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


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


[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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Eyewitness: Gumball 3000 rolls into Helsinki


[Disclaimer: Write-up and photos courtesy of Lauri Ahtiainen, known spotter of quality Mercedes-Benzes and driver of a Miata]

During the last couple of days, three large car events have been held around Europe. As I write this, dirty and tired cars are still racing around the Nürburgring race track in Germany, with only two hours left of the legendary 24 hours endurance race. Only a few days ago, classic racing cars and various modern supercars were traveling around the beautiful regions of Northern and Central Italy on this year’s Mille Miglia.

And then there’s this, the Gumball 3000 playboy rally, currently on the jaunt across Finland to the Russian border.

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Seen in a parking garage: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II

[Disclaimer: This piece was written by Lauri Ahtiainen, of recent Motoring Con Brio fame. He drives a red Miata and a bunch of Peugeot 406:s. -Antti]
As black four door Mercs with inline four engines go, this one is pretty special. Sitting in a parking garage between a white Jetta and a grey Toyota Avensis wagon, I probably wouldn’t have spotted it without that rear wing. Oh yes, that rear spoiler. There is only one reason how such an outrageous device was fitted onto the boot of the 190E: because racecar.
One of only 502 examples made, this pristine-looking homologation special had only one reason to exist, and it was a tough one: to beat the E30 M3 in the DTM, the national touring car championship of Germany.

Fastback Friday – The Rotary Club


[Ed’s Note: The following rant is courtesy of Janne Pitkänen, an old friend. He drives a 2004 RX-8  -Antti]

My RX-8 is nearly ready for the summer. A few niggles had to be taken care of, most importantly a clunking sound in the front suspension. The dealership promised to take care of any niggles, within reason, so I contacted the mechanic who had worked on my car before.

Now, I haven’t exactly seen eye to eye in the past with professional dealerships, brand mechanics and their general standard of quality, or lack of. More often than not, even the simplest of tasks would require hours and hours of effort and numerous visits to the garage to be anywhere near sorted. Instead, I’ve learned to trust my own hand and the collective information on various internet forums. On model specific faults, this has proven to be a goldmine of data. I tend to buy most my cars from private sellers for this exact reason, I don’t see any value in paying the dealer premium.

And even though endlink bushings are the sort of thing I could replace myself, there was a few things advocating towards cooperation. First of all, the dealer seemed like a fair bloke. Second of all, I’d like to avoid getting my hands dirty if at all possible. But most importantly, the mechanic in question was also the mechanic of an RX-Mazda rally team.

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Consumer Culture Shock – Electra Encounter

[Ed’s Note: The following rant is courtesy of an old friend, Frankiess. He’s a blogger, video artist, used car salesman, student of life; there are a number of things in the modern world that really grind his gears. He drives a 2004 RX-8  -Antti]
I took the RX-8 for a bit of an afternoon wash. And being the woodhead that I am, I forgot my chammy at home. And drying up the car after a wash in these temperatures is essential, so I made a pitstop at a nearby parking garage. It’s gonna be frozen stiff in the morning, I just know it..
..anyway. I wasn’t the only one looking to benefit from a well-ventilated underground warm garage.

W124 Love – The Panther of Europe


Our friends at The Truth About Cars write a lot about  The Panther Love – their affection to the greatest example of cheap, bulletproof American large sedan. Although it’s been taken away from us as of 2011, it still lives on the roads and used car lots of America. Whether you’re looking for cheap retired taxi made from retired police cruiser or want to cosset your backside in plush leather seats of the nicest Town Car you can find, the Panther is here for you.

But what about us, poor Europeans? Panthers are scarce here, much more expensive than in US of A, with somewhat limited access to the spare parts supply and knowledgeable mechanics. And most of all, they don’t fit our roads and cities. It’s not to say that you cannot successfully run a Panther here as a daily driver (as a former GM B-body owner and driver, I know something about this). They are still quite affordable and parts are cheap even with the shipping, customs and taxes. But the idea of an omnipresent big car that’s cheap as dirt, will last forever and you can buy parts or have it services almost anywhere, is missing. For us, the Panther is more of an extravagancy than rational choice.

Fortunately, we have our own equivalent of Panther.

[Ed: Today we’ve got another piece from longtime internet car guy friend Vojta Dobes, a.k.a. Bobash, a.k.a. an awesome guy in the Czech republic with a penchant for American Iron.]

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Are Supercars like Rock’n’roll Stars?

Hooniverse February 21, 2013 Submission Thursday

pagani huayraWhen I was watching the Richard Hammond’s review of Pagani Huayra on TopGear, watched its out-of-this world aerodynamic features, the steam punk interior, obsessive attention to detail and  strangely understated, yet magnificient design, it occurred to me that this it The supercar of our time.

Yes, Richard Hammond said something similar just a few seconds later. He mentioned the “innocence” of Pagani, not owned (yet) by any of the big corporations, enabling it to freely explore the craziest ideas and retain the soul, while others, like Lamborghini or Ferrari, are choked by corporate politics.

But I don’t think he’s only partially right. Even if Lamborghini or Ferrari were totally independent, they would never do anything as groundbreaking like Miura was half a century ago, or like Huayra is now. Because supercars, and their makers, are like rock’n’roll stars. They are loud, obnoxious, born to break the law…and firmly rooted in their times.

[Ed: Today we’re resurrecting Submissions Thursday to feature a piece from longtime internet car guy friend Vojta Dobes, a.k.a. Bobash, a.k.a. an awesome guy in the Czech republic with a penchant for American Iron.]

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