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The Amazing Vehicles of 2017 Overland Expo East

Kamil Kaluski October 10, 2017 All Things Hoon

They meet twice per year, on the east and west side of the United States. They come from everywhere. They are outdoor lovers, vehicle enthusiasts, and explorers, all in one. Along come vendors of equipment, service providers, and vehicle manufacturers. They all meet to learn driving, survival, and camping skills. They checkout each others’ vehicles, campsites, and various setups. And then they go on mini expeditions, too. 

Last year my friend Leo attended the 2016 Overland Expo East and provided us with some pictures. This year is no different. Leo sent along dozens of pictures of various vehicles that were there. There were vehicles that are rare and obscure, interesting, and affordable, but likely not at the same time. They had various camping styles, too. Everything from a tarp over an old wagon to a million dollar Unimog designed to go anywhere. Check them out!

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Review: 2017 BMW M550i and 530i

A car review is supposed to be about the car being reviewed. But I am going to get personal now. I have owned three 5-series BMWs of three different generations. I have driven many 5s on various roads and tracks. My favorite overall is the E34 series, followed by E39, and a favorite for performance is the E60 M5 with its amazing V10 engine. I have a personal affair with the 5-series and therefore I had high expectations for the new G30 model.

I now had the opportunity to drive two G30s, a base 530i, and the top-dog M550i. There also exists a middle-child, the 540i, and soon there will be the big daddy, M5. How are they? How do they compare to previous 5-series?

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For Sale: “Beautiful Italian Paperweight!”

Kamil Kaluski September 29, 2017 For Sale, Terrible Ideas

Beautiful Italian cars. The look fantastic. They sound amazing. They are very fast. And they handle great. What else would a hoon want out of car?

Oh, right. A hoon would want a reasonable price, reasonable reliability, and a reasonable cost of ownership.

That is exactly what the owner, and now seller, of this Maserati wanted. Unfortunately he didn’t get it. So now he is selling the car. I haven’t owned an Italian car (but I have an Italian wife, so it’s kind of the same thing) but I assume that like in a boater’s life – the two best days are the day you buy it and the day you sell it. 

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Learn off-roading in a Land Rover Defender

Kamil Kaluski September 18, 2017 All Things Hoon

Drive around the city of Boston or Cape Cod, and most significantly Nantucket, and you will see them – Land Rover Defenders. They are of all ages and types. Some are the American market, some are old, some are questionably imported, and a few are restomoded. These iconic utility vehicles have a cult following and are all the rage among those who prefer to show their wealth in more subtle ways. 

Land Rover is currently in the process of designing the replacement for the Defender but they couldn’t help but notice the popularity of the older models. Because of this Land Rover has decided to put the classic Defenders into their Land Rover Experience Centers. Those centers allow current and potential Land Rover buyers to experience the capabilities of these off-roaders in a controlled and safe environment. We have visited one such center in Manchester, Vermont: part 1, part 2, part 3

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Land Rover Discovery SVX is expedition ready from the showroom floor

Kamil Kaluski September 12, 2017 The News!

We are nearing the SUV craze peak right now (I think). Every vehicle small and large is an SUV, but there is a new trend emerging. This trend is vehicles prepared for actual real off-roading, expeditions, or overland glamping. We have the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon with locking diffs and disconnecting sway bars, the Toyota Tacoma and 4Runner TRD PROs, and the RAM Power Wagon that comes with a freaking winch. Then there are a number of tuning companies that sell turnkey modified vehicles, such as AEV. And then there is the whole after-market that is overflowing with lift kits, winches, bumpers, racks, and roof-top tents.

Land Rover, who basically invented the luxury capable SUV market, was not about sit this one out. Introduced at the 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show (stay tuned for our coverage and opinions), the Discovery SVX seem to do an excellent job of capturing what the world loves about Defenders and early modified Discoveries.

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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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