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Range Rover Classic is Modern Again

Kamil Kaluski September 11, 2017 All Things Hoon

There was something special about the classic Range Rover, now generally and unimaginatively known as the Range Rover Classic. It looked rugged and utilitarian but classy at the same time. At time everyone was into luxury sedans and the Range Rover really was the only vehicle in its class, giving it some extra cachet. But its production, and even the company that was responsible for it, British Layland, is done. 

In the world where Defenders get all the love, the Classic has become somewhat less desired Land Rover. But there are now at least two companies who are betting than there are people who would still love the Classic as long as it performed like new. And these people are willing to pay good money for the classic Classic, too. Much like with Singer Porsches, old is new again as long as it is new old. 

East Coast Defender recently unveiled the plans for one such Classic. They are starting off with a 1995 LWB model and will be using all of their tips and tricks from the Defender on it. They will start with a new Chevy small block and finish with an interior of amazing quality and detail. So far only renderings have been released but expect ECD’s first new Range Rover Classic to be shown sometime in January. 

But JIA beat ECD to the punch with the JIA Chieftain. They took an interesting approach of dropping the Range Rover Classic body on top of a Discovery 3 (LR3 here in the Colonies) chassis. They followed it up with an 556hp engine from the CTS-V which pushed that Rover from 0 to 60mph in 4.5 seconds, or faster than any new Range Rover. In order to have any kind of decent handling the Chiftain was fitted with a rather awkward looking wheels that mimic the original design. Read more about the Chieftain on U.K.’s Autocar

Personally, I love all of these resomodded vehicles as long as they are kept close to the original design ideas and not overdone with tasteless trims and add-ons.

Nissan makes the rear view mirror smarter

Kamil Kaluski September 11, 2017 All Things Hoon

In more than 100 years just about each and every component of the automobile has somehow evolved and improved. One notable exception is the rear view mirror. Each new car still gets three mirrors that do a decent job of telling us what is behind us. These mirrors are not perfect as there are blind-spots and we frequently get blinded by morons driving behind us with their high-beams on. Sure, there are blind-spot detectors and dimming mirrors but the fundamental principle has not changed. 

An LCD monitor in a rear view mirror is nothing new, either. My seven year old Toyota has a reverse camera screen in the rear-view mirror and countless vehicles have embedded compasses there. But Nissan now introduced an inside rear-view mirror with an LCD screen that projects what the mirror should allow the driver to see to begin with, while driving forward. 

Why did that take so long?

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Motormouth – A Storytelling Event of Our Lemons Racing

My teammate Andy and I worked together some years back. Being two carguys stuck in the same cubicle farm we would discuss cars over the office messenger while looking more productive than anyone else. When the 24 Hours of Lemons came to the east coast we knew we had to be a part of it. Some years later we had our first race in our Buick. That car was build by Andy and his friend Justin. The three of us did horribly bad in our first race. 

Four years of Lemons racing and some new teammates later we’re doing less than horrible. Along the way we had many adventures and the experience gathered from it is quite amazing. On September 21st Andy, Justin, and I will be talking about our racing adventures and experiences with the host of the Motormouth storytelling series, George Kennedy. George also happened to be our teammate in this year’s New Jersey Lemons race and he is a contributor to the Boston Globe

If you’re in the northeast and within a reasonable distance of Boston, we would love for you to attend this event. It is on September 21st, 2017, at 7:00pm, at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, Massachusetts. The Buick will be the centerpiece of the event, placed somewhere around race cars of similar stature, such as Michael Schumacher’s F1 car and a Porsche 962. 

Spy Shots! 2019 Cadillac CT6

Kamil Kaluski September 7, 2017 All Things Hoon

There is a little bit of a problem with the Cadillac CT6 – it’s not selling well. That’s a shame because based on what I heard (Caddy doesn’t seem to want me to review their cars) it’s a pretty damn good car. The sales problem is one that is plaguing most sedan models, what with everyone buying SUVs, but the CT6 seems to be hit especially hard. 

For 2019 Cadillac will try to fix that by updating the CT6. It will receive a mild facelift and potentially a long promised twin-turbo V8 engine. Our awesome spy photographer caught up with Cadillac engineers testing the 2019 model high up in the mountains. 

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Airstream 2 Go is Airstream Glamping for Everyone

Kamil Kaluski September 7, 2017 All Things Hoon

Our family vacation was a modest one this year, nine days camping in northern Vermont. We stayed at a few places, all really nice cabins in the woods, away from everything. Everything except a general store, wifi, television, proper bathrooms, a swimming pool, a full kitchen, heat and air conditioning, laundry facilities, a grill, and comfy beds. You know, only the essentials of camping in the wilderness.

Despite our glamorous camping cabins being nicely stacked, we still had to bring a ton of crap. The trunk and the roof-top box were filled with things we may or may not need. And each time we moved I had to load and unload this crap. And those cabins were not exactly cheap, either. And those cabins had somewhat of fixed locations.

While I am not a camper/RV type person, I always had a thing for Airstream trailers. I just love the look of them, a timeless design that gets better each time you see it. Throughout our trip I kept pointing them out to my wife and kids. When I got back I read Jeff’s Airsteam article and it only fueled my interest in Airstream.

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The Cars of Kyrgyzstan

This is the second submission from long time reader Oliver Klose, a.k.a. Sjalabais. This summer he vacationed in Kyrgyzstan, which I think is the Bora Bora of central Asia. He submitted two articles, this first one of driving in Kyrgyzstan and this second one on the cars that he saw there. Enjoy. -KK

Central Asia has an interesting history. Often referred to as The Great Game, the saying goes that big powers – mostly Britain, Russia and China – have for centuries tried to influence these beautiful countries with varying degrees of success (Afghanistan, anyone?). That is reflected by an incredibly diverse carscape still solidly shaped by politics.

As a country that came into being by the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Kyrgyzstan obviously has a great choice of Russian machinery still visible in traffic. The Moskovich above is a typical candidate, still very prominent in the countryside. But also the staple of Russian-sphere roads, the Lada, is everywhere in all possible iterations.

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A Guide to Driving in Kyrgyzstan

Today we have a submission from long time reader Oliver Klose, a.k.a. Sjalabais. This summer he vacationed in Kyrgyzstan, which I think is the Hawaii of central Asia. He submitted two articles, this first one of driving in Kyrgyzstan and an another on the cars that he saw there. Enjoy. -KK

Kyrgyzstan is a small, mountainous country wedged between Kazakhstan and China that is most definitely worth a visit for its stunning landscape, hospitable people and weird food. When preparing for a trip to Kyrgyzstan (and countries like it), you will encounter a lot of advice about driving yourself that only leaves one conclusion: Get a car with a driver, or face extinction at the hands of traffic chaos. But if you like to drive, you may choose not to listen to that advice, and here’s why.

Kyrgyzstan has some of the most amazing roads in the world. There are newly paved, silk smooth interstates as well as high standard mountain roads courtesy of a deal with China involving prison labour. You’ll find well maintained gravel roads as well as gravel roads that will shake your car’s interior to pieces and simultaneously greatly enhance your digestion. You can also find roads that will lead you to an elevation of 4000m (13,123 feet), making it possible to stretch a summerly 40C (104F) to fresh snow within one drive.

Driving in Kyrgyzstan can be a real joy if you manage to be attentive and adapt to the local driving style. But be aware that an ageing car park and a spirited approach of getting from A to B make driving in Central Asian countries roughly twice as dangerous as in the US or Europe, considering accident and traffic fatality statistics. Here are some observations from our week spent driving in the country and how to make it enjoyable rather than a knife’s edge experience.

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Team O’Neil Explains Rally Car Prep

Kamil Kaluski August 30, 2017 All Things Hoon

Wyatt Knox from Team O’Neil Rally School takes us on a tour of what makes a car, a rally car. From suspension, to brakes, engine work, and the cage, he goes over everything in detail. But there is more; more stuff that you typically can’t just see, the kind of stuff that is not in rules books, the kind of stuff that can only come from experience. 

Wyatt explains the purpose of a foam pad on a skid plate, for instance. Or why a catalytic converter is mounted in the rear of the car, or what a wheel scraper is. He goes into details of how a rally car differs from a track car. Details such as long protected brake lines, what rotors to use and not use and why, engine mounts, modular cooling system, and underbody protection. He goes into details of having two spare tires, an impact gun, and a jack and their mounting points. 

Watch the video, it tells you the kind of things that you can only learn from doing. Many of them can be applicable to your daily driver, too. 

Spy Shots! 2019 Ford Transit Connect

Kamil Kaluski August 28, 2017 All Things Hoon

You know what is a very underrated vehicle? The Ford Transit Connect. Most people forget that this minivan/car hybrid thing even exists. That’s too bad because it is one of the most functional vehicles around.

It may seem small but it makes the best use of its interior space. The long wheel base version seats up to seven and has more interior volume than the Honda Pilot. It’s big side doors and hatch allow that space to be very easily accessible. 

Above and below are spy shots of the 2019 Ford Transit Connect. It’s shape is instantly recognizable which means that changes will be limited to front and rear fascias, powertrain, and interior. 

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Audi S1 on tracks on a beach looks fun

Kamil Kaluski August 17, 2017 All Things Hoon


The 231-hp Audi S1, an all-wheel-drive hot-hatch, is one of those vehicles that Audi doesn’t think Americans would buy. Perhaps justifiably so, as it is based on the small VW Polo chassis and costs as much as the Golf R. And the Golf R seems better in every measurable way, lacking only the cachet of the four-ring badge, if such thing even exists. 

Some loony hoon, somewhere, decided that it would be a good idea to remove the wheels off his S1 and replace them with tracks. Then he went to the beach with it. The result is something that looks incredibly fun.