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NYIAS 2014: All The Mazda Miatas!

2014 NYIAS-2

Mazda, for some reason, thinks that auto journos like Miatas, so they have brought to the New York Auto Show almost every significant Miata they have ever made. From the original stripped out 1990 model with steel wheels to race cars, tuner cars, and concept cars. 

All pictures after the jump, including one of Jeff being a little too happy. My favorite is still the coupe concept from the mid-90s. There is no sign of the all-new ND Miata, which is disappointing. 

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New York International Auto Show 2014 – The Hooniverse Coverage

nyc auto show 2014

It’s that time of the year again when Jeff and I meet up in New York City and drink provide Hooniverse readers with some kind of a vague but somewhat interesting coverage. We are not sure exactly how we’re going to do it, and likely we never will be. We just walk around aimlessly, chat with people like, talk about people we don’t like, eat junk food, look at cars and criticize, drink fancy lattes, look at cars and drool, and take random pics with our fancy cameras. We’ll have our phones on us for the ever important selfies and/or really weird stuff which will FaceBook/tweet.

There will be premiers, some auto journosaur will do/say something stupid, professional and knowledgeable product professionals in ridiculously short miniskirts, automakers will put on fancy press conferences that we will not attend. There is also a few halls that no journos ever attend with old cars, and more frequently attended truck area. Is there anything you, our awesome readers, want to see specifically?

 

Craigslist: Turbocharged 2006 Honda Element EX AWD

honda element turbo front

For those not familiar with it, the Honda Element was a very interesting vehicle. Based on the CR-V chassis it was a square four door CUV thing, with the rear doors being suicide style similar to the Toyota FJ Cruiser, and rear hatch with a proper tailgate. The interior was all lined with water resistant fabric and the floors were rubber-ish. The most interesting thing about it was it interior size – with rear seats folded and and secured against the wall, the thing had more space than a Land Rover. The front and rear seats also folded flat, making the Element a great “camping” (wink) vehicle.

Aside from its funky looks (sunroof was in the back, near the hatch) and utilitarian design that made it appealing to a limited group of people, there wasn’t much else to the Element. It was a good vehicle in a Honda sense, reliable and efficient, but otherwise unappealing to enthusiasts. Except this one guy who turbocharged his.

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Review: 2015 Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E
Supercharged and Turbocharged

2014 Volvo S60 drive-e side

2014 Volvo S60 drive-e engineRemember the 1995 Volvo 850 T-5R? Of course, how could anyone not. The boxy performance sedan had just enough appearance cues to be ignored by the masses and adored by its fans. With 243hp it ran 0-60mph sprint in mid-five second range and it pulled almost 0.90g on the skidpad, its performance surpassed those looks. This made the T-5R one of the most special Volvos for a very special group of people, and you know who you are.

This 2015 S60 T6 has 302hp and 295lb-ft of torque. By conservative factory estimates it does 0-60mph in 5.6 seconds, but it feels faster than that. Despite the T6 nomenclature, this 2015 S60 is powered by the supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. The old fives and sixes are dead (almost), long live the new fours. I won’t beat around the bush, this new engine is amazing!

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PSA: Don’t park in front of a fire hydrant

bmw fire hose prick hydrant

BMW-FIREHOSEThere is a seven-alarm fire in East Boston right now. It started as a car fire and quickly spread to three neighboring buildings. Being that a nine-alarm Back Bay fire recently claimed the lives of two firefighters, Fire Lieutenant Edward Walsh, 43, and Firefighter Michael Kennedy, 33, any report of a city fire is being dramatically reported by local news crews. 

Reading it on my tweeter feed I noticed a local newscaster from WBZ CBS tweeting the above pictures. First, it reminded of a similar picture that is older than the internet (right). Secondly, I asked myself out loud ‘why is it always an BMW?’

I text messaged my firefighter friend the above picture and asked if there is any way of routing the hose under or around the car. His answer was an expected and an obvious one, no.

“You can’t really bend a charged 4-inch feed line. Straight and a slight bend is about as good as you can do. And they will never park in front of a hydrant again”

“Water is everything at a fire and you need it ASAP.”

“Looks like they may have swung the cars end out too?”

So please, don’t park next to fire hydrants, not even for a minute. 

 

Wagon Wednesday: 1990 Ford Country Squire

1990 Ford Country Squire front left

Have you ever of heard of SpeedyCop? Yes, of course you have, one of his creations tied for the 2013 Hooniversal Car of the Year, the most prestigious award in the automotive industry. If you’re still clueless as to who/what SpeedyCop is, then there is no hope for you.

Sometime ago Mr. SpeedyCop decided to build a National Lampoon’s Wagon Queen Family Truckster as a 24 Hours of Lemons racer. This is why he obtained the pictured wagon. But even a ruthless cop has moments of weakness, and when it came to butchering this youngtimer and sending to racing hell where it would spend the rest of its life swapping paint and genuine-ish wood-ish paneling with other crapcans, the good cop said “No!”  

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Modern Art Monday: Tesla Model S Drivetrain

tesla drivetrain

This series originally kicked off with a look at interesting design features of modern cars. The Tesla Model S is as modern as we can get in the world of automobiles. With a handsome design which features two trunks and a hatch, electric motors powerful enough push the performance into sports car territory, and nationwide supercharging system designed around these new electric vehicles, Tesla may go down in history as a company that revolutionized the automobile.

What is rarely seen in automotive media is the service side of new vehicles. The above picture shows the whole electric drivetrain (not the batteries), elegantly removed from the Model S. It comes out in one piece, with suspension and brakes attached.

One Tesla owner, “kerrentonsnow” on Imgur, has posted a lot of pictures he took while having his Model S serviced. It’s worth checking out. It’s a nice look into a world that does not deal with oils and fuels, which makes the service shops look much more clean. Hit the jump for a few more pics.

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Review: 2014 Toyota 4Runner Trail

2014 toyota 4runner trail rear side stuck TEXT

Full ladder frame. 4-wheel drive system with a two-speed transfercase. Locking rear differential. Fancy traction control system with crawl control. Selectable terrain response system. Skid plates. Full-size spare tire. All of those are trademark items found on world’s best off-road 4×4 vehicles, such as this Land Cruiser Prado-based, 2014 Toyota 4Runner.

And yet there I was, technically not even off road, completely stuck in five inches of snow. Nothing designed to keep the Trail edition 4Runner moving forward worked.

Nothing.

All four wheels were just spinning, desperate to grab onto something that would allow them to overcome the low coefficient of friction between the tire, the wet snow, and the dirt under it. What finally did work was a tow truck which winched me out from about thirty feet away after two hours of waiting. It was a Sunday afternoon in Vermont, I guess I should be happy that it only took that long.

So what went wrong?

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Truck Thursday: 1988 Jeep Grand Wagoneer is Expedition Ready

1988 jeed grand wagoneer side

Jeep Wagoneers have been undergoing a renascence of some kind lately. They were around for a long time, then everyone forgot about them, and now, wham, everyone wants one. Some people overpay for a basket case half-assed project, others pay crazy money for ones that have been completely done over. The rest of us search the internets aimlessly until something catches our eye.

The above pictured Wagoneer, currently for sale on Expedition Portal, has definitely caught my eye. What I don’t understand however, after looking at the pictures and reading the description, is its asking price…

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Czechoslovakian Cars Living and Dying in Poland

feature czech cars

Czechoslovakia is often overlooked in the WW2 conflict mostly due to its size. The location of this land-locked nation did not help things, with German controlled land on three sides. Before the war even began Germany easily annexed the western part of the country due to its large German population and appeasing attitudes of other western nations toward Germany. The country itself had a lot of problems with ethnic division and an unstable government, which itself operated in exile in London during the war.

Things did not get better after the war, when the communist party took over. Like other eastern European nations, Czechoslovakia was virtually cut off from the rest of the world and became controlled by the USSR. In that time the country underwent a lot of anti-communist events and has been historically labeled as one of the more progressive Eastern European countries. In 1989 the Communist regime started to be overturned. Finally, on January 1st, 1993, the country peacefully split into Czech and Slovak Republics.

Before and post war, and throughout the communist time, Czechoslovakia was an industrial nation and was always building cars. Tatra became the third automotive manufactured in the world and it still produces trucks. Skoda started producing guns and motorcycles decades before they made their first car in 1905. During the war almost all manufacturing facilities were ran by the Germans, producing equipment for the Axis forces.

Like with others in this series, we will focus on post WW2 Czechoslovakian cars that are currently living and dying on the streets on Poland, all thanks to the readers of the Polish website zlomnik.pl. Be sure to check out the rest of the series: West German cars, East German Cars, Japanese cars, Italian cars, ‘Murican Cars, and French Cars all living and dying in Poland.

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