Hooniverse Goes to Monterey (Day 2): Astons to Zagatos


That there is no mere Maserati Biturbo. It’s a maxi version called the 228. The execs at Maserati, in their infinite wisdom, built 469 of these between 1987 and 1991 to compete with the likes of the Mercedes 300CE, BMW 635CSi, and the Bertone Volvo 780. This being Hooniverse, I focused my Saturday down in Monterey on the unusual, the obscure, the Hoontastic. Make the jump to see the unusual, the obscure, and the Hoontastic. You won’t be disappointed. … Continue Reading

Hooniverse Goes to Monterey (Day 1): Aventador, Jackie Stewart, Laguna Seca


I can report to you that Day 1 of my Monterey jaunt was a smashing success. I got to drive a V12 Lamborghini, saw three-time F1 champion Sir Jackie Stewart, and spotted hundreds of rare and lust-worthy automobiles. It was a perfect day. Make the jump to see why Monterey Car Week is every car nut’s dream destination. … Continue Reading

Shipping Cars to Central Asia and Beyond


Used cars are shipped to other countries. We hold this truth to be self-evident. We all know this happens on a daily basis, but what are the cars being exported, where are they going, and what is the process like? The good people at West Coast Shipping near the Port of Oakland opened their doors and let me take a fascinating peek inside their busy operation. If you are a fan of cars, geopolitics, or freight logistics, then you are in for a treat. Make the jump to see what I saw and learned.

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Our Cars: 2006 Volvo V50 T5 6M

Jim Yu July 7, 2014 All Things Hoon


Finally. After a 14-month carless drought, I finally found a proper ride. Meet my new-to-me 2006 Volvo V50!

After selling my Phaeton, I was looking for a totally different car to replace it. It could not be a gas guzzler. I was in the proverbial doghouse with my green wife when she discovered that I was getting 12 mpg running errands around town in the big VW. We also got a dog, so I wanted a wagon. A manual transmission was not an absolute requirement, but was definitely preferred. Finally, the car had to be rare. Make the jump to see how I came to find this low-mileage Volvo and my initial driving impressions.

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Truck Thursday: The Trucks of Alaska’s Dalton Highway


A couple of weeks ago, I took a van trip up Alaska’s Dalton Highway to the Arctic Ocean. The Dalton, also known as the Haul Road, parallels the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and was made famous by the TV show Ice Road Truckers. I saw many pieces of unusual heavy machinery, like this Euclid B70 dump truck.

My ride was a Ford Econoline E350 with the V10 Triton. It transports people, bicycles, and canoes up and down the Dalton. My round trip fare was $500. Coincidentally, this van burns $500 of fuel for the round trip between Fairbanks and Deadhorse (1,000 miles total). Since the road was mostly gravel (and mostly rough gravel), we rarely exceeded 40 miles per hour. The steepest grade was 12%, at the Atigun Pass.

Make the jump to see more.

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Hooniverse Goes to Fairbanks, Alaska


Last week, I flew up to Fairbanks, Alaska, to embark on a bus trip up the Dalton Highway to the Arctic Ocean. I spent a day moseying around town and gathering supplies for the arduous trip. These are the cars (and pipeline) I saw. Make the jump to see what I saw. … Continue Reading

Hooniverse Asks Bonus: What Are Police Departments Replacing Crown Vics With?

Jim Yu May 7, 2014 Hooniverse Asks


I need your help.

With the demise of the Ford Crown Victoria, thousands of police departments around the country are looking for replacement patrol cars. The alternatives are the Ford Police Interceptor Sedan (Taurus), the Ford Police Interceptor Utility (Explorer), the Dodge Charger Pursuit, and the Chevy Caprice PPV.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, which is made up of approximately 100 municipalities, there is no consensus. My town has not purchased any replacements and seems intent on driving its fleet of Crown Vics to the ground. The two small towns next to mine are slowly replacing their Crown Vics, one by one, with the Taurus and the Charger. In nearby Oakland, the police department just ordered a huge batch of Explorers.

Click to see why I need your help.

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Ranking the Border Crossings Along the Pan-American Highway


Background: Since 2007, I have been taking bus trips along the Pan-American Highway. I have done 12,000 miles of it so far, which is approximately 88% of the road that stretches from the Arctic Ocean to the tip of South America. I have two segments left. This summer, I will travel by van along the Dalton Highway from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Next year, I will finish with a bus trip from Lima, Peru, through Ecuador, to the frontier town of Turbo, Colombia (along the edge of the Darien Gap).

While I prepare for my Alaska trip, I thought I would share with you my experiences at the border crossings. Oftentimes, the border crossing is the most exciting, and dangerous, part of the journey. It certainly gives you insight about each country’s culture, governance, and character. 

I will rank the border crossings I used, from least to most “challenging”.

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The Psychology Behind the Elder Yanukovych’s Car Collection

Jim Yu February 26, 2014 All Things Hoon, Museum Tour


Disclaimer: I never took a psychology course, but I have watched two episodes of Dr. Phil and I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.

No doubt many of your jaws dropped to the floor last weekend when you saw the elder Yanukovych’s Soviet-era car collection and the younger Yanukovych’s more contemporary car collection. What prompted the father and son to gather their cars? And what do these cars say about them?

Let’s start with the father. And as with all pop psychology, let’s look at his childhood. He grew up in extreme poverty. He was barefoot and was often picked on. His mom died when he was two. His dad, a locomotive driver, died when he was twelve.

Perhaps because he looked up to his father, Yanukovych got into the transportation field. He managed one large transport company after another, until he got into politics. Though he was Prime Minister of Ukraine from 2002 to 2004, it is suspected that he did not accumulate his vast wealth through graft and corruption until 2010, when he became president.

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Review: Fiat 500e Electric


If I were in the market for an electric car, I would definitely get this Fiat 500-based runabout. It is quick, easy-to-park, practical, good looking, and relatively inexpensive. But at the end of the day, the limited range means we (my wife and I) are most likely going to opt for the gasoline powered Fiat 500 Turbo. I must emphasize how close that decision is– it is a near toss-up.

… Continue Reading


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