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Pride In the Job: An Object Lesson in Halfarsed-ness

Chris Haining August 25, 2016 All Things Hoon

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I had reason to commute into London the other day. My local routes are served by three varieties of train, long distances are taken care of by rakes of coaches towed by electric locomotives, and fast commuter journeys are handled by recently-introduced Siemens electric multiple units. This leaves the high-density, multiple-stop schedule to be filled by the oldest of our rolling stock.

These trains, the 100mph Class 321 electric multiple units, were built from 1989 to 1992 and have been extremely successful, though they are now getting on a bit. Over their long careers they have seen various efforts at refurbishment, and some units are now being rebuilt with air-conditioning and better facilities. The example I travelled in on Tuesday night had obviously experienced a ‘refurbishment’ of sorts, and I was flabbergasted at the sheer magnificence of its ineptitude.

It got me to thinking about the few times I’ve witnessed cars that display shows of owner complacency of this magnitude.

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Diecast Delights: A Ferrari Mondial 8 in 1:18 scale

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Ah, the Ferrari Mondial. Often vilified and referred to as “Ferrari’s Porsche”, the Mondial is one of the least loved cars to bear the Prancing Horse emblem. Something about it caused it to be regarded as slightly limp-wristed compared to other Modenese products, perhaps its styling, which had neither the delicate curves norĀ  exuberant excess of its stablemates.

It’s one of my favourites. And why not? It’s basically a more spacious 308, and there’s nothing much wrong with one of those. Road testers in the buff books tended to agree – few reviewers had anything negative to say about the 2+2 Ferrari.

Compared to other Ferraris it was also largely ignored by model makers. But not totally. Here’s a nice one.

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Hooniverse Bookcase: Intermeccanica, The Story of the Prancing Bull

Chris Haining August 22, 2016 Reviews, Speed Reads

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Intermeccanica is one name that I occasionally glimpse on the prow of a parked exotic, and wish I knew more about. Finally, armed with a copy of Intermeccanica by Veloce Publishing, a week’s camping holiday gave me a chance to get to grips with this most intriguing of marques.

That I hungrily devoured each of its information-packed 186 pages is a strong hint towards my final verdict in this review.

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The Carchive: The ’96 Dodge Avenger

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It’s time to pitch the leaky, torn canvas tent of wisdom on the edge of the dark forest of Motoring history, and wait to see whatever tattered relics are blown out by the breeze of rediscovery. Welcome back to The Carchive

Why, you might ask, am I bothering to cover the Dodge Avenger of all things, when the Carchive boasts such a richness of older, more interesting cars to choose from? Well, I was idly reading this brochure recently, as is my wont, when I noticed that it was published exactly twenty-one years ago this month.

My mind was made up. Ladies and Gentlemen; the Dodge Avenger.

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Diecast Delights Special Edition: Scale My Ride (inc Ford Escape)

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In a change from our regular format, today’s exclusive to Hooniverse episode of Diecast Delights is all about you.

Nothing delights us more than our own possessions. I can show pretty pictures of diecast models all day long , but if we can’t relate to the subject matter it’s difficult to form any emotional link to even the very best.

Getting the ball rolling, today’s Diecast Delight has survived a transatlantic crossing, fetching up in Mistley all the way from the Oak Harbor desk of our own Ray Lindenburg. Representing his very own Ford Escape SUV. Check it out and get ready for a show and tell in the comments after the jump.

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Ran When Parked: Taking the Path less Travelled

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In recent weeks I have taken to riding my bike, nominally as a token gesture towards staying fit, but also as a means of enjoying something other than four-wheeled, fuel-burning personal transport.

My hour-long lunchtime ride also unlocks bits of my local scenery which have hitherto been too far removed far easy walking, yet not accessible by car, and it was while exploring a lane no wider than I am tall, that I was forced to grab two handfuls of my appallingly adjusted disc brakes and bring myself to an emergency stop.

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The Pointless Art of Putting off Purchases

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So, earlier this year my trusty Halfords own-brand, Pacific-rim manufactured 12 volt “Tyre Inflator” noisily coughed its last and seized. It was 20 or so years old and, though I opened it up out of morbid curiosity to gauge its potential fixability, I declared it dead. To be honest, judging by the sub-optimal engineering within, it’s a minor miracle that it made it through to its third operational decade.

So, with it confirmed as deceased, I reverted to my old (even older?) Halfords foot-pump. Thanks to a nail in Rover’s front right tyre, every third morning would see me pumping away at quarter-past seven, adding an additional 15PSI in order to drive to work. The tyre is now repaired, so my use of the foot pump became increasingly sporadic. A fortnight ago, though, I embarked on a plan to start using my bicycle again. I immediately discovered the tyres to contain not even a gnat’s fart worth of air, so it was out with the footpump again, which responded by falling to pieces in punishment for my complacency.

I stared at it numbly, with a knowing thought of “it figures”. And then smacked myself on the back of the head for not buying a replacement compressor already. What’s the longest you’ve unjustifiably left buying something you really need?

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In Search Of Drivetrain Feel: Finding it on my Bike

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A few weeks back I had an epiphany. During a damn good trip out on my friend’s yacht, I suddenly found myself overdosing on all the sensation that I had been missing out on in virtually all of the modern cars I’ve driven in recent years. Steering systems in cars today deny us of the feel, communication and sensitivity that was once abundant in even humble cars of the past. It’s an evolution thing- the information may not be there but we can be pretty sure the grip is, and the car will make the turn. The tiller of a sailing boat, though, is loaded with information thanks to physics. The feeling is so real you could eat it.

It was after this tactile reawakening that I found myself thinking about other things a car does that we rarely feel, and one that struck me was that we’re hardly ever aware of how much effort the engine is putting into those daily errands we dismiss as trivial. There’s one easy way to remind ourselves.

You gotta ride a bicycle.

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Diecast Delights: Curio Corner – Peugeot 307 CC er, thing

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My wife is, if not supportive, certainly tolerant of my 1:18 collecting habits. Though no doubt wary of the increasing demands that my 100+ boxed models place on our attic storage resources, she is sensible to the joy and pleasure that I derive from them. Though I usually unbox them in private, (lest she find out I’ve bought another one), if I do brazenly open one up in the living room, she eyes me in the same kindly, understanding way as she might if I were a toddler.

This time, though, when the wraps came off she showed less patience, and instead issued, “great. Now just what the f*** are you going to do with that?”

And I don’t really know.

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The Carchive: The 1976 Ladas

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It’s been a great week in the Hooniverse, and we’ve seen an awful lot of ongoing projects. Some are fixer-uppers, some are basket-cases and some are just so monumentally exciting as to defy any attempt at description. But only one of them is a Lada.

In honour of Kamil’s Soviet slingshot, we’re heading back to Togliatti and 1976, to have a look at some Ladas.

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