Last Call: Christmas Tree Stand Edition

Kamil Kaluski December 20, 2017 Last Call

My grandfather-in-law used to say “when you don’t have the right tool, improvise.” This may just be the best Christmas tree stand ever created, at least function wise. 

Last Call indicates the end of Hooniverse’s broadcast day.  It’s meant to be an open forum for anyone and anything. Thread jacking is not only accepted, it’s encouraged.

Image: Facebook.com/CytrynGumiak

24 Hours of Lemons: NHMS Wrap-Up – we won class C and then “complained” about it

We didn’t complain, as Jay mentions in this video. I emailed Jay and asked if Lemons would be doing anything about the fact that a once competitive class B car can now hardly finish mid-pack of class B. I also asked if minimum pit-stop amount requirement could be a good idea. Speedcreep, as someone called it, is obviously real.

Jay said to get a better car. Fine. Whatever. 

Last Call: Dear Santa Edition

Kamil Kaluski December 18, 2017 Last Call

The world of SUVs needs more proper off-road trims from the factory. With the release of the Land Rover Discovery SVX, the company hinted that other models might get similar treatment. If anyone is still looking for a Christmas present for me, look no further. 

Image source: autoexpress.co.uk


Dashboards: New Honda Accord is Doin’ it Well

Kamil Kaluski December 18, 2017 All Things Hoon

Most of us judge vehicles’ looks by their exteriors. But I was always a bit different. For me, it was always the interior design and its ergonomics that were more important. When I was a little kid I would break apart toy cars just to see what’s inside. I’d sit in the driver’s seat of real cars and carefully press each button, flip each stalk, and turn each knob. I’d draw dash layouts and not whole cars like kids tend to. Perhaps I was weird. Or perhaps I realized early on that most driving time is spent inside the car. 

One of the things I disliked about recent Honda and Acura vehicles were their dashboard designs. At first there were way too many buttons. Then there was a change and there were two screens stacked on top of each other, which was one too many. Those screens had complex and unintuitive menus. And more buttons, everywhere. And then there was a revolution – one screen and no buttons or knobs at all. There were just flat surfaces that reacted to touch. It was maddening. 

About two years ago I met a Honda interior design engineer. Before I was even done with my first sentence he had an answer for me “knobs, there will be knobs, soon…”

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Hooniverse Asks: Which car company would you work for?

Kamil Kaluski December 14, 2017 Hooniverse Asks

At some point we all dreamed of running our own car company. Let’s get real, it isn’t happening. And if it was, a car company ran by someone like you wouldn’t last long. It’s because no one is really buying rear-wheel-drive V8 sport sedans, small mid-engine sports cars, small front-engine sports cars, small roadsters, or wagons of any kind. But proper off-road capable 4x4s might keep the lights on in the current environment. Whatever, it’s not happening.

But you can get a job at one of the existing companies.

Let’s say that you manage to land some cool job with an automaker, perhaps in product development. That position would allow you to drive, develop, and improve current and future products. You would be involved in every product the company makes from sports car, econoboxes, to boring sedans, cross-overs, and pickup trucks. You’d be allowed to dabble in all brands (take FCA or VAG, for instance) and non-automotive sub-brands (Honda, jet and power equipment). You could be involved in future technologies, too, such as electrified and autonomous vehicles. Finally, you can buy any of their products at a ridiculous discount.

Which car company would you work for?

Image: mechanical-engg.com

Review: 2018 Infiniti QX30

The Infiniti QX30 is not an Infiniti. It’s not even a Nissan product. It is a Mercedes disguised as an Infiniti, and that disguise is pretty well done, at least on the outside. One would think that any company that would take a Mercedes-Benz product and badge-engineer it as their own would have a winner on their hands, but that is not necessarily the case here.

The problem is that the QX30 is based on the Mercedes GLA. I have driven both the GLA 250 and the AMG GLA 45. The GLA 250 seemed unlike any Mercedes I have ever driven – it seemed cheap and econo-hatchback-like. I was smitten by the AMG version because it had a bonkers engine and it handled great. The big issue with the AMG GLA 45 is that this Subaru WRX STI-like car had a nutty price tag.

But how is the Infiniti QX30? How does it differ from the GLA? Did Infiniti improve on the dud Benz?

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VIDEO: 25 Hours of Thunderhill with Flying Lizard and Toyo Tires

Kamil Kaluski December 13, 2017 Motorsports

Endurance races, automotive proving grounds of people and machines working together. It’s not up to one driver or one mechanic but up to the whole team to work together and succeed. At this year’s 25 Hours of Thunderhill, Flying Lizard Motorsports, along with their sponsor, Toyo Tires, have clinched the overall title with the number 45 Audi R8 LMS. It was its third consecutive class and overall win at the event, racing for over 2,100 miles. Fling Lizard’s number 74 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport also earned its class win, making Sunday’s three-peat a double race win event. 

The team sponsor, Toyo Tires, has put together a quick five-minute video from the race. Their issues were real; accidents, pit-stops, track-side repairs, all in the span of sleepless 25 hours. So yea, it’s just like our 24 Hours of Lemons racing except the cars are bit faster and pricier, and they don’t sleep, party, or drink at night. In the end, the team overcame of their issues and got the two wins. Check it out. 

New Mercedes G-Class – Important Internal Improvements

Last year I reviewed the 2016 Mercedes-Benz AMG G63. I wanted to love it but I couldn’t. The interior was cramped and outdated. The tall and narrow body on stick axles was fighting physics when 563-horsepower was applied, and losing. The ride wasn’t exactly “class leading”, as the automakers call it. I loved the looks but I didn’t love much else. Despite that, the G-class is selling very well for what it is, an old military vehicle on steroids and with lots of lipstick. Clearly, Mercedes couldn’t just kill it. But they couldn’t change it, either. They had to improve it. 

Per recent press release, Mercedes started improving the G-Class from the inside. The biggest problem with the current interior, bottom picture, is that is looks and feels like it’s been modernized and modified a million times, because it has, but still has the same old bones. There is no room between the seat and the door, so some seat controls are on top of the seats. The center console is narrow, about the width of a cell phone. Climate controls are placed way low and are difficult to see. The screen looks like an iPad randomly attached on top. It’s just dated. 

But the new G-class, top picture, is basically S-Class squared. The most distinctive thing from the older Gelandewagens was carried over, the three locking differential buttons. Of course most buyers don’t know what they do, or when and how to use them, but they’re there. Otherwise, it’s modern Mercedes with sharper angles. But the dash board is not the big news here…

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The New Yorker spotlights our obsession with police chases

Kamil Kaluski December 12, 2017 All Things Hoon

The moment we hear “car chase in Los Angeles” we’re all inclined to grab a beverage and snack, and sit it front to the [you]tube. It’s like watching the best part of a Hollywood movie, but live, and with a mostly unpredictable ending. I am guessing that it’s only more dramatic in Los Angeles where chases get direct local coverage and can actually happen on the same roads that you’re stuck in traffic on daily. The New Yorker takes a critical look at our obsession with Los Angeles police chases. 

Dropping a 707-horsepower Hellcrate motor into a ’68 Charger

Kamil Kaluski December 11, 2017 All Things Hoon

In case you need further confirmation that we live in amazing automotive times, the Hellcrate engine may just be it. Order it from Mopar, install it, and transform a vehicle of your choice into a tire-shredding 707-horsepower monster. Easy, right?

The real question is what vehicle to drop this monster engine into?

A customer of Ace Performance, in Tewksbury, MA decided to drop into what might be perfect candidate for it, a ’68 Dodge Charger R/T.

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