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Quick Pic: Lada on the Move

It has been a long time since we updated you on the Park Bench Racing Lada 24 Hours of Lemons racer. Life, jobs, family, all that stuff has been getting in the way… until now. 

Recently the Lada made a trip from Ciro’s Auto Body to the same shithole shed where our amazing Buick has been built, and to the same master craftsman that built it. It runs, the chassis is straight, and its body is free of political stickers. We also picked up a used fire suppression system, because safety third. We have a tentative plan for the cooling system, lexan windshield, and brakes. The cage needs an update and it could use some new wheels and tires. 

Big update on the whole thing is coming soon. In the mean time, if anyone has a set of 15″ Fiat 500 wheels for sale, please contact us – tipsAThooniverseDOTcom. We’re looking for sponsors, too. The damn project is already costing me more than I want to admit to. 

First Drive: 2017 Dodge Challenger GT – The AWD Muscle Car

When I first heard the idea of an all-wheel-drive Challenger I paused a little bit. I paused because the Challenger, like its competitors from Ford and Chevy, are the iconic muscle cars – V8, long hoods, long doors, rear wheel drive, burnouts, hell yea, and all that jazz. But the whole world has been fooled into thinking that all-wheel-drive is the best things since the internet. Some automotive companies remained in existence only because their whole line-up is AWD. Some iconic vehicles such as Mercedes’ AMG and BMW’s M are going with AWD, too.

Dodge says that offering the Challenger with all-wheel-drive is drummed up from data culled through sales and marketing research. They say that the most cross-shopped vehicle with the Challenger is the Charger, which has been available with AWD for some time, and that the sales of the AWD Chargers have been constantly increasing. The same goes for the V6 engine – it appeals to the largest group of buyers. So Dodge did the only thing that made sense – they made a V6 AWD Challenger. 

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1980’s Eastern Europe via 1:43 Cars and Stop-Motion Video

The 1970s and 1980s era was a difficult one for the countries on the other side of the Iron Curtain. Most people were not able to get basic necessities, never mind luxury items such as one’s own home or a car. Travel to the western world equally challenging. The few who had a car, probably purchased by winning a lottery which allocated a car for one to buy, were limited to a certain models of rather crappy cars, and the whole family likely pitched in the money. Well connected people were bartering imported goods and those on high ranking state positions were living the life. 

Through all of this many people persevered. They were able to take vacations, engage in hobbies, get a good education, and generally work the system. Many left their home countries in pursuit of better opportunities. Years later, the ones that remained overthrew the communist government and replaced it with democracy. 

Aside from the obvious story of a girl, two guys, and race cars, the above video shows shockingly well how the streets of big cities looked like in those times. The example here is Budapest, capital of Hungary. The Ikarus buses, icons of those times, the occasional black Volga driving by, a Fiat with the equally iconic N126 camper, all of those are amazingly accurate. There is even a construction crew where one guy is working and another guy is watching him work. Stores full of merchandise that no one wanted or could afford. New gray apartment buildings and ornate prewar ones, decades old (at the time) trolleys, all perfectly represented. This could have been a scene from Warsaw, Prague, Moscow, or Belgrade, and it wouldn’t have looked much different. 

Enjoy this great little video and read more about Eastern European cars here

Quick pic: Detroit Versus Detroit

Kamil Kaluski January 30, 2017 Quick Pics

Ignore the shared political stories for a bit. Actually, ignore them for the whole week if you can. If you read anything, read Josh Welton’s story about two Dodge Challengers – a story about Detroit and its revolution. 

Quick Pic: Porsche 911 Safari – The Winter Beater

Kamil Kaluski January 26, 2017 Quick Pics

keen-project-porsche-911-safari-4

“Michael plans to use the Safari as his inclement-weather wheels while his fair-weather ride, a lightly modified 1991 911 Carrera 4, awaits in a climate-controlled garage. Michael favors the analogy of a road bicycle to a mountain bike, but you get the idea.”

Read the full story at Motor1.com. I wonder if there is any connection between this car and the 1986 Porsche 959 Paris-Dakar Rally Recreation we spotted at a Lemons some time ago.

Video: Simulator vs. Real Life Porsche 911 Carrera

Kamil Kaluski January 26, 2017 All Things Hoon

I don’t think track days are going away anytime soon, but track driving can experienced in your basement now better than ever before. Check out the above video of Porsche 911 Carrera S being driven around the Autodromo Vallelunga near Rome. On left, the real thing. On right, the Assetto Corsa racing simulator.

 

 

Truck Thursday: Expedition Ready Cummins-Powered Land Cruiser

land-cruiser-front

I’m in the process of writing up the review of a Nissan Titan XD with the new Cummins diesel engine. You may have seen the picture on our Facebook page of the Titan towing our Lada Lemons racer. To summarize, my gawd, that engine is just fantastic. Having been a diesel fan before, I am now a super-fan! Therefore expect me to be writing a lot more about diesel this and diesel that.

Starting this off is this expedition ready Toyota Land Cruiser. Sure, it has all the things commonly seen on expedition vehicles: lift kit, tires (not too big), rack, big bumper, winch, sleeping platform, and all that stuff. But the owner ditched Toyota’s excellent 4.5-liter in-line six and replaced it with a Cummins 4BT. Sure, it may not be even as powerful as the already under-powered factory engine but it has a few things going for it. First, torque at low engine speeds, which is nice to have when going up hills with a loaded truck. Second is increased gas mileage, which helps for many reasons. And finally, diesel fuel is available all over the world.

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Quick Pic: Tough Audi Choice

Kamil Kaluski January 25, 2017 Quick Pics

audi choice

The Audi RS 7 is one hell of a car. You may remember when our own Jason Connor took on Shift Sector in one. But then so is the Audi RS 2 Avant. While not as powerful at the RS 7, it is no slouch, and it is a wagon. It is also limited production modern classic, which in itself makes it special, whereas anyone with money can just go buy a new RS 7.

So, given the choice, which one would you pick?

Photo: Brendan McAleer

Project 4Runner: LED interior light upgrade

4runner interior led map lights bulbs

It was the Matchbox car that my son dropped that really did it for me. It sounds silly, but I could not see it, at least not easily. Then it was the time when my daughter, who loves to read, left the dome light on overnight, which drained the battery. That happened like three more times. I therefore decided to order some LED interior bulbs. The idea is that the interior would be better illuminated and in case the light is left on for a longer period of time, the battery would not drain as fast with the LED’s lower power consumption.

I did minimal research. Someone on a 4Runner forums said “oh these are great, get them on eBay here” and that is what I did. Okay, I read the eBay ad, the buyer feedback, and then bought them. Apparently that was enough to separate me from my $44.99.

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Range Rover shows how all SUV acceleration should be tested

Kamil Kaluski January 23, 2017 All Things Hoon

The CUV/SUV market is insane now. With notable exceptions (if you’re reading this, it may be you), it’s all that everyone wants. People like the elevated sitting position, the ease of ingress and egress, the presumed and bogus ability to safely travel in foul weather, and the overall safety.

Ah, that legendary all-weather ability of an SUV. Every automotive advertisement from November to March shows the latest AWD box unstoppably (is that a word?) plowing through a foot of fresh snow. And unstoppable it is, what with its “eco” all-season low-profile long-life super-quiet tires. It’s not stopping or turning any better, but it can start moving forward better than a two-wheel-drive vehicle.

The above video shows 0-100 km/h (62 MPH) acceleration of the Range Rover Sport SVR on various surfaces: gravel, sand, snow, mud, asphalt, etc. And  it brings up an interesting point.

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