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Podcast: Episode 69 – Fully Forged Power Bottom

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Guest Abe Drimmer (Road & Track, TTAC, and a little site called Hooniverse) joins Blake and myself in the podcast palace. Topics range from a meager power bump for the Viper on to the introduction of the all-new Polaris Slingshot. The Mad Max Fury Road trailer comes up, as does the Infiniti Eau Rouge, which has been recently tested in prototype form by a small handful of folks.

From there we delve into a sad update on Blake’s Miata and a happy update on my Civic.

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2014 X Games: The Practice Sessions

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This year, the X Games entered the wonderful world of Austin, Texas to highlight a wide range of sports. We were in attendance to capture both the Global Rallycross and the Super Stadium Trucks. More and more automakers are joining the GRC fray, so it’s clear that rallycross is gaining a bit in popularity. Additionally, it’s great to see the SST events find more homes as it’s simple an awesome event to attend in person. I mean, we’re talking about pickups roaring around a course and soaring over jumps… if you don’t love that, there’s something wrong with you.

While we were in Texas, video man Paul Collins captured a wide range of the events with his lens. We didn’t just focus on the cars though, as a ton of events were going on over the course of a handful of days.

This is the 2014 X Games Practice Sessions.

[Please visit Paul Collins' Vimeo page if you're interested in seeing more of his great work]

24 Hours of LeMons: ‘Doing Time in Joliet’ [LIVEBLOG]

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[Disclaimer: Eric Rood will be getting paid to sit on the 24 Hours of LeMons Supreme Court for this race, punishing drivers for their misdeeds and generally doing his best to maintain order on the racetrack.]

Happy Saturday from Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois! We’re here for the 24 Hours of LeMons’ Doing Time in Joliet, a 14-hour crapcan endurance race featuring everything from BMW 3 Series to a Volkswagen Squareback wagon. As has been the case at the previous two installments of LeMons live coverage on Hooniverse, this writer will spend the weekend on the 24 Hours of LeMons Supreme Court alongside automotive writer Murilee Martin and LeMons racer/master builder Marc Labranche.

You can find Hooniverse’s preview of the race here and keep a browser tab open for the unofficial entry list, to which I may or may not have added classes by the time this is posted. Go to Specialty Timing’s website to find live timing here or you can get it from the Race Monitor app for your smartphone or device. Want to participate or request some coverage? Leave a comment and I’ll oblige as I’m able. Today’s 14-hour race starts at 10 a.m. CST and slogs on into the dark, ending at midnight CST. At 5 p.m. CST, the track will switch over from the 2.1-mile South Course to the 3.56-mile Full Course. Keep checking back throughout the day for updates, standings, photos, and more. Or come back after the race is over and relive the glories, failures, and general frenzy that is LeMons.

Time stamps are all CST and new updates will appear at the bottom of the story.

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Podcast: Episode 68 – Electricity, Hydrogen, and Atomic Betty

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This week Jeff is out of town and leaves Blake and Chris to their own devices. They deliver a number of tangents cleverly disguised as segments including…

  • Live TV Audiences
  • So You Think You Can Dance
  • Blake reviews the new Cadillac Escalade
  • Android Auto & Apple Carplay
  • Drunk Drivers vs. Texting Drivers
  • Hydrogen Fuel Cells vs. Batteries
  • Elon Musks plans to rule the automotive industry
  • Chevy SS now with 100% more manual transmission
  • Monster Miatas

Hop the jump for the hot ear medicine…

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Video Review: Dinan S3-R BMW 1M
The Real Ultimate Driving Machine

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I harp on BMW a lot. Too much, in fact. The automaker still builds machines that provide a truly engaging driving experience. The problem is though, that the lineup has less and less of that. Still, cars like the new M3 and M4 prove that BMW can still create ultimate driving machines.

Back in 2011, however, they may have created their own modern-day masterpiece. It’s called the BMW 1 Series M Coupe, or 1M for short. This 335-horsepower mighty mobile proved that BMW had not in fact lost its mojo.

Did they leave a bit on the table with the 1M? I wouldn’t have said so back then, but after spending a week with the Dinan S3-R 1M I’m singing a different tune. What Dinan has done is take a great car… and made it into one of the best true driver’s cars that I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

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Shipping Cars to Central Asia and Beyond

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Used cars are shipped to other countries. We hold this truth to be self-evident. We all know this happens on a daily basis, but what are the cars being exported, where are they going, and what is the process like? The good people at West Coast Shipping near the Port of Oakland opened their doors and let me take a fascinating peek inside their busy operation. If you are a fan of cars, geopolitics, or freight logistics, then you are in for a treat. Make the jump to see what I saw and learned.

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Drive Report – The 2014 Ram C/V; A surprising and versatile small cargo van…

 

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The small van category is a growing one, at least here in the States. Ford took a gamble, and introduced the Ford Transit Connect during the 2010 model year, and it was a rousing success. Here was a product, introduced at the right time to an eager buying public, and sales haven’t cooled since. In fact, the Transit Connect was just redesigned, built at a different location, and spawned a couple of new competitors in the form of the Nissan NV-200, and the soon to be introduced Ram Promaster City.

However, there has been a competitor to the small Transit almost from the beginning, and it is a very capable bargain if you can get past its looks, and I just spent some time behind the wheel of one. Introducing the Ram C/V…

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Podcast: Episode 67 – The boys are back in town

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For the first time in a long time, the whole crew is back together. Hosts Jeff Glucker and Blake Z. Rong are joined by both producers, Chris Hayes and Zack Klapman. This means they dive right into what everyone has been up to, which means a wide range of car adventures. Blake recently returned from the same Nashville-based Nissan event that Jeff spoke about last week, Zack was driving all over the country for a few different things includeing an IMSA race and a country-wide Rally, and Jeff’s prepping for a few more adventures.

The talk changes to what we’ve been driving, which includes the 2015 Cadillac Escalade, and a few other machines old and new.

Hit the jump to listen in, while taking in the rest of our Project Car State of the Union Day on Hooniverse.

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Review: 2014 Ford Fiesta EcoBoost 1.0 Powershift. Fun… if you insist.

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I like my cars to be visceral, possibly brutal. I like to feel the car fighting back as I wrestle it around my favourite backroads route. I like to feel as if I’m working as part of a team, the car and myself acting in unison to cover ground as entertainingly as possible. The car doesn’t have to be totally reliant on muscle and it doesn’t have to have racetrack credentials to provide fun, a grunty lightweight like a Z4M or a heavy old horse like a Bentley Turbo R are equally adept at making me grin.

On the face of it, a low-powered Ford Fiesta with an automatic gearbox should be pretty much the opposite of what I love in a car. Take the jump to see whether this really is as miserable  a combination as it sounds.

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Podcast: Episode 66 – On the road again (special episode)

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So we’re trying something new today. I’m reporting in from the road, as I’ve traveled to Nashville, TN to sample the entire Nissan lineup. After a day of driving, I am sitting down to let you know how the cars were, about a few special gems that were available to drive, and what I’ve got coming up when I gets back home.

Also, I’m apparently easily distracted by the chick in the AT&T commercial…

Make the jump for Episode 66.

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