HCOTY 2017 Nominee: Ferrari 308 GTB Group B rally car

A great many cars have impressed me this year, some of which I’ve been fortunate enough to drive, and many, many of which I’ve not. Some, including this one, are memorable for doing me actual bodily harm – the dust cloud seen in the image above contained particles of various masses and diameters, from microscopic to massive, the former of which caked my camera – the latter bruised my body.

It was well worth it, though. The photos might be the fluky point ‘n shoot product that betrays a rank amateur, but standing that close to a Ferrari 308 at full chat on a dirt course is something that will stay with me for years. And for this reason, it’s my Hooniverse Car Of The Year nomination for 2017. I mean, I know it’s not going to win – my nominees never do – but it’s certainly worth throwing into the ring.

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The Carchive: The 1980 Dodge St. Regis

There are nameplates, like Chevrolet Corvette, that seem destined to be with us forever. Equally, there are those that disappear seemingly overnight, having achieved precious little during their brief stay on planet earth. Last week, we looked at the Jeep Wagoneer, the five-door variant of a car that fitted firmly into the former bracket. Now, though, we’re definitely looking at car that was rather transient in nature.

We’re sticking with North America today, but winding the clock a little forward until we reach the brink of the ’80s. August 1979, in fact, when this brochure for the Dodge St Regis went to print.

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The Truth About the Future and Marketing

Chris Haining December 15, 2017 All Things Hoon

“Everything you can buy from a car dealership today is simply a product. From Mahindra to McLaren, it exists to be sold. To make money.”

The above is a breathtakingly obvious statement, but isn’t one that has troubled me as much before as it does today. This is because the true nature of the industry has become jarringly, egregiously transparent over recent years, placed in sharp focus with the launch of the Lamborghini Urus SUV, the unstoppable (and as far as I can see, unsolicited) march of autonomous cars, and recent changes to BMW’s global website.

In case you’ve not seen it, the core BMW website has moved from information-heavy font of vehicular knowledge to become more of an online lifestyle dispatch, eulogizing the wonderful things you can do in a BMW and the colourful, influential personalities who drive them. This is a sign that the storied German marque knows that its cars no longer sell on what they are, but what they mean. And that, I’m afraid, rather sums the decline – not of cars – but of motoring as a whole.

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Diecast Delights: A Porsche 911 Carrera RS in 1:18 scale

Chris Haining December 4, 2017 Diecast Delights

Diecast Delights isn’t everybody’s favourite Hooniverse series, but with the season of expenditure upon us, I thought it worth chiming in with another episode. You see, this is the time of year that many parents consider giving a young hoon their first proper model car, and none of the 1:18s featured in Diecast Delights so far will fail to please.

However – this Porsche 911 Carrera RS, by Welly, comes particularly highly recommended, not least because you can find it at very reasonably prices. Firstly – it depicts one of the very most important Porsches in history, and one that every junior car enthusiast needs to know about. Secondly – it looks fantastic.

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The Carchive: The ’76 Jeep Wagoneer

SUVs have reached ubiquity now, and are familiar enough for us to believe that they’ve always been around. There have also been endless arguments as to who actually invented the hulking great luxury four-wheel-drive as we know it, and now is really not the time to get drawn into such a debate.

However. We can probably award a certain North American machine with some kind of honorary mention – if not for inventing the segment, then certainly for dwelling in it for a bloody long time. It’s the Jeep Wagoneer. Welcome back to The Carchive.

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V.I.S.I.T: A ’95 Chevy Caprice “police car”

Bournemouth, on England’s South coast, is kind of a genteel place. It’s a seaside resort that packs in all the traditional appeal of such places – scrupulously clean sandy beaches, long, sweeping promenades and spindly, wave-bashed piers. Although, like many similar towns, its fortunes have been mixed ever since the end of Victoria’s reign, it’s still an agreeable and thoroughly respectable corner of the country.

Precisely the kind of place I’d expect not to find a 1995 Chevy Caprice decked out in full Fort Worth police regalia, complete with front nudge / PIT bars, roof lights and spotlights, black steel wheels and dogdish hubcaps. Yet that’s exactly what I found in one of the town’s leafier streets earlier this week.

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Clearing the mind.

Chris Haining November 28, 2017 All Things Hoon

We all know that a demanding set of countryside switchbacks can get an enthusiast’s adrenaline flowing, while the acceleration aficionado might live life a quarter mile at a time. Grabbing the keys to your car can be the prelude to a new set of memories, unlocking sights and sounds that you’ll never want to forget. Alternatively, though, the opposite is true.

While American teenagers can get behind the wheel from 16, us in the UK have another year to wait. I remember using my car as a way of escaping reality way before I was what I’d call ‘grown up’. Girl trouble, overbearing parents, you name it, my car was an escape pod. Jump in, no destination, just a road network and whatever fuel is in the tank. ‘Several’ years later, I find myself reliving those awkward late teenage years, but this time I’m not on my own, and the journey isn’t about escape.

It’s about comfort.

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In car communications. What ya got?

Chris Haining November 22, 2017 All Things Hoon

In a few weeks time, I’ll be sitting my amateur radio (Ham) exam. I’ll be issued a callsign and legally entitled to transmit at low power and on a wide variety of frequencies. One day I’ll graduate through my intermediate and full licenses, unlocking a 400w maximum transmitting power and across a broader spectrum of wavelengths, but just being legally active is enough for me.

Outside of professional and commercial groups, vehicle-based radio communications is far less commonplace today than once it was, but it strikes me that – out of all the automotive websites, forums and blogs out there – the Hooniverse faithful is most likely to have kept old-school mobile comms alive. So, what ya got?

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The Carchive: The Triumph Dolomite 1300

The table is all laid out, the plates are piping hot and there’s a hostess trolley full of goodness on its way from the kitchen. But what’s it full of? Well, we’re digging right down from the choice cuts on the surface, through the fat and bone until we reach the gristle and cartilage before it gets left at the side of your plate.

At last weeks banquet we dined richly on the 1980 Mercury Cougar, but today’s dish is rather more lean and less ostentatiously garnished. It’s the 1976 Triumph Dolomite 1300. Welcome back to The Carchive.

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Bugatti Chiron: Think of a Number and Then Double It

Chris Haining November 13, 2017 All Things Hoon

This is an old story, but my thought process has only just caught up with why I care about it. Basically, there’s a Bugatti Chiron for sale through an independent classic car specialist in Surrey. It’s proudly declared to be the ‘first used example’ to be offered for sale in the UK. Fine. It was bound to happen.

It’s the next bit that riles me a little. The news item from Romans International, via Newspress, says “While simply driving the majority of new cars off the forecourt can wipe thousands off their value, the 261mph supercar has bucked the trend and soared in value to £3.6 million – an increase of £1.1 million over its list price of £2.5 million”.

The operative word above is ‘value’, and what I’m getting at is, just how on earth is £3.6m anything but a heinously greedy random figure?

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