Those Little Flourishes That Make You Go “Mmmmmm”.


I’m as guilty as everybody else. We all coo and wow over every new shiny projectile that shows up in Hooniverse News. We also all salivate over whatever extraordinary artefact Hooniverse dredges up from Craiglist, whether it be an unseen-by-human-eyes-for-decades barnfind or some insane combination of chassis, engine and build-sheet that defies any possible explanation and is all the more awesome because of it.

We love this shit. But I can’t help but feel that we all look a little too far from home to find something to celebrate.

So, I’m laying down a challenge to everbody anybody willing to accept. Your challenge is to go outside, right now, to your daily driver and photograph just one thing that you really, really like about it. If you can’t think of anything right now, the chances are you’re driving the wrong car. But go and take another look and find something. Then come back and show us.

Meanwhile,  to provide inspiration and to show that beauty can be found anywhere, take the jump to see two features I like on a 1997 Rover.

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Hooniverse Concept Clinic: Proposal #5

Chris Haining March 2, 2015 Diss-ign


Welcome to the series which aims to give our poor old international automotive industry the helping hand it so desperately needs. Witness companies like BMW and Mercedes pumping out ever more broad product portfolios, extending their tentacles into every possible market niche that ever existed, and then inventing extra niches just in case.

To them all: Stop Right Now. Put all your development projects on hiatus until you’ve listened to the word of The Hooniversariat.

Last week we pretty unanimously decided that the world didn’t need an enormous, powerful, high-speed 21st century take on the dayvan, least of all one which looked like something across between a Pontiac GTO and a Renault Avantime. Stands to reason, really. This week we turn the octane up a notch.

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The Carchive: ’75 Jaguar XJS


It’s that time of the week again when I have the excuse to make our study and much of the upstairs landing horribly untidy as I hurl car brochures all over the place in the search for something to chronicle in our weekly trip down memory lane. And while we’re at it we can decide whether our subject matter deserves remembrance or is better forgotten. Welcome back to  The Carchive.

Last week we made a trip back in time and space to England in the early ‘sixties where we took a look at the frumpy yet ahead-of-its-time Austin 1100. This time around we’re going for a bit more glamour. We’re being sent to Coventry to look at the brand new Jaguar XJS.

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Diecast Delights: A………Cadillac Escalade EXT?!? In 1/18 Scale.

Chris Haining February 25, 2015 Diecast Delights


What on Earth drove me to buy this model? What possible reason could I have for wanting to dilute my otherwise spectacular and wisely chosen collection of 1:18s with a model of a vehicle that I, well, kind of hate?

I’m still struggling for an answer to this conundrum, but I’m glad I do have an Escalade EXT in my miniature garage because I can honestly say that the Good, the Bad and the Ugly are all fairly represented.

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V.I.S.I.T: Huracán. So, you’ve got your supercar. What next?


I followed the above pictured Lamborghini Huracán on my daily commute this morning. It’s clearly brand new and was being driven in the manner of somebody who had a new toy and wanted to play with it. That’s cool, who wouldn’t want to do that? But it was also being driven very badly, in the manner of somebody with scant experience of this kind of machinery.

You know the form; frequent jabs on the throttle, even when stuck in 30mph traffic. Sudden bursts of acceleration but then very early and nervously on the brakes, and making his overtake just as a school bus came heading towards him. If I was to hazard a guess I’d say this was somebody’s first supercar.

So the next question is, now you’ve got your Lambo, where do you go from here?

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Hooniverse Concept Clinic: Proposal #4

Chris Haining February 23, 2015 Diss-ign


Welcome back to our open-to-all motor-industry market research forum, an idea exclusive to Hooniverse that, for whatever reason, nobody else on the whole internet wanted to do.

We urge those out there in positions of power and influence over our beloved automotive brands to pay attention to the comments that this strand generates. The world would (will?) be a much better place if its cars were shaped by the voice of the Hooniverse. It’s a voice worth listening to, and last week it collectively agreed that T-Tops should remain in the past, thank you very much.

Today we lurch in a completely different, probably far worse, direction.

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The Carchive: The Austin 1100


It’s time once again for me to machete my way through the spider webs to uncover another gem from motoring past, blow off the dust and evaluate if the damn thing was worth my quest in the first place. Welcome back to The Carchive.

It’s the early ’60s. The space race is in full effect and we have atomic energy for the masses. Ford have moved onto Fuselage body styling on the newest Thunderbird and the Phantom II is being phased into front-line use. Meanwhile, while all these exciting developments were going on, the British motorist could salivate at the prospect of the New Austin 1100.

“Here’s the new… AUSTIN 1100!”. Find out if the car was worthy of that exclamation mark after the jump.

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Diecast Delights: The (old!) Ford GT in 1:18 Scale

Chris Haining February 17, 2015 Diecast Delights


Talk about having your thunder stolen. With the brand new Ford GT concept car now wowing crowds it’s feasible that one might forget the last one. The last Ford GT concept wowed the world back in 2002 and the Blue Oval weren’t slow in realising just how much of a win they had on their hands vis-a-vis “hey world, we’re an interesting company with interesting ideas”.  They were, and indeed are. And they backed up all their noisy “look at us” grunting by actually putting the damn thing into production. The Ford GT. You may have heard of it.

Meanwhile, Beanstalk, later to be absorbed into Pauls Model Art, were licensed by Ford to distribute a bunch of models of prominent halo lines from the Ford Portfolio of the day. They included the Jaguar XKR, Ford Thunderbird, (this) Aston Martin Vanquish from the terrible Bond film Die Another Day, and the 2002 Ford GT Concept.

And here it is.

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Good News for Brooklands= Good News For ALL OF MOTORSPORT.

brooklands 1

The image above says everything you need to know about Brooklands. Fast, banked turns on which wildly moustachioed, goggled, flying hatted playboys fought wheel to wheel to prove the superiority of their chosen steed and, as we can see, even sometimes getting it to hover. Amazing things happened on this two and three-quarter mile oval in leafy Surrey between 1907 and 1939.  British Motorsport was born here. I, personally, am very grateful.

The years haven’t been spectacularly kind to Brooklands, which seems absolutely, stark, raving mad when you consider its significance. But today comes the news that recognition has finally been granted and there is an actual scheme in place to breathe life back into this ground zero for the octane blooded.

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Hooniverse Concept Clinic: Proposal #3

Chris Haining February 16, 2015 Diss-ign


Welcome to, as far as I know, the only live-action online theoretical product design test clinic in the entire universe, and it’s got the Hooniverse name stamped all over it.

Last week we decided that the world definitely does have space for a back-to-basics, e-z customised four-wheel-drive vehicle. In fact, it’s a heinous crime that the major manufacturers have all abandoned this somewhat specialist sector of the market, and the smart money is on even the Land Rover Defender turning into some kind of lifestyle replacement accessory for the well heeled.  So there we have it. The design, the concept, all up for grabs. Somebody please build it (or something better looking that does the same job).

This week’s pencil and biro fantasy is, well, just a car, really. It’s a wagon with two side doors, possibly four-wheel-drive with mild off-highway trips workable. The car itself won’t rewrite history. What we’re interested in is the roof. Take the jump to say Yay or Nay.

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