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Mid-Engined Rat Rod Pickup Gets an A for Concept, C+ for Execution

1935 mid engine rat rod pickup for saleWe try not to be in the business of too much mockery or negativity here at Hooniverse. It’s not that we’ve got no teeth, but that we do Car Stuff (writing, wrenching, racing, driving, etc) for fun. The world’s a serious place with enough serious business going on; we use Car Stuff as a refuge. When we run out of awesome stuff to talk about we can traffic in outrage and cynicism.

That said, there’s room for commentary and critique. The idea of a mid-engine-ed (sigh…) rat rod pickup is an attractive one. Plenty of room and frame rail to mount up a bitchin’ powertrain for the world to see…or maybe better hide it under a toolbox or something like these guys from this year’s Thunderhill LeMons. With so much room, one could drop in a cool I-8, a gnarly industrial/aircraft/marine powerplant or a unique FWD choice like a Cadillac 472/500. Alas, the (sadly, deceased) builder of this car elected for a more obvious choice: Chevy 350/350 combo on a big box-steel frame attached to a Jag IRS.

But maybe we can salvage it to something a dash more creative. First off, we need to fabricate a functional frunk. There’s ample room up front for luggage or kegs. The radiator’s currently in the grille, but were it relocated to the bed a much more aggressive chop could be taken out of the grille/hood area. That, or replace the grill with a solid “shield” of polished or die-rolled metal or something cool. Out back, we need to lower that IRS some (looks like it’s trying to avoid being kicked in the nuts), ditch those fuel tanks (for a single unit up front?) and fab some semblance of a bed. If you wanted to get really “theme-y” with it, you could add an engine stand/hoist and make it look like it’s hauling its own engine as cargo. Put the radiator in there askew to add to the effect. goofiness aside, this thing could probably be made into a decent performer. Also, can you think of any other vehicle with independent rear, but solid-axle front suspension?

Anyway, the current bid’s $4,000 with the auction ending Friday afternoon.

1935 Rat Rod Mid Engine Pickup for sale – eBay Motors

Topless Tuesday: Fiat 124 Spider is the Best $1800 Bad Decision You Can Make

1976 fiat 124 spider for saleOk, look: $1,800 isn’t pocket change, but it is the kind of money you might be able to make available for the right cause. This is the right cause. We’re talking about a gorgeous Italian roadster in functional shape with no major bodywork issues. This is a car you could buy now, enjoy before the weather gets too wintery, spend a few hours sprucing up over winter and sell on the first gorgeous day of spring next year for a tidy profit.

“Oh, it’s Italian! It’s rare! Fix It Again Tony!” Bah! The Fiat twin-cam motor ran from 1966 to 2000, putting it on-par with any of your favorite Detroit-sourced motors. It powered numerous Abarths over the years as well as the epic Lancia Delta Integrale. The Spider itself remained in production from ’66 to ’85 (From ’83-85 Pininfarina took over), meaning parts shouldn’t be all that hard to get. Plus, it’s gorgeous, in an understated ragazza della porta accanto kind of way.

Some argue that the Miata perfected the sporting roadster of years gone by, that any money you want to spend towards a cheap, fun sports car should go to the best Miata it buys. These people aren’t wrong…but they live too comfortably.

Auction ends Thursday morning!

1976 Fiat 124 Spider for sale – eBay Motors

Weekend Edition Quick Hit – The Irrational Want for this 1979 Chrysler Newport Sedan is unexplainable…

Chrysler Newport Sedan  eBay - Google Chrome 10252014 22144 PM.bmp

Welcome to a belated edition of the Hooviverse Weekend, and let’s start things our this way… Can anyone explain why anyone would want this particular Chrysler R-Body Newport, let alone why I have this insatiable want for what is probably one of the worst Chrysler products of the late 70’s and early 80’s? I can’t explain it, I can’t rationalize it, it’s just there… So what do you think of this very red, very rare piece of Chrysler history?

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Experience the Lameness of First Wave Hybrids with this Canadian Artifact

Tim Odell October 23, 2014 For Sale

1979 Marathon Electric Hyrbid Prototype

Electric vehicles aren’t coming; they’re here. While Tesla gets all the press, there’s no shortage of EV or PHEVs from major OEMs. I’d put the technology on-par with early 90s cell phones: expensive and limited, but no longer outlandish. However, a couple gas crises, increasingly lame OEM cars and an uptick in under-occupied engineers during the 70s-80s caused small-run EV conversions and series hybrids to bloom like toxic algae. On paper, the potential is there: take something light, drop in a forklift motor and pile of batteries and you’re no longer dependent on Big oil! Man! Alas, every EV prior to GM’s EV1 suuuuuuuucked. Detractors claim the Model S’s battery technology still limits the practicality of the car, but it’s as though they’ve forgotten how lame these things were: sub-sub compact, 50mph top speed and maybe 50 mile range.

That said, we don’t mock the atlatl for being a crappy crossbow, we appreciate its place in history. Same with this early Marathon Electric hybrid prototype. Based on the Briggs and Stratton motor, and diagram in the article from the listing, this appears to be a series-hybrid setup. Somewhat cleverly, the rear of the vehicle is actually a trailer chassis (for holding the battery weight) while the front has some kind of FWD drivetrain of unknown origin. Rest assured, this thing serves no practical purpose that a golf cart or UTV couldn’t best it at, but I’m still a little curious what kind of range and performance it could get with a new set of high-capacity polymer batteries (they’re not included, of course) and a more modern generator. Might also big a cool instructional demo vehicle for a high school or college physics class. Not sure it’s $5,000 worth of cool instructional vehicle, though.

Seriously, though, check out article from The Montreal Gazette from 1980. It’s deliciously anachronistic, but eerily similar to today.

1979 Marathon Electric Hyrbid Prototype – eBay Motors


BaT Auctions: Prepare your wallet for destruction

Jeff Glucker October 22, 2014 For Sale

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 7.27.58 AM

Apparently I’ve been under a rock (or have had my head down editing video), because I just found out that Bring-A-Trailer is hosting its own online auctions now. Today sees the ending of timers for a new batch of vehicles and, as you’d expect from BaT, the offerings are excellent. They range in price from “Ooooh crap, maybe I should shift some things around and buy that!” to “Wow, people pay that much for those?!”

Head on over to Bring-A-Trailer to check out the latest batch of vehicles. The list includes the above Mini Cooper, a Ford Falcon Sprint with racing history, a refreshed Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3, and an excellent Buick Skylark with a 500-ci Caddy mill swapped under the hood.

Malaise Showdown: Cosworth Vega Vs 4-Speed LeMans

1975 cosworth vega for sale1975 cosworth vega for sale

With six divisions and 50% market market share, GM of Old could afford to offer a variety of flavors of “sporty” cars. The “Colonnade” styling of the A-body midsizers, introduced in 1973, embodies so much of the Malaise Era: overwrought and overweight, housing large but disappointing powerplants, a desperate hollow ploy to hang onto what made the 60s great. Meanwhile, on the communist side of town, the Vega represented the new reality of Diminished Expectations: America was going to have to make due with less. Smaller, lighter and more advanced was the future, and the Vega was here to show us the way.

But if you’re reading Hooniverse you already know all that. The Vega was about 3/4 done when launched and the Colonnades are almost lovable if properly overhauled to be more beefy than porcine. Such is the case today. Our Pontiac’s been blessed with a warmed-over 389 from a ’66 GTO, backed by a four-speed Muncie M22. The interior’s decent (as ’74 Pontiacs go) and the paint’s good. I’d do the details differently: wheels and tires that fill the wells, no hood scoop and probably one four-barrel instead of two. However, overall the package looks like a fun machine for parking lot donuts and some decent drag passes. The reserve’s unmet at $3,150, but I’d guess this is a $7-10k car.

“One Vega for the price of two”, the Cosworth Vega is arguably the more Hooniverse car here, in that it’s a crappy platform that might just have some potential courtesy of some choice upgrades. Wait…I just said that about the Colonnade. Ok, anyway, the Cosworth Vega came equipped with a 2.0L motor checking all the right boxes: all-aluminum, DOHC, EFI, stainless header, and a decent-for-the-time 6500RPM redline. Alas, in production trim it only managed to deliver 110 net horsepower.

Our example’s in damn good shape—from 20 feet away. The paint’s original, faded and rusted in only one spot according to the seller. Otherwise the listing’s pictures show the interior and engine bay to be in great original shape. With a $2499 opener and $3600 buy-it-now, this actually looks like a damn good deal for the Best of the Worst.

Malaise Light or Original Flavor?

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V.I.S.I.T: Czech street scene- Automobily Prahy.


I’d been looking forward to this trip for ages. There were a number of gravities which pulled us towards the Czech capital; not least the fascinating history that the country has built up having been directed under a number of regimes during the last century. The architecture, too, promised (and delivered) a rich blend of renaissance, gothic, cubist, art-nouveau and brutalist styles to gawp at. Beer too, is in abundance and very cheap.

Of course, I had my camera on standby in case I encountered anything wheeled that was notable. Judge my results for yourself with the photoflood after the jump.

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Weekend Edition Quick Hit – How about a 1974 Imperial Crown Coupe, claimed as only 1 of 57 made…

Imperial LeBaron Crown Coupe - Google Chrome 10192014 93359 AM.bmp

Continuing on with theWeekend Edition, and here is an interesting Craigslist Listing… This is an ad for one of the 57 Imperial LeBaron Crown Coupes sold for 1974, a claim that I find dubious at best. While not really willing to take the time to find out if it’s true, this is the last really big Imperials offered beefore these cars became the Chrysler New Yorker the very next year. Collectible or Forgettable?

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Weekend Edition Quick Hit – Here is a Rare 1989 Pontiac 6000 STE AWD on Craigslist…

1989 Pontiac 6000 STE AWD - Google Chrome 10192014 85009 AM.bmp

Welcome to the Sunday Edition of the Hooniverse Weekend, and I am going to start out with this gem I found on Craigslist. This is a car that GM decided to produce in the late 80’s to try and compete with Audi and BMW. The STE was introduced for the 1983 model year, and featured a high output V-6 engine, 5-passenger seating as standard, specific alloy wheels, and most of the luxury features offered on the imports. The last 6000 STE was produced for 1989 before the STE nameplate moved to the Grand Prix. So is this last year model desirable?

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LeMons Grade Citroen SM? What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Tim Odell October 16, 2014 For Sale, Terrible Ideas

1973 citroen sm for sale

Spend enough time among the LeMons staff, and you pick up a few key phrases. The prefix “Hella butt terrible” is a favorite, and I feel it was invented for for this car. The SM is simultaneously incredible and incomprehensibly difficult, as only the team-up of Citroen and Maserati could be. Nothing’s easy or cheap to fix. Which is what makes this beater SM so awesome. It’s for sale in Beverly Hills and “has been sitting for many years, waiting to be restored”. The previous long-time owner didn’t exactly take great care of it. High end car from the 70s, what looks like drunken parking lot damage, offloaded to a high-end/classic dealer? Oh yes.

As far as we know, there’s never been an SM in LeMons. This needs to change. Now. The price is a little high, but I can say with 100% certainty that if the sale price is even close to the current $860 (reserve unmet), you’re guaranteed to receive a disinterested limp-wristed wave of the long cigarette holder through BS inspection. Besides, that soon to be removed interior’s gotta be worth a pretty penny towards your final budget. On the plus side, it’s pre-smog, so it’ll be easier to keep it street legal in case you want to cruise in real style.

1973 Citroen SM for sale – eBay Motors


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