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Submission Thursday: Balkanized, Part 2

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[Ed. note: Continuation from Balkanized, Part 1. If you haven’t read the first part by Matt Harvey, I recommend you do that immediately. Photos by Darjan Platinovšek –Antti]

Ivan and his new chums climb away out of sight and the burble of their engines dwindles to nothing. For a few seconds there is silence, not a breath of breeze to sully it as we drink in the landscape. Only a few seconds. We still have a good distance to go before we get to our digs just south of Rijeka with an hour and a half until sunset, just enough time to milk this road dry.

Pulling back onto the tarmac we resume the descent alphabetically, Audi first, BMW second, clear air in third. A few more bends and short straights and Darjan spots another lay-by, this time right on the apex of a sharp left-hander but with the promise of rewarding vistas. I slow as hard as I dare, mindful of the sticky master cylinder a few metres behind before easing the A4 over a lip onto an oval of gravel the size of a tennis court.

Aleš tucks in next to us as we reach for phones and cameras to scan the horizon and the islands in between and capture a few slices of the view. Shunning selfies, Darjan grabs his tripod from the trunk and declares it’s time for a group shot as I realize my right foot is resting on a boulder about 18” high. Rock Woollarding it is then! He sets the timer and jogs over to take position before the shutter clicks…

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Submission Thursday: Balkanized

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[The following travelogue is a snapshot from a recent roadtrip in Croatia, and the penmanship and photography is by the inimitable Matt Harvey. Additional photos by Ales Zorko. -Antti]

We leave the highway at Karlovac about twenty minutes outside of Zagreb, taking the road south towards the Plitvička National Park. We’re a ragtag little convoy comprising a Croatian on a Kawasaki ER-6N, a wild, nomadic Finn and a Slovenian in a restored ’89 BMW 325i Touring with yours truly and another Slovenian in a 2004 Audi A4 1.9 TDi that has uprated brakes, suspension, sticky tyres and an engine remap. Like I said – ragtag.

It is the Sunday of the May Day holiday weekend, and so of course the roads are packed. While most of the traffic is heading home and therefore in the opposite direction, it still means overtakes are few and far between. The presence of the nimble bike up front able to radio back to the cars makes little difference; a stubborn native in a red van is slowing us to truly pedestrian speeds except on the straights where he boots it. The bastard.

Mid-afternoon and we pull over in Rastoke, a pretty spot with waterfalls and a bar perched on the edge of the river gorge. We stretch legs and take on fluids. “Don’t worry,” our Croatian host assures us, “It’s going to get better, in a little while.”

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The Perfect European Sports Car: Ford Mustang V6 Convertible

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[The intrepid backpacker, Frankiess recently paid a visit to Florida. Here’s his two cents of his (non-Ecoboost, duh) rental vehicle of choice. -Antti]

You’ve heard it all before. Europeans make the only true sports cars. Europe has the best small twisty roads and the best chassis engineers on the planet. And the Nürburgring! Every decent sports car is European.

Americans, on the other hand, build huge landbarges with boat engines, truck chassises and give them the moniker of a “sports car” because it’s a good marketing term.

This is an undeniable fact, and everyone knows this.

.. Right?

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Submission Thursday: A Classic, Classic Quandary

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[Ed. note: This thoughtful piece is submitted by Matt Harvey, a fellow petrolhead I usually meet near and at the Nürburgring. He drives a turbodiesel BMW E46 and an MX-5 Phoenix, even if he does that on the wrong side of the road from where I’m looking. Also, pay notice to that licence plate up there –Antti]

 

My oldest friend is a guy called Tony. We met at school aged 8, and while life has over the years caused us to spend much time apart, we are still bosom pals.

Amongst the things that cemented the bond of our friendship was a love of cars, although Tony’s frequent dabbling in homotorcyclism was a lifestyle choice, to which even to this day I have never felt myself inclined to subscribe.

One of our earliest shared passions was the Rover SD1. Launched not long before we met, its rakish, futuristic looks stirred something deep within our respective, pre-pubescent souls – a car that could very well have been designed to showcase what the future would bring, alongside monorails and meals in tablet form. We were too young to know that its origins in a broken Britain, riven with industrial strife, meant it was no more reliable than a whore’s smile or that its design cues aped those of the Ferrari Daytona in ways that would mean lengthy litigation in more modern times. All we knew, as 8 year olds, was that it was cool, very cool and that we both wanted one.

Years passed, we left school, went our separate ways and got on with our lives. In my head my passion for the SD1, like its numbers on the roads, dwindled into almost nothing. But not for Tony. Almost a quarter of a century after our first meeting – and, I suspect, against the express wishes of his dear spouse – Tony bought one.

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Submission Thursday: A Story of the Frozen Rush

Hooniverse February 26, 2015 All Things Hoon

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[Hooniverse reader Smokeyburnout trucked up to Maine in the bitter cold last month to attend this event and wrote up the experience for us gracious Hoons. -Ed.]

If you’ve been online or watched TV anytime in the past few months, you’ve probably already heard about this, but winter sucks most of the time.  It gets really cold outside and you have to keep going out there to un-bury all of your stuff. I spend most of my winters enviously watching videos from events like Tropheé Andros and winter stage rallies, but then in the middle of last year I found out I was missing out on a winter race within reasonable driving distance: Red Bull Frozen Rush.

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LeMons Team Profile: Sorry For Party Racing

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Today’s Submissions Thursday Submission comes from Estlin Link. He’s a 24 Hours of LeMons hanger-on and will be writing up profiles of various entertaining LeMons teams.

24 Hours of LeMons racers range anywhere from Michael Schumacher wannabes to the “I just fixed my car with duct tape” kind of guy. That diversity is exactly why LeMons has gained such popularity; serious racers want two days of wheel-to-wheel racing while average guys with a full time job just want to go fast around a track in a car they built with some friends in a dirty garage while kinda drunk. It’s hillbilly engineering meets club racing.

Just by looking at their name you can tell the Sorry for Party Racing crew are the kind of guys who’ve mastered the art of balancing racing and relaxing. SFPR team member Dean perfectly illustrates what the team is about: “We definitely are in it to have fun; I often remark that there is a fine line between life of the party and the world’s biggest douchebag and I am happy to report we are on the right side.”

Seemingly in full agreement, the Hooniverse preview for the last race had this prediction for SFPR: “Will they win? Maybe. Will they have fun? Definitely.”

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First Drive: 2015 Ford F-150
An aluminum game changer?

2015 Ford F-150

[Friend of Hooniverse Ben Wohja Woodzila W. recently got some seat time in the brand new, aluminum bodied Ford F-150. He posted about it on Facebook, and I asked if we could repost his thoughts on the new truck here. So here you go, enjoy! — J.G.]

1) At a 20,000 ft level, it’s a truck. Yes, it has an aluminum body and as a result has a higher payload and trailer rating, but at the end of the day, it’s a truck. At no point in the day and a half that I spent with a variety of models did I think “This really changes the game.” I know from a materials and manufacturing process that it does indeed change the game, but to the end user, it doesn’t cure cancer, it doesn’t blow skirts up. It’s a good, solid truck, much like you can buy at a GM or Ram dealer.

Aside from not being able to stick magnets to it, the average Joe would have a REALLY hard time determining why it’s special. Out the door pricing will be very important because the competition among the three main players will be pretty stiff.

2) Exterior styling works well. Trucks are hard, in that they’re three boxes period, no options. The grille works, the body lines flow, the tailgate distinguishes the truck from its predecessors in traffic. Fancy ambient lighting in the headlights looks cool as do the optional all LED headlights. Ford has done well to eliminate the protruding blue ovals used to hide various cameras. The truck looks clean.

3) As far as features go, the F-150 is leading the pack. The improved man step in the tail gate is great. The LED spot lights on the wing mirrors seem hokey at first, but they’re pretty neat in real life. The side steps are carry-over and only necessary because the bed side around about a foot too high. The LED light on the tail gate is great. The power release tail gate… kind of silly. The optional E-track mounts in the bed sides are genius and should be copied by everyone else. Borrowing a page from Nissan’s Around View playbook with the 360 view is nice if over due.

[Jump past the break for more…]

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Podcast: Episode 68 – Electricity, Hydrogen, and Atomic Betty

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This week Jeff is out of town and leaves Blake and Chris to their own devices. They deliver a number of tangents cleverly disguised as segments including…

  • Live TV Audiences
  • So You Think You Can Dance
  • Blake reviews the new Cadillac Escalade
  • Android Auto & Apple Carplay
  • Drunk Drivers vs. Texting Drivers
  • Hydrogen Fuel Cells vs. Batteries
  • Elon Musks plans to rule the automotive industry
  • Chevy SS now with 100% more manual transmission
  • Monster Miatas

Hop the jump for the hot ear medicine…

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HCOTY Nominee: 1979 Pontiac Trans Am

DSCN8257 Meet Ken’s 1979 T/A my nominee for 2013 HCOTY. It’s pretty cool, it’s brown, it’s also the first new car he bought out of high school back 34 yerars ago now. This photo is from March of this year, needless to say Ken takes good care of his cars. … Continue Reading

Saabs on Display in Vasa, Finland

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[Words and photos by friend of Hooniverse, Christian R]

There’s a saying here in Finland: ”Saabismi on sairaus”. Or in English: ”Saabism is a sickness”. I can’t say I consider myself a proper fan of the brand, but I do enjoy cars of all shapes and sizes.

When a friend and life-long fanatic of the quirky car maker told me that the annual Finnish Saab club summer meet was going to be held in my town, I couldn’t come up with an excuse not to drop by.

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