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Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Drivetrain by consortium

groupthinkengines

“The bottle ENGINE went round / Like a woman down south / Passed on from hand to hand” —Elton John, “Elderberry Wine” [Paraphrased]

Groupthink rarely results in spectacular ideas, or spectacular execution of those ideas. This is true of lots of things, including airships, record albums, and vehicle engines. The two most notorious examples of the latter are the GEMA World Engine, which simultaneously stained the reputations of Chrylser, Hyundai and Mitsubishi, and the PRV V6, which was (unsurprisingly, given its initials) a product Peugeot, Renault and Volvo. It sure sounds like a good idea: distribute the R&D cost between manufacturers and then reap greater economies of scale in production. In reality, it ends up just being a convenient way to deflect blame.

In any case, your EH challenge for today is to think of other engines (or other major components, such as transmissions, or differentials, dome light lens hinges or hydrocopic marzelvanes) that were designed and built by a consortium of otherwise independent* auto makers with malice aforethought the intention of being shared between manufacturers.

*This does not include stuff shared between divisions or marques within the same parent company, captive imports, badge-engineered derivatives, components made by independent third party suppliers (i.e., Allison, Dana), or stuff scavenged from the carcass of a dying manufacturer after the fact. Double points if you name one that was actually braggable.

Difficulty: Mystery Grab Bag!!!

You Better Watch Out, You Better Not Cry: 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 Credit: Wikipedia.com (Twice!)

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: A-Pillar Windows

EH-Apillarwindows

One modern automotive that I find odd is A-pillar windows; you know, those little windows you sometimes see between the windshield and front window. They’re not wing windows, because they’re not part of the door — they stay put when you open the door. But they are a separate piece of glass from the windshield. They’re rather an uneven thing: some are useful and probably increase visibility and interior light, others are just useless bits of styling.

Regardless of how effective they are, your task for today is to list all the cars you can that have this curious addition to their greenhouse.

Difficulty: Y’know that hole at the Mini-Putt course that’s a straight, flat shot to the hole, and all you have to do is time it to avoid the little windmill blades?”

Yada 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".

Image Credit: hdwallpapersbase.com, Wikipedia, Kicking Tires blog at Cars.com

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: 4-Door Sedans With Pop-Up Headlights

EH-Accord-popups

Back in the era when our friends at the US Dept. of Transportation mandated non-aero sealed-beam headlights, car manufacturers (and buyers) were in love with the zoomy look of pop-up headlights — well, on sports cars and coupes, at least. The sleek, smooth, low facia that pop-ups afforded just wasn’t all that important when it came to the boxier, more upright, less racy sedan market. The other day I saw a mid-’80s Honda Accord sedan with hidden headlights and it struck me how unusual it was to see a four-door sedan that could bat its eyes.

So, I’ve chosen that as your Hoonatican challange for today: name four-door sedans with pop-up headlights. A few important guidelines:

  • Sedans are not hatchbacks. No 5-doors. If it ain’t got a trunk, it ain’t got that funk.
  • There were plenty of American cars in the ’60s and ’70s that had hidden headlights behind the grille that weren’t pop-up headlights. Even though they really aren’t in the spirit of what I’m suggesting, I’ll allow them because: 1) we all loves us some malaise-era Continental, and 2) I’m painfully aware y’all are going to go there regardless of whatever restrictions I might suppose to impose. Finally, 3) Nobody is still reading at this point and have already jumped to the comments. But be forewarned, you’re only going to earn half credit, and somebody may tease you about it on the playground during recess.

Difficulty: 10% Benzoyl Peroxide

Ursula Uptights’s Etiquette Advice For Young Girls: 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 Credit: enjoymotocar.com

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Models Shared By Name

EH-Dodge&Ply

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

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

eh_2-4seat_web

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

EH-killed-by-regulation

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

carbs-sixspeed

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

EH-alternate-colors

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

EH-clear-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.

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