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Hooniverse Asks- What do you Think is the World’s Most Famous Motorcycle?

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They say that fame is fleeting. As coincidence would have it, so are many motorcycles. Of course being fleet of foot, er tire, isn’t a necessity when it comes to motorcycle fame. Significance however, is.

Today being Two Wheel Tuesday what we’d like to know is which motorcycle – whether a specific bike or a model run of them – do you think is that most significant and hence the one to garner the claim of world’s greatest fame. I’d say you’ve got plenty from which to choose – Evel Kenevel’s rocket bike, the chopper Peter Fonda rode in Easy Rider, or maybe the Triumph TT masquerading as a German bike used by Steve McQueen in The Great Escape being just a few.

Of course there are probably others, separated from the movie bikes and the stunt rides, that could be considered even more significant and hence could hold the crown. Whichever the source, what do you think is the most famous motorcycle… in the world?

Image source: canosaurus

Hooniverse Asks- Has Your Level of Trust in GM Products Diminished?

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Mary Barra has an unenviable job at the moment. The newly installed CEO of General Motors – the first woman ever to hold the seat – has had to try and explain to a Congressional subcommittee, and more importantly to the world’s car-buying public, why it has taken the company more than a decade to address the issue with their seemingly endemic faulty ignition switches. The fact that GM could get something as basic and ubiquitous as an ignition switch so wrong – for so long – is pretty bad. The fact that they seemingly ignored the issue which is now blamed as a partial factor in at least 13 deaths borders on corporate criminality.

Still, there’s that new Chevrolet Corvette ZO6 droptop that just hit the Interwebs and man does that look like it’d be more fun than barrel of whiskey-chugging party monkeys. There’s also the new SS which is top of its class, and the diminutive Spark which was the top contender in the recent IIHS tiny tot car crash tests. Those are all  in their own ways cars that are highly desirable – and that’s just some of the stuff from Chevy.

If you’re a glass half full kind of individual then you might say that’s enough and that each of those cars – and many others in GM’s portfolio – are safe and sound purchases. If on the other hand your glasses are presently half full of news stories about column switches failing and the company sweeping the issue under the rug, you might be thinking about what will go wrong with these cars a year or more down the road. That’s the question for today, has GM’s extremely poor handling of a problem that just shouldn’t have happened dimmed your opinion of them? And more importantly, has it affected your likelihood of ever buying a car with the GM badge?

Image source: Business Insider

Hooniverse Asks- What Rotary Engine’d Car, Truck, or Motorcycle Would You Most Like to Own?

Mercedes_C111_Babe

Felix Wankel never possessed a driver’s license. That means that he never experienced the road manners of an NSU Prinz, Ro80, Mazda Cosmo, Repu, RX2, 3, 4, or 7 (and a few others not sold in the U.S.), nor a Citroën GS Birotor. Oh, he did own an Ro80, but he was chauffeured around in that and I’d bet that it was hard to get a feel for his namesake engine from the back seat.

The list above – to the best of my meager memory  -  is the extent of the production cars that were offered to the public with Wankel’s rotary engine during his life time. Oh sure there was the RX-8, but that Mazda model was introduced 15 years after the German engineer’s passing. There have also been a pretty substantial number of non-production cars that have carried the triangular piston’d motor, including the above Mercedes C111, and what was likely an amazingly thirsty 4-rotor Corvette back in the ’70s. Wankel’s engine wasn’t confined to four-wheel conveyances either, there was the IFA/MZ KKM 175 and Suzuki RE5 production bikes that put it on two wheels as well.

That’s a small but substantial corral of cars and bikes, many of which are not only easily obtainable today – although good luck with the Citroën, Ro80, or any of the one-offs – but can be appreciably cheap. We like the rotary, because it’s different and it revs all kinds of ways ’til Tuesday. If you you do too let us know, which one would you most like to have? 

Hooniverse Asks- What’s the Coolest Mini-Pickup?

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We have, on many an occasion, lamented the fact that there just aren’t any real mini-pickups offered any more, at least not in the home of the pickup, the U.S.of A.. Oh sure there’s the Toyota Tacoma and a few others, but all of that current crop of small trucks are pretty dang big by traditional measures. Fortunately, pickups are by nature pretty simple machines and hence tend to last a long time as there’s little to really go wrong. And because of that, today we want your opinion as to which of those old trucks would be the most Jack Nicholson of the bunch.

Traditionally, mini-pickups were pretty utilitarian affairs, and it’s kind of hard to spot the specific moment when they transitioned from suburban gardner staple to sports car replacement, but I think it was about the time that Toyota introduced the SR-5 edition of the Hilux. Maybe it was even before that as the Mazda rotary pickup, while not very popular when in production, gained a cult-like following in later years.

If you’re like the us then you love little trucks – small enough to be of little use to leeches who want help in moving, but not too small to be useful bringing home important stuff like beer kegs and big screen TVs right before the Superbowl. Of course utility is only part of the game here, and so today, we want you take on which trucks are also da bomb.

Image source: MazdaRepu Forums

Hooniverse Asks- Do You Keep Track Your Car’s Gas and Maintenance?

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Over the past two months the cost of regular gas in my neighborhood has increased by almost 20%, to the point now where it’s just about to burble over the four-dollar mark. How do I know this? Well, I’ve been keeping track of the fill-ups on my daily driver for the past four years. Aside from an unbelievably annoying loss of a two-month stretch in 2012 due to a data burp during an app upgrade, I have every tankful accounted for since 2010.

What do I plan to do with all this rich data? Yeah well, I’ll get back to you on that.What I can tell you is that in the last year I’ve made 53 fill ups totaling 761 gallons and have covered 15,319 miles. All that cost me $0.19 per mile, or $2,859.98 for the 12-month period, with an average cost per gallon of $3.65. I know, isn’t that awesome? I love useless trivia especially when there’s a lot of it and it’s particularly without general application.

Perhaps you’re not quite as ACD as I am about tracking every last drop of gas that you buy. Or then again, maybe you are. Do you keep track of gas, maintenance, and repairs on your car like a dutiful soldier, or is that just TMI?

Image source: iMore

Hooniverse Asks Bonus- What’s your $5,000 budget weekend car?

Scouring Craigslist; it’s something I usually do during lunch breaks and evenings to keep my mind off of the daily grind. My automotive addiction has me searching for the next project or weekend fun car. A reasonable budget for such a car is a necessity for most of us. There are some classics from the 80′s, 90′s and even “Noughties”, which allow for fun cars to be within our reach.

For example, I absolutely adore the Mitsubishi Starion and Chrysler Conquest.  This is a cheap, rear-wheel-drive, turbocharged car, and they’re usually surprisingly plentiful. Plenty of performance parts are readily available, and the idea of a cheap engine swap is feasible. The Starquest twins remain at the top of my list for cheap weekenders.

Given a $5,000 budget, what would you purchase to drive “as is? How about to purchase and modify to carve up your local canyon run, track day, autocross, or highway cruise?

Image Source: IMCDB.org

 

Hooniverse Asks- How Do You Like Your Motorcycles, Clothed or Naked?

Nude or Clothed

When it comes to sport bikes, you can go two ways, naked, or clothed. And while it’s usually true that naked is always more fun, when it your tastes turn to two wheels and a motor, it’s sometimes perfectly okay to stay dressed. The motorcycle is perhaps, more so than a car, the most visceral expression of mechanized transportation, and deserves to be on display. It’s just so elemental, the rider piloting little more than an engine and gas tank supported by a pair of wheels. It’s also designed to be in motion. Hell, if you were to stop the whole thing would tip over without a stout leg extended to prevent such catastrophe.

For the longest time, most bike engines were air-cooled. This meant that they needed to be ‘In The Wind’ which is also the title of one of Bikerdom’s most venerated rags. Today however, as motorcycle makers attempt to eke out more horses, and meet increasingly more stringent emissions standards, more and more motorcycles are water-cooled, and that means controlling airflow and that leads to the application of aerodynamic bodywork. This extrapolates to a schism of preference, naked- like the cafe racers of old, or clothed- like many modern-day super bikes. 

Which you prefer probably depends on what era you claim to have been your formative years. Me, I go all the way back to when motorcycle motors were put on display like works of modern art. Some of my less road-worn friends however, consider bikes like Honda’s sleek Pacific Coast to be all that and a bag of chips. What about your predilection, which do you like better when it comes to motorcycles, clothes on, or clothes off? And which of those is your favorite?

Image sources: Silodrome, CafeRacerCult

Hooniverse Asks- What’s Been the Best Era for Wheel Styling?

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There’s something that all cars share – well all but George Jetson’s – and that’s a set of rubber donuts that keep the ride from scraping on the pavement and actually lets it get things done. Keeping those donuts from rolling away are wheels, and over the decades those have offered car makers and owners alike opportunities to make their vehicles stand out from the crowd.

The earliest wheels were little more than the wooden jobs lifted straight from horse drawn carts, or spindly wire affairs taken from bicycles. Wire wheels continued on while wood gave way to steel, and in some cases fancy-pants alloys. The wider selection of materials also imbued car and wheel makers with the opportunity to create unique styles for their wheels, and boy, have there been a lot of them.

Wheel styling is about as evocative an indicator of a particular automotive era as are fins and quantity of chrome. As such, what we want to know today is your opinion as to which era might have represented the ‘golden age’ of wheel styling. Do you pine for the art deco designs that wheel covers took on in the late thirties? Or, do the rectilinear looks of the eighties – like the squared Chinese Checkers styling of the Isuzu Impulse wheels – rock your world? Let us know what you think has been the best era for wheel styling.

Image sources: Auto Classiche, VW Vortex, IndianAutosBlog

Hooniverse Asks- Nissan GT-R, Collectable or Forgettable?

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How many Japanese production cars can you truly consider to be investment grade? Let’s get out our fingers and toes and count them, m’kay? First off there’s the Toyota 2000GT. There were only 351 of those produced from 1967 through ’70, plus 2 convertibles that built for Bond, James Bond. If you happen to be in possession of one of these cars, you are a millionaire. Other Japanese cars however have not seen such an epic climb in value. The next closest is probably Honda’s NSX, which today is tracking an ascent in value, but we’ll have to see just what happens to that earlier generation when the next one becomes available, if it ever does.

But what about Godzilla? Nissan’s GT-R is the ultimate expression of a car that has developed its own mythology, a good sign for future desirability. It’s also one of the most amazing and technologically advanced cars on the planet. I mean, is there anything more crazy than a front-engine, four-wheel drive car with a rear-mounted transaxle? Currently prices for the GT-R  - new – are maintaining, but what about ten years down the road? Will the GT-R be another NSX,or even as heady a player as the 2000GT? Or, will it haunt the virtual pages of Craigslist like so many other Japanese once-greats, the Mitsubishi 3000GT, Toyota Supras, and Nissan’s own 300ZX? 

It’s a weird thing about the Japanese cars of old, they just don’t seem to hold the passion of car people the way the products of German, Italian, American, or British manufacturers do. The question for today is what fate do you think will befall the GT-R, and do you think it is worth buying now with the intention of making a killing 10 or 20 years down the road?

Image source: Moibibiki

Hooniverse Asks- What Car Needs a New Name?

6000 sux

If your age and memory goes back far enough you might be able to recall all of the times that Audi switched the name of their mid-sizer between 100 and 5000 before finally settling on A6. Every time they introduced a new iteration of the car line they tried to wash away the stigma of the last one, which was usually the result of quality issues, or at one time at least an unfortunate episode of 60 Minutes.

There’s always an impression that gets immutably glued to a product’s name like a tramp stamp on a sorority girl, never to be shaken. In the case of cars, one bit of bad press – real or phony – can dun a name for all eternity. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the name Pinto? Ka-boom, right? Deserved? No, Ingrained in the social consciousness? You betcha. Some cars just need a name change because their current one is so dang awful. Or worse, boring.   

Car names carry a lot of baggage, and today I want you to recommend those that need to unburden. Are there any cars that in your mind – for one reason or another – really should have a name change? You know, for the children.

Image source: ComicVine

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