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Firebreather Friday – the McLaren P1


Anyone who has been on the internet or anywhere near a car magazine within the last year knows about the existence of the McLaren P1 and just how incredible it is.

It’s a 903 horsepower dream machine that can double as a full electric vehicle for a short period of time when it isn’t breaking the laws of physics. As if we really needed more evidence that this car is truly something else, video reviews including one from the almighty Top Gear have begun to surface, so we’re finally getting an unbiased glimpse of just how insane the P1 can really be when it’s unleashed on a race track.

Which takes us to YouTuber Shmee150 who was able to attend a restricted track session to get up close and personal with this decade’s halo car. He was armed with a few cameras that give us some spectacular views of the McLaren P1 doing the two things it’s good at: going brutally fast and looking wonderful while doing it.

Well, make that three things it’s good at, because it turns out the P1 is also a fire-spitting god. As in, few other road-legal cars could put on a spectacle quite like this. Click past the jump for the video. We recommend it.

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Video: The Sound of Senna by Honda


There have been plenty of tributes to the late great Ayrton Senna. Most are good, some are great, but occasionally they can border on truly wonderful. This latest tribute created by Honda is one such piece of wonder. The automaker used to supply the engine for Senna’s McLaren MP4/5, and they grabbed some of the audio information from his machine. Pair that data with the Suzuka Circuit in Japan, some well-timed lighting, and a large array of expensive speakers, and you have a recipe for aural magic.

Click past the break for instant goosebumps.

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Hooniverse Asks: What Are The Best Lonely Road Trip Songs?


Most of us have had an occasion to take a road trip alone.  Perhaps that road trip was just to drive around late at night and reflect on life.  What song or songs do you listen to during those drives?  I have dozens, including Hands on the Wheel By Willie Nelson, and Ride On by AC/DC.  My personal favorite, though, is Windfall by Son Volt. 

Both feet on the floor, two hands on the wheel
May the wind take your troubles away

Click through for this great tune and to help us make a new playlist.  

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Classic Profile: 1969 Tatra 603

tatra 603 front

To say that Eastern European cars are hard to find on this side of the pond would be an understatement. However, if there is one Eastern European marque that enjoys a certain recognition in the West, it is probably Tatra.

A few weeks ago I took a ride in a Tatra 613, one of the few (less than two dozen) that have found their way to North America. This time we’re back with a look at the 613′s far more imposing predecessor, and an iconic piece of Czech design and engineering. 

Like ZiLs and GAZes, for a long time Tatras were known largely in their own neighborhood, serving as chauffeured government cars for Eastern Bloc officials and diplomats. Before World War II, leaders of Eastern European countries tended to use western cars as state limousines. But it wasn’t until the late 1930s that the nations that later made up the Eastern Bloc really acquired the ability and capacity to produce their own state cars. One of the few exceptions was Tatra, whose aerodynamic (and from a modern perspective, slightly steampunk) cars served as government sedans since the 1920s.

The 603 can be viewed as the continuation of the engineering thinking behind the streamlined T77, T87, and T600 Tatraplan cars, which combined a rear engine layout with a slippery, sleek exterior born from Tatra’s aerodynamics studies in the early 1930s. The T603 represented an advance over the Tatraplan in all areas, with first and foremost an all new air-cooled 2.5 liter OHV V8, rack and pinion steering, independent suspension with hydraulic shock absorbers in the back, and struts and coil springs up front. The 603 has a steering column-mounted shifter, mated to a 4-speed manual transmission. 

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Ear Candy: A Supercharged Inline 8 Cylinder Powered Roadster


Some ideas just sound right.  An example of such an idea is taking a straight eight Packard engine, adding a McCulloch supercharger and four Stromberg carburetors and dropping the whole monster in a stripped down ’30s roadster body.  The result isn’t just an idea that sounds right, but a car with one of the greatest engine notes of all time.

Hit the jump for two videos and the aural delight.

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Two-Wheel Tuesday: The Kick-Ass Sound of Victory

Kerker "Sweet Sound of Victory" Magazine Ad

One day in 1987, while I was working as a counter monkey professional motorcycle parts procurement specialist, a package arrived in the mail from Kerker, which at that time was THE brand of aftermarket motorcycle exhaust to have. (Their infamous tag line, “Kerker Kicks Ass,” was much more controversial than it would seem today.) The package contained a stack of posters and some of those flexy “sound sheet” disposable phonograph records that passed for a state-of-the-art multimedia experience in 1987. Along with them was an audiocassette entitled “Kerker: The Sweet Sound of Victory.” I walked over to the sales floor and kicked the tape into the cassette deck of a Honda Aspencade, and a bunch of us stood around listening to it. It was four minutes of a badass-sounding narrator using cool phrases such as “high-octane superformance” to tell us how kick-ass Kerker exhausts were. It also featured World Champion Eddie Lawson telling us how kick-ass Kerker exhausts were. It was also four minutes of some pretty cool motorcycle sounds, which is why I slipped the cassette in my tank bag and took it home.

Amazingly, this time capsule of ’80s awesomeness must be the only snippet of audio in recording history that hasn’t made it onto the interwebs in digital format (at least as far as my Google-fu could reveal). But that changes now, because Kerker: The Sweet Sound of Victory is waiting for you in all its MP3-encoded glory after the jump.

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5 car songs better than “Mustang Sally”

Image Source: http://nuggetcasino.blogspot.com/

I’ve been going to car shows and swap meets for 30 years. If I hear Wilson Pickett’s “Mustang Sally” one more time, I’m going to snap like a carrot and choke the DJ with a churro. There are literally HUNDREDS of great car songs — some of them in really decent collections you can buy all at once — that don’t just have a car’s name in the title, they’re steeped in what it is to think more about your car than transportation. Here are five I like. What’s on your list? … Continue Reading

What’s This Song in a 1990 Mitsubishi Sigma Commercial?

I’m addicted to old Japanese car commercials. I’m open about it; I can easily spend an hour going from one dramatic slow-motion ad to another. It’s not just the wild English-Japanese nomenclature (NISSAN FAIRLADY Z SOUL SYNCHRO MACHINE for example); sometimes the music is just nigh-on perfect. And since I also dream of old Japanese cars in as-new condition, having backing music to supplement my dreams is just what I need.

Today I happened upon this 1990 Sigma ad. The car, known as the Diamante in the States with a slightly different roofline, drives through some European scenic views wearing German plates before arriving to what looks like a funeral (for the old Sigma, perhaps?). All of this 4:40-minute bliss is backed by an unidentified piece of music, with an unidentified female vocalist. What can it be?

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