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Announcing the 2013 Hooniversal Car of the Year!

Horse Race

Today is an historic day indeed. After a hard-fought battle across multiple social media outlets, with campaigners and complainers alike making their cases loud and long to anyone who would listen, the polls closed last night as we all cried “Happy New Year”. Well, as we on the West Coast cried it, and the East-Coasties were crying “Happy 3AM”, but you get the idea.

And, after much wailing and gnashing of teeth, it can safely be announced that we have a tie. When the polls closed at midnight, we had received exactly the same number of votes for SpeedyCop’s Spirit of LeMons and for the Worst Car in the World. I’m disappointed in all of you.

As such, I’m arbitrarily disqualifying everyone except the Bricklin. Hooray!

No? Sigh. Fine then. It is a tie, and for the first — and hopefully only, because we never came up with any rules about what to do in the event of a tie — time, there are two Hooniversal Cars of the Year. I thought we should make the owners battle to the death in a giant vat of pudding, but I believe that would put poor SpeedyCop up against a disturbingly-large K-Car Horde. We need a name for them. They remind me of juggalos.

Unfortunately, there is only one Participant Ribbon Exotic HCoTY Trophy, and when I tried tearing the ribbon trophy in half, it disintegrated into a handful of green threads and gold sparkles. So congratulations to each of you, enjoy your handful of shredded remnants shared trophy!

For everyone who voted… I hope you’re proud of yourselves. Now go to your rooms.

Hooniversal Car of the Year: Vote Early, Vote Honest!

The Prestigious Hooniversal Car of the Year award!

The Prestigious Hooniversal Car of the Year award!

It’s been a busy year for the Hooniversal Car of the Year. We’ve had multiple nominees squeaking in at the last minute, including my own. We’ve had delays by spotty internet, busy work schedules, and dogs eating homework. All of these problems can be blamed on Glucker, and so they shall be. Everyone, point your fingers Gluckerwards, and give him frowny-faces of disapproval.

Okay, he wasn’t actually responsible, but on this side of the fence, it’s his fault anyhow.

If you haven’t already, you really must go back and read through the various nominations. The field is action-packed this year, and even features multiple malaise-era entries to keep the LeMons judges naughty-bits positively a-tingly. And a Subaru! With any luck, that will be the first, last and only time a Subaru ever gets nominated in HCoTY.

Here’s a run-down of the candidates, in case you missed them:

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HCOTY Nominee: 1979 Pontiac Trans Am

DSCN8257 Meet Ken’s 1979 T/A my nominee for 2013 HCOTY. It’s pretty cool, it’s brown, it’s also the first new car he bought out of high school back 34 yerars ago now. This photo is from March of this year, needless to say Ken takes good care of his cars. … Continue Reading

HCOTY Nominee: Whitey, The 1993 Impreza That Started It All

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It’s the same color as crack cocaine. And that is fine, because this addiction is good for you — but it is an addiction you cain’t quit. 

Nearly two years ago, Facebook linked a single ad to my page that changed my life. Off to the right was a link to a page called “Rally Texas.” I found that a rally cross was firing up for its debut race, and the course was 20 minutes from my house. At the time, my 1996 Formula had been hit twice in what were basically parking lot accidents, but three-quarters of the car was about to get repainted on someone else’s dime. I thought, “what the hell, why not?” I shot a simple email to Brianne Corn to check out the track, got my first hit of rally-crack, and here we are two years later. 

What is “Whitey?” What isn’t it? It started life as a benign 1993 Subaru Impreza with a wheezy 1.8 and front-wheel drive. Yes. In the summer of ’09, Brianne converted the little car from FWD to AWD, bolted on a hitch, and trailered her Honda XR600R straight up to the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb for her first race on the mountain

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HCoTY Nominee: 1975 Bricklin SV-1

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When I came up with HCOTY many, many moons ago, my goal was to give the award to a car that embodies the spirit of Hooniverse. Not necessarily the best in automotive engineering; not necessarily the most beautiful; not necessarily the best to drive, or the most luxurious, or the most comfortable. I wanted the award to go to the car that embodies the genuine love of automobilia that caused us to start the site in the first place.

My nominee this year, then, is the most perfect candidate I could possibly come up with, because it fits all those qualifications to a tee. It is not beautiful, it is not great to drive, it is not particularly luxurious nor comfortable (mmm, velour!), and it is absolutely not well-engineered. And after an hour with it, you’d never be able to choose another nominee.

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HCOTY Nominee: The AMS Performance Chevrolet Hearse Named “Madness”

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Performance car builders seem to choose their form of vehicular modifications based on certain market needs or desires. There are Tuning Shops that seem to specialize in Japanese Performance Cars, German Autobahn Cruisers, or American Yank Tanks. All of these types of vehicular transformers serve a particular automotive interest, and it is quite refreshing to see a shop that specializes in Japanese hardware (Mitsubishi Evo, Nissan GT-R) build something that is way over the top as this 1996 Chevrolet Caprice Hearse. Presenting the Automotorsports (AMS) Madness

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HCOTY Nominee: What Dat Teal Do SLAB Cadillac

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This nomination comes from a couple of readers who also happen to be automotive writers. Murilee Martin and Sajeev Mehta insist that the What Dat Teal Do SLAB from Houston should not only be considered the Hooniversal Car of the Year, it should generally be considered the Greatest Car Ever Built. It may be an unorthodox nomination, but this fringe-y corner of the automotive universe appreciates those who make extraordinary efforts to stand out. And What Dat Teal Do is one of the world’s most conspicuous cars.

For the unfamiliar, SLAB stands for “Slow, Low, and Bangin’.” “Slow” is how you drive a SLAB so everyone can take in its gravitas. “Low” is how it rides, ideally almost scraping the pavement. “Bangin’” describes the substantial wattage behind the stereo setup.

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HCOTY Nominee: TWINI the Twin Engined MINI


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Mini enthusiast and owner of Bay Bridge Motors, Jacques Andres, wanted to prove his capabilities, as well as the capabilities of the Mini platform, to the world.  He quickly figured out that racing was the way to do that, and by doing something a bit unorthodox, hoped he could punch above his weight class.  How did he intend to make his 2002 Mini Cooper S competitive with Porsche GT3 cup cars?   He did the only thing logical and shoved another supercharged four cylinder in the back of the car.  (Wait, TWO twin engined HCOTY nominees this year?  Yes Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus.)

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HCOTY Nominee: Speedycop’s Spirit of LeMons Cessna

spirit of lemons cessna

This was initially Jeff Glucker’s nomination, but he surrendered it in order to promote some store-bought tricycle. Clearly, he is wrong. -KK

Initially, I had a hard time thinking about which vehicle I wanted to nominate for the 2013 Hooniverse Car of the Year. My brain is filled with too many new car stories this year, so I needed to clear the cobwebs and remind myself of the excellence that filled our year. That’s when it hit me. There was a shining beacon of brilliance that started to glow in late 2012 but fully illuminated my heart in 2013. I’m talking about Speedycop’s absolutely insane Cessna 310 Spirit of LeMons racecar.

Jeff Bloch continues to impress us all as each of his builds is crazier than the one before, but this one is my favorite so far. It’s my favorite by a longshot actually. This man turned a twin-engined airplane into a vehicle driven on a race track.

He’s certifiable. He’s brilliant. He’s determined. He’s a bag of mixed nuts.

He’s one of us… and his Spirit of LeMons get my nomination for the 2013 Hooniverse Car of the Year.

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HCOTY Nominee: The K-It-Forward/NSF Racing Plymouth Reliant

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Sure, I’ve routinely called this crapcan albatross the Worst LeMons Car of All Time (WLCOAT), but the fact remains that NSF Racing’s Plymouth Reliant is far more than a 24 Hours of LeMons entry and perhaps even more than a car. It’s a shared experience, a paragon of unity, and a demonstration of how the Internet enthusiast community can come together. The 2013 K-It-Forward campaign has spawned far too many stories to tell in just a few hundred words, but follow along after the jump to scratch the surface on what should be the Hooniversal Car of the Year.

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