V.I.S.I.T.: A 1972 Triumph TR6 Pleases all my senses


What could be better on a winter’s day off than a stroll down to the riverside? It’s one of our favourite activities after the Christmas dust has settled, and it so happens that several of the classic car owning locals are of very much the same persuasion.

The Mistley Walls is a popular haunt in the summer months where the ice-cream vans fight for business and Andy’s superb mobile coffee dispensary is on hand for a caffeine injection, you’ll find motorists in concours convertibles mixing with bikers astride their polished steeds. But it’s rare that you see something interesting down here when there’s a risk of salt on the roads. So I was thrilled to get a chance to see, hear and smell this beautiful TR6 on bank holiday Tuesday.

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The Carchive: The Ferrari 612 Scaglietti


It’s Christmas Eve eve, and I’m just about to round off my day by wrapping family gifts in an inimitable, shambolic way that I have perfected. With my special technique, I could start with a perfectly rectangular gift and end up with something the shape of a rugby ball. Anyway, it’s time to put on our red and white suits and hats, play with our fine, white, candy-floss beards for a while and then delve into our bulging sacks. Welcome to the Christmas Carchive.

What is it we like about Ferraris? There are some, many in fact, that we can love for their beauty. The 308 and its derivatives were pretty, culminating in the downright explicit 288 GTO with its gaping holes and dirty, exposed running gear. Many call the 456 GT bland, but while it may start out as merely easy on the eye, it continues to work on you until it becomes insufferably handsome.  The F50 wasn’t exactly an oil painting, but it had the mechanical wherewithal to more than make up for it. Generally, if you can’t fall in love with the looks of a Ferrari, it’ll have another attribute that’ll get you back on side.

The 612 Scaglietti is nobody’s favourite Ferrari, but it tries so, so hard.

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An English car better than the Rover P6?


Here’s startling revelation for anybody who hasn’t spent a lot of time in this comfy little corner of the internet: I’m English. Yep, a fully paid up, tiffin nibbling, tea drinking, cricket… uh, ignoring, monarchy…uh, tolerating limey. We all have our problems.

Here’s another truth. Though I have a huge fondness for ’em, I’m by no means diehard fan of the English car; especially not if there is a direct equivalent from another nation that can beat it, either on points or issue a comprehensive wholesale drubbing. There are some, though, that will never test my allegiance, and a prime example is the Rover P6.

Running (if you got a good one – JK) from 1963 to 1977, the Rover P6 can surely be judged as an example of the British doing the car properly. It was a pretty sophisticated machine, really, with a De Dion rear suspension setup, inboard rear disc brakes (that may be effective are absolute hell to work on) and a cleverly designed ‘safety first’ interior. It was also one of the very first cars to receive the ex-Buick 215 c.i V8 that would soon become the doyen of the British sports car industry. It was certainly better than the Chevy Corvair, with anti-sway bar enthusiast Ralph Nader citing it as an example of how all cars should be built.

But how could you make it better?

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The SN Honda Prelude reminds us of a prettier past


As Honda releases its new generation Civic, a riot of curves, lines, grilles and pointy bits that will give us headaches until we get used to it, let’s not get upset. It’s progress, they say. It certainly seems inevitable that the more bloated and bulky cars become to accommodate mandatory safety, comfort and  anti-pollution equipment, designers have to resort to sleight of hand tactics – adding as many visual distractions as possible to disguise the sheer mass of the car.

Since we’re approaching Christmas,  a time to look at the past and dream mournfully of years gone by, lets put tomorrow on hold for just a minute. Once upon a time, when the Earth was a younger, more innocent little planet, Honda released a gorgeous little coupe. It was named it Prelude, and in some respects it was a sign of things to come. In others, sadly, it wasn’t.

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Marcos Mantis: Ahead of its time or road to nowhere?


The history of the UK motor industry is dotted with fascinating footnotes, risks and flights of fancy. Take Marcos Engineering, a once proud of sports cars which has been in stasis since 2007.

First collaborating in scenic Wales in 1959, Jem Marsh and Frank Costin  produced the first Marcos small sports car, the frighteningly-named Xylon, with a view to taking the 750 Motor Club racing scene by storm. To a certain extent, it did, and pretty soon the brand expanded its lineup with the Volvo Engined 1800 GT, its first real full-size sports car. And as if to prove the concept of getting it right first time, it’s that shape that went on to endure the next 40 years, including the faintly ridiculous Chevy small-block powered Mantara LM600.

So what of the Marcos Mantis M70? The car  “for the man who is going places and wants to travel in style”? Well, what do you reckon?

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2016 HCOTY Nominee: A specific 1982 Austin Allegro.


My nominees don’t always do very well in this annual exercise in global gong-banging, in fact they usually crash and burn. This year, though, I’ll be disappointed if I don’t get at least one vote for my nomination – if only by the honourable denizen of the ‘verse who now calls this car his own.

We’ve celebrated this car before on these pages, not least when it appeared on a Craigslist ad in November 2015. Since then it’s been under global surveillance and I was delighted to see it go into the custody of the one person in the Northwest USA properly equipped to give it a good home. That alone isn’t my reason for nominating it for HCOTY, though:

I put it to you that the willingness to own a car as maligned as the 1982 Austin Allegro III is a hallmark of the true Hoon.

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V.I.S.I.T: Ural 750- A Great Escape from sobriety


I recently had cause to partake in a corporate event. It was based at the London Shuffle Club, Europe’s first all shuffleboard venue. The club premises drip with character; based in part of the old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, London, only the bare minimum of gentrification has been performed before the doors were opened to guests.

Along with ‘distressed’ peeling paint, ‘authentic’ rusting metalwork and ‘chic’ exposed concrete, the atmosphere of the club was further enhanced by a certain amount of set-dressing. Lighting was provided by strings of exposed bulbs, old industrial furniture was placed along side modern desks and facilities, and there were plenty of details that had obviously endured their fair share of history. Prince among accessories, though, was that which housed a Prosecco dispenser.

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Finding inspiration: Where will retro go next?

Chris Haining December 7, 2016 All Things Hoon


So, the Dodge Challenger is one of the more successful of the retro-brigade. It’s a latter-day re-imagining of one of the all-time most celebrated cars to live in the ponycar / muscle crossover zone – its fame no doubt helped by the pretend exploits of a Mr Kowalski Esq. “Chris, you’re talking about the wrong car, aren’t you, you ludicrous buffoon?”. Well, yeah. I know. But every time I look at the AMC Javelin photographed above, it puts me in mind of the current Challenger.

I also think about car stylists, and inspiration, and toast (don’t write when hungry) and I find myself marvelling at something. I look at the current Challenger, which is a remarkably contemporary looking car despite its retro lineage. And then I look at the AMC Javelin and think “Can that really be 46 years old?”. With the Challenger, the Mustang and the Camaro all inspired by the late ’60s, it’s as if American car styling during every administration from Nixon to Clinton was just a waste of time.

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Pro Tips: Minimum Standards for eBay or Craigslist Pics


The lede image of this article shows a vendors attempt to portray the interior of a car he is selling. A picture can paint a thousand words, as we all know, and you’d think that eBay sellers would know that, too. Yet this guy took his photo on a rainy day and didn’t even bother opening the door. Hopeless.

It stuns me that, in this day of ever more informed, enabled and tech-savvy consumers, people still lack the wherewithal to post useful, informative and representative images of what they’re trying to sell. It’s clearly a lot more difficult than I assumed. OK, not everybody’s a wizard behind the lens, but the photos don’t need to be of David Bailey quality, even a few snaps from a low-tier ‘phone camera will do just fine with the application of just a little common sense.

So, in order to help navigate through this apparent minefield, I’ve taken a look around and found some specific areas that people seem to have trouble with when it comes to eBay photography. Now, I’m no expert but I still think I can share a few hints and tips to help make your eBay listings look a little more professional and a little less like a feeble and futile waste of time and energy. This is a Hooniverse Public Service broadcast.

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When you can’t work out if it’s weird or wonderful


Every now and again we’ll chance upon an automotive Frankenstein’s Monster. We’ve seen them often in Craigslist Crapshoots. They’re usually absolutely hideous, the kind of unearthly, hideous freakshow that really needs to be nuked from space. We’re talking about those unhappy concoctions that are neither fish nor fowl. That are often the result of inspiration by way too much alcohol. The kind of thing that leaves you wondering how its creator could possibly look upon it and think to himself “yes, that looks great. That was a good idea.”

The thing you’re looking at is an example of a hotch-potch. But, like eating Cheetos after dunking them in tea, it’s a strange mixture that I rather like the taste of. It’s a blend of two generations of Rover 800 – the fuselage of a post ’92 Mk2 combined with the insipid headlights, flat bonnet and letterbox-slot grille of a Mk1. It was built by a guy called Brad and I’ve known about it since I first saw it on the world’s leading online Rover 800 resource several years ago. And now it’s appeared on eBay.

And, dangerously, I rather like it.

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