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Hooniverse Asks- What Modern Car Just Seems so Dang Old?

Robert Emslie January 30, 2015 Hooniverse Asks

Curved Dash Olds

For the most part modern cars look pretty, well, modern. There are some that are presently in production however, that do seem like they are travelers from a past era. I’m not going to call out the ones that I think are so old school they’re still clapping erasers after class, I’m going to just leave it up to you and I expect that I’ll see them representing among your nominations.

What do you think is the modern car that just seems so old?

Image: Classic Cars For Sale

Hooniverse Asks- What’s Your Go-to Parts Place?

Robert Emslie January 29, 2015 Hooniverse Asks


So I just bought a part for one of my cars – a fairly esoteric suspension piece – and the place that had the best mix of price and delivery time amazingly proved to be… Amazon.

Now, I get car parts all over the freaking place. I troll Pick-A-Parts for used parts, I have RockAuto and PartsGeek favorited on my Mac and my iPhone, and I know all the Autozones, O’Reillys, and Pep Boys in my area. I even venture into Walmart on occasion because – to be honest with you – that’s the best place to buy car batteries.

What’s your modus operandi for sourcing your parts, do you have a favorite local parts store that is your reliable resource? Or, are you like me and cast a wide net, seeking the best deals you can find? What is your go-to car parts source?

Image: Technorati

Hooniverse Asks- Self-Balancing Cars- Bygone Insanity, or Unfulfilled Dream?

Robert Emslie January 28, 2015 Hooniverse Asks


What is the greatest promise of the future that has so far gone unfulfilled? Yep, that’s right, self zipping trousers. They keep promising them year after year, and yet here we are today with no assurance that our flies might be down at any time.

The other tantalizing future dream that also so far still remains frustratingly out of reach is the gyroscopically-stabilized two-wheel car. Imagine if your will a car that leans into corners like a motorcycle, and yet affords all the comforts and convenience -as well as the perception of affluence – provided by a car. Science has been working on this amazing blending of bike and car for decades, but sadly, the formula for success has so far proven elusive.

There have been attempts, cars like the pre-war Montrace Cabriolet, the Alex Tremulis-designed Gyro-X of 1967, and the present-day Ecomobile Motorcycle. All of these however require awkward outriggers for low-speed maneuvers, and that’s something I’d like to avoid. The benefits of a pure gyro car are many, including amazing handling, greater parking ease, and the coolness factor of driving a gyroscope car. Do you think we’ll ever see such an amazing beast in our lifetimes? If not, what other promises of the past would you like to see made real?


Image: Hemmings

Hooniverse Asks- Do You Use Classic Car Insurance?

Robert Emslie January 27, 2015 Hooniverse Asks

oops LeMans

I have just recently made the move to classic car insurance for my 1971 Datsun 240Z. The mileage limitations mean that I probably won’t be using it to see all 48 continental states anytime soon, but the cost savings over daily driver insurance is eye opening. I also like being able to tell people that, uh, yes, I have a classic car.

One of my favorite bits from the TV show The Simpsons is when, after his house is destroyed in a hurricane, Ned Flanders reveals that he doesn’t have insurance because he thinks it’s a kind of gambling. Insurance is weird in that you’re paying for an eventuality that you hope never comes to pass, so I guess Ned was right.

I’ve tied my classic car wagon to Hagerty’s star, and I was wondering if any of you have likewise covered one of more of your treasures under a similar minimal-use policy? If so, who is your carrier, and have you ever had to file a claim? How is classic car insurance working out for you?

Image: StreetLegalTV

Hooniverse Asks- What’s the Most Under-Appreciated Straight Six Engine?

Robert Emslie January 26, 2015 Hooniverse Asks


The straight six engine, despite its inherent balance, simple single head design, and economy of construction, has been mostly supplanted by the V6 in the automotive world. The V6, owing to its odd cylinder count per bank is not naturally balanced, but at 60° it’s typically narrower than a V8, and frequently shorter than an inline four. That’s a benefit in FWD cars, and those which need to meet pedestrian safety standards as the more compact designs allow for more hood crush-ability.

But the V6 lacks the above noted benefits of their straight six brethren, as well as the romance of a sleek inline. There have been a number of venerated straight sixes over the decades – the Jag XK, BMW’s glorious M-series, and Ford’s never-say-die Falcon six springing immediately to mind. And of course the Corvette was originally available exclusively with a straight six, the 235-cid Blue Flame Special.

Those are all well known and generally publicly acknowledged straight six engines, but what about the unsung heroes of the straight six club? Which engines do you think are deserving of veneration, but haven’t yet had their time in the spotlight? What in your mind is the most under-appreciated straight six engine?

Image: Hemmings

Hooniverse Asks- Seventh-Generation Toyota Celica, Brah! Or Blah?

Robert Emslie January 23, 2015 Hooniverse Asks


When it comes to new cars, there aren’t that many sporty FWD coupes around. This was a category that used to be rife with competition – you couldn’t swing a dead cat but for hitting a Prelude, Eclipse, Scirocco, or, in its later years, a Celica – and most all of those cars were pretty darn fun to drive. I think that the seventh generation of Celica – its fourth since making the switch to front-driver – is also one of the most arresting car designs ever offered on a small coupe.

Now, I know we all like our sporty cars to be rear-wheel drive and manually transmitted, but considering the space and cost efficiencies of front wheel drive, and the fact that almost all the little sporty cars were based on more plebeian sedan hardware, it’s simply a fact of life that understeer was going to rule the day in these economical but engaging rides. The seventh series may not have offered AWD and an intercooled turbo mill like the Alltrac editions of its closest predecessors, but the 140-bhp produced by its 1.8-litre VVT-i four was a pretty good starting place. With 180-horses on tap, the 2ZZ-GE-powered GT-S gave drivers even more to play with, and both of those engines could be paired with a 6-speed stick.

Not only was the Celica in its early aughts guise a looker and a reasonable performer, but through Toyota’s performance arm, TRD, even more fun could be wrung out of the platform. The thing of it is, these days you hardly ever come across one of these Celicas that hasn’t been marred by some spectacularly horrible body kit. I know owners want to express themselves but whatever happened to getting a mis-spelled tattoo? I think that a stock seventh gen Celica, especially the GT-S model, is an under appreciated car. Do you share those thoughts? Should we all be snapping up clean and original low milage examples as investments? What do you think about these pointy Celicas, do they warrant a Brah! or a Blah?

Image: CarinImage

Hooniverse Asks- Does Ford of Europe Need a New Capri?

Robert Emslie January 22, 2015 Hooniverse Asks

Ford Capri Mk3

This week, for the first time ever, the Ford Mustang was officially offered for sale in Great Britain. That means right-hand drive and all the VAT you can eat. That’s great for England’s pony car fans, but the fact of the matter is that the Mustang is still pretty huge, for not just England’s, but also much of all of Europe’s urban driving environments. Europe did once had their own pony car, and it was sized like everything else in that ancient land, smaller. That car of course was the Capri.

The Ford Capri with which most people are familiar followed the Mustang’s winning formula, only on in ¾ scale. The Mustang was based on Ford USA’s mid-size family car, the Falcon, and similarly the Capri tapped Ford of Europe’s family ride, the Cortina, for its platform donor. In almost every other aspect – long-hood, short deck styling, two+two interior, and sporty intentions, the Capri aped the Mustang in miniature.

That proved hugely successful back in the day, and I think it might do so again. Oh sure, there aren’t any RWD family sedans to poach platforms from, but if the Yanks can build a unique-chassis Mustang, so can the Brits, or more likely, the Germans. But should they? Do you think that the Mustang’s presence overseas makes a smaller pony unnecessary? Or, should it be taken as a sign that the pony car is resurgent, and the Capri too should rejoin the herd?


Image: Honest John Calssics

Hooniverse Asks- What’s the Most Appreciated Convenience Option?

Robert Emslie January 21, 2015 Hooniverse Asks


Yesterday we investigated what was the dumbest automotive convenience feature, and you all certainly vented on a number of them that you felt aptly deserved the title. Today we’re doing a 180 and, speaking of venting, I’d like to offer my vote for what I think is the best convenience feature and that’s the ’70s/’80s GM dashboard crotch cooler.

Now you might have a differing opinion about that long-gone feature’s usefulness, but then we don’t have to agree. In fact, today I want to know – whether cool crotches or remote starters – what you think is the most appreciated of automotive conveniences. As we noted yesterday, cars are increasingly differentiating themselves by such features, and it might even prove a public service to auto makers to let them know which ones really float your boat.

Image: barrettjackson.com

Hooniverse Asks- What’s the Dumbest Automotive Convenience Feature?

Robert Emslie January 20, 2015 Hooniverse Asks


Have you noticed that a lot of new cars all seem to just look alike? Maybe it’s that congealing of automotive styling tropes that has car makers turning to convenience features as ways to differentiate their products from the masses. Feature creep is a threat to any project, as just about every cookie cutter business book will tell you. And when it comes to cars and trucks, it can result in some pretty dumb attributes that you might not want to pay extra for.

Refrigerated glove boxes, illuminated cup holders with a multitude of hues; I’m thinking the car makers stay up late racking their brains to come up with one more killer feature that will get buyers in the door, and not the competition’s.

That of course means a lot of dumb options – and sometimes standard – features on the plate. Some of those convenience features are in fact aggravating, because on occasion they’re not actually all that convenient. Let’s see what really pushes your buttons, what do you think is the dumbest automotive convenience feature?

Image: Motor Trend

Hooniverse Asks- What’s the Best Present-Day Limousine?

Robert Emslie January 19, 2015 Hooniverse Asks


Whether you’re going to the prom, conducting a mobile bacchanalia of a bachelor party, or seeing off a deceased loved one, you need to maintain a level of stylishness in your mode of travel. A limousine was originally a chauffeur-driven car with a typically enclosed passenger compartment and an open driver’s area. That allowed the operator greater visibility and access while also providing a distinct and evident class separation. The name derives from a type of clothing favored by residents of the central France region called Limousin.

In modern times the limousine has been most commonly represented by elongated editions of what were the last body-on-frame cars sold in America, the Panther-based Lincoln Town Car. Oh sure you can stretch a uni-body car, there are plenty of them around, but a stout ladder frame is the preferred way to go. Unfortunately for both the limo and livery industries the Town Car is no more. In fact there isn’t a body on frame car sold in America today. Also, neither Ford nor GM really makes a car of the size and gravitas (to some) of the Town Car these days.

That has resulted in a number of kind of oddball cars and even vans being proffered as Town Car replacements, and I don’t know if any of them really offer the sense of presence and celebrity that did the TC. What do you think, is there a car or truck out there that should become the new standard bearer for the Limo service? What do you think is the best present-day Limousine?

Image: globallimos


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