Hooniverse Asks: How Many Miles is Too Many Miles?

Robert Emslie December 7, 2016 Hooniverse Asks


I recently talked my father-in-law out of the purchase of a 1985 Porsche 944. Now before you raise the pitchforks and fire up the torches understand that this particular car has 348,000 miles on it. It has 348K on the engine, all of the bushings, the bearings, and pretty much every other modestly consumable part of the car. Even if the price had been in throw-around money, the car still wouldn’t be all that much fun to drive the way it was intended.

Mileage is a primary metric in automotive value, and often a seller will attempt to ameliorate their impact by touting them as being “mostly highway miles.” Yeah, sure.

Mileage is subjective too. 100K on a Mercedes W124 diesel isn’t going to mean the same thing as on a Ferrari Mondial of similar age. One will be just getting warmed up while the other will be begging for a painless end. There still comes a point when miles matter without regard to the ride upon which they are being added. Certain numbers impress and can frighten. That’s what we’re interested in today. What we want to know is what is, in your opinion, too many miles?

Image: CheapCarsDomain

Last Call: Thanks for My Life Edition

Robert Emslie December 6, 2016 Last Call


I have no reason to doubt the sincerity of Gordon MacKenzie’s gratitude towards GenTex in saving his life, however there’s only so much a crash helmet can do when you’re racing an OTS that lacks both roll bar and full harness. Still, it seems to have made a difference as MacKenzie continued to drive for years after this ad was run – including a fifth-place finish at Sebring in 1955 and a stint in vintage racing while in his eighties.

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: TheChicane

Track Tuesday

Robert Emslie December 6, 2016 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 more corners.  Good luck!

Image: ©2016 Hooniverse/Robert Emslie, All Rights Reserved

Hooniverse Asks: Do You Have an OBDII Scanner?

Robert Emslie December 6, 2016 Hooniverse Asks


I’m old enough to remember when the most important tool for working on your car was a stout length of solid steel rod. It could be used to whack a recalcitrant starter into action, pry interlocked bumpers apart, or fend off wolves while broken down in wolf-infested country.

These days it takes more than that to wrench on a car, sometimes even actual wrenches. One of the most useful tools in my arsenal is my OBDII scanner which has proven invaluable in diagnosing issues with the post ’97 cars in my fleet, as well as in extinguishing those annoying check engine lights that pop up on the dash from time to time. What is it that the AA people say?  Before you can fix a problem, you need to admit that you have a problem. An OBDII reader can help you with that.

Not everybody wants to invest in what is admittedly a fairly expensive piece of kit. Especially as infrequently as these things are needed on newer cars. Plus, many auto parts stores will gladly scan your car for free. Me, I like to be able to know what’s up even after regular business hours, so I have a couple of OBD-reading scanners on hand. What about you, is an OBDII scanner part of your tool kit? If so, has it ever saved your bacon? Mmmm, bacon.

Image: ScantoolCenter

Last Call: Great White Nope Edition

Robert Emslie December 5, 2016 Last Call


You’re gonna’ need a bigger bus.

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: Imgur

Because it’s Monday: Let’s See What Ford’s Mustang Could Have Been


So iconic was the first Mustang’s bodystyle that it has been emulated in later editions—all the way up to the present one—fifty-plus years later. But that recognizable style almost didn’t happen. We have discussed a third party company’s attempt to resurrect the two-seat T-bird’s body as Ford’s nascent pony car, but while that was happening Ford itself, under the direction of upstart exec Lee Iacocca, was cranking out one design study after another in search of the genre’s secret formula.

One of those was the Allegro show car, which featured some of the styling elements of the beloved two-seater T-bird, most notably in the nose, but also presaged a long nose/short deck style that would become the signature of all future pony cars. Homage would unknowingly be paid to the Allegro’s design as well in the eerily similar 1963 Glas 1300 GT out of Germany. Neither the Glas nor the production Mustang however, had anything close to the Allegro’s advanced features. The sporty coupe offered a unique swing-arm mounted steering wheel and movable pedals for easy egress and positioning, both of which were memory controlled.

Those features weren’t the only ones Ford was investigating in the 1960s, and the Allegro isn’t the only cool almost-was from the era. This factory film from 1964 shows future technologies as proof of concept in three of the company’s show cars. Those are the Allegro, which didn’t become the Mustang, the Cobra-based Cougar, which you could cry yourself to sleep over, and the Aurora, a huge wagon with a couch in back, an oven/fridge, and most remarkably, a mapping system, decades before global positioning satellites made such a tool practical. It’s amazing to see features in these show cars that would one day become commonplace. Some of the others are follies of the age, but are nonetheless fascinating to consider.

Come with us now to the topsy turvy era of the mid-sixties to see what Ford thought the future of the automobile—perhaps even the future of the Mustang—would hold. … Continue Reading

Hooniverse Asks: Have You Ever Had a Bucket List Dream Car That Turned Into a Nightmare When You Actually Experienced It?

Robert Emslie December 5, 2016 Hooniverse Asks


Anticipation of an event is almost always better than its realization. Sometimes, actually achieving a goal is close enough to the imagined experience that it’s almost as satisfying. Other times it can be a sad disappointment.

Quite frequently, that can be the case with cars. You imagine what driving one would be like and then when you finally get behind the wheel you discover that it rubs your thighs, that the clutch requires superhuman muscle control to actuate smoothly, or it exhibits some other soul-crushing foible.

Disappointment may not be one of Kübler-Ross’ five stages of grief, but it certainly can be a catalyst. What we want to know today is what cars set you off, those that were aspirational drives that turned out not to live up to your vaunted expectations.

Image: Cloudlakes

Last Call: Dad Joke Edition

Robert Emslie December 2, 2016 Last Call


Dad’s definitely ready for her first driving lesson.

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: Imgur

Mystery Car

Robert Emslie December 2, 2016 Mystery Car


Welcome to December my friends! Just to let you know, there are only 23 more shopping days until Christmas, and more importantly only 4 more Mystery Cars after this one until the new year. This one is in the colors of the season: red for Santa’s coat, and black for the coal he’ll be bringing all the bad boys and girls. If you happen to be one of those bad girls, give me a call.

Just kidding. If however you know the identity of the above ride, call it out in the comments below. Make sure to include both make and model if you do.

Image: ©2016 Hooniverse/Robert Emslie, All Rights Reserved.

Hooniverse Asks: What’s The Most Ridiculously Expensive Car You Can Configure?

Robert Emslie December 2, 2016 Hooniverse Asks


It’s the season of giving, and as we all know, giving ain’t free. When it comes to cars and trucks that giving can in fact put you in the poorhouse. That’s why I’m giving socks this year. Seriously, socks.

Since however we’re all probably thinking about just how much shopping is going to set us back this year, let’s take a time out and look at some cars that none of us would probably buy on a bet—the most needlessly expensive, and probably highest likelihood of depreciation cars we can find. It’ll make us all feel a little better.

I’ve started out with a $48K Kia Sorento. Now, I personally happen to think that the Sorento is a fine automobile, indeed one of the better choices in the crossover class. I would not however, spend damn-near fifty gees on one, no matter how nicely equipped it is. Can you do better than that?


Image: KIA USA