maybe my model making just shifted scale? If you have memories such as these then you probably have a favorite model that you built as well. I happened to really like Revell’s Gran Turismo, a VW-based model of Revell’s own design. Did you ever build a Gran Turismo, or did you have another favorite? Let’s close the window, uncap the glue, and let the memories flow.

Image: eBay