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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?

… Continue Reading

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

Four stories of Gilles Villeneuve

Gilles wears Ferrari colours for the first time - courtesy Richard Kelley

Gilles wears Ferrari colours for the first time – courtesy Richard Kelley


When man becomes myth, oft-times the human element is lost. The stories are told and retold, the feats and the failings, and a figure becomes fixed in the imagination like a colossus. We read, and watch, and we think we know – but often we don’t have the whole picture.

Gilles Villeneuve, born today sixty-five years ago, is still considered one of the finest drivers to have grasped a wheel, and is a national hero both for Canadians and for Ferrari-crazed tifosi. He soared and fell to earth like Icarus, a tragic hero, another victim of the carnage that consumed so many great drivers at the very peak of racing. We watched his epic battle for second place with Arnoux, perhaps the most feverish duel to ever occur in F1, we heard Niki Lauda call him the “craziest devil I ever came across,” and we mourned his passing.

As I’ve roved around this strange business of writing about cars, I’ve had the good fortune to meet those who knew Gilles and hear their stories. Today, on what would have been his birthday, I’m passing them on to you. … Continue Reading

C’était un Hoonez-vous – BMW 850CiA prowls Dutch streets

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You know C’était un Rendez-vous, right? The amazing French director, Claude Lelouch, strapped a camera onto the front of an unconfirmed car and drove through Paris like a hellhound was on his trail. The resulting ten-minute footage was overdubbed with Ferrari 275 GTB sounds that almost fit the driving, and it’s accepted knowledge that the car in question was a Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 that belonged to the director.

But enough of that 1976 film, and back to modern day. 2015, whoa. What would you use as your ideal camera car for filming a casual blast around some European streets? A friend of mine happens to own a very black and very cool 1994 BMW 850, and the V12 in it is now a 5.4-litre lump instead of the 5.oh with which it was delivered.

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Sidecar Donuts Make 2015 Awesome

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You already know that my riding buddy Rusty is awesome. Here is how he chose to celebrate New Year’s Day: doing one-handed donuts on his Ural Gear-Up. Note the snow flying from the powered sidecar wheel.

Video credit to his lovely wife, as captured by her smartphone potato from an upstairs window.

Video: Regular Cars Reviews Doug Demuro’s Ferrari 360

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Our friends at Regular Car Reviews have had one hell of a year. How do they top their metaphorical tree? With a review of Doug Demuro’s recently sold Ferrari 360. This is probably the best RCR video since the main man went all Hunter S on our asses.

 

Beaterland in Deutschland – Turning 30 in a BMW E30

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As an individual born in late November, 1984, I turned 30 last week. Fanfares, accolades, confetti, all of them successfully softened the blow of reaching my fourth decade. It even gets quite cold and dark here in Finland around this time, so the only hasty choice I could do was to turn back the advancement of autumn just a touch, and book tickets to Germany, as it’s just a touch warmer there. As it happens, they also have legendary racetracks and cheap(er) cars there, along with seriously cheap beer, so it didn’t take a long time for me to jump on the Boeing and make my way to Düsseldorf.

To look at cars, one needs a car. This was the bottom line for my friend Joe, who picked me up in the titular BMW; he’s planning to buy a cheap, frugal runabout or a project Datsun Z or something in between. It’s not clear yet what he’ll be getting, but the actual going-to-look-at-cars will happen in this slightly patinated 1988 BMW 318i saloon. It was loaned to him by the excellent fellow who bought the pea soup coloured Zastava, and as he had also recently bought a gold Subaru wagon the BMW was free to be lent on.

So, there I was, luggage dumped into the steel blue BMW’s trunk, the top of my head touching the headliner of the sunroof-equipped car. This was to be a pretty decent weekend.

… Continue Reading

Drift Idiot Day 13: All In

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Sam Nalven is a good friend of Hooniverse. You know him better as the Drift Idiot, and we’ve been working together to bring you new episodes of The Drift Chronicles this year. Now though, it’s time for a new installment of the series that set him down this slideways path.

Drift Idiot Day 13 has arrived, and you can see that both Sam and his car have come a long way. Still, they’ve got an uphill battle today because Drift Idiot is taking on the Head Hoonigan. Ken Block and Co. are releasing Gymkhana 7 right now. Nalven wants to try and beat their view count for today, so give his video a watch.

(Yes, I know that’s pretty much impossible because Gym 7 will have more views than Kim K’s gigantic ass – deservedly so, of course)

Video: TMI Autotech is Prepping Ariel Atoms for the US Market

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Friends of Hooniverse TMI Autotech are the go-to source for freshly built Ariel Atoms here in the United States. They’re based in Virginia. That last line isn’t exciting until you realize they’re more specifically located right at Virginia International Raceway. That’s quite a nice spot when you have a fleet of Atoms eager to be flogged around a race track.

This short video they’ve produced gives you a glimpse into their facility. Since we’re buddies with them, we thought we’d pass it along to you.

…and yes, you can bet your ass we’re trying to get seat time in one of these things.

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