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Friday Fun: $100k Challenge

Ross Ballot February 17, 2017 All Things Hoon

It’s a theoretical that, as an enthusiast, is among the most fun things to ponder: one-hundred thousand dollars magically appear in your bank account, and the car fairy says you have to spend it all on cars and car-related activities. Pretty freakin’ ideal, right? That hundred-k goes a long way though, longer than you think, leaving you with a dilemma: do you spend it on one massively depreciated supercar and two beaters, or divvy up your funds and spread them out in order to achieve maximum bang and excitement for your buck?

Let’s go with the latter rather than the former: three cars, regardless of how questionable they are, are almost always better than one…and especially so when you have an imaginary $100k to spend on them. So let’s pretend that the fantasy has come true, that one’s bank account is suddenly a hundred-thousand fuller, and it has to be spent on cars. The dream, though it is very much so, has come true. What would you spend it on? I know what I would do with mine…in this moment, at least.

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Stormtrooper 4Runner: Modifications Explanations

Ross Ballot February 14, 2017 Project Cars

Off-road, the difference between a properly-outfitted rig and one lacking the equivalent modifications can be the difference between arriving at your destination in one piece and not getting there at all. And while every trail and every wheeling trip is different, it goes without saying that some adventures require a higher level of build than others, and the value of one’s equipment is only truly appreciated once it’s needed. Be it armor, recovery points, locking differentials, or even just the appropriate tires, every piece of hardware has a purpose and can contribute to making one’s trip not only successful, but worth remembering.

Now that we’re familiar with Project Stormtrooper 4Runner, let’s delve into the existing modifications, what makes it such a great platform for off-road adventures, and where the build will go in the future.

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Top Gear Series 24 trailer debuts, looks promising

Ross Ballot February 9, 2017 Top Gear

They’re back.

Moving into its twenty-fourth series, the BBC recently debuted the latest Top Gear trailer for enthusiasts and casual viewers alike to lay eyes on. It looks promising, with all the top-notch production and editing quality we’ve come to appreciate melded with the new hosts’ personalities and presenting capabilities displayed at their finest. There seems to be some actual charm this time around, making this a show you definitely won’t want to miss.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer, and for a quick breakdown of what we can expect.

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Straight Outta Canada: Stormtrooper 4Runner Introduction

Ross Ballot February 9, 2017 Featured, Project Cars

The tale of the Stormtrooper 4Runner starts back when I was a young kid, back with memories of riding in a booster seat in my dad’s lifted YJ Wrangler on weekend off-roading trips. My impressionable mind would suck these memories up like a sponge, imprinting upon me a never-fading love for all things four-wheel-drive, off-road, and trail runs. Twenty-ish years later the story has now come full circle, the off-road hobby manifesting itself in my top-priority 2017 New Year’s Resolution: explore more.

With self-inflicted pressure to make the most of life and to spend more time enjoying the great outdoors, and by extension to journey to my bucket-list spots, working towards these goals took a mandatory first step of acquiring the appropriate vehicle. One-thousand round-trip miles worth of road trip to Canada later, the story truly begins.

Welcome to Project Stormtrooper 4Runner.

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Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet: the ultimate luxury SUV

Ross Ballot February 7, 2017 The News!

Source: AutoMailRU

Mercedes has been pushing the boundaries lately with their G-Wagen-based vehicles, and the upcoming “collaboration” with Maybach is no exception. By taking the same mantra as was applied to the S-Class sedan bearing the same Mercedes-Maybach designation, the company is working to infuse an extra dose of luxury (if you can imagine that) into their top-level 4×4 in order to match, or even outclass, competitive SUV offerings like the Bentley Bentayga and the upcoming Rolls Royce whatever-it’ll-be-called.

Enter the G650 Landaulet, a long-wheelbase convertible version of the venerable Mercedes, which will undoubtedly be the most luxurious a G-Wagen ever offered. Hit the jump to read more about this utterly unnecessary, though equally wild, class-topping luxury utility vehicle.

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Forgotten Trim Packages: Lara Croft Tomb Raider Jeep Wrangler

Ross Ballot February 2, 2017 All Things Hoon

Source: FourWheeler

So-called “special edition” vehicles are in many cases, especially that of the Jeep Wrangler, not very special at all. What is frequently little or nothing more than a decal or appearance package, these supposedly limited-run trims are meant to draw in potential buyers by tricking them into thinking they bought something unique when, usually, it’s the same damn vehicle, unchanged except for some graphics and words slapped on the side or rear.

Jeep is among the worst offenders when it comes to this, with seemingly dozens of “special” Wranglers released year-to-year. That’s not the case with the Lara Croft Tomb Raider Edition Wrangler Rubicon though. Read on to see what made this special edition actually, well, special. 

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Review: Rokblokz mud flaps for my 2015+ Subaru WRX/STI

Ross Ballot January 26, 2017 Gadget Reviews, Reviews

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Winter in the Northeast means road salt. It’s an inevitability; as soon as accumulation can be measured, the highway department starts spreading the stuff like it’s free. While helpful on the traction front, road salt is harmful on paint and can do serious damage over time. Hence why mud flaps have become such a popular “modification” in the Northeast: aside from being inexpensive, they are an easy way to add visual flair while also protecting one’s paint.

When it comes to purchasing a set, mud flap options for the Subaru WRX are more extensive than for most other vehicles but are still limited. After much searching I decided on a set from Rokblokz; they had just what I was looking for at a fraction of the price of other companies’ products, so I ordered up a set to give my WRX both a little appearance boost and to help keep the demon of winter from ruining the paint. Read on to see if they’re a worthwhile investment for your 2015+ WRX/STI.

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Our Cars: 2017 Subaru WRX – Time flies, and so do the miles

Ross Ballot January 25, 2017 Featured, Project Cars

Dates: 9/13-1/17 —– Odometer: 16,000 miles

Time flies and so do the miles when you commute roughly fifty miles to and from work, five days a week. Combine daily driver duty with innumerable weekend trips and it’s no surprise that my WRX crossed 15,000 miles ten days shy of six months of ownership. With the odometer now displaying over sixteen thousand, I’m here to report that the Subaru has been nearly flawless and, aside from a few annoyances, is as great a car to own as it is to drive.

The WRX has turned out to be very well suited to my wants and needs, eating up the miles with aplomb, regularly putting a smile on my face, and doing all the boring stuff with ease. Enough good can’t be said about it as a daily driver, and that it’s withstood my snow drifting shenanigans and handled a few days of autocross so well shows that it was designed for just this kind of use.

Read on to see how my WRX has fared in its first six-ish months.

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Review: General Altimax Arctic tires and Sparco Terra wheels

Ross Ballot January 23, 2017 Featured, Reviews

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Winter in the Northeast can be a brutal, bitter time of year. Rain, snow, ice, sleet, you name it; if Mother Nature can concoct it, you can expect it just when you want it least. As all of us in the automotive community know, summer tires are absolutely inappropriate for getting around once the temperature falls below forty degrees or so, and only get worse and more dangerous from there as the mercury continues to drop.

My Subaru WRX come from the factory with summer tires, it’s a no-brainer to grab a set of dedicated winter set to simultaneously assure your safe-going and protect your summers. Going with a cost-effective but high-performing combination, I picked out a set of General Altimax Arctics and Sparco Terras to help get me, and my beloved Subaru, through the worst that winter can throw at us.

Read on to see how they fare.

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What Jeep needs to get right with the upcoming JL Wrangler, Part V: Packages, tidbits, and trims (oh my)

Ross Ballot January 11, 2017 All Things Hoon
jlwranglerforums4

JLWranglerForums

Pitting the company versus the buyers: From turbodiesel to pickup, your semi-comprehensive and somewhat speculative guide on the upcoming JL Wrangler

[This is the final piece in a five-part installment about the 2018+ Jeep Wrangler in which we’ve explored the exterior, off-road hardware, drivetrain & interior, and the pickup. Hopefully sooner rather than later we’ll know how close my, and the industry’s, predictions were…]

So here we are, at the conclusion of our speculation series about the upcoming Jeep JL Wrangler. We’ve covered a lot in the last few months, from engines and transmissions to the interior to the pickup and damn-near everything in-between. The JL Wrangler is shaping up to be one hell of a vehicle, especially so should FCA keep their shoddy quality out of the equation, and we’re more eager than ever to see it. So while we’re still in the dark about what the production-spec JL will actually look, sound, feel, and drive like, let’s predict and speculate some more! This time we’ll delve into the realms of available trims, packages, easter eggs, and more. Read on to see what we the people want from the JL, and what we’ll likely/probably get from Jeep. Things are heating up quickly, so be sure to stay tuned. Now jump with me as we dive into some of my final thoughts on the next-gen Wrangler.

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