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Submission Thursday: Balkanized, Part 2

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[Ed. note: Continuation from Balkanized, Part 1. If you haven’t read the first part by Matt Harvey, I recommend you do that immediately. Photos by Darjan Platinovšek –Antti]

Ivan and his new chums climb away out of sight and the burble of their engines dwindles to nothing. For a few seconds there is silence, not a breath of breeze to sully it as we drink in the landscape. Only a few seconds. We still have a good distance to go before we get to our digs just south of Rijeka with an hour and a half until sunset, just enough time to milk this road dry.

Pulling back onto the tarmac we resume the descent alphabetically, Audi first, BMW second, clear air in third. A few more bends and short straights and Darjan spots another lay-by, this time right on the apex of a sharp left-hander but with the promise of rewarding vistas. I slow as hard as I dare, mindful of the sticky master cylinder a few metres behind before easing the A4 over a lip onto an oval of gravel the size of a tennis court.

Aleš tucks in next to us as we reach for phones and cameras to scan the horizon and the islands in between and capture a few slices of the view. Shunning selfies, Darjan grabs his tripod from the trunk and declares it’s time for a group shot as I realize my right foot is resting on a boulder about 18” high. Rock Woollarding it is then! He sets the timer and jogs over to take position before the shutter clicks…

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Weekend Edition: Vårmønstringen 2015 by Norsk Sportsvogn Klubb

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Quite a headline, isn’t it? The event is an answer to the question I’m sure many of you have been pondering, “What is the sports car scene like in Norway?”

The Vårmønstringen is a spring awakening of sorts. Held by the Norwegian Sportscar Club, it’s one of the biggest yearly automotive events in Norway, and this year’s gathering was the 40th so far. These photos by Hooniverse reader and power enthusiast Adrian Jektvik show just how diverse the scene can be.

And yes, there was a Koenigsegg there.

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Submission Thursday: Balkanized

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[The following travelogue is a snapshot from a recent roadtrip in Croatia, and the penmanship and photography is by the inimitable Matt Harvey. Additional photos by Ales Zorko. -Antti]

We leave the highway at Karlovac about twenty minutes outside of Zagreb, taking the road south towards the Plitvička National Park. We’re a ragtag little convoy comprising a Croatian on a Kawasaki ER-6N, a wild, nomadic Finn and a Slovenian in a restored ’89 BMW 325i Touring with yours truly and another Slovenian in a 2004 Audi A4 1.9 TDi that has uprated brakes, suspension, sticky tyres and an engine remap. Like I said – ragtag.

It is the Sunday of the May Day holiday weekend, and so of course the roads are packed. While most of the traffic is heading home and therefore in the opposite direction, it still means overtakes are few and far between. The presence of the nimble bike up front able to radio back to the cars makes little difference; a stubborn native in a red van is slowing us to truly pedestrian speeds except on the straights where he boots it. The bastard.

Mid-afternoon and we pull over in Rastoke, a pretty spot with waterfalls and a bar perched on the edge of the river gorge. We stretch legs and take on fluids. “Don’t worry,” our Croatian host assures us, “It’s going to get better, in a little while.”

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Cologne Street Sightings: 1966-1968 Neckar 1100 Millecento

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The randomness you can see on a side street in Germany remains baffling. I received these shots of a late-’60s Neckar 1100 Millecento from my Cologne friend Joe, and the little car really is a treat to the eye.

Funnily enough, there’s a pretty good beer market just close by. The PBR plates on this German-built Italian economy car are almost fitting – even if buying Nastro Azzurro Peroni would suit it better.

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The Perfect European Sports Car: Ford Mustang V6 Convertible

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[The intrepid backpacker, Frankiess recently paid a visit to Florida. Here’s his two cents of his (non-Ecoboost, duh) rental vehicle of choice. -Antti]

You’ve heard it all before. Europeans make the only true sports cars. Europe has the best small twisty roads and the best chassis engineers on the planet. And the Nürburgring! Every decent sports car is European.

Americans, on the other hand, build huge landbarges with boat engines, truck chassises and give them the moniker of a “sports car” because it’s a good marketing term.

This is an undeniable fact, and everyone knows this.

.. Right?

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V.I.S.I.T. – 1954 Ford Tudor

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Despite the bumper sticker on the back of the Town Cow, I made a rare exception to my “no cell phone while driving” rule, thanks to the State of Kansas’s failure to include snapping cellphone pics in their distracted driving statute, and the fact that I was sitting at a stoplight with my foot on the brake. Furthermore, if the Sunflower State’s Finest did try to bust me, I was only about three feet from Missouri.*

Why did I feel compelled to compromise my safety-first attitude for this particular car? No, I don’t have a fetish for 1954 Fords, even though they’re cool cars. This car’s extra significance comes not from what it is, but rather from who’s behind the wheel. The ‘shopped license plate camouflage should provide the giveaway clue; this seafoam survivor belongs to none other than Hooniverse Hyper-Lounge Certified commenter Alff. I had just enjoyed a tasty Shrimp Po’Boy Combo in the company of both the Divine Mr. A and fellow Heartland Hoon Kiefmo.

Despite my efforts to obscure his plate, I am still going to blow his witness protection cover by showing you his dashing mug in an even more flagrant, underway-in-traffic side view of the car after the jump.

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Weekend Edition: Checking out used cars in Germany

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I did a couple of trips to Germany late last year, and some of the activities we did with my petrolhead friends was to see some used cars that we had scoured up on Autoscout24 and mobile.de. I didn’t have my car-buying pants on then, but it was interesting to see what the market looked like in the metal, and how the cars measured up to the way they were advertised.

After I got myself to the Düsseldorf International Airport and was picked up by a friend in a ratty E30 at the departures door, off to the autobahn we went.

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Weekend Edition: Swift Possibilities Looming

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I’ll cut to the chase: does anybody have a wiring loom for a Suzuki Swift GTi just hanging around, doing nothing?

Alright, maybe a little back story is required here. My friends, often of wrenching sort, acquired a Suzuki Swift cabriolet for last summer’s roadtripping around Europe. You know, the Geo Metro kind. The German-market Swift came with an eight-valve, 1300cc SOHC powerhouse that produced maybe 60 horsepower, and the gearing was ridiculously long. I mean, highway speeds had the engine turning over at 2000rpm, and Nürburgring laps were done in second and third for most of the time. I’m not kidding, the blue-wheeled, tribal-striped white droptop did a good number of Bridge to Gantry times on two glorious days.

Of course, later on it was deemed the Swift needed a burst of MORE POWER. For a not unreasonable sum, a powertrain for a Swift GTi was spotted in Berlin and then we sort of drove there across the country to pick it up. Back at the garage, it was noticed that despite the seller’s claims, the engine is not electrically a straight swap. The short-ratio GTi gearbox obviously bolted on the 8-valve engine and did its part to help, but the 16-valve, 100-horsepower engine needs the correct GTi wiring loom to make the transplant work.

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Submission Thursday: A Classic, Classic Quandary

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[Ed. note: This thoughtful piece is submitted by Matt Harvey, a fellow petrolhead I usually meet near and at the Nürburgring. He drives a turbodiesel BMW E46 and an MX-5 Phoenix, even if he does that on the wrong side of the road from where I’m looking. Also, pay notice to that licence plate up there –Antti]

 

My oldest friend is a guy called Tony. We met at school aged 8, and while life has over the years caused us to spend much time apart, we are still bosom pals.

Amongst the things that cemented the bond of our friendship was a love of cars, although Tony’s frequent dabbling in homotorcyclism was a lifestyle choice, to which even to this day I have never felt myself inclined to subscribe.

One of our earliest shared passions was the Rover SD1. Launched not long before we met, its rakish, futuristic looks stirred something deep within our respective, pre-pubescent souls – a car that could very well have been designed to showcase what the future would bring, alongside monorails and meals in tablet form. We were too young to know that its origins in a broken Britain, riven with industrial strife, meant it was no more reliable than a whore’s smile or that its design cues aped those of the Ferrari Daytona in ways that would mean lengthy litigation in more modern times. All we knew, as 8 year olds, was that it was cool, very cool and that we both wanted one.

Years passed, we left school, went our separate ways and got on with our lives. In my head my passion for the SD1, like its numbers on the roads, dwindled into almost nothing. But not for Tony. Almost a quarter of a century after our first meeting – and, I suspect, against the express wishes of his dear spouse – Tony bought one.

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RXSpeed.com wants to write a better prescription for parts shopping

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Car enthusiasts buy car parts. That’s likely the most obvious statement ever made on Hooniverse, but as we discovered just a couple months ago here (before IntenseDebate ate the site’s comments section), enthusiasts buy their parts from a myriad of places for a similar myriad of reasons. Not least among those reasons is that there’s no convenient way to shop for a part among a variety of suppliers, but RXSpeed.com may very well change that.

Not unlike VintageWheels.com that we featured on this site, RXSpeed.com (RX as in “prescription,” get it?) aggregates listings from dozens of retailers, meaning you can compare prices for exactly what you’re looking for. If you’ve ever used Orbitz or Kayak to shop for airfares and/or hotels, the idea is similar: Give the car parts consumer the most information possible to make an intelligent purchase.

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