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Stop the Pressers II: More automotive nincompoopery from Yours Truly

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As 2014 draws to a close, I can look back on my motoring year and safely say that no bad idea was every truly turned away. A personal ad on craigslist looking for a Hyundai connection? Did it. Driving a Micra from sea level to the Rockies in a single day? Did that too. Road trip with a toddler in a base Mini Cooper? Why not?

But never mind the new car stuff. This is the kind of site where even a Hellcat knows there’s essentially no shot at being named Hooniverse Car of the Year. It’s too reliable. It’s too practical. It’s too shiny. Ew.

So, to round out the year I’m adding a few other things I drove or looked at that might be of interest to the Hooniversal reader. Some of them are weird, some are fast, and one of them I completely forgot about last time. Let’s start with that one: Kjelle Qvale’s personal Jensen Interceptor … Continue Reading

Hooniverse goes to the PRI show in Indianapolis

Eric Rood December 17, 2014 Featured, Motorsports

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Last week, I convinced Jeff and Tim that I should represent Hooniverse at the Performance Racing Industry Show in Indianapolis. It was the first time I’ve been to any commercial trade show, so I had little idea quite what to expect. I knew some people who’d be there and had fully intended to meet them, but in the end I mostly walked around in a stupor, at first drooling over the scads of racecars parked on the ever-present showfloor carpeting and then later just kind of numbed from the thousands of simultaneous conversations creating a droning background noise.

Somehow, I never found anybody on the show floor I was supposed to except one LeMons racer who was there looking for some crapcan upgrade information. But along the way, I found some neat stuff and will give you the nickel tour.

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Rock and Radio- The Classic Craig Ads of the 1970s

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The seventies were the golden age of car stereos. In my neighborhood there were a plethora of stereo stores – including the Federated Group, Leo’s Stereo, Pacific Stereo, and Crystal Sonics, where they offered dashboard dreams to fit any budget. One of the lower-budget options available from these brokers of musical nirvana was Craig Electronics, which is still around today, but seems to have abandoned the automotive market for clock radios and boom boxes.

Back in the day however, they were one of the big names in big tunes for your car, and in the seventies they enlisted a bunch of musicians – rockers, folkies, and R&B names – to promote their line of PowerPlay car stereos. They remain to this day some of the best car stereo print ads ever done. Let’s have a look.

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Mercedes-Benz E350 Wagon: Long Live the Longroof!

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The wagon… It’s fallen out of favor over the course of the last few decades thanks to the rise in popularity of sport and crossover utility vehicles. That’s a shame, because the wagon is the TRUE sport utility vehicle in the market.

Case in point is this 2015 Mercedes-Benz E350 wagon. It’s powered by a 302-horsepower V8 engine, has seating for up to seven people, or it can be used to haul a whole lot of stuff. This longroof drives in a manner that’s far more enjoyable than any SUV or CUV counterpart, and it looks better as well.

Only a handful of automakers are still cranking out wagons… which means only a handful of automakers still get it. Long live the longroof!

[Disclaimer: Mercedes-Benz tossed me the keys to this wagon for a week, and included a tank of gas. I actually got oddly ill while shooting the car, which wasn’t the fault of the Benz. Can you tell I feel like crap during the video? I did love the car though.]

We chat with RealTime Racing’s Ryan Eversley

Eric Rood December 15, 2014 Featured, Motorsports

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At last week’s Performance Racing Industry trade show at the Indianapolis Convention Center, RealTime Racing announced they were adding experienced sports car racer Ryan Eversley (second from left) to the team to race an Acura TLX-GT in Pirelli World Challenge. Eversley joins one of the most accomplished World Challenge racers, seven-time series champion Peter Cunningham (second from right), to form a solid pair. For Eversley, this is an extension of his longtime Honda service in Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge’s ST class with a Honda Civic, although the RealTime car is a completely different beast.

The TLX-GT is an all-wheel drive beast powered by a twin-turbo V6 engine that is set far back from the the stock location almost to the A-pillar with the seating position set back accordingly. Eversley will race the Acura in the top GT class of World Challenge against mostly FIA GT3-spec cars. We caught Ryan for a couple minutes at the PRI show. Follow the jump for a few words from Monsieur Eversley.

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Japanese Cars Living and Dying in Poland – Part 2

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Welcome to another episode of Cars Living and Dying in Poland, as seen through the eyes of Zlomnik.pl readers. Today we will once again look at Japanese cars. At first Japanese cars become known for being more affordable than their European counterparts, but soon people realized that they were made significantly better and lasted much longer. Their simple designs made them much easier to work on than some over-engineered European cars. Icing on the cake was superior fuel economy.

Before they were sold in Poland, they were imported by individuals, usually one by one for private use. This independent importation is what created such huge variety of Japanese cars on public roads. Because so many different models shared many parts, there was less fear about part availability and maintenance costs. For people who had to put up with unreliable and inefficient Eastern Bloc for decades, the reliable and affordable Japanese cars presented a huge sigh of relief.
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Podcast: Episode 85 – From McQueen to Matchmaking w/ guest Spike Feresten

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Our guest this week is renowned comedy writer, car lover, and Fox talk-show all-star Spike Feresten. You may know him from his work providing the funny to shows like Saturday Night Live, Late Night and The Late Show with David Letterman, and Seinfeld, as well as many other programs.

Now Spike is using his love of cars to help folks find the perfect automotive match. His show is called Car Matchmaker, and it runs on Esquire. Feresten shows folks a variety of cars that he thinks would be the ideal fit for them, and this can range from a new Mercedes-Benz GLK to a Buick Grand National.

On the latest episode of Car Matchmaker, Spike’s brother turns to him for help. Feresten gets a helping hand from Jerry Seinfeld, Jimmy Fallon, Will Forte, and Seth Meyers in the first hour-long episode of Car Matchmaker. It’s a show that perfectly bridges the automotive gap between enthusiasts and normal folk who don’t obsess over all-things automotive.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry… actually, if you cry you probably have some other issue, because you should just laugh. Hop the jump to listen in and make fun times with your ear holes.

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The Wombat: Mount Up!

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It’s finally time for an update on the Hooniverse project wagon. Our 1984 Mercedes-Benz 300TD is up on the lift so we can get a look at her undercarriage.

The Wombat has the engine and transmission in place. The floor is back in around the transmission tunnel, and we’re inching closer to the time when we can fire this thing up.

Once we do turn it over, do you think that rear end will hold up? Sound off below.

Also, the word Mark was looking for is “template”…

[Thanks, as always, to the team at Scared Shiftless for hammering away on our beloved beast. Check out a bunch of the shops work on YouTube]

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Roadster: 90% Awesome

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The Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Roadster is a case of old meets… well, old quite frankly. Is that a bad thing though? The answer is both yes and no. Stylistically, the Vantage is one of the great lookers out on the road. It’s also packing a wonderfully shouty 6.0-liter V12 engine that cracks off tons of power.

It doesn’t crack off clean shifts though, and that’s a bit of a problem…

[Disclaimer: Aston Martin loaned me the keys for a long weekend. The automaker included a tank of gas. I turned that fuel into glorious noise.]

Recollective Review: 2014 Skoda Rapid Sportback 1.2TSi SE

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I drove quite a variety of cars this year. During my drive home after trying a car for the first time I usually think of a number of salient points which I can mention in writing. By the time I’ve reached my house the review has pretty well formed itself in my mind, especially if it’s for something particularly interesting like the VW Golf R or a 1981 C3 Vette.

So, why is it that I tried the new Skoda Rapid 1.2 TSI Sportback five months ago and am only now getting around to a review? Well, the honest answer is that I’d totally forgotten I ever drove it.

But, hey maybe that’s not such a bad thing. … Continue Reading

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