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Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Models Shared By Name


This week’s entry into the virtual book of automotive knowledge comes from the fertile mind of our very own engineerd™, who shot me this E-mail the other day:

“I was sitting at a red light the other day and in front of me was a Neon. As I’m sitting there pondering this, I realize that it was sold as both a Dodge and Plymouth in the US of A. So then I started thinking of other cars sold under the same model name by two different related marques and had trouble (unless I expanded my thought process to Europe where the Opel Astra was also the Saturn Astra, the Dodge Caravan is also the Lancia Caravan, etc.). I’d like to see what else our car-crazy brethren come up with.”

So, there you are. What instances can you recall where different brands sold the same model under the same name?

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: 2-Door Sedan & Coupe


The two-door sedan has long been the frumpy sister of the automotive world — honest and straightforward, but less practical than a four-door sedan or 3-door hatchback, and definitely not as sexy as a coupe. So it is rare to find a car that was built in both a formal two-door sedan and a swoopier two-door coupe body. How many? Well, that’s the Hooniverse hivemind’s task for this Monday.

They don’t necessarily have to be the same brand, or sold concurrently, but they do need to be based on the same generation of the same platform. Also, hatchbacks and “liftbacks” aren’t coupes. We’re looking for two different two-door versions, both with trunks, just different rooflines.

DIFFICULTY: 825 candela-seconds

Your mother told me to tell you: 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 Credits: Curbside Classic and Classic Cars Today Online.

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Cars With 2-Seat & 2+2 Versions


Ford famously (infamously?) expunged the existing rear seat when morphing the Escort platform into the unfortunate EXP/LN7 derivations, motivated solely by the belief that 2-passenger cars are somehow, just by virtue of their seating capacity, perceived to be sportier or cooler. (I still remember Casey Kasem’s velvety radio ads, “Seating for two — as in one and two, me and you.” Because ’80s.)

More commonly, and perhaps more justifiably, automakers have squeezed a tiny “2+2″ rear seat into cars originally designed for just two passengers. Many times (but not always), these were available as an additional model, with the original 2-seater living on concurrently with them. A good percentage of two-seater-to-crew-seaters have been saddled with regrettable body shapes, but these expanded-capacity versions did find a market with young couples blessed with hoon larvae (at least in the days before child car seats), or the overwhelming people-person who believes in bringing one’s posse of contortionists along for the ride.

So, to complete today’s Encyclopedia Hoonatica entry, help us list all the 2-seaters that were massaged into 2+2s, or four-seat cars that lost their rear seat for some reason along the way. To keep it interesting, let’s exclude the obvious: no extended cab pickups or customized versions, please.

DIFFICULTY: No one under the age of 17 admitted unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

New Student Orientation: 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 Credits: Barrett-Jackson and Barrett-Jackson again.

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Killed By Legislation


In last week’s discussion of egregious 5-MPH bumpers, Rover_1 pointed out that the original Mini was pulled from the U.S. market because of an inability to meet applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. That got me thinking about all the vehicles that disappeared — either from a particular market or from production altogether — not because the manufacturer wished to stop making them, or because they weren’t popular with a segment of the buying public, but because some aspect of their design could not be brought into compliance with new government regulations.

Some of these vehicles were eventually replaced by a new generation or similar model that addressed the old design’s regulatory issues, but in many cases, these were products from cash-strapped companies that simply couldn’t afford to bring their wares into compliance. For example, the Land Rover Defender was discontinued in the USA due to its lack of driver and passenger airbags. Likewise, “1973” Triumph X-75 Hurricanes were actually manufactured prior to December 31, 1972, because the exhaust didn’t meet new, stricter noise regulations.

So, today’s Encyclopedia Hoonatica challenge is to name all the vehicles out there that died an unnatural death (in at least one country) at the hands of government officials.

DIFFICULTY: 800-1000 grit

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

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Carburetor and Six Speeds


This weekend, a local friend of mine — who is not at all into motorcycles — attended an estate auction where a non-running Suzuki X-6 Hustler from the 1960s happened to be on auction. He was fascinated by it and was amazed to learn that it and other bikes had six cogs in the box, way back then. To his car-centric mind, it was amazingly anachronistic. I told him that the technology timeline for bikes is very different than for cars. I mentioned that I had just posted a comment on Friday about how much longer carbs lasted on bikes than cars. The discussion eventually turned to whether there were any production cars that came stock with a carbureted engine and six speeds (or more) in the transmission. My friend came up with exactly one he knew of, but it really wasn’t in what you’d call the spirit of the question. What can you think of?

We normally include bikes in these lists, but obviously that’s not applicable today. Four wheels (or more?) please.

DIFFICULTY: Like drinking a Tabasco and thumbtack milkshake.

The Fine Print: 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: sumidel.com, americanshifter.com

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: One-Off Factory Paint Jobs


Production cars are normally offered in a variety of color choices, but it is not uncommon for limited-edition and specialty versions to be available in a single color. For example, the Pontiac Can-Am was only sold in white. McLaren’s limited-edition F1 LM supercars left the factory wearing Bruce Mclaren’s iconic shade of Papaya Orange. However, it often turns out that one or two cars get spec’d with a different paint job: the original prototype for that special version of the Pontiac Le Mans (which was initally to be called The Judge) was painted Carousel Red, and was revised with “Can-Am” graphics after that became the car’s approved identity. Likewise, two McLaren’s LMs were painted black with custom graphics at the request of the Sultan of Brunei.

What other special-edition cars were available in one color scheme, except for a special one or two outliers that were painted _____?

DIFFICULTY: 890 millibars

Repetitive boilerplate you’re unlikely to read yet again: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates. Adding photos with standard HTML is good, but shrink the big ones with width="500".

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: See-Through Hoods


When you have an impressive car with a really powerful, really pretty, really exotic engine, it seems such a shame that you can’t show it off all the time, without stopping to pop open the hood for onlookers, right? (I personally don’t know what this is like, but I’ve heard tell). Fortunately, sympathetic car designers have recognized the heartbreak of this first world problem, and your Encyclopedia Hoonatica assignment for today is to list all the cars that use see-through panels or other means to show off their sexy intimate parts even when they’re all buttoned up, sort of like a woman* in a mesh blouse.

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

DIFFICULTY: If you search for an answer for more than four hours, call your doctor.

*Please note I said “woman”; a man in a mesh shirt is wrong on so many levels. We shall not mention Canseco. Oh crap, I just did.

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Asymmetric Wheel Placement


In reading about Speedycop autocrossing the Spirit of LeMons last week, I was struck by just how drastically asymmetrical that car’s plane’s craft’s front wheel track is. That got me thinking about how rare it is not to have the wheels placed symmetrically. The only others I could think of were a couple of old Renaults (which had different wheelbases front to rear), and the Lotus 38 (which had wheels symmetrical to each other but spaced out from the chassis differently to the right and left).

So, I turn to our loyal commentunity. Help me flesh out with today’s Encyclopedia Hoonatica entry by listing all the vehicles that you know of that didn’t arrange the wheels in a traditional symmetrical placement from the center of the car, either side-to-side or front-to-back. Since this one is really out there, feel free to include one-offs: concept cars, race cars, customs, whatever else you can come up with.

You know the drill by now: read the comments first and don’t post duplicates. Adding photos with standard HTML is good, but shrink the big ones with width="500".

DIFFICULTY: No clue. There may not be many more than those I gave as examples (highly unlikely), or I might be an incredibly unknowledgable enthusiast (almost assured).

Image Sources:

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: “GT” as a trim level

Tanshanomi September 29, 2014 Encyclopedia Hoonatica


A Gran Turismo (or for us English speakers, “Grand Touring”) car is a specific type of automobile, defined by Collins English Dictionary as “a high-performance luxury sports car with a hard fixed roof, designed for covering long distances.” But that narrow definition has never stopped automotive manufacturers from slapping the initials “GT” on just about every type of vehicle made over the years, many of which were neither grand, nor tourers.

While a fair number of cars have worn GT as their actual model name, or part of the name (Ford GT, Opel GT, MGB GT) many, many more used GT to differentiate one of several optional trim lines. These are what today’s Encyclopedia Hoonatica entry is all about. The GT version of a particular car might have a bigger engine, stiffer springs, or upgraded interior trim, but often the difference has consisted of little more than rocker-panel stripes, black window surrounds, and different steering wheel emblem.

So, Hooniverse faithful, your task today is to list all the cars—good, bad, and ugly—that could be transformed from ordinary to GT with just a check-box on the build sheet. One caveat: There are innumerable 3+ letter derivatives, such as GTI, GTS, GTX, GT-R, etc. We’ll save those for some other time, perhaps; today we want just “GT” versions specifically.

As always, read the comments first and don’t post duplicates. Adding photos with standard HTML is good, but shrink the big ones with width="500".

DIFFICULTY: 75% Off! Everything must go!

Image Sources: Various manufacturer promtional/press photos and Wikipedia (1970 Toyota Celica 01 by Mytho88 – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0.)

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Cars that are Light Trucks that are Cars

Tanshanomi September 22, 2014 Encyclopedia Hoonatica


The topic for this week’s outpouring of crowdsourced triva that we know as Encyclopedia Hoonatica comes to us courtesy of loyal Hooniversalist OA5599*. He requested a listing of all the vehicles that were, in various versions, classified as both cars and light trucks. The regulations that differentiate a passenger car and a light truck are silly and arcane, and derivatives of the same platform/body shell can be either, depending on what driveline it is equipped with and what’s changed to the rear of the B-pillar.

Since the regulatory definition between cars and trucks was less stringent and more vague prior to the adoption of modern motor vehicle safety, emissions and fuel economy regulations, let’s limit the list to vehicles built after 1967 (when the first U.S. safety standards went into effect).

… Continue Reading


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