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Craigslist: Geo Metro with 450hp Turbo Ecotec Engine

geo-metro-front-side

Everyone loves the old hot rod theory of slapping a big engine into a small car. But is there is a fine point at which most of us would agree that too much power, is in fact too much. This Geo Metro, with a 450 horsepower Ecotec engine, might be approaching that too much line.

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Quick Spin: 2017 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo

2017-nissan-sentra-sr-turbo-front-side

Save the manuals, they say! I’d buy it if it was stick, they scream! I would buy the stick model if it came with power blah and leather blah! I would buy it, but it doesn’t have a turbo! I would buy it, but the price is too damn high!

Well, Nissan just took all those excuses away from you. Here is a new Nissan with a manual transmission. It is available with the fancy stuff you want.  There is even hair-dryer under the hood. The icing in the cake is a price of under $23,000.

So is this 2017 Sentra SR Turbo a worthy replacement to the Sentra SE-R from the 1990’s?

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Project 4Runner: LED Auxiliary Lights from Rigid Industries

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Winter months frequently send us north, into New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. A few hours of driving takes us from the hustle and bustle of Boston and into the serenity of wooded, snow covered, mountains. Two-lane roads meander between those mountains, following the paths of the rivers that shaped them. Covered bridges connect the old with the new. The fresh air is instantly rejuvenating, reminding us that we don’t spend enough time here.

Driving the main roads is not particularly challenging. The surfaces are well maintained and the snow is plowed often. But it’s the secondary roads that can get tricky and it happens quickly. Some are not paved and others infrequently plowed. The locals know how to get around but the fancy navigation systems used by the city slickers often send them down the wrong paths.

I find night driving to be particularly challenging. Factory low-beams on my 4Runner don’t illuminate far enough and high-beams point straight ahead in a narrow path. I needed to add secondary driving lights but I did not want to add any light bars to the front of my rig. I started searching…

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Craigslist: 1991 Alfa Romeo SZ – Sprint Zagato

Kamil Kaluski January 4, 2017 For Sale

alfa-romeo-sz-front

SZ, or Sprint Zagato, was a sports car based on the Alfa Romeo 75, or Milano as it was known in the United States. Typical of Zagato, it was more of a redesign of an existing a vehicle, a coach build, if you will. The SZ, or its RZ roadster sibling, were never sold in the U.S. but through the magic or time and internet, you can not have one!

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HCOTY 2016 Nominee: Grandpa’s BMW 315

grandpa-bmw

This is my grandfather and his 1930s BMW 315/1. The picture was taken around 1952, some years after World War II, in Radom, Poland.

My father told me that after the German Nazi invasion of Poland, the Nazis took away all private cars from Polish citizens. In order to avoid having his car taken away, my grandfather, a small business owner and a car nut, cleverly converted his roadster into a pickup truck and turned it into a commercial vehicle. As per their own rules, the Nazis did not take his car away and he was able to hold on to it throughout the war.

Good job, grandpa!

Grandpa converted it back into a proper roadster after the war. I was also told that grandpa had an affinity for convertibles and preferred the BMW brand. It’s funny how things happen – I owned seven BMWs in my lifetime without being aware of grandpa’s vehicular shenanigans. Although I don’t really like cabrios unless they’re Jeeps, which I’ve owned two of.

I should mention that there were not many cars in Poland before the war and certainly very few of them were BMWs. I don’t how and where he obtained his bimmer but he kept until the end of the 1950’s, when he traded it for a Czechoslovakian Aero, a two-stroke roadster.

This is the only picture of my grandfather and his BMW 315 roadster/pickup that exists. The car, the man, and the story is what make this my 2016 HCOTY nomination.

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Three Across Not in a Pickup

matra-simca-bagheera

Regular cab pickup trucks aside (remember those?), three passenger cars are few and far between. I recently came up on a Matra Bagheera, which I never heard of before. It’s French, of course, mid-engined (!) sports car with three across seating. And a manual transmission!

But there’s more. Wikipedia says the following:

The Bagheera’s body was made of polyester.

Matra engineers believed the Bagheera could use more power, so they created a unique “U engine” out of two 1.3 L Simca straight-4 engines, joined side-by-side by a common pan unit, the two crankshafts being linked by chain. This resulted in a 2.6 L 8-cylinder unit, producing 168 bhp.

Very few Bagheeras survive today, as they suffered from poor build quality (the Bagheera won the ADAC Silberne Zitrone = “Silver Lemon” award in 1975 for the poorest quality car of that moment) and extensive body rot. Although the polyester body panels do not rust, the underlying steel chassis had almost no corrosion protection.

Holy smokes, so much French horrible awesomeness in one car! The Bagheera was able to go from 0 to 60mph in around 12 seconds, which sounds painful. But hey, how many other three across sports cars ever existed? And that is today’s Encyclopedia Hoonatica question.

The Caveats (there are always caveats):

  • McLaren F1 is excluded. The two passenger seats were set back.
  • Concept cars are allowed but no custom cars.
  • No aircraft or marine craft, unless it’s because they stole parts from existing cars.
  • No pickup trucks.
  • But SUVs are allowed.
  • Military vehicles are welcome and encouraged.

Difficulty: Climbing rope in seventh grade gym class.

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

Porsche says bye Audi but wants them to come back

Here’s a very touching video from Porsche’s Le Mans teams. It says bye to Audi, thanks them for being a great competitor, and wishes that they come back.

This is somewhat ironic as both brands are part of VAG. VAG, as we all know, is struggling due to #Dieselgate. In fact, some say that if Porsche did not develop its own Le Mans team, the Audi team would still be in it.

Bye, Audi.

Ferrari Rally Driver Crashes Stupidly, Probably Feels Bad

Kamil Kaluski December 14, 2016 All Things Hoon

The spectator’s reaction says it all.

Project 4Runner: Adventures in Plasti Dip

Kamil Kaluski December 12, 2016 Project 4Runner

project-4runner-plasti-dip-chrome-black-flat-grill

The one thing that I really don’t like about the current generation of 4Runners is Toyota’s overwhelming use of tacky chrome trim. The crap is everywhere: on the grill, a strip along each bumper, light surrounds, door handles, roof rack, a strip on the rocker molding, and who knows where else. Not all models have it – the 4Runner Trail Edition never had it and Toyota removed a lot of it from the SR5 in the 2014 facelift, but the Limited got even more chrome in that remake. I don’t think there’s a person on earth who ever said “yea, that plastic chrome trim looks great!”

I decided to do something about it. I looked to have this done right, either by repainting it or vinyl wrap. Some body shops did not even want the job because that kind of work is a pain in the ass for them – little profit and high potential of messing up. Vinyl wrapping was a sound option but at $400-$600 it was not any cheaper or better than a paint job.

In the end I decided to get $10 worth of Plasti Dip from Home Depot and rattle can this myself. The money I saved will go toward other modifications.

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Review: 2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco

2017-hyundai-elantra-eco-front-side

Getting right to the point, there is one thing really wrong with this car – its name!

Eco. Eco means green, efficient, earth-loving, backpacking, aluminum water bottles, flowers, happy little trees, hikes, nature, and all things that are good for the environment, the earth, animals, grass, trees, and some people. Eco started as an acronym, turned into a prefix, and morphed into an adjective. And now it has become a noun, too.

In the automotive world, Eco conjures up images of hybrids, electric vehicles, batteries, solar, plug-in something or other, alternative energy, and economy. Eco cars are generally very boring, mostly driven by lousy drivers who are focused on discussing pollution reduction and greater use of bicycles while sipping on a skim soy latte and doing five under in the left lane on their way to a vegan restaurant. Generally.

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