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2015 Subaru WRX is a mature middle child

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Earlier in the year, we got to sample the all-new 2015 Subaru WRX STI. It’s the wild child of the Impreza family, and it might actually prove to be a bit much for the average person when it comes time to pick a daily driver.

Enter the 2015 Subaru WRX. It’s the middle child, and it’s more mature than it’s insane-o sibling. The car has grown up, it’s evolved, and it’s changed.. for the better.

[Disclaimer: Subaru loaned me the car for a week, and included a tank of gas. Just as the WRX is more mature, I too am more mature* and have nothing funny to add here to this disclaimer.]

[*Extra Disclaimer: ...Poop, hehehe]

Podcast: Episode 72 – Peak McQueen


Zach Bowman is in town ahead of the Monterey Car Week… which took place last week. These podcasts aren’t live, so, you know. Blake Z. Rong runs the show alongside producer Chris Hayes as they, along with guest Bow Man, chat about reaching Peak McQueen, British vehicles, and a whole host of other random crap.

Jump past the break and listen in to the Ginger Fox spin his tales…

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The Bi-Annual Tour of New England to see the family
…this time in an appliance, with upgrades

2014 Toyota Corolla_2

The Northeast corner of this country is comprised of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Collectively, the six states are known as New England. It’s also a corner of the country that I call home, even though I haven’t lived there in 12 years. That’s where my family is, it’s where my wife’s family is, and it’s where many of my closest friends still reside. I try to get back there at least twice per year, and when I do it turns into cannonball-esque blast across the majority of New England’s states as I try to squeeze in as many visits as I can over what’s always not enough time.

Sometimes the trip unfolds from behind the wheel of a luxury car. A sport utility vehicle or two have made the journey, and there’s always the hope of a sports car waiting for me at the airport. For my most recent trip home though, I was given the keys to an appliance.

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Soviet Cars Living and Dying in Poland

russian cars living and dying in poland

World War II started on September 1st, 1939 with the German invasion of Poland, everyone remembers that from their high school World History class. What many may not remember is that in addition to the attack from the west, Poland was also invaded by the Soviet Union, under the direction of  Joseph Stalin, from the east, on September 17th. At the end of that September, Hitler famously said “Poland never will rise again in the form of the Versailles treaty. That is guaranteed not only by Germany, but also… Russia.”

Stalin would soon learn that he shouldn’t be making deals with the devil, as Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. Red-faced Stalin pushed back, switched sides, and in the end help to defeat the Axis Powers. In the process of Stalin’s flip-flops, 40 millions Russian lives were lost and millions of Polish people were either killed or forcibly transferred to effing Siberia. While victorious in the defeat of Germany, the Soviet Union never regained the trust of the western world. The potential of U.S. versus USSR war existed as early as May of 1945 and continued throughout the Cold War. Things are clearly different today (sarcasm).

Following the war, and the division of Europe, Poland fell under the control of the Soviet Union. The signing of the Warsaw Pact (comically called the Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation, and Mutual Assistance) between the Russian-controlled Eastern European countries put Poland further behind the Iron Curtain. As if centuries of fighting were not enough, now the people of Poland had to deal with this communist bullshit for almost fifty years. Fed up with it, the fall of communism began in Poland in 1989. The Berlin Wall fell in 1990. The Soviet Union dissolved in 1991.

For those years when Poland was under Soviet control, it was limited to the kind of cars it could produce and import. Of course only cars from other Eastern Bloc countries were imported and sold. Today we look at the Soviet cars that are currently still living and dying on the streets of Poland. As always, all of the pictures were taken recently in Poland by the awesome readers of Zlomnik.pl, a site which them complies them into sort of a monthly V.I.S.I.T. post. Big thanks and much love to them!

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Podcast: Episode 71 – On the road again: Scotland…


It’s for another special On The Road Again episode of The Hooniverse podcast.

…alright, this is the one I’ve mentioned a few times, and the one people have been asking to hear on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, by carrier pigeon, and smoke signal.

So here you go, this is the Scotland edition of On The Road Again. Prime your livers and hop the jump…

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Sampling all three flavors of the 2015 Lexus NX
It’s easy to figure out which one we like best

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British Columbia is a beautiful place. From the towering buildings butting up to the water in Vancouver to the snowy expanses lying to the north near Whistler, there’s something beautiful to see nearly everywhere you look.

A good way to break all of that up is by using something that some would describe as “polarizing”. That’s exactly how we’d describe the all-new 2015 Lexus NX. Some folks are going to love it, while others… well, they will let you know what they think.

For us, it boils down to how a car drives, and the NX drives surprisingly well. It’s clear that Akio Toyoda’s mission to make his brands more sporting is paying off. It should be no surprise that our favorite of the three new NX examples is, of course, the F-Sport version.

We touch on both the 300h and the 200t to start things off, but we quickly focus on the most interesting of the three.

[Disclaimer: Lexus flew us to Whistler and put us up in a swank hotel. Also, I cleared customs in like five minutes... I don't know if that had anything to do with Lexus though.]

Silverstone Classic: Cobra-palooza

Cobra 12a

If you are any kind of hoon, then you know that the Cobra has a storied racing heritage. This beautiful example of British styling and American horsepower turned in a win in the 1964 24 Hours of LeMans, and then went on to great success in Europe and stateside. In the process, Shelby put an end to Ferrari’s sports car racing dominance. So, it only makes sense that the Silverstone Classic, a festival of classic automotive racing, would feature plenty of Cobras, both on the track and on display.

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Newport Pagnell Keeps Aston Martin’s Heritage Alive


Aston Martin has been producing vehicles for 101 years now. The automaker came to be back in 1913. This means that Aston Martin predates both Bentley and Jaguar. Bentley was founded in 1919 while Jaguar arrived in 1922. That gives Aston Martin a six-year production head start over Bentley and a nine-year advantage over Jaguar. Aston Martin, however, is a small builder of bespoke beauties, and its total production figures might surprise you.

Over the course or 101 years, Aston Martin has produced around 70,000 vehicles… total. Bentley has produced that many in the last nine years. Jaguar could knock out that many vehicles in a year. I don’t tell you this to diminish what Aston Martin has done over its 101 year history, but rather use these data points to show you just how small the automaker really is.

What they are big on, however, is building beautiful machines… and at the Aston Martin Works facility in Newport Pagnell, hand-crafted classics are coming back to life.

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Hooniverse Goes To The Silverstone Classic


The Silverstone Classic at Silverstone Circuit in Towcester, England bills itself as the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival. Over 1,100 entrants turned up for 22 races featuring everything from historic Formula 1 cars to ’90s Super Touring cars. In addition to the classic racers, there is also a classic car show on hand featuring representation from up to 90 different UK car clubs.

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Podcast: Episode 70 – Hooniverse Gold Subscription Plan


Blake Z Rong and I are joined by Matt Farah. You know Farah from The Smoking Tire, /DRIVE, his handful of appearances on this very podcast, and now, /DRIVE+.

We dive right into it to learn about the move to a subscription-based platform for the /DRIVE video series. It’s a fascinating topic right up until we’re interrupted by a rather fascinating person coming into The Smoking Tire offices. Bucky Lasek temporarily stops the proceedings as Blake and I go mega-fanboy for a moment.

Things get back on track and Farah tells us more about the /DRIVE+ move. He has to leave to attend to Mr. Lasek (who is appearing on TST later in the evening), so Blake, myself, and Producer Chris get into their own cars and what they’re driving to finish off the show.

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