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Hooniverse Asks- What’s the Worst Instance of Automotive Cross-Branding?

Robert Emslie February 27, 2015 Hooniverse Asks


Do you remember the Isuzu Oasis? How about the Hollywood Graham or the Sears Allstate? There have been a lot of cars over the years that have pretended to be members of one family when it was plainly obvious that they belonged to another clan.

Cross-branding has gone on almost since the automobile’s inception, and in fact it’s rumored that there was almost a Curved Dash Ford before there was a model T. Well, yeah I made that last one up, but it’s no crazier than the match-ups that really took place.

Of course, not every match is one that’s made in heaven and today I’d like your opinion of which of them you think was the least well thought out. Thinking of cars like the Aston Martin Cygnet and Cadillac Catera, what do you think was the worst instance of automotive cross-branding?

Image: Moto24

Hooniverse Asks- What’s the Most Overlooked Automotive Maintenance Task?

Robert Emslie February 26, 2015 Hooniverse Asks


I like to think that I take good care of my cars. After all, I’ve got a bunch of them and they do represent a pretty big investment. I’m also sure that you all do the same. After all you’re here aren’t you, and that shows evidence of an interest in both cars and their upkeep. That being said, I’m sure that you, like me, have on occasion put off one or the other regular maintenance task longer than you should have. That’s just part and parcel with our busy lives.

I think the one task that I dreaded the most owing to its pain in the ass-ness was changing the spark plugs on my FWD V6 daily driver. They were supposed to go at 100K but I dragged it out an extra 10K because I didn’t look forward to pulling the intake and all the crazy vacuum hoses required to reach the back three plugs. Oh, I eventually did the deed and it all turned out okay, but it wasn’t what I’d call fun.

There are other tasks that I dread; transmission flushes, renewing brake fluid on an ABS-equipped car, and apparently cleaning all the Home Depot receipts out of my trunk being among the most hated. What about you, is there a particular maintenance task that you put off or perhaps even overlook? When was the last time you changed your car’s fuel filter? How about adjusted your headlights? Do people still adjust headlights? What do you think its often the most overlooked auto maintenance task?

Image: TheHappyCode

Hooniverse Asks- Should Driving High-Performance Cars and Trucks on the Street Require Additional Licensing?

Robert Emslie February 25, 2015 Hooniverse Asks


It’s well known that half the world wishes for less government intrusion in their lives while the other half consistently bemoans that there ought to be a law. When it comes to cars and driving, there sure are a lot of laws and regulations on the books, so many in fact that you might think twice about just pulling out of your driveway if doing so isn’t absolutely necessary. Despite that, I’m wondering if – for the greater good – we don’t need at least one more to keep us all safe.

In case you haven’t noticed, Chrysler has introduced a pair of cars recently that each offer more than 700 horsepower. That’s not in some million dollar Q ship available only to people who know Paris Hilton on a first-name basis, instead, either can be picked up by pretty much anybody with a decent credit score and a few grand in the bank. That, in my opinion, is pretty damn scary.

Consider if you will that most of us get our driver’s license while in our teens and that little sliver of plastic gives each and every one of use the right to drive with impunity pretty much anything from a 28-horsepower 2CV to the aforementioned 700-pony Chrysler. Now, you might just want to ask Paul Walker if he thinks that seems right. Oh wait, you can’t. What I want to know today is what is your opinion on having a graduated licensing system. Do you think that drivers should have horsepower or performance tiers for which they must demonstrate competence before they can legally get behind the wheel and put themselves and the rest of us in danger?

Image: MJSite.com

Hooniverse Asks- If You Had the Money, What Classic Car Would You Commission to be Reimagined as a Modern Masterpiece?

Robert Emslie February 24, 2015 Hooniverse Asks


Please allow an indelicate question; are you rich? I don’t mean like, have money in the bank, or are rich in love, I mean are you filthy, I couldn’t spend it all if I tried, rich. If you are the latter, then I have another question for you. Even if, like me, you do not fit the required criteria, well, feel free to play along.

Rich people can do anything. Seriously, you want to fly to Paris for lunch? Done. Organize a hunt of the last Loch Ness Monster just because? Why not. The only thing that most people ask of the obscenely wealthy is that they use their money for good and not for evil, and what could be a better use than commissioning a modern interpretation of a classic car, just for your own entertainment?

We’ve seen the results of just such an effort a couple of years ago when BOSE CEO and auto enthusiast Michael Stoschek got to talking with designer Chris Hrabalek about building a new Lancia Stratos. The Ferrai-based upshot of that discussion got a lot of other enthusiasts salivating, and it is only one of several reinventions of great old cars taken on by private – and super rich – individuals, fed up that the marque’s original maker has not seen fit to do so. If you are so inclined, and of the means, what classic cars would you reimagine, and how would you do so.

Image: lambocars

Hooniverse Asks- What car Brands Have Been Inexorably Hurt by Their Adherence to Tradition?

Robert Emslie February 23, 2015 Hooniverse Asks


Tradition is a great concept. It’s what creates a thread of consistency through our lives, and establishes acts that can tie generations together over the span of years. Of course, being held to tradition can also prevent one’s growth, and can in fact leave individuals, groups, or companies in the past.

I was thinking about this recently, contemplating how much effort Porsche has put into trying to perfect an imperfect platform- the rear engine car. The company has tried on a couple of occasions to move to layouts more appropriate for their desired sporting intentions, but their fans demand that the 911 be maintained in perpetuity, lest Porsche as a whole cease to exist as a purveyor of their own iconic traditions.

Imagine if you will if Porsche had given up on the 911 when they intended to and instead put more of their development time into other platforms like the 928 and 944. Would we have a different and better selection from Stuttgart today? There are many other examples of car manufacturers sticking to tradition, and perhaps not for the better. Today I’d like your opinion on those, and what you think might have been if they hadn’t. What car brands do you think have been hurt by tradition?

Image: Renestaud.com

Hooniverse Asks- What’s Your Best ‘They All Do That’ Dealer Service Story?

Robert Emslie February 20, 2015 Hooniverse Asks

Certified Service

At one time, my family used to own a pair of Volkswagens. I had a 1998 Golf GL and my wife had a snazzy Jetta 2.0 wagon. She loved the car at the time, but thought it odd that the Jetta, which was 3-years newer, used about a quart of oil every couple thousand miles while the Golf remained tight as the proverbial drum. When she broached the subject with the service manager at our friendly neighborhood VW dealership, the response was, oh yeah, they all do that.

I thought that response was baloney, but seeing as the car was both fully under warranty and a lease, I didn’t push the cost of a quart added every couple of months. It seems like there are two standard responses to issues brought to the service department. One is the inability to replicate the noise, shake, or spectral apparition afflicting the car, and the other – more socialist response – is to claim that, well, yes, they all do that.

Have you ever been told they all do that? Was it in regards to and issue with you car, or some aspect of your person that you thought shouldn’t be doing what it was doing? If the former, let us know, what’s your best they all do that story.

Image: BettenGM

Hooniverse Asks- What Car Company Should Buy What Car Company?

Robert Emslie February 19, 2015 Hooniverse Asks


In case you haven’t noticed, the automotive market has for the most part bounced back from the horrific downturn of just a few years ago. Oh sure, some car makers are presently tied up dealing with recalls for past transgressions, but there are a number of manufacturers out there who now have money to burn.

Back in the eighties and early nineties there were also a number of car makers looking to use loose cash to swallow up their smaller competition, adding to their armory as it were. Many of those conquests have since been cast off, and today there are plenty of small automotive entities – both those still popping out product, and those who have been shuttered – that could stand to have a bigger, more flush benefactor come to their rescue.

What do you think, should a company like Ford reconstitute TVR? Maybe, like AMG, Tesla should become an official part of Daimler Benz? I’d hate to see Lotus finally turn belly up and so maybe there’s a sugar daddy out there who could keep those new Evoras coming, as well as the next Elise and, maybe, a fresh Esprit. It’s time to do a little daydreaming here on on Hoon. What do you think, what car companies with the cash should buy which car companies bereft of it?

Image: Palo Alto Concours

Hooniverse Asks- What’s the Dumbest Specialty Tool Required Maintenance Issue You’ve Ever Encountered?

Robert Emslie February 18, 2015 Hooniverse Asks


Do you remember back in the olden days when all racers required a riding mechanic, and all the riding mechanic required was a stout Stillson for running repairs, and maybe a flue brush to de-coke the cylinders between races? Oh my, how times have changed.

If you happen to own a Volkswagen CC, and it comes with an electronic parking brake – or any number of VW, Audi, or even Volvo with this feature, then in order to change the rear brake pads, you will need the VAG.com – or other computer interface tool – to complete the job. Let me repeat that, to change the brake pads, you’ll need to hook the car up to some sort of computer. That’s a long way from banging on it with a hammer to emake a repair.

As cars and trucks have become ever-more complicated, and their systems more closely intertwined, hurdles like this to regular maintenance continue to rear their ugly, and expensive, heads. The VW dunderheadedness is just one example of this, and today, I want to hear about any others of which you are aware. Aside from the computer brakes, what’s the dumbest specialty tool required maintenance issue you’ve ever encountered?

Image: Auto-Tool-Shop

Hooniverse Asks- What is the Coolest Factory Motorcycle Livery?

Robert Emslie February 17, 2015 Hooniverse Asks


I’ve always loved the concept of race on Sunday and sell on Monday, as I firmly believe that racing improves the breed, even when that breed is confined to the public tarmac. That being said, I don’t often find road cars painted in the hues of their racing brethren to be all that and a bag of chips. I think it has something to do with that race-day paint writing checks that your typical street edition can’t cash.

The same can’t be said for motorcycles however, as no matter how much faster a track edition may be, the road-going one is still going to be pretty balls to the wall. That’s why I don’t mind racing livery on street bikes, and in fact there are a few that I downright like. There have been a number of great motorcycle paint schemes that didn’t involve racing too, and some of my favorites are the metallic fades that BMW offered back in the ’70s and ’80s.

Motorcycles don’t generally engender themselves to extensive graphic treatments, so limited are the canvases they provide. That’s not to say that there haven’t been a few great ones, especially during the era of the full bodywork bikes. Considering those that have come, which do you think is the best? What, in your opinion, is the coolest factory motorcycle livery?

Image: asphaltandrubber

Hooniverse Asks- Do You Know What all the Buttons in Your Car do?

Robert Emslie February 16, 2015 Hooniverse Asks


Have you ever gotten into an unfamiliar car or truck and then had to struggle with finding the light switch, wiper control, or even more frequently, the door lock? It seems that control standardization is a fairly loose field when it comes to the automotive world, and sometimes that can even result in you not knowing exactly what some of the buttons, switches, or slots on your own car do.

That’s just what we want to know today; do you know what all the buttons and knobs and whatnot do in your car? Are there any mystery switches, marked with cryptic hieroglyphs, that you just leave alone, lest you temp fate? Tangentially, are there any features of your car – power antenna or the like – that you have a hard time remembering how to actuate?

Image: ThaiCarNews


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