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Stop the pressers: a Hoonicopia of Automotive Excellence. And a Hyundai Pony too.

Brendan McAleer September 17, 2014 Featured, Quick Shifts


Nearly everyone in this business remembers their first presser with fondness, be it ever so humble. A Fit, a Corolla, a Dodge Neon with crank windows – it doesn’t matter what it was, just that you finally had the opportunity to write something useful or incisive or interesting. Mine was a Nissan S-Cargo. That… that explains a lot, actually.

Most importantly, it explains why I spend the bulk of every Monday asking the question: “How can I avoid writing about new cars this week?” Not that there’s anything wrong with new pressers, and Our Blessed Lady of Acceleration knows there are many who would cheerfully roshambo me for the chance to drive the base-engine Sonata that’s in the driveway this week. So, no complaining.

However, life is too short for electric power steering and the same damn thing fifty other people are going to talk about. I like to think I have a nose for sussing out stuff that’s far better – or way, way worse – than your average modern car. This is a clip show, of sorts, of a few things I’ve been up to this year that I thought might appeal to the Hooniversal reader. There’s a Turbo Esprit. There’s a Pony. Strap in.

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Hooniverse Asks- Should We Just Quit Pretending That Anyone Wants to Sit In the Middle Seat?

Robert Emslie September 17, 2014 Hooniverse Asks

Bitch Seat

When it comes to the typical sedan, unless it is really small – like 30-clown small – it more than likely has belts for three in the back seat. Again, if it’s even a mid-sizer, that middle perch is pretty much a penalty box when it comes to anything other than a trip next door.

The middle – or, to be totally politically incorrect the ‘bitch‘ seat – is offered by manufacturers as a throwaway feature that the makers can tout, or perhaps a nod to the insurance industry. It would seem that a five-passenger car must necessarily be better than one that only seats four. As a matter of fact, when Volkswagen couldn’t move the 4-place Passat CC here in the States, they shipped a slew of them back to Germany where they were retrofitted with back seats that could take 5 in a pinch.

It seems that for most cars – and a lot of pickup trucks as well – that pinch is exactly how that middle seat occupant will feel as cars today just don’t offer the width necessary for three-across seating. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to condemn my friends to center seat purgatory on  even the shortest of runs. What with even FWD cars having sizable tunnels these days, and the aforementioned skinny minnie-ness of most cars, it just seems cruel. What do you think, shall we just all agree that the middle seat is not a real thing and eliminate that extra belt that lives back there?

Image: Mummy Of 3 Diaries

Last Call- Ready for Launch Edition

Robert Emslie September 16, 2014 Last Call


Todd McLellan takes beautiful photographs of motorcycles. This image is a from a series taken both in side view and, as seen above, from top-down. That’s a rarely captured view, giving the bike the appearance of a rocket on the pad, and lends a totally different angle on a bike’s beauty. There’s something else about this particular bike that’s extremely different, can you guess what it is? The answer is here.

Last Call indicates the end of Hooniverse’s broadcast day. It’s meant to be an open forum for anyone and anything. Thread jacking is not only accepted, it’s encouraged. 

Image: Artnau

Two Wheel Tuesday – Get your GSX-R on Route 66’r


A good friend, Mikko, decided before this summer that what he needed in his life, along with American cars in various states of functionality, was a fast bike. He proceeced to acquire a 2004 Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K4 without hesitating, and he’s had a great summer riding around the country on the yellow menace. But now, he believes it might be for the greater good to get rid of it. Can you believe?

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Weekend at Beaulieu:- The Museum. Pt 2:- Bikes


A visit to England’s National Motoring Museum is something that, until last weekend, I’m ashamed to say I’ve never got around to doing. So when I visited the annual International Autojumble hosted there, I made sure I devoted the entire weekend to taking the place in properly.

On Thursday you joined me for a whistle-stop photo-tour of some of the more comment-worthy cars to be found among this immense collection. Today we bring the wheel-count down a notch or two and explore some of Beaulieu’s beautiful bikes.

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Weekend at Beaulieu – 4 Sale: Matra-Simca Bagheera


The massed ranks of visitors to the annual International Autojumble at Beaulieu Motor Museum includes folk from every possible different background, and this point is not lost on the exhibitors. Among the crowds there may well be somebody tentatively looking for their next project, so you’ll find motivated sellers of all kinds of decaying machinery vying to part the next willing optimist with their money.

The way I see it, the world is made up of two groups. Those who want to own a Matra Simca Bagheera, and those who already have one. Step this way if you’re a member of Group A.

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Bikes You Should Know: Harley-Davidson Livewire


My first eleven installments of Bikes You Should Know featured motorcycles introduced at least twenty years ago. But it’s not my intention for this column to focus exclusively on classic bikes. This is a spectacular age for production motorcycles, and there are plenty of new and notable motorcycles a self-proclaimed gear-head should be familiar with. And they don’t come any newer or more notable than Harley-Davidson’s new electric motorcycle, the Livewire.

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Classic Captions – The 1979 Ferrari 308 GTS Edition


Welcome to the Hooniverse Classic Captions Post, and it’s that time of the week in which this feature appears, so let’s review the premise; I search for images that were used by the car companies in their print advertising or brochures, and it is your job to provide a humorous caption that is some how tied in with the image. This week we break out the riding crop and breeches to saddle an Italian Stallion, but we will get to that in a moment…


Last time, we had an image of a crowd in a deserted office park, and the participation rate was a little bit better, so let’s see if we can step it up a notch or two… we had two clear favorites this time, and our runner up comment was from GTXcellent, and he seems to be producing some great captions lately, like this one: “Well you can tell by the way I use my walk, I’m a woman’s man: and another woman’s man, and a man’s man, and an old ladies’ man, and some teenager’s man, and a married couple’s man. No time to talk. How am I stayin’ aliiiiiiiiiivvvvvve? Stayin’ alive. Pimpin’ ain’t easy”. Ah Yes, the Bee Gee’s Stayin’ Alive… that sure takes me back, but there was one comment that was the run away favorite…

And the winning comment was from smalleyxb122, (Yes Again…), and his caption was very short and to the point: “Taking a Lincoln to the theater? This will not end well.” This had the groan factor as well, and I wondered why I didn’t think of it when I decided to use the image in the first place. Congratulations smalleyxb122 on winning this edition of the Hooniverse Classic Captions Contest…

It’s now time to take a look at this weeks entry, and I decided to raid Alden Jewell’s Flickr Account again, and use this Ferrari 308 GTS image from 1979. There is a girl sitting on top of the hood of the Ferrari, wearing the finest in Equestrian Gear. The riding pants are called Breeches, and she sports a pair of riding boots, a riding vest, and just to break with tradition, driving gloves, and a golf cap! Now, if she was hired by a gentleman for a little, well how am I going to put this… A little play time, all she would need is a riding crop… (Oh, go look it up will you!) But to be sitting on a Ferrari in this attire, well, yes, it is appropriate… I guess this was a way of selling a Ferrari in the late 70’s, as it did nothing but generate pure lust from everyone who saw one, but is this really the correct way to sell a Sports Car? (You can click here to see the full size image)

You have the next five days to come up with a great caption. The editors will deliberate on the merits of each entry, and after contemplating our own caption (Yes, I know sex sells…), we will pronounce a winner. So, get to work and create you’re own caption for this provocative image.

Photo Credit: Alden Jewell’s Flickr Photostream

Hooniverse Asks- What’s the Best Part of Buying a New Car?

Robert Emslie September 16, 2014 Hooniverse Asks


Have you ever bought a new car or truck? It’s a different sort of experience from going used. Oh sure, the general rule of thumb is that depreciation makes buying a new car – I’m looking at you BMW 7-series – a fiscally irresponsible act, but you know sometimes you’ve just got to throw caution to the wind. After all, how big a selection of C7 Corvettes are there presently on the pre-owned market?

As noted, the purchase of a new ride is a unique experience. For some it’s almost ritualistic, involving researching both car and dealer, planning the negotiation line of attack, and eventually driving off the lot in your spoils of war. The fun usually doesn’t end there either. There’s the showing off of your new purchase to friends and family and the late night pouring through the owner’s manual just in case you need to point out the location of the child safety seat mounts should any one ask, or what exactly is the function of that button on the console marked ~~.

Considering the importance of a new car purchase, both financially and as to how much of a loser or winner you will appear in the eyes of your significant other’s family, what we want to know today is, what in your mind is the best part of the whole process? Is it the first test drive, where you start to feel that immutable bond with your soon to be daily driver? Or is it that first evening, when you pull a lawn chair and a beer out to the driveway just so you can admire your new acquisition – and shoo away any birds that may wish to hang out of the phone lines that cross that drive?  What’s you favorite part of buying a new car?

Image: Trezzalaw

Last Call- Throttle Stompers Edition

Robert Emslie September 15, 2014 Last Call


Groucho Marx famously averred that he’d never join any club that would have him as a member. Marx was never – to the best of my knowledge – a member of the Throttle Stompers, or any other car club. It was his brother, Harpo who was lured to cars and racing.

The Throttle Stompers however did have a few notables among their ranks, including Dean Batchelor, Neil Emory, and Bill Faris, mainstays of the nascent So Cal Hot Rod scene. This 1952 shot is from the Pomona Strip, and shows a Throttle Stomper’s car, with the cast metal club plate hanging below the bumper.

Last Call indicates the end of Hooniverse’s broadcast day. It’s meant to be an open forum for anyone and anything. Thread jacking is not only accepted, it’s encouraged. 

Image: Kustomorama


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