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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

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: OE Trunk Racks

Tanshanomi September 15, 2014 Encyclopedia Hoonatica


Welcome to your weekly opportunity to geek out on arcane automobilia, in which Encyclopedia Hoonatica seeks your help in listing a list, compiling a compilation, compending a compendium of cars that have a specific and usually fairly meaningless trait in common.

Today (thanks to an awesome suggestion by regular Hooniverse reader Krautwursten), the common trait we want to definitively list is original equipment, trunk-mounted luggage racks. Now, we’re not talking about roof racks (which are so common on SUVs and station wagons as to be tedious and uninteresting to list). We are also not interested in accessory racks. We want to know about vehicles that were available new with a luggage rack mounted on the trunk lid (or “boot” if you’re an unyankee’d Hainingite.) This DOES include racks that were offered as a factory-authorized accessory, since these were commonly a dealer-installed option.

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: NOT Available At Your Local Dealer

Once a manufacturer goes through the time, effort and expense to construct a new car design, the idea is usually to sell all they can, through every sales channel available. The majority of sales (as Tesla has recently discovered) is almost always through their franchised dealer network. But car makers also sell to fleets, rental car companies, and other non-retail buyers. Sometimes they offer these “buy-‘em-by-the-dozen” customers specially-equipped models that regular dealers don’t get to sell. Today’s Encylcopedia Hoonatica entry seeks these not-available-at-your-local-dealer offerings, whether they are end-of-life, previous generation designs that few private individuals would want to purchase anyway or really, really cool vehicles that gearheads must impatiently watch to show up used on Joe Bob’s Corner Car Lot.

DIFFICULTY: Get your low-hanging fruit early.

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: “Euro-Warts”

Car makers must adapt cars sold worldwide to meet the specific requirements of different markets. One way that Eurozone and North American regulations differ is the ECE requirement for “side repeaters,” which are turn signal lamps mounted on the front fender behind the front axle. North American cars have no such requirement. Sometimes, manufacturers install the repeater lamp, which is allowable as a non-required option. In other cases, they stamp different fenders with and without the repeater hole (mostly true of domestic American cars). But it’s often cheapest and most efficient to simply replace the lamp with a dummy plug that snaps into the existing hole — a “Euro-wart.” These can masquerade as an intentionally designed emblem quite convincingly (I’m thinking of one captive import in particular), other times they look like, well, an obvious plastic filler plug.

So, prepare to take up your position as a braincell in the commentariat hivemind. Today’s Encyclopedia Hoonatica task is to come up with all the North American cars that have worn these useless fillers badges of overseas exploits. (For those of you residing beyond our continental shores, feel free to point out examples where far-far-away-spec hardware was kludgily deleted for your home market — or anywhere else for that matter.)  Remember, the list is first-come-first-served; read through the existing comments before posting and refrain from making duplicate entries.

DIFFICULTY: I fear you are underestimating the sneakiness, Sir.

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Single & Double Cam


This week’s Encyclopedia Hoonatica entry changes things up a bit: we’re not looking for cars, we’re looking for engines. Specifically, we want motors that were available in both single-cam and twin-cam versions, either concurrently or a design that was revised over time. What we don’t want are engine designs that were simply replaced with a different one of similar size from the same manufacturer. These should be different versions of the same basic architecture.

As always, remember to read the existing comments first. Duplicate mentions are bad form.

DIFFICULTY: Some low hanging fruit, but overall one for the gear geeks. 40,000 points for naming an engine with OHV (cam-in-block) and DOHC versions.

IMAGE SOURCES: Wikipedia, hotrod.com


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