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Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Side Opening Hatches


NOTE: This post inadvertently went live for a short time yesterday morning [thanks to the WordPress mobile app's oh-so-intuitive interface—grrr!]. My apologies to those who began commenting only to have the article disappear, and to those whose best suggestion has already been taken by a cybersooner.

Last Thursday, Jim’s review of the Caravan C/V caused me to remember that Dodge offered a full-width, one-piece rear door for many years on their B-Series vans, but unlike the upward-hinged liftgate typical of today’s minivans and sport-utes, the big B’s barn door opened to the side. That always seemed slightly odd and impractical to me, though it did remove the big rear window split that two separate cargo doors caused. Obviously, some designers do like the concept, because there are a number of vehicles that use it.

So, today, I want you to list all the vehicles the Hooniverse hivemind can come up with that have a single, side opening rear hatch.

And, yes, school buses would technically count (even though those are more emergency exits than cargo hatches). Now that I’ve covered that, let’s not list individual manufacturers and models. Likewise, we want a single, side opening rear door, so don’t get smart-alecky and post an Isetta.

DIFFICULTY: 3.5 – 4.5 on the Mohs scale, or until golden brown.

Image Sources:

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Differing Ride Heights


Last Wednesday’s Hooniverse Asks question about low cars vs. high cars caused me think about models that were available both as a low car and a high car. I want you to list cars that were simultaneously available in different versions that had significant and deliberate variations in ride height.

This entry is NOT about cars whose ride height changed only slightly, or over multiple years of production, because that list could go on forever. Let’s also skip different heights of 2WD/4WD pickup versions, because they’re pretty predictable and obvious (and frankly, a list of them all would be rather uninteresting).

On the other hand, feel free to vigorously debate whether the US and foreign market rubber-bumper MGBs constitute two discrete models, and whether the US version’s 1-inch lift was “significant” or “deliberate.”

DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Fair to partly cloudy.

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Zombie Cars


Encyclopedia Hoonatica originally appeared as a daily feature here on the ‘verse for a few months the fall of 2010, but has only popped up sporadically since. Well, today marks its return to the regular Hooniverse schedule as a weekly feature to brighten your Mondays. For those of you unfamilar with how this works, I’ll toss out a specific characteristic or odd quirk that differentiates certain cars, and your job is to fill the comment stream with all the examples the Hooniverse hive-mind can generate. (However, please do us the courtesy of reading through the existing comments first, so we don’t clutter up the list with needless duplicate entries.)

Just as this feature has seemingly returned from the dead, our encyclopedia entry today is Zombie Cars: vehicles that went out of production only to be revived later (in original or modified form) by a subsequent company or brand, or just some lone crackpot who bought stamping dies from a bankruptcy auction.

As a caution, here are some instances that would NOT belong on this list:

  • Vehicles that outlived the original production run due to being licensed to a secondary manufacturer during production, such as the Willys Interlagos and Hindustan Ambassador.
  • Vehicles that changed marques but never really went out of production, such as the Bertone X1/9 and Pininfarina Spider.
  • Totally new vehicles that were reborn in name only, such as the Mini Cooper and the . . . well, we really don’t need a second example of that one, do we?

But part of what makes Encyclopedia Hoonatica facinating is that your job is also to help define our entries: What about vehicles whose cancellation was announced, then rescinded by the maker? Should those be included here? One such example was BMW’s R100RS motorcycle*, which was ceremonially put to death amidst great fanfare in 1984, only to reappear three years later with few changes other than a single-sided swingarm. Is this a Zombie?

* for the purposes of Encyclopedia Hoonatica, “cars” includes motorcycles and trucks and any other close cousins to automobiles, unless specified otherwise or simply nonsensical for inclusion.

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

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

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Bubble Canopies

Any category that includes both the Caparo T1 and the Peel Trident is awesome in my book.

Yes, Encyclopedia Hoonatica is still with us, it’s just been laying low. The Rumor Mill says that it’s being deliberately kept down by The Man (who wants to repress the propagation of Hoonistic lore in the name of decency and social order fiendish, power-mad tyranny). So, to avoid mass laptop bonfires in the streets, we’ll keep the torch lit by sneaking it in here every once in a while on the hush-hush, on the down-low, on the sly.

It’s frighteningly similar to the way The Man has tried to keep all those futuristic bubble-top concept cars out of our driveways and garages*. For decades, manufacturers hinted that they were just around the corner, but like the oft-rumored 200 MPG carburetor, they never quite materialized en masse on the showroom floor. Yet, a bold few have dared to stare down The Man through a huge plexiglass pimple. We celebrate these defenders of vehicular wierdness! In their honor, your Encyclo-Challenge is to name all the bubble-top cars you can.
… Continue Reading

Encyclopedia Hoonatica- Non-Traditional Engine Access

There once was the ad for Toyota’s Corolla (little crown) that had the stodgy small car’s owner literally welding the hood shut, the implication being that their reliability made engine visitation unnecessary. While that may have been utter bullschlitz malt liquor, it does bring to mind the fact that most car do have some form of engine access, at least so you can view the black plastic engine armor there. And most of them – like the Corolla – are rear-hinged swing-up affairs. 

Except when they’re not.

For today’s resurrected Encyclopedia Hoonatica what we want are  the exceptions to this rule. Maybe, like Nathan Lane, they swing the other way. Or perhaps instead of swinging they’re just a hatch or a cover. Maybe they’re like the salad bar sneeze guard at Souplantation – letting you look, but not touch.

How many non-standard types of bonnet doffings can you name?

DIFFICULTY: Pretty easy, although a good bit is open to interpretation.

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Stealth C-Pillars

Earlier today, Lotte brought up the distinctly similar wraparound window treatments on the Scorpio and the Sable. This got me thinking about two GM offerings that were not only similarly similar to each other, but also had the same “stealth” C-pillar treatment.

So, your Hoonatica project for today is name other car designs had this wraparound greenhouse styling, in which the C-pillar (or C and D-pillar, for wagons) was either literally hidden behind smoked glass, or slimmed down, blacked-out and separated with trim pieces from the roof and body side to make it virtually disappear.

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Twin-Spark Engines

Dammit, even their engines are pretty!

I was asked this question at work, and could only come up with three engines; I’m sure there are more, so I therefore turn the question over to you, our astonishingly-well-read commentariat, to provide more answers.


Alfa-Romeo made a marketing point of this feature, so I am removing them as the low-hanging fruit. In their “Twin-Spark” engines, they utilized a dual spark-plug configuration, or eight spark plugs in a four-cylinder engine. The idea behind this is that it allows the engine’s timing to be set much more accurately, and allows for a more efficient fuel burn, and therefore an engine that can be run on a much more lean setting, using less gasoline.

This was actually a fairly common practice with Alfa-Romeo, so by all rights I should be removing their engines altogether, but let’s face it, Alfas are gorgeous, so feel free to list them all off with beautiful high-resolution images.

I can think of one other very common engine, and one not-so-common engine that used this technology. After that, it’s up to you guys!

[Remember the rules, lurk before leaping, and width="500" is your friend.]


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