False Neutral #43: Alpha Makr with Mark Atkinson

Our guest this week is Mark Atkinson, the man behind the Alpha BMW that was recently named the 2016 Hooniversal Car Of The Year. Mark is not only a highly skilled machinist, fabricator, and tinker, but also an accomplished two-stroke tuner and longtime veteran of the Bonneville Salt Flats. We discussed his past endeavors, what is ahead for him and Alpha, and his views on engineering, aesthetics, and the dangers of perfectionism.

You can find his build thread for the Alpha by clicking this link to the ADVrider.com forum.

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False Neutral – Alpha Makr with Mark Atkinson

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Race, Daily, Restore: The Class of ’65



Welcome to Hooniverse’s new weekly feature, “Race, Daily, Restore.” Each Monday, I’ll present you with three vehicles that have some detail in common: it could be brand, configuration, or engine. In the case of this inaugural week, it’s model year. We start off with three cars, very different but all dating from 1965: Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham, Renault 10, and Rambler Marlin.
Your job is to tell me which of the three you would:

  • RACE – build into some sort of dedicated racing machine (not street legal) for your choice of competition — any legitimate, sanctioned form of motorsport: road course, rally, drag, LSR, Baja, etc.;
  • DAILY – have as your sole street-registered car, for all your commuting and general transportation needs.
  • RESTORE – do a museum-quality, factory-correct, frame-off restoration, then add to your collection, but not drive on the street.

And be sure to provide any logical arguments/justifications/thought process you have on why you chose what you did.


  1. Assume that you’re given these three vehicles outright, so there’s no acquisition cost, but the cost of race-prepping, maintaining, insuring and restoring them will be on you.
  2. These are your ONLY three cars. You cannot factor in any other cars you might actually own, e.g., “I’ll daily the MR2 because I have a van I can take the kids in…” Likewise, you can’t sell the restored car to buy another vehicle.
  3. You must assign one of the cars to each category. You can’t say, “I’ll race my street car,” or “I’ll drive that one for a season then restore it.”
  4. You can’t half-ass a car you don’t like, such as theoretically racing Lemons or doing a “20-footer” cosmetic restoration.

(The Hooniverse Classic Captions Contest was arguably past its sell-by date, so we’re mixing it up with something new with its time slot. It might come back again someday, or it might not.)

Caption This: Indian Encounter

Peter Tanshanomi January 18, 2017 Caption This

Caption this publicity still for the 1913 silent movie, The Doctor’s Orders.

False Neutral #42: Triumph, not Victory

FN-Podcast-42This week, Pete, Garrett, and Eric start off talking about cars before discussing the demise of Victory, Triumph’s new Street Triples, the kerfuffle over the Hooniverse Car of the Year winner, along with your questions about long trips and bad engineering. We also give you a peek into what subjects we might be covering in future episodes.

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False Neutral – Triumph, Not Victory

Flase-neutral-jump-header[We even included a couple of cars this week.]

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Classic Captions Contest – 1987 Toyota Wonderwagon Edition

1987 Toyota Wonderwagon

Toyota was never sure what to call its forward control van in North America. Rejecting the TownAce name it wore in other markets, it was referred to simply by the unimaginative and generic “Toyota Van.” The lack of a real model name was actually quite fitting. In reality, the TownAce version was just a placeholder model, a quick-and-dirty response to the runaway success of Chrysler’s minivans while the Previa was being developed. By the time this ad photo showed up in ’87, the passenger version had been dubbed the Wonderwagon. The fancy name change didn’t fool many people; it continued to sell poorly. The fact was, it rode and steered as if it had been designed to deliver packages in downtown Tokyo. Which, of course, was precisely the case. But today, the Van/Wagon/Wonderwagon enjoys a cult following. Speaking of cults, is the family standing beside it starting one, or running from one? Or is there another reason why they’re dressed is khaki safari shorts in the middle of nowhere? I am sure you can tell us exactly what the sitch is in the comments.
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Two Wheel Tuesday: Everything people hate about bikers crammed in one room

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?

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


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


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

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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