HCOTY 2016 Nominee: Grandpa’s BMW 315


This is my grandfather and his 1930s BMW 315/1. The picture was taken around 1952, some years after World War II, in Radom, Poland.

My father told me that after the German Nazi invasion of Poland, the Nazis took away all private cars from Polish citizens. In order to avoid having his car taken away, my grandfather, a small business owner and a car nut, cleverly converted his roadster into a pickup truck and turned it into a commercial vehicle. As per their own rules, the Nazis did not take his car away and he was able to hold on to it throughout the war.

Good job, grandpa!

Grandpa converted it back into a proper roadster after the war. I was also told that grandpa had an affinity for convertibles and preferred the BMW brand. It’s funny how things happen – I owned seven BMWs in my lifetime without being aware of grandpa’s vehicular shenanigans. Although I don’t really like cabrios unless they’re Jeeps, which I’ve owned two of.

I should mention that there were not many cars in Poland before the war and certainly very few of them were BMWs. I don’t how and where he obtained his bimmer but he kept until the end of the 1950’s, when he traded it for a Czechoslovakian Aero, a two-stroke roadster.

This is the only picture of my grandfather and his BMW 315 roadster/pickup that exists. The car, the man, and the story is what make this my 2016 HCOTY nomination.

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Three Across Not in a Pickup


Regular cab pickup trucks aside (remember those?), three passenger cars are few and far between. I recently came up on a Matra Bagheera, which I never heard of before. It’s French, of course, mid-engined (!) sports car with three across seating. And a manual transmission!

But there’s more. Wikipedia says the following:

The Bagheera’s body was made of polyester.

Matra engineers believed the Bagheera could use more power, so they created a unique “U engine” out of two 1.3 L Simca straight-4 engines, joined side-by-side by a common pan unit, the two crankshafts being linked by chain. This resulted in a 2.6 L 8-cylinder unit, producing 168 bhp.

Very few Bagheeras survive today, as they suffered from poor build quality (the Bagheera won the ADAC Silberne Zitrone = “Silver Lemon” award in 1975 for the poorest quality car of that moment) and extensive body rot. Although the polyester body panels do not rust, the underlying steel chassis had almost no corrosion protection.

Holy smokes, so much French horrible awesomeness in one car! The Bagheera was able to go from 0 to 60mph in around 12 seconds, which sounds painful. But hey, how many other three across sports cars ever existed? And that is today’s Encyclopedia Hoonatica question.

The Caveats (there are always caveats):

  • McLaren F1 is excluded. The two passenger seats were set back.
  • Concept cars are allowed but no custom cars.
  • No aircraft or marine craft, unless it’s because they stole parts from existing cars.
  • No pickup trucks.
  • But SUVs are allowed.
  • Military vehicles are welcome and encouraged.

Difficulty: Climbing rope in seventh grade gym class.

How This Works: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates! Bonus points for adding photos.

Porsche says bye Audi but wants them to come back

Here’s a very touching video from Porsche’s Le Mans teams. It says bye to Audi, thanks them for being a great competitor, and wishes that they come back.

This is somewhat ironic as both brands are part of VAG. VAG, as we all know, is struggling due to #Dieselgate. In fact, some say that if Porsche did not develop its own Le Mans team, the Audi team would still be in it.

Bye, Audi.

Ferrari Rally Driver Crashes Stupidly, Probably Feels Bad

Kamil Kaluski December 14, 2016 All Things Hoon

The spectator’s reaction says it all.

Project 4Runner: Adventures in Plasti Dip

Kamil Kaluski December 12, 2016 Project 4Runner


The one thing that I really don’t like about the current generation of 4Runners is Toyota’s overwhelming use of tacky chrome trim. The crap is everywhere: on the grill, a strip along each bumper, light surrounds, door handles, roof rack, a strip on the rocker molding, and who knows where else. Not all models have it – the 4Runner Trail Edition never had it and Toyota removed a lot of it from the SR5 in the 2014 facelift, but the Limited got even more chrome in that remake. I don’t think there’s a person on earth who ever said “yea, that plastic chrome trim looks great!”

I decided to do something about it. I looked to have this done right, either by repainting it or vinyl wrap. Some body shops did not even want the job because that kind of work is a pain in the ass for them – little profit and high potential of messing up. Vinyl wrapping was a sound option but at $400-$600 it was not any cheaper or better than a paint job.

In the end I decided to get $10 worth of Plasti Dip from Home Depot and rattle can this myself. The money I saved will go toward other modifications.

… Continue Reading

Review: 2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco


Getting right to the point, there is one thing really wrong with this car – its name!

Eco. Eco means green, efficient, earth-loving, backpacking, aluminum water bottles, flowers, happy little trees, hikes, nature, and all things that are good for the environment, the earth, animals, grass, trees, and some people. Eco started as an acronym, turned into a prefix, and morphed into an adjective. And now it has become a noun, too.

In the automotive world, Eco conjures up images of hybrids, electric vehicles, batteries, solar, plug-in something or other, alternative energy, and economy. Eco cars are generally very boring, mostly driven by lousy drivers who are focused on discussing pollution reduction and greater use of bicycles while sipping on a skim soy latte and doing five under in the left lane on their way to a vegan restaurant. Generally.

… Continue Reading

Dreams of Range Rover Travels

It might be the monotony of my everyday life or the fact that I am very quickly approaching my magical forty year mark on this planet. Perhaps it’s being deeply envious of Zach Bowman’s odyssey or missing my own overland adventures. Whatever the reason, I often find myself dreaming of driving deep into the unknown, and sometimes the known. My choice of vehicles varies on the destination. The other day I wanted to drive a RAM Power Wagon from my home in Boston to Fairbanks, Alaska. My choice of a vehicle to drive from Amsterdam to Siena was a Porsche 911 Targa. And the list goes on.

It turns out that I’m not the only such dreamer – Land Rover people dream, too. This is probably why they hired some renowned photographer named Jonas Bendiksen, gave him a Range Rover Autobiography, and sent him on a road trip from Oslo to the Dovre Mountains and Geiranger fjords. The result is some amazing photography. What I want to point out is that Range Rover is only used as a tool here. The point of this was not to show the vehicle in some nice scenery but rather to show that a vehicle can take us to see such amazing scenery.

… Continue Reading

Why is Clarkson wearing ladies’ high heel shoes?

Kamil Kaluski December 6, 2016 All Things Hoon

high-heels, the grand tour, clarkson, conversation street

The cheeky segment of The Grand Tour called Conversation Street starts of with a cute little intro of the three hosts sitting on bar stools, waving their arms around, presumably conversing and making their own pointless points. That is all well and good except for one thing – Jeremy Clarkson’s shoes.

Jeremy, who is 6’5″ tall, is known for wearing flat shoes on the show. Flat shoes likely make driving exotic easier and reduce his height advantage over Hammond. But I can’t help notice that in this intro Clarkson is wearing what look like ladies’ fuck me pumps.

… Continue Reading

Video: Lada 2104 with 420HP SR20DET Swap

I am in the middle of preparing (I’m using that word loosely) my Lada 2107 for 24 Hours of Lemons race (I’m using that word loosely). For that reason I am doing a ton of research (I’m using that word loosely) on easy modifications and upgrades.

Today I found this video. It’s a Lada 2104, which is the wagon version of 2105. The difference between 2105 and a 2107, like my own, is the grill and some other interior bullshit. Essentially, these are the same vehicles. Except that this wagon has Nissan’s SR20DET swapped in. And then the engine is tuned to healthy 420 horsepower at the rear wheels. In a car that weights 2152 pounds, that a recipe for fun!


The Use of Magnesium in Automobiles – Corvette Fender-Bender Leads to a Meltdown


Pictured above are remains of a sixth generation (2005 – 2013) Chevrolet Corvette Z06. The vehicle was involved in what was described as a minor fender-bender on I-90, also known as the Massachusetts Turnpike, in Newton, Massachusetts, on June 13, 2016. No one was hurt and the other car had trim damage and was drivable. Likewise, the Corvette seemed to have sustained just minor damage until its owner noticed an under-hood fire.

In design of the C6 Z06 several weight saving measures were taken to lower its curb weight, most significantly a switch to an aluminum frame. Floors were made of balsa wood and carbon-fiber composite. Under the hood, the Z06 had a huge 7.0-liter LS7 engine with a dry-sump oiling system. To lower the weight in the front of the vehicle, under the engine, the front sub-frame was made out of magnesium.

… Continue Reading