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Mystery Car

Kamil Kaluski April 6, 2018 Mystery Car

When the esteemed-ish Rob Emslie was running the Mystery Car section he would typically start off with some obscure fact or anniversary. Unfortunately I don’t have such powers. The cars he would post were often older, classics of you will. The part he would spotlight was always exclusive to that vehicle, or perhaps he’d trick you with a part commonly seen on a different but the one he’s highlighting. But I’m not that clever. Make and model, please. 

Last week’s Mystery Car was solved rather quickly, answer after the jump. 

Image: ©2018 Hooniverse/Kamil Kaluski, All Rights Reserved

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Hooniverse Asks: 200,000 miles for $20,000?

It used to be that 100,000 miles was the life mileage expectation of a passenger vehicles. Times have changed. Most vehicles are better designed and better built now than they were thirty years ago. But still, 200,000 miles and almost twenty years is a lot and a lot can happen in that time. Maintenance history, region of where the vehicle lived, number of owners and mechanics, it all can keep a car looking great or destroy it. 

Recently in a very targeted advertisement on Facebook, because they know what I think, showed me a for-sale link to a 2002 Mercedes-Benz G500. This Gelandewagen has collected 200,253 miles in its 16 years and six owners. Because everyone want to look rich and because the G-class hasn’t changed much in forty years, the asking price for this vehicle is $23,250. That money can buy one of many new vehicles, some of which are 5-passenger 4x4s like the G.

It is difficult to find many people to say nice things about high mileage German luxury cars, with most rear-engined Porsches and some diesel-power Benzs being the exceptions. So, a purchase of a 200,000 mile gasoline G500 has some risks built into it. The question we are asking today is – what is the most amount of money you are willing to pay for non-overhauled, mostly original, 200,000 mile vehicle and what would that vehicle be?

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Cars with roll down rear windows

There was a time when cars had large windows. A time when there was no need for blind-spot sensors because they were so small. And there were many vehicles that allowed all windows to be rolled down. This was especially common with full-size SUVs and station wagons. This was because years ago they all had tailgates and not hatches like they all do today. 

But there were a few non-wagon, non-utility cars that also had roll down rear windows, such as the above Honda Del Sol. Today we are looking for those cars with roll down rear windows. 

The Caveats (there are always caveats):

  • No body-on-frame vehicles such as SUVs and pickup trucks. There are too many of them, too easy. 
  • No station wagons, same reasons. 
  • Concept cars are allowed, why not?
  • Roll down rear solid panels are allowed simply because I don’t know if such thing even exists. 
  • Other non-conventional opening rear windows get partial credit. Or extra credit, depending on obscurity and/or innovation. 

Difficulty: 6.5 out of 8, enjoy the summer breeze. 

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

Image source: Honda

Mystery Car

Kamil Kaluski March 30, 2018 Mystery Car

Hello Mystery Car fans! It’s been a while. Basically, there hasn’t been a Mystery Car post since the Rob left us last summer. That is a damn shame. But I’m about to change that with this little nugget. 

Now, posting a picture of my friend’s Integra Type R project wouldn’t be mystery. The yellow beast has only about 9000 miles on it, making is possibly the lowest mileage ITR in the country and it will surely be competed one of these years. But we’re not here to discuss that. Nope. 

You are here to identify the other car in the picture. Part of it can be seen directly to the right of the R. Challenge level here is minimal, I figured I’d start you guys off easy as we make out way into the spring and summer car shows. Make and model, please. 

Image: ©2018 Hooniverse/Kamil Kaluski, All Rights Reserved

Review: 2018 MINI Cooper Countryman All4


My favorite small crossover is the Mazda CX-5. Or at least it was until I drove this new MINI Cooper Countryman, which honestly is more the size of the CX-3, but the point stands. This thing is simply just zoom-zoomier and more fun. And it’s not even the S version – this is the basic 3-cylinder 6-speed manual version.

That’s right, redone for 2017, the Countryman has a 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbocharged engine that send its power to all four wheels via a manual transmission. I do believe that’s one of the very few sticks on the market. And it’s got a lot more than that going for it.

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Spied! 2019 Honda CR-V in Manhattan!

We are just a few days away from the 2018 New York International Auto Show. The show is sure to be big this year and I’m making arrangements to be there at least for some of it. Automakers are announcing many new 2019 model unveilings. Honda is scheduled to show the 2019 Insight and Acura will show a new turbocharged RDX. And that is all they are saying for now. I don’t think Honda even has a press conference scheduled. 

But isn’t it weird that an updated camouflaged CR-V, or what looks to be a CR-V, was spotted by our awesome spy-photographer in the middle of Manhattan just a few days before the big auto show?

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Review: 2018 Honda Accord 2.0T Touring

Could an enthusiast enjoy a Honda Accord? After all, it is the antithesis of everything that most enthusiasts want – a front-wheel-drive mid-size sedan. And now, the all-new 2018 model is further neutered because the V6 engine was dropped, leaving it with a choice of two four-cylinder engines. Yawn, snore, wake me up when the Accord Type R wagon with all-wheel-drive and seven-speed manual comes out.

Except that Honda did something different with this new Accord. It’s as if they found that magic potion they used on their cars in the 1990s and sprinkled it on the Accord.

This new Accord is a really good car but to understand what makes it a really good car, we must look at Honda’s recent history.

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Quick Spin: 2018 Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription

Volvo’s handsome large sedan has been on sale for two years now. Since then the Volvo brand has been growing and releasing new, equally good looking models, specifically SUVs and wagons. But they have also made some substantial, if subtle, changes to the big sedan. The first change is that in order to make space in the factory for all those new wagons and SUVs, Volvo moved the S90 assembly to China.

Along with this move, all U.S. market S90 models will get a 4.7” stretch in the wheelbase. Long wheelbase models have been popular in China for some time and many automakers offer LWB versions of their many models just for that market. BMW 7-series and Mercedes S-class have been sold in the US market only in long wheel base version for some time. Now they are joined by the Volvo S90.

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Pinewood Derby: We didn’t win but we won!

Kamil Kaluski February 28, 2018 All Things Hoon

My daughter and I completed her Pinewood Derby racer the day before the big race. Out slant-nose Porsche weighted in a 4.9-ish ounces, just shy of the desired limit. It had an original look and it adhered to all the rules, such as the fact that we had use the supplied wood, axles, and wheels.

There were three groups of cars, based on the ages of the Girl Scouts. In our class there were ten cars. To make a long story short, we finished fourth out of ten, which removed us from the finals. But there was also a design contest where we took second place overall and a trophy! Woohoo!

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Hooniverse Asks: What would be your Uber car?

Kamil Kaluski February 27, 2018 Hooniverse Asks

Uber, or Lyft, are seemingly favorite transportation choice of the avocado toast generation. I’m a fan of public transit, so I take that when I can or have to, and/or can’t drive my own car for whatever reason. I do use Uber when I am in a hurry or strictly as a matter of convenience, but that happens maybe once a month. I actually try to take a city taxi cab over Uber as I have some family ties to that industry and I believe they’re kind of getting screwed by Uber. The truth is that taxi cab industry screwed itself with its lack of progress.

But we’re not here to discuss that. We’re here to discuss the fact that most Uber/Lyft cars are Corollas, Camrys, Rogues, or something equally boring and painful to look at and be in. 

Today’s question is – if you were to drive an Uber or Lyft car, what would be your car of choice. Both companies have similar requirements:

  • Model year: Must be 15 years or less from current year.
  • Body style: Any with 4 full, independently opening doors.
  • Seating: Must have seats in good condition AND seat belts for driver and 4 passengers.
  • No commercial branding or taxi color paint jobs.
  • No cosmetic damage or missing pieces.
  • No large passenger vans or commercial/heavy duty trucks.

Now, there is more to choosing a car than just this. In order to fully monetize, the vehicle must be somewhat affordable, economical, and reliable. Low accident repair, part and service costs also add to the bottom line. BUT… but since you’re going to be spending hours driving it, it should:

  • Be comfortable for the driver. 
  • Be easy to drive for you.
  • You must actually like it!
  • Have features that you, the driver can’t live without. 
  • Be something you enjoy driving. 
  • Bonus: a third row will add to revenue. 
  • Bonus: USB ports for rear passengers. 

So what is your ideal Uber or Lyft vehicle? 

Image source: AL.com