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Wagon Wednesday: The Lada Wagon that conquered USA

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A Lada station wagon is pretty awesome by itself. Especially the round-headlight 2102 ones, as they have the most simple and classic appearance of them all.

But one of the most significant ones, at least with Finnish plates, is this exact ochre one I photographed at the Classic Motorshow last weekend. The 2102 wagon, originally bought for two packets of coffee and driven by a brave team called The Hoponderos made it through the United States in one piece, and back to Finland. No mean feat.

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Local Hero

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“I’d be ashamed,” my driving partner said, clucking his tongue behind the wheel, “It’s embarrassing.”

Just up ahead, the shining flanks of a Cayman GT4 rippled along this undulating road – 20” alloys, a 3.8L flat-six making a highly-underrated 385hp, functional aerodynamics, huge brakes. It’s a fantastic little car, terrier-like in tenacity, grippy like a gecko; the best blend of raw driving pleasure and mid-engined docility you could wish for, stirred up with a proper six-speed manual transmission.

And then, just ahead of the best driver’s-car Porsche produces, there is a tiny white hatchback – a Citroën C3. I can’t see the badge, but let’s assume it has the largest engine, a 1.6L four making 120hp. Soft, French, economical, efficient, slow?

The road continues to wind through rural Portugal, past orange and lemon trees, white-painted houses, people going about their daily business. Ahead, the lead Cayman’s flat-six yaps and growls.

Undeterred, the little Citroën keeps kicking its mid-engined ass. … Continue Reading

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

Thunder on the Rock: 1971 GMC longbox takes on the Targa Newfoundland

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On the East coast of Canada, the weather is cold and the people are warm. It’s a place like nowhere else on earth: Maritimers have their own language, expressions, traditions, and values. It’s a series of close-knit communities here on the Rock, a tightly-woven band of cheery folks anchored against the elements and the shifting tempers of the sea, their brightly coloured fishing villages sprinkled across the rocky landscape. By the sound of things, there’s another storm incoming, and the locals lift their heads to look.

But there’s not a cloud in the sky, and that’s not the far off rumbling of rain rolling in from the Atlantic. That’s the high-octane-fed roaring of Texas summer thunder, a big-block bellow that shakes the teaspoons in their drawers and sets the glass fish-floats a-tremblin’. Thunder. Thunder has come to the shores of Newfoundland. For those about to rock, we salute you. … Continue Reading

BMW E30 Ringtool – The Best Plates in the Hooniverse?

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We first spotted this BMW E30 parked at a currywurst joint in Adenau, and had a good chuckle in the table nearby. It’s like the plates were custom-tailored for this site.

It was only when we saw the car at the parking lot near the ‘Ring entrance, hood open, that we could take a closer look to the powerplant justifying the hooniness worn on its sleeve. The black E30, already looking raunchy as it is, has had a slightly more modern engine transplanted where 1587 cubic centimetres good for everyday transport once lived.

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This terrible Bugatti T-13 crash has a happy ending

1924 Bugatti Type 13 crash

Please welcome Edmund Burgess to the Hooniverse Hall of Fame. Mr. Burgess was driving his 1924 Bugatti Type 13 in the Prescott Hill Climb event when the car got… out of sorts. Entering a turn at around 30 miles per hour, the car wound up turning on its side and went top-first into a guardrail. The image above shows just how insane this accident can be in a car without a roof.

There’s a good ending here, I promise… otherwise we wouldn’t post this story. Keep reading to hear what happened next.

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Video: Ford Raptor Jumps Like a Velociraptor

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Some dudes hooning a black Ford Raptor on some jumping grounds misjudge the velocity necessary to complete a jump. In a classic display of “Hey y’all, watch this!” the Raptor is launched high into the air, and the inevitable landing sounds painful. There’s some very entertaining HD video, and some NSFW language to top it off.

Make the jump. Seriously, make the jump to see the clip.

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HCOTY 2012 Nominee – SCUBARU

HCOTY Scubaru

When asked to nominate a HCOTY 2012, only one candidate sprang to mind so vigorously as the Scubaru. The tale was legendary and gathered global attention, as autobloogs as far as Australia covered the story during the following weeks. And despite the story being wrangled into numerous directions, the basis remained true: the ’96 Legacy was driven on the ice in spring, as a guy went fishing. Soon enough, the Legacy went through the ice, head-first. Three months later, the Subaru was located and dragged home, and after the initial water-removal and necessary quick maintenance, the sucker sprang to life first try and made it back on the road. There was even video of the thing running.

Surely a car worth a Hooniversal Car of the Year nomination. Click for a re-cap.

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93-year-old Disappears with 1959 Peugeot 203, Found a Year Later

Surely you remember the tale of the sunken Subaru? That was a story of fearless wrenching and happy accidents, as the Legacy was able to start after spending months in the bottom of the lake.

Well, today’s submerged story has a sadder turn. Aarne Anttila, a 93-year-old gentleman driver from Northern Finland, disappeared off the face of the Earth about a year ago, in early December. Some accounted his disappearance to the proximity of the Swedish border, that he’d driven to Sweden and vanished there in the Scandinavian woods. Some thought it would be most likely he’d be found from the bottom of the Bothnian Bay. The latter just happened today, due to a coincidence.

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Video: Alfa Romeo 8C owner prefers Dirty Dancing over doing the Charleston

This video is old, but it’s new to us thanks to a tip sent in by a friendly reader (FYI, it was HanSolex). The clip is short but oh so sweet, as it shows a man taking an Alfa Romeo 8C from the 1930’s and driving the crap out of it on a dirt course. Engine noise is wonderfully abundant, and the sideways action will have you leaping out of your seat to cheer for the man behind the presumably large wooden wheel.

Sure, the most interesting man in the world might drink Dos Equis on occasion. The guy in the video after the break is the classiest motherf**cker in the world, and he drifts multi-million dollar machines on occasion.

[Source: YouTube]

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