Home » Encyclopedia Hoonatica » Recent Articles:

Encyclopedia Hoonatica- Non-Traditional Post War Tail Lamps

Annnnd, we’re back. That’s right, we’re pulling Encyclopedia Hoonatica out of the garage, dusting it off, and taking it for a spin. Ahh, that new post smell. In case you have forgotten, or are new to the game (welcome friend, have a flower) here’s what Encyclopedia Hoonatica’s all about. I specify a specific styling attribute or feature and you, my minions, go forth and find as many unique examples that you can. In the past we’ve done covered headlamps, phony baloney exhausts, and a bunch of other jaw-droppingly clever quests.

For today’s resurgent effort I want you to come up with examples of weird post-war tail lamp treatments. Brake, running, and turn signal lamp size is dictated by various government regulations (always under the thumb of the Man!) and hence they are usually pretty standard. Of course, that’s boring so on occasion a stylist gets a wild hair and decides to put the turn signals on the roof perhaps, or maybe puts the brake lights in the bumper. I know, freaky.

So, if you’re feeling game, and I know you are, come on and bring us some weird tail lights. And welcome back to Encyclopedia Hoonatica!

Don’t forget the rules: Read the existing posts first, don’t post duplicates, and don’t post pictures that are wider than this space.

Images: VW Vortex Forums

On April 17, 1964, the Ford Mustang was born

1964 1/2 Mustang 

Ford just couldn’t wait for the 1965 model year, could they? They have to have been certain they had a winner in their hands, as the 64½ Mustang was unveiled five months earlier than other ’65 cars in Ford’s model lineup. But it was worth it, as the game was changed and ground was broken for forever more. The first cars had come off the line on March 9, and on April 17 at the New York World’s Fair the pony car that created pony cars was in the public eye.

In this post, I take a fast-forward look at the 49 years of the Ford Mustang.

… Continue Reading

Black Circles and Colourful Metaphors.


It’s a classic proposition; the fast moving, ultra secretive, hush-hush, high-drama world of the secret agent.

Let’s explore the image. We have a suave, confident, international man of mystery, but this ain’t no Bond that I recognize; not even George Lazenby. This guy is clearly bringing a fresh mindset to the business of low profile problem elimination, for which may all our countries be truly grateful. He’s flanked by a tall-haired siren with a brazenly plunging neckline, come-hither eyes and sexpot features, obviously the poison-edged love interest in this exotic saga.

We can dig deeper after the jump.

… Continue Reading

Happy Birthday, Diesel


You’ve come a long way, baby.

Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel, inventor and namesake of the diesel internal combusition engine, was born on this day in 1858. His development of the diesel engine revolutionized industry by providing a lower cost, efficient alternative to the steam and gasoline engines available at the time. Suffice it to say he was a genius in school, later working for Carl von Linde as a refrigeration engineer. He devoted most of this 30′s to conceiving, producing, and refining what become known as the diesel engine. His work culmintated with the introduction of a 25HP 4-stroke engine, with a single 10-foot (!!) iron cylinder. 

… Continue Reading

A Ride in the Opel GT

gt 1

Years before General Motors treated the American public to such branding exercises as “The Buick Opel by Isuzu,” an effort famous just for the sheer scale of summoning so many different brand names at once to sell an Isuzu Gemini, GM’s Buick division marketed a very fun sports coupe that we often forget about when talking about the sports cars of the 1960s. While our best scientists struggle to ascertain just how a Gemini came to be called “The Buick Opel by Isuzu” (a preliminary report was promised by the early summer of 2014) let’s take a look at a car that was unequivocally an Opel by Opel, and a very popular one at that.
Introduced in 1968, the GT essentially broke new ground for Opel. It’s easy to forget now, but for many years post-war Europe was not a booming market for sporty coupes, British cars included. The GT was first presented as a styling exercise in 1965, and was well received at a number of auto shows. Penned by Erhard Schnell at Opel, the GT was designed to be a small fastback, and featured a number of popular design cues of sports cars of the day. The GT was available with a 1.1 liter straight-4 engine making 67bhp, as well as a 1.9 liter which was good for 102bhp. Sharing many parts with the Opel Kadett B, the GT came with a choice of two transmissions, a 4-speed manual and a 3-speed automatic. Owned by Gary Farias, this 1969 Opel GT was been in his stable since 1977, and has just over sixty-four thousand miles on the clock. Gary owns five other Opels, including a 1984 Opel Senator 3.0 CD we drove a couple months ago, and an early Opel Olympia.

Hooniverse Bookshelf: Cars of Eastern Europe: The Definitive History

east 6

You know when you’re watching a Hollywood film set in Eastern Europe or Russia, and there is a whole mishmash of cars that parade across the screen that you suspect as being in the wrong place at the wrong time, like an UAZ 469 rubbing shoulders with a Polski Fiat and an Oltcit, in what’s supposed to be 1950s Prague? To be honest, Hollywood has been getting better at this sort of thing, with the emergence of IMCDb and legions of enthusiasts who will nitpick the accuracy of the license plates on some random car deep in the background. The biggest gaffe I’ve spotted recently was a late-80s GAZ 2410 in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, a film ostensibly set in the early 1970s. That film also suffered from not being edited to run chronologically, and from Seinfeld-quality green screen effects for in-car moving shots, but who am I to complain? Perhaps they ran out of money in the end for editing software, who knows.

Well, now you’re going to be able to tell which cars are supposed to be seen in which country, and which ones never even came within a hundred miles of each other, period! In a follow-up to the surprisingly popular Cars of the Soviet Union: The Definitive History which we reviewed a few months back, author Andy Thompson released a tome similar in concept titled Cars of Eastern Europe: The Definitive History. Myself and a number of other people might dispute the second part of the book’s title, but overall it’s a solid effort that tries its best to cover an immense and arcane topic. Let’s take a look inside.

… Continue Reading

Hooniverse Bookshelf: Russian Motor Vehicles: Soviet Limousines 1930-2003

lime book 1

If you saw the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale, you may have noticed a very interesting car in that film that should have immediately caused you to wake up and pay attention. Amidst the parkour infomercial and the product placement overload, gearheads were treated to a very brief cameo by a vintage Russian limousine. If you immediately recognized it as a ZiL when watching the film for the first time, give yourself a pat on the back. If you jumped out of your seat during the theater screening and yelled “That’s a ZiL 117!!! There were only like fifty of ‘em made!!!” give yourself another pat on the back, not only for your command of obscure Eastern Euro sedans, but also for educating the terrified moviegoers around you. Now they will also know that that was a ZiL 117, a V8-powered short-wheelbase version of the ZiL 114 limousine, only about 50 of which were made in the early 1970s as escort cars for government motorcades.

If, on the other hand, you didn’t know what that black sedan was, but you wanted to read more about Russian limousines, there’s a book out there that should help. Maurice A. Kelly’s Russian Motor Vehicles: Soviet Limousines 1930-2003 is a solid though not particularly all-encompassing effort by the British author to shed light on the somewhat obscure topic of Russian state limousines. Let’s take a look inside.

… Continue Reading

Soviet Conveyance: Riga Autobus Factory

Riga, Latvia, was an important city to the U.S.S.R. It provided a key port to the Baltic Sea and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. Latvia was incorportated into the U.S.S.R. in 1944, when Nazi occupation ended. Riga had been an advanced city for centuries and was known for its resources, industry, and trade. Capitalizing on the local talent, the soviets created the RAF, or Riga Autobus Factory (Rīgas Autobusu Fabrika in Latvian).  The vehicles they made were exclusively for utility and transit.  Today, the factory is closed and most of the RAF vehicles are gone, but the remaining examples serve as reminders of the not-so-distant Soviet past in Latvia.

Click through for more.

[image :autowp.ru]

… Continue Reading

Encyclopedia Hoonatica- Fake Exhaust Outlets

There are physical characteristics that highlight one’s virility or femininity – notably washboard abs for men and well proportioned gazongers for the ladies. In the case of automobiles, the most common expression of power and performance is the exhaust, in both sound and its visible manifestation. And just like certain aspects of human physiognomy, an auto’s exhaust can be faked. For this edition of Encyclopedia Hoonatica, we want to exhaust all the instances of cars with fake exhaust.

… Continue Reading

Encyclopedia Hoonatica – Fastbacks That Aren’t Hatchbacks

Arnold Schwarzenegger – in the role of the Terminator – once famously quipped “I’ll Be Back.” And true to his word he was back, again, and creakily again. And much like his unstoppable robot that’s here to (clap) blow you up, we’re back with an Encyclopedia Hoonatica, because also like the Terminator, a great Hooniverse theme is damn tough to kill.

This time, we’re going for those magicians of the motoring world – those camouflaged custodians of car cargo – the fastback that isn’t a hatchback. Now, typically, if an automaker is going to go to the trouble of extending a car’s roofline from the point above the rear passengers’ heads down to say hello to the tail lamps then most likely they’re going to go the extra mile and make that back end open like it’s Sasha Grey. But that’s not always the case, as we shall see.

… Continue Reading


Hooniverse Marketplace

Featuring Top 2/2 of vehicles Available in Marketplace

Read more

Subscribe via RSS
Have you visited Hooniverse's Retro Tech site, AtomicToasters?