Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Factory Side Pipes


Side pipes were, at their genesis, an imperfect solution to a vexing problem. In many compact, low-slung vehicles with big engines (in other words, racing cars) there is often nowhere for those big, hot exhaust pipes to go under the floorboards, and thus they must be routed around the side the vehicle by necessity. Thus was the case with the 427 Cobra and the original Viper. But they have serious drawbacks for occupants: high door sills and, unless serious attention is given to guards and heat management, a very real burn danger. (Subsequent redesigns of the Viper have enclosed those calf-searing pipes inside the rockers, but they are still side pipes.) Because of these practical issues and because they were only considered stylish for a limited period of time in the 1960s and  ’70s, side pipes have not been widely utilized by car makers. But there are other examples of cars that were equipped by the manufacturer with exhibitionistic pipework along their flanks. And that is today’s Encyclopedia Hoonatica assignment: cars with factory side pipes.

    Specific Requirements:

  • Aftermarket pipes don’t count, but accessory pipes sold by the OEM as a dealer-installed accessory are okay.
  • We are looking for production vehicles: No concept cars, SEMA cars, or home-built specials.
  • Side pipes carry exhaust gasses; if you’re going to include some sort of fake side pipes, you’d best prepared a good argument to justify their inclusion.
  • Race cars don’t count, even if they were modified by the factory, unless they were made available for sale to privateers.

Difficulty: Get your fruit while they’re low-hanging. Zero to total obscurity in about 10 minutes flat.

How This Works: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates. Adding photos with standard HTML is good, but shrink the big ones with width="500".

Image Source: Wikipedia, Hemmings.com

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Modified Wheel Count


Vehicles with more or less fewer than four wheels are somewhat rare in the whole scheme of vehiclulardom (well, except for big trucks, I suppose). But vehicles that were modified at some point in the platform’s lifespan to alter the number of wheels are even more rare. The most commonly-known one is probably the Reliant Robin, which begat the Kitten with a new, rubber-donut-enriched front end. You might think the trail goes cold right there, but you’d be wrong. There are a good number of other vehicles that were tweaked to increase or decrease the number of wheels. It’s your job to think of and list them all.

Difficulty: Roughly equivalent to sitting through The Fall of the Roman Empire.

Learn your clichés, they’re your friends: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates. Adding photos with standard HTML is good, but shrink the big ones with width="500".

Image Sources: kenjonbro’s flicker page, Wikipedia.

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Sequel Model Names


Ford went a little crazy with the sequel naming thing in the 1970s, slapping roman numerals at the end of model names to differentiate the “new and improved” models from the old, outdated original. Or at least, that was the idea.

Movies with a roman numeral at the end of the title rarely turn out to be as good as the original that came before them. Is that equally true for cars? We are fortunately not here to debate the quality of these cars, just the names. We want you, dear readers, to come up with the definitive list of car models that used roman numerals to signify a new or updated iteration.

Difficulty: Somewhere between a II and a III.

How This Works: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates. Adding photos with standard HTML is good, but shrink the big ones with width="500".

Image Sources: oldcarmanualproject.com, paintref.com

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: TV Anti-Hero Cars


Television is a great medium for manufacturers to show off production cars through product placement deals. Who can forget the Saint’s Volvo or Jim Rockford’s Firebird? Likewise, prominently featuring fancy exotics (Magnum P.I., Spenser For Hire, Miami Vice, The Mentalist) or wild, customized show cars such as the Batmobile, Monkeemobile, and Mannix Toronado generate enthusiasm for a show and up the characters’ “cool factor”.

But other, more down-to-earth shows sometimes feature a car that is notable, but for the WRONG reasons. For example, Harry O‘s Austin-Healey Sprite was represented in the show as a notoriously unreliable bucket of bolts. On In Plain Sight, U.S. Marshall Mary Shannon and her co-workers often leveled outright contempt toward her worn out, faded purple Ford Probe.

Your encyclopedic task for today is to list cars featured as an ongoing plot device on a TV show, but that were either disliked by the characters who drove them or represented as worthy of ridicule by the audience.

Difficulty: Finally, one that’s as achievable for pop-culture machines and couch potatoes as for hardcore motor geeks.

How This Works: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates. Adding photos with standard HTML is good, but shrink the big ones with width="500".

Image Sources: davidjanssen.net, IMCDB

V.I.S.I.T. – Mystery Jeep Half-Cab


I ran across this Jeep CJ pickup a while back, serving as a parking lot attendents’ service vehicle. Any longer-wheelbase CJ-6 is a rare enough sighting. A CJ-6 wearing a half-cab hardtop is rarer still. This one, however, is downright bizarre: notice that the only seam between the cab and the body is the uneven crack in the white paint. That cab is not the usual bolt-on accessory top typically seen on Jeeps. Did someone (for reasons unknown) put forth the time and effort to custom weld and fill the junction between a standard CJ-6 and an aftermarket half-cab top? Or was this some type of limited-production hardtop from Kaiser, or a third party? Jeep gurus, feel free to leave your insights in the comments and let me know exactly what the heck I was looking at.

Harley license light proves THIS is why we keep boxes full of random spare parts.


When my wife and I rearranged our home office last weekend, it neatened up our workstations nicely and will hopefully position our huge, somewhat ailing peace lily where it can better thrive. But it also left one side of my desk shrouded in shadow. What to do, what to do… Wait, I have a box of random, unused motorcycle lights in the garage. A quick trip to the motorcycle parts shelves located this Harley-Davidson LED license light. Perfect! The addition of a 12V wall wart from an old cordless phone, a scavenged toggle switch, and some double-sided foam tape, and I had the perfect hidden accent light for zero cost and ten minutes of effort.

What is the coolest, most hacktastic way you’ve ever re-purposed a vehicle part?

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Hidden Glass


For today’s Encyclopedia Hoonatica entry, we want our Hooniversal crew to create a comprehensive list of cars with hidden glass. You see, when manufacturers want to refresh the styling an existing platform, they often wish to reshape part of the greenhouse—most typically, the rear quarter windows. Unfortunately, stamping dies are horribly expensive, so actually changing the shape of the window openings in the body panels is rarely economically viable. As a result, they often keep the same glass and simply cover part of the window with solid panels known in the industry as “window appliques.”

The poster child for this technique, as shown above, is Chrysler’s L-body hatchback coupe. The story is that Lee Iacocca was famously critical of the original (rarely seen) profile with pop-out quarter-windows, and the designers overcompensated by coming up with no fewer than five different rear C-pillar/quarter window profiles over the platform’s lifecycle. But this is not the only example of a car that had some (or all?) of its quarter window glass (or some other greenhouse opening) hidden behind solid panels. What other examples can you think of where designers shrunk the effective size of a window with a glass sandwich?

Difficulty: Tougher than many lately. A bit of low-hanging fruit, then the field quickly moves to really obscure ones.

Welcome To The Rock: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates. Adding photos with standard HTML is good, but shrink the big ones with width="500".

Image Sources: allpar.com, fotosdecarros.com

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: The Name’s The Same

There are only so many memorable, cool-sounding, or widely known car names, and many have been recycled over the years on different, unrelated models. Many have even been affixed to cars from different manufacturers. But in some cases, a particular car maker has concurrently sold different cars in different markets under the same name. That is what you’re tasked with listing today.

Here are the caveats:

  • The vehicles need to be sold concurrently, or at least in the same decade or so.
  • The vehicles need to be by the same manufacturer (or at least the same industrial conglomerate.) No thieved car names.
  • No “world car” model that happened to be sold in different countries, but was basically the same platform.
  • No race cars or concept cars. We want regular production cars for sale to the public.
  • Sub-lines and trim level names are a gray area. Toss them out only if they are fairly notable and unusual. Nothing generic, such as “Limited Edition” or “Sport.”

Difficulty: As easy as taking candy from a Buddha.

Welcome Newcomers: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates. Adding photos with standard HTML is good, but shrink the big ones with width="500".

Image Source: Wikipedia

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Multiple C-Pillar Windows…or something.


Today’s Hoonatica entry was suggested by fellow Hooniverse staffer Kamil Kaluski. who wants to know about “Vehicles with two C-pillar windows. This is tricky, as window usually is a division between the C- and D-pillars.” He included the above photo as an illustration.

Now, if his suggested characteristic is not crystal clear to you, you are not alone, as the resulting staff E-mails indicate. Robert Emslie replied, “Huh? What the hell are you talking about?” Alan Cesar attempted to clarify the question by asking, “Are you talking about the window ahead of and behind the C pillar? That this car is an oddball because it has 2 in that sense? Or do you mean just the little bitty triangle window?” Unfortunately, like the Greek oracle, Kamil’s replied was equally cryptic: “Yes, exactly!” Not a helpful answer to an either/or question, Kamil.

… Continue Reading

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Cars Named For Cats


Over the years, automobiles have been given names intended to conjure up impressions of forcefulness, danger, precision, maneuverability, speed, beauty, independence or self-confidence. And nearly any feline species epitomizes nearly all those characteristics simultaneously. So, it’s no surprise that cat names are a popular naming choice.

Your task today is to list all the cat-related vehicular nomenclature you can. Since there are only so many feline species out there, feel free to go long: model names, brand names, motorcycles, trucks, military vehicles — if it has an engine and moves on a roadway, it’s fair game.

Difficulty: “They’re not as easy as I thought they’d be, Master.”

Don’t make the cat angry: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates. Adding photos with standard HTML is good, but shrink the big ones with width="500".

Image Source: mclellansautomotive.com, howstuffworks.com.


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