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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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Slo-Motion: Alfa Romeo Spider in Slovenia

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If you remember the post with the green, somewhat modified Trabant in Hungary, I can report the nomad photographer of that car has now arrived in Slovenia, via Italy. Friend of Hooniverse, Frankiess was quick to take these couple shots of a red Alfa Romeo Spider almost immediately upon his arrival in Maribor.

The Alfa Romeo seems to have aged wonderfully gracefully, and it looks just about right. The five-spoke alloys – are those Cromodoras? – are small as tin can lids, but look like they belong.

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Big in Berlin – Lucille is a 1972 Ford Country Sedan turned German

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For every thought you entertain about importing a small European city car to the United States and let it loose on the endless prairie roads that will shrink it even further, there’s a counterpart trying to happen. Take an enormous American car, a station wagon as long and wide as you get, and bring it over to Central Europe where the streets are narrow and crowded, “Fun-Sized!”. On Berlin streets where a Volkswagen up! is king, you would be hard pressed to find a car less at odds with its surroundings than a 1972 Ford Galaxie Country Sedan, in wagon form.

A friend of mine, Philipp, did exactly that. A long-time fan of classic Americana, he wanted something quintessentially large and in charge, so he could ship it to his neighbourhood of Kreuzberg, Berlin. Luckily, since a fellow petrolhead will happily try to make dreams come true for another from the other side of the planet, a friend of his sourced him exactly what he wanted, gave it a once-over to see everything was in correct order, and sent it on its way across the Atlantic.

Fast forward to a couple months later, and I was in Berlin. After seeing the sights you have to, I happily took the chance to check out Lucille. Yes, that’s her name. Suits her, doesn’t it?

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Pest Shots – The Greenest, Flashiest Trabant in Hungary

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A friend of Hooniverse, the guy known as Frankiess, packed his bags as lightly as he could and took the next flight to Hungary. He’s wandering around both Buda and Pest, camera phone ready to be drawn, and amongst the numerous Trabants that putter around the Hungarian capital, he found this green gem.

Modified with only the best taste, the Trabant really stands out. I asked for a few more detail shots, all reproduced here for your enjoyment.

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Friends of Hooniverse- Let’s Help a Hoon

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If you’re like me and do your own wrenching, then one of your first stops before tackling any unfamiliar project is bound to be YouTube to see if there is a how-to video for the task at hand. As a new owner of an old Volvo (more on that another time) one of the best channels for car repair that I have found is Robert DIY, which is done by a gentleman named Robert Spinner.

Spinner’s videos are comprehensive and he explains things in a real down-to-earth manner that makes everything really easy to follow. Helping Hoons with car repairs isn’t the only thing that Robert has been dealing with. He has also been taking care of his ill wife for the past five years and that has meant both that he hasn’t been able to maintain a steady day job, and that money is, as you would imagine, tight.

Robert has been so helpful to others that his friends want to help him out too. They have set up a gofundme Robert Spinner Thank You Fund where people can make donations to financially help out Robert and his wife . The good folks at FCP Euro have done so, and so have we. It’s been pretty successful too, the original $5,000 goal having almost been doubled so far. That of course doesn’t mean that the help should stop.

I encourage you to check out Robert’s video channel, and the gofundme site. We’re not pressuring anyone to donate, only trying to generate awareness of someone who has given a lot to the automotive community and whose friends now want to return the favor. If you consider all the automotive knowledge shared in the videos above, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a worthy cause.

Image: YouTube

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