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Announcing the 2014 Hooniversal Car of the Year!

The Prestigious Hooniversal Car of the Year award!

The Prestigious Hooniversal Car of the Year award!

You know, if you had asked me to predict this year’s winner, I can honestly say I would not have guessed correctly. I may have had my hopes, but I would certainly not have guessed it. With all the flashiness, the show, the look-at-me attention-grabbing of most of the other nominations, I would not have guessed that the most Hooniverse of all the nominations would actually take home the green participation ribbon coveted trophy.

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Cast Your Vote For the 2015 Hooniversal Car of the Year!

HCOTY-2014-Lead2014 has been, if anything, a confused year in the automotive industry. If anything, we have not so much lost our way, as we have found a few dozen others. The path before us, as automotive enthusiasts, is so splintered that we’re not quite sure what the future truly holds.

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HCOTY 2014 Nominee: The Corner Carving 1959 Apache

When I attended the 2014 Optima Ultimate Street Car Challenge at the Auto Club Speedway, I had one of those “Internet Star Struck” moments. I came across a very special truck that I saw on an episode of Big Muscle. I’m talking about the 1959 Chevrolet Apache, owned by one Wes Drelleshak.

It caught my interest because it’s something that was never meant to do what it does now… and it does it VERY WELL.

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HCOTY 2014 Nominee: The Hurst System Rescue 1 Gremlin operated by Murray County (Ga) Rescue Squad

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Ah yes, it is that time of year in which the Inmates at the Asylum nominate their favorite vehicle for the coveted Hooniversal Car of the Year. There have been some changes that will become apparent when the voting starts, but I will leave that to the powers that be… I am once again very late to the party because I never was able to clarify all the facts about my particular nominee, but with a little old fashion research, and some incredibly good luck, I think I can still tell the story as to why my nomination should be the HCOTY for 2014.

Forty-Two years ago one of the most famous people in the Performance Car Parts Business created a system that would contain a tool that was meant to save the life of a driver in the event of a severe crash on the racetrack. The inventor was none other than George Hurst, and the tool was called the Hurst Rescue Tool, or what is commonly referred to as the Jaws of Life. This was a revolutionary tool that is not only in use around most racing tracks, it is a tool that has enjoyed wide acceptance within the Fire & Rescue Fraternity. However, George Hurst envisioned an entire emergency vehicle system that would include this life saving tool (along with other necessary first-responder gear) and be light, agile, with the ability to handle any emergency in almost any terrain. There was a total of 10 of these complete systems sold, and one is still in limited operation today. Introducing my nomination for the HCOTY of 2014, the 1974 Hurst Highway Rescue System One, operated by the Murray County Rescue Squad of Chatsworth, Georgia, celebrating 40 years of service this year…

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HCOTY 2014 Nominee: 2014 Dodge Challenger R/T Blacktop

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[Editor’s Note: Yes, we suck at this. Two new cars this year… we apologize and it won’t happen again. Antti at least has a good reason for this one.]

Having thought long and hard about the car I would be nominating as my personal Hooniversal Car of the Year candidate, I have no other option than to go way back to the last days of May and the first days of June, when I finally set foot on American soil and American tarmac and received the keys to a 2014 Dodge Challenger R/T Blacktop, reviewed here.

Granted, it’s not a Hellcat by a long stretch, and the at least 707-horsepower super-Challenger has deservedly become the beacon of insanely powerful Challengers since its unveiling, but for myself the old R/T stands for so much more.

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HCOTY – The Beast of Turin Fiat S76

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[Source image: Stefan Marjoram]

The initial ignition blast torqued the whole chassis as though it were absorbing the impact of a missile. A gentleman revved the engine and made adjustments as sparks shot from its open exhaust ports, dropping deafening sonic assaults upon everyone present. Microphones failed to completely capture the unholy racket. When watching the video, the recording’s audio distortion gives the best indication as to the actual volume and ferocity of this — the word is overused, but nothing is more appropriate here — this monstrous engine. It was the first time the Beast of Turin had belched flame in more than a century.

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HCOTY Nominee: The Wagon Wednesday Edition

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So one of the things the Hooniverse Overlords demand of we mere contributors to this wonderful website is that we nominate a Hooniworthy vehicle as the Hooniversal Car Of The Year. In years past, this olelongrooffan has had an easy time based on what I had seen out and about around whatever parts of the Sunshine State I live in. This year living, once again, down in what I call FantasyLand that is Naples, Florida, my choices have been rather slim and I have, until today, been undecided as to what would be nominated.

Yeah round these here parts, the sighting of a Diablo, Maserati, Bentley, Ferrari (I have a client who owns two), Rolls, McLaren Mercedes, you name it they are all here and seen on a daily basis. Thus far we have had some great nominations, but to this olelongrooffan, New Cars, Schmoo Cars, I mean who needs a 700HP sedan when the fastest you can go, unless you are MadScience (there is a link somewhere), is 80+ mph and nearly get away with it, and race trucks-my fellow Hoons, racing trucks have been around since my 2014 nomination was on the showroom floor.

So without further ado, hit the jump and see why this nomination must be your selection for the Hooniveral Car Of The Year choice.

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HCOTY Nominee: Dodge Charger Hellcat

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This the season in which a red sleigh delivers tremendous joy. In this version of the story, I’m the fat man at the helm and my reindeer have been replaced by a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine. Dodge Charger Hellcat with your paint so bright, won’t you ruin some tires tonight.

Yes… yes it will, and I think it deserves a nomination for Hooniverse Car of the Year. Read on to hear why I don’t think it will actually win though… and that’s okay.

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HCOTY Nominee: BlipShift 1975 Volvo C303

Volvo C303 Blipshift hcoty 2014

After day one of the 2013 New York Auto Show, Hooniverse and BlipShift had a party at a midtown tavern. We were all tired after a day of aimlessly walking around, taking pictures, sipping cappuccinos, checking out the cars (Jeff is no longer allowed to sit in any of MB’s G-class, Jaguar-Range Rover politely asked me stop referring to myself as James Fucking Bond, bitches), chatting up the product professionals (hi, beautiful Audi babe!), schmoozing with PR pros (“yes, I love the new Scion xB!”), discussing journalistic stuff with our journalists colleagues (“dude, your commenters suck!”), and actually writing stuff for the website (oh, pretty pics).

There, over a few beers, the two awesome dudes from BlipShift asked for suggestions about a promotional vehicle. They envisioned an ex-military off-roader, one that drew a lot of enthusiast attention, could be driven anywhere, and had space for a t-shirt cannon. We discussed the basics: Humvees, Jeeps, Land Rovers, Unimogs, and even Pinzgauers. I became their consultant on this project, whether they linked it or not, and I did pro bono – I had no choice.

Some time later, frequent commenter mzs zsm msz esq suggested that  I buy a eBay Volvo C303 as a replacement for my family Acura MDX. While equally brilliant and unrealistic for my personal use, I sent the link to the BlipShift guys as it was the perfect vehicle for them. They didn’t get the one from that eBay link but later on they found another C303 in Massachusetts on CraigsList. Following the 24 Hours of LeMans Halloween Hooptiefest, a race they finished behind a certain amazing Buick driven by not-so-amazing drivers, they went to look at that C303.

And they bought it!

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