Hooniverse Asks: What ’80s Tech Should Most Make a Comeback?

Robert Emslie January 30, 2017 Hooniverse Asks

The 1980s was a magical time for automotive technology. Car manufacturers were finally getting a handle on emissions and safety demands and hence could turn their attention to other, more fun aspects of the driving experience. That resulted in cars with wonderful digital dashboards, talking cars, cars with air vents that oscillated like a table fan and more. What a time it was to be alive.

Sadly, many of those cool features—remember movable control pods?—have long since been abandoned. That’s too bad because what we need in cars these days is more fun. Do you think that some of that ’80s technology should be resurrected, and if so, which feature would you most like to see make a come-back?

Image: Dark Roasted Blend

Last Call: Bridge Work Edition

Robert Emslie January 27, 2017 Last Call


I know that any bridge-building endeavor is inherently challenging and potentially with the threat of loss of life. Only 11 workers died during the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, where it is estimated that more than twice that died building New York’s iconic (and often unscrupulously sold) Brooklyn Bridge.

There’s no record of how many workers lost their lives building this small rail road bridge at India’s Dudhsagar Falls, but I think the greater threat would have been getting lost in wonder at its unbelievable majesty. Don’t take my word for it, check out the larger photo here.

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: Wikimedia

Mystery Car

Robert Emslie January 27, 2017 Mystery Car


Well, the world’s had a week of Trump being President of the United States and we’ve only had about a half dozen international incidents and constitutional crisis so I’d say we’re way ahead of the game! Seriously though, regardless of which side of the political spectrum you call home, I hope you’ve had a good week. If you haven’t then maybe today’s Mystery Car contest will more than make up for the experience. Not to add to your woe, but make and model if you please.

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

Hooniverse Asks: If Chevy Dusted Off the 1973 Wankel Corvette—and Gave it a V6—Would it Sell?

Robert Emslie January 27, 2017 Hooniverse Asks


As you may or may not know, back in the 1970s General Motors had a dalliance with the Wankel engine. The company was so sure that they were going to join the legion of those who didn’t know the words but could hum the tune that they assured AMC that they could source GM’s rotary engine for their new car, the Pacer. GM also planned to supplant—or at least supplement—the V8-powered Corvette with a mid-engined rotary sportster. The future was so bright they needed shades.

Alas for both company’s fortunes it would not come to pass, and both the AMC Pacer and Chevy Corvette were denied the rotary’s benefits… and its detriments. Along the way however, Chevy produced a pair of mid-engined, Wankel-powered prototypes that made the show circuit, if sadly not the sales floor. The first was the XP-897GT, which was built on a modified Porsche 914 chassis with a GM-designed body crafted in Italy by Pininfarina. The 180-bhp transversely mounted 2-rotar engine drove an automatic transaxle that would eventually see the light of day… in the X-body Chevrolet Citation.

The second version was the 1974  XP-895, a show car with doors that predate the Tesla Model X’s seagull wings by decades and an engine made up of two of GM’s prototype GMRCE (General Motors Rotary Combustion Engine) rotary engines. It was perhaps too wild in its day, and maybe even by modern standards to make production, but what about the XP-897GT? I mean, just look at it up there! Do you think that the design of that 1973 car, when mated to, say the V6 engine out of the Camaro, could be a successful addition to the Corvette family? Would the world applaud a mid-engine V6 Corvette with such classic styling? Or would they ignore it?

Image: GM Heritage

Last Call: S’Up Ladies Edition

Robert Emslie January 26, 2017 Last Call

Yo Dawg

Yo Dawg, you wanna’ come back to my place later for some Netflix and Chill?

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: fishki.net

Thursday Trivia

Robert Emslie January 26, 2017 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 in 1966 did Jack Brabham do that no one before or since has ever achieved?

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

Hooniverse Asks: What Would You Most Like to See James May Put Back Together?

Robert Emslie January 26, 2017 Hooniverse Asks


I don’t know whether you have caught James May’s delightful series The Reassembler yet or not, but I will tell you that I am hooked. The small series, which is available to stream on YouTube is like a Zen Garden in its peacefulness and calm. Even May himself pokes fun at the obsequious dullness of watching one man put back together what are honestly mundane day-to-day contraptions, but it’s May himself that makes it so damn interesting.

It may be that we’re both about the same age, and both share an interest in the minutia of the mundane, but I would be happy to watch the loquacious Brit put back together, well, damn-near anything while explaining while explaining its cultural importance. That in fact, is why we’re here today. The Reassembler has been two very short series and I’d like your input on what you’d like to see James May reassemble in the next series. I’ll be sure to pass your suggestions along.

Image: Overclockers

Last Call: Death Star Edition

Robert Emslie January 25, 2017 Last Call

death star

Use the Force Luke, let go Luke… Luke trust me….

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: AcidCow

Craigslist Crapshoot

The World’s Worst Car Is For Sale On Craigslist

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

Under twenty thousand, supercharged or turbo’d is no way to go through life, son. Oh wait a minute, sure it is! That’s just what we went looking for last week and you sure found a diverse universe of thus-equipped cars, trucks, military armament and things for which they have yet to make up names. We’ll see what’s what in just a sec, but first this week’s wet adventure.

It’s been raining here in California pretty much without respite for the past two months. Despite the unusually rich gift from the heavens above, the majority of the state remains in severe water shortage conditions. That’s quite the puzzling contradiction, at least until someone with science explains the situation to you and then you go back to not flushing the pot every time.

Another contradiction is convertibles that were never meant by the factory to be convertibles. Seeing as it’s still raining, let’s look for just that—aftermarket droptops on cars that were never offered as such from the factory. The weirder the better.

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 put the pressure on! … Continue Reading

Hooniverse Asks: What Engine Would You Dig to Take Apart?

Robert Emslie January 25, 2017 Hooniverse Asks


Have you seen any of the episodes of the James May show, The Reassembler? It’s oddly interesting, highly meditative, and an anathema to my own person aversion to putting things back together. I do enjoy taking things apart, but it’s the “reassembly is the reverse of disassembly” bit that kind of sets my yawns on autopilot as far as I’m concerned. Hell, when doing yard-work I’m even more keen to do the hedge-trimming than to be tasked with putting everything in the waste containers.

There’s a certain bliss to taking things apart. It’s perhaps related to the joy one receives opening a gift, or unboxing some new and eagerly awaited toy. When it comes to engines, well, I’ve taken apart my share. In fact, I have a BMC 1275 A-series that has been disassembled and balanced for more than a decade, just sitting in my garage awaiting new life.

That was an effort born from necessity as the 1275 will eventually go into my Sprite. There are a number of other engines that I would greatly like to take down to their baser elements, I just don’t have the money or room to do so. What about you, is there a particular automotive engine that you would just love to tear down? It’s a hypothetical question, so you wouldn’t have to actually put it back together after the fact.

Image: Pinterest