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Remembering Tony Swan, Auto Journalist and Racer

Kamil Kaluski September 28, 2018 Hoonobituaries

Growing up in the days before the Internet, many of us lived in monthly anticipation of new issues of Motor Trend, Car and Driver, or Road & Track arriving in our mailbox. We’d read the letters to the editors and their snarky responses, latest news, and we’d bite into the chunks of featured articles while procrastinating on our homework. Over the years we have come to know these auto-writers almost as friends, regardless of whether they knew it or not. 

The name Tony Swan should ring a bell for anyone over thirty amongst those of us who were reading about cars before the Internet took over our lives. His articles and commentary were second to none. His work appeared in Car and Driver, AutoWeek, Cycle World, The New York Times, and many others. In addition to being an auto writer he was also a passionate auto racer, competing in everything including many 24 Hours of Lemons race events. 

Rest in peace but don’t slow down, Tony. You have inspired many of us to do what we are doing. Head over to Car and Driver to read more about Mr. Swan. 

[Image courtesy of Roadkill]

Mystery Car

Kamil Kaluski September 28, 2018 Mystery Car

Congratulation, children! You were on your game last week and it took you only two days (this is sarcasm if it is’t painfully obvious) to figure out what the Mystery Car was. It was a first generation Miata, of course. Congratulations to Mr.Roadrage for correctly identifying it. You are, of course,… The Person of the Moment

Now we get to today’s Mystery Car. As you can see in this rather unaltered image, I took this picture with my phone, because you can see me actually see ma taking the picture. It’s almost a damn selfie. There was something really intriguing about this mystery car. I am hoping that you can tell me what make and model it is. Good luck. 

Review: 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SEL

Having attended high school and college in the northeast in the 1990s, and having been a car geek, my exposure to the import scene was quite formative. Some of the most iconic vehicles of that era were the Diamond-Star Motor cars. The sport cars of that joint venture were the Eagle Talon, the Plymouth Laser, and the Mitsubishi Eclipse. All three varied in form from a basic econo model to turbocharged all-wheel-drive slayers. In appearance they were rather similar with differences being limited to lights, spoilers, and wheels.

Those days are over. Also over are the Plymouth and Eagle brands. Mitsubishi is still here but the company has had better days. To its credit, Mitsubishi is trying to recover. With minor tweaks, each of the variants of the Outlanders keep improving while remaining a budget conscious choice. The Outlander Sport, while aged, is not a bad vehicle. The company is also venturing into plug-in electric hybrid powertrains. A solid move. And recently they brought back the Eclipse name.

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Hooniverse Asks: What was the weirdest thing stolen off your car?

Kamil Kaluski September 26, 2018 Hooniverse Asks

So I’m casually browsing the book of faces while consuming my low-carb dinner when I notice an intriguing post in the Lexus GX Overland section (yes, there is such thing). Someone posted five security camera pictures of someone stealing a bolt off a roof rack off his friend’s Toyota FJ Cruiser. That is weird but the weirder thing is that the person who did it drove up in a lifted FJ Cruiser, one with  a snorkel, off-road bumpers, and over-sized tires. Clearly a so-called enthusiast and definitely a member of some FJ Cruiser online forum. And he got caught

But here is where it gets weirder. I was mounting my Yakima HighRoad bike rack onto my factory 4Runner (similar to FJ Cruiser) cross-bars recently. I noticed at the time that one side of the front cross-bar was missing one of the two bolts that secures the bar to its bracket. How weird, I thought, making no real issue of it. But because I mount my cargo box to these very same cross-bars about four times per year, I would have noticed that before. I remember even checking them for tightness once. But now I wonder if I was… [mystery music]… a victim of the Roof Rack Bolt Bandit!??!?! [Ta da dooommm].

From my googling it seems that these bolts cannot be bought without buying the whole damn cross-bar kit. Perhaps that’s why he was stealing them. What the hell do I do now? These bolts must have other uses in the vehicle, somewhere…

Review: Yakima HighRoad upright roof bike rack

Hooniverse Asks: What’s the craziest vehicle you’ve seen on the road?

Kamil Kaluski September 25, 2018 Hooniverse Asks

Because we love cars, we are always on the lookout for something interesting. Sometimes we find it. Sure, there are way crazier cars than the Lambo I wrote about yesterday, but to me that Lambo was special. It wasn’t special because it was a Lambo, it was special because it was 30-something year old that was still running well enough to be driven frequently. It wasn’t a garage queen or a half-assed project. It was original and it looked great. 

What we’re asking today is what is the one vehicle that you have seen on the road that really surprised you? Not because of it’s price, it’s design, or build, but by the fact that it was so out of its element? 

V.I.S.I.T. – Lamborghini Countach LP500 S

V.I.S.I.T. – Lamborghini Countach LP500 S

This summer’s trip took me to Rome and Tuscany. For those that don’t know that is in Italy, where the cities are old and everything is pretty. For just one day I ditched my family and took a trip to Bologna. For those that don’t know, Bologna is famous for their pastas and meats, which were amazing. But Bologna is also the home of two most iconic names in the automotive world – Ferrari and Lamborghini. 

I have visited the two Ferrari museums, the Maserati factory showroom, the Lamborghini museum, and took a Lamborghini factory tour. More on that later. But I sure as heck wasn’t the only gearhead who was visiting these automotive Meccas this summer. Museum parking lots were filled with interesting cars from all over Europe. But one of them really stood out – this German-plated Lamborghini Countach LP500 S that was parked in front of the Ferrari factory store in Maranello of all places. 

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Mystery Car

Kamil Kaluski September 21, 2018 Mystery Car

In school, teachers would tell me “come to me with questions”. At first it was a bit challenging but then I learned what and how to ask. All that changed when I got a real job. My bosses would say “don’t come to with questions, come to me with solutions”. Effing upper management, they just want you to do their job for them. 

But this, my dear readers, is where my disappointment in you comes. Last week you people did not try very hard. You didn’t ask many questions. And you sure as hell did not come to me with many solutions. And that’s sad because the pictured vehicle, especially in its performance SVR trim, is rather common in areas where the children of the really affluent study. No, the pricey carbonfiber trim does not add any lightness to this 5000-pound vehicle. 

In my disappointment with you people, I have decided to give you something super easy today. To make it even easier I am including two pictures of the damn mystery car. Please try. Ask some question. Offer me some solutions. Provide the make and model and you’ll win everyone’s admiration. 

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Random street parked cars of Italy

This summer vacation my family and I traveled to Italy. Specifically, we visited Rome and points north, specifically Tuscany or Bologna. In the four days we spent in Rome we did all touristy things you can name: Coliseum, Pantheon, the Vatican, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, and numerous restaurants and coffee shops. Then, thanks to you, loyal readers, I rented a van and we traveled north to Siena. From Siena we did day trips to historic town such as Volterra, Orvieto, Pisa, Lucca, and others. 

Now I, being a car dork, also looked more than just at really cool old stuff. In between the old stuff were cool cars. Some were old, some were interesting, and some were cool. I took random shots of what I thought was interesting to share with you. Now if you’ve never been to Italy most cars there would be interesting to you but I limited to somewhat unconventional vehicles. 

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Project Car SOTU: ’95 Acura Integra GS-R

Ah, yes, my beloved 1995 Acura Integra GS-R. A good friend of mine was nice enough to store it for me over the cold winter months. Now, two and a half years later, I got it out of there as he had to sell the place. As you may expect, exactly nothing happened to the Integra in the time. Well, not totally nothing. The battery died and the tires went flat. 

Since it was parked for so long without being used I decided to trailer it out that garage and into another friend’s place. Good thing I have a lot of good friends with large garages. But as it turned out the whole effort of trailering it wasn’t really necessary. 

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Spy Shots: Don’t photograph this 2020 Hyundai Sonata!

Kamil Kaluski September 12, 2018 All Things Hoon

Automakers go to great extents to cover up their test mules. Sometimes I wonder if the cover-ups don’t just attract more attention but what do I know?

Our official Hooniverse Colorado-based spy photographer nabbed this Hyundai or Kia. And we know this because after covering up the test mule with all kinds of crap, the rocket scientists and/or possibly lawyers at Hyundai/Kia put a no photography sticker in the window along with their corporate logos on it.

That’s just dumb!

Why the hell would you do that? Did no one at any point questioned the logic of putting corporate logos on an car that was otherwise completely masked off?!

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