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Two Wheel Tuesday: Everything people hate about bikers crammed in one room

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Last night a co-worker and I went to the local introduction event for Triumph’s new Bonneville Bobber model, or by Triumph’s marketing, the “Brutal Beauty Tour.” That name should have tipped me off to what lay ahead. I expected to pop in after work, look at a couple of bikes on display, perhaps ask a few technical questions of knowledgeable factory reps, and be on my way. Instead, I got an excruciating dose of everything that motorcyclists do that turns off just about everyone—even more than a few who, themselves, ride.
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False Neutral #41: What’s The Ask?

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We’re back from our holiday hiatus! Cam Vanderhorst, host of our HPN sister podcast Cammed & Tubbed, joins us to kick off the new year. It takes us about fifteen minutes for us to get around to talking about motorcycles (Because Cam). Once we finish talking about our cars and gifts, we discuss Sportsters, helmets, and Eddie Lawson replicas. We wrap up the episode with a Price Is Right style game, “What’s The Ask?” Cam, Eric, and Garrett compete as contestants and I act as emcee. You can play along — the photos are after the jump.

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False Neutral – What’s The Ask?

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Classic Captions Contest – 1958 Dodge Truck Edition

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This 1958 advertisement for Dodge Trucks tells a story, but I frankly have no idea what it is. You have a truck, and fencing, and what looks to be bags of fertilizer or sakrete. And you’re going to the bank. Okay, so the message is that you can do work and save money with a Dodge truck. Got it. But the newsboy on the bike? At the other drive-up teller window? He’s there for what reason? I don’t know, but I am sure you can think of a funny, clever, or perhaps genuine reason why this would make sense in a truck ad. In any case, leave your quip, caption or comment below.
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Classic Captions Contest – 1976 Buick Century Pace Car Edition

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The 1970s and ’80s were peculiar for the widespread proliferation of what I’ll call the tableau-zany school of automotive advertising. These ad shoots were rife with imaginatively odd or awkward social situations and exaggeratedly diverse crowds of admiring onlookers, usually highlighting at least one dorky-looking nebbish. They were intended to invoke chuckles with their “wacky antics,” like a single frame of a Hollywood screwball comedy — either four generations late or a generation early.

This 1976 Buick “Free Spirit” Pace Car ad is perhaps the worst. The crowd of ogling townfolk are supposed to be a cross-section of society, but only serve to demonstrate what sadly passed for diversity in the mid-’70s. I remember thinking the plaid-and-stripes-wearing, balding salesman reflected poorly on dealers when I saw it in magazines as a thirteen-year-old. Also, there’s nothing particularly funny about the ad, it’s just deliberately unrealistic, as though Buick couldn’t portend genuine public commotion over this car with a straight face. A car is an important purchase, and going for zany and kooky never sold me. Rather, it always made me doubt the genuine merits of the vehicle.

Making a comment on a Hooniverse Classic Captions post is NOT an important or meaningful task, however, so going for zany and kooky works here. Go ahead; share your best with us.
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Classic Captions – 1974 Jeep CJ5 Edition

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Nowadays, every car ad has a “closed course, professional driver, do not attempt” disclaimer somewhere. Furthermore, if it features anything off-road, we are admonished to “tread lightly” and stick to designated trails. None of that C-Y-A nonsense was required in 1974. American Motors’ ad men made it perfectly clear that once you purchased a new CJ5, they expected you to test that all-leaf-spring suspension by going full James Garner off the nearest hill. Today, we expect you to invent a clever or ironic caption for this illustration and share it in the comments.
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2016 HCOTY Nominee: BMW Alpha

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When it comes to the Hooniversal Car Of The Year, boundless enthusiasm sometimes gets the better of me. My impatience causes me to prematurely nominate vehicles before they’re truly complete. Three years ago, I nominated Antti’s €60 ’86 VW Polo stripper long before it was roadworthy. (Antti himself nominated it for HCOTY last year, after it was up and running, garnering a similarly small percentage of the votes.) And now, I’m doing it again. I was going to bow out this year and bide my time with this sucker, but Jeff and Brad encouraged me to generate some damn content not to keep something so wild and awesome to myself.

So, gentlemen (and ladies), I present my choice for the 2016 HCOTY: the BMW Alpha. Even though it’s not complete, just the story thus far makes it worthy of nomination. The original concept was created by Turkish architect and designer Mehmet Doruk Erdem, who is a motorcycle enthusiast but not a bike builder. He never intended the concept to be more than a few fictitious 3D renderings. But here in the U.S., land speed racer and workshop wizard Mark Atkinson saw his work and concluded that turning Erdem’s futuristic fantasy into real, functional metal was just the sort of side project he needed, when he wasn’t busy prepping his LSR bike for Bonneville. He’s currently willing the BMW Alpha concept into existence in spectacularly jaw-dropping style.
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Classic Captions – Twin Triumphs Edition

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Welcome to another edition of the Hooniverse Classic Captions Contest, wherein we show you an old advertising or promotional photo, and y’all come up with witty, clever, and snarky — or in rare cases, profoundly moving — quips to accompany it.

Looking back at recent contests, I realized that the past six have featured women somewhere in or around the vehicle, half of them in swimsuits. Lest people accuse me of pandering the Hooniverse’s predominantly male readership and their tendency to go there in their comments whenever possible, I present you with this human-being-free photo of two ’70s Triumph roadsters in a bucolic glade surrounded only by God’s wild creatures. I am confident that nobody can twist this into something crass and unseemly.
…NO, WAIT! I didn’t mean that as a challenge, really!
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False Neutral #40: Our Fantasy Guest List

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First off, the three of us devote some attention to the 2017 Honda Rebel 300 & 500. We then briefly discuss a couple of other newly-introduced bikes that none of our listeners will ever buy, or likely even see. Finally, each of us names the motorcycle heroes — past or present — we’d most wish we could sit down and have a conversation with. Garrett’s Internet connection continued to have bandwidth issues in a few spots, but just convince yourself that he’s actually a cyborg; hopefully this will be resolved when we return. Speaking of which, we’ll be taking a break for few weeks over the Holidays. We’ll resume our regular weekly schedule on January 10th.

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False Neutral – Our Fantasy Guest List

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Classic Captions Contest – Tatra 603 Edition

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This week’s contest features a first-gen Tatra T603. The photo is undated, but a safe guess is that it’s circa 1959,  +/- three years, as production started in 1956 and a restyled 2-603 came out in ’62. (The original design is often retroactively referred to as the 1-603.) Inside its homeland — what was then Czechoslovakia — the big rear-engine sedan was only accessible to Communist Party big-wigs. A sizeable number were exported both within and beyond Warsaw Pact nations. It ranked among the most high-end and status-y of Eastern Bloc vehicles: sort of a cold war Czech version of what the Cadillac Escalade was to Y2K Atlanta. Despite the communist devotion to drab utilitarianism and rhetoric about the evils of Western decadence, this was one fancy whip, complete with a couple of primo biatches in skimpy bathing suits caressing the fender — also exactly like most early millennial Escalade photos from Atlanta.

If you’ve been looking for a slam-dunk captions contest, this week is it. From the contrastingly dowdy citizenry in the background, to the ’50s swimsuit styles, to Tatras’ notoriously tail-happy handling, this image is downright preggo with snarky comments that can run in myriad different directions. What are you waiting for?
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False Neutral #39: Bikes on Film

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In this episode Eric, Garrett and I look at how motorcycles are portrayed in Hollywood films. From the good to the bad and the ugly, we discuss what bike-related movie tropes get two thumbs up, and which ones make us groan. After a tangental side-trip into who does the biker wave to whom, and why, we get back on topic to close out with a list of our favorite motorcycle documentary films.

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False Neutral – Bikes On Film

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