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Hooniverse Asks: What Country Has Most Lost its Auto-making Mojo?

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America once was the preeminent force to be reckoned with in the automotive world. Then it was Japan, and then it was… well, I don’t know. The thing of it is, it seems like every auto producing nation has once had its day in the sun only to eventually be snuffed out like a loose-lipped mobster. What we want to know today is which one has fallen the farthest.

Consider if you will Great Britain’s auto industry. Remember when it had one of those? The U.S. may not be a major international player in the global automotive market, but Great Britain doesn’t even know which Big Five aisle they need to shop to get back in the game.

Many countries have fallen from favor, their products going from great to ghastly, but which one do you think has the longest climb back? Which one, in your opinion has most lost it’s auto-making mojo?

Image: Twitter

Hooniverse Asks: Would Anybody in the U.S. Buy a New Subaru Brat?

Brat

Whether you call it a Ranchero, El Camino, or, if your Spanish isn’t all that great, a Brat, the car-based pickup is a genre that is beloved by enthusiasts, but apparently not so much so that it’s a viable sales category.

The Brat is a special story seeing as it’s the only car-based trucklet to come to America from Japan. A quirky icon of the ’80s, the little Subaru with a bed is sought after today as few examples have survived time and the tin worm. There was brief moment when Subaru tried to revive the genre with the Outback-based Baja, but that was less a small pickup than some sort of plastic panel fetish’s peyote nightmare. To this day I have never met anyone who will admit to ever owning one of those.

The Baja is long gone, and the Brat even longer. Still, the original Subie pickup maintains a following, and the wonder is, would a modern iteration of such a vehicle find a market? What do you think, seeing as new car-based trucks haven’t been in fashion here for decades, do you think anybody in the U.S. would buy a new Brat?

Image: AutoTitre.com

Hooniverse Asks: What Fun Aspect of Motoring Will Elon Musk Kill Next?

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You know, I like Elon Musk. No, I really do. I mean, who else has taken the mantle of both Steve Jobsian innovator and borderline mad scientist and has embraced it the way that he has? Still, I have a bone to pick with the multi-billionaire.

Musk made his fortune nurturing a high-tech startup called PayPal. That led to SpaceX which is currently responsible for something like 90% of America’s low-orbit lifting capability, as well as Tesla, a maker of electric cars that are – to put it bluntly – the first rung on the ladder to a totally lobotomized driving experience. Now, I know what you’re thinking, that Tesla’s cars are blindingly fast and have a range comparable to a gas-powered car, seemingly automotive-dom’s nirvana.

Yeah sure, but the thing about the Tesla is that there’s no way to make them any faster. 3.5 seconds zero to sixty? What if I want 3.4? Not only has Musk single-handedly decimated the aftermarket automotive performance industry, but also he’s taken the next step towards taking all the fun out of driving. By that I mean of course, self-driving cars, which Tesla promises are right around the corner.

Look, I’ll admit that there are lots of upsides to self-driving cars, including the potential for an automotive open bar on the way to work, and vans that rock so you better not knock during drive time. Still, it seems like the enthusiast is getting the short shrift in all this high-tech mile a minute automotive change. What I want to know is, what do you think will be Elon’s next nail in the coffin?

Image: iDownload Blog

Hooniverse Asks: What Automotive Makes Would You Never Buy, and Why?

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I have this rule when it comes to stereo equipment – never, ever buy anything by Pioneer. Now, I know what you’re most likely saying- but I have never had a problem with Pioneer equipment, and in fact I love their attractive blend of quality sound reproduction and high-value pricing. Yeah, well good for you, but I have had problems with their stuff. In fact, I’ve had problems with EVERY piece of Pioneer hardware I’ve ever bought. And because of that, I don’t buy them anymore.

Car companies can suffer the same sort of consumer backlash, whether it be because of bad experiences, or an implied connotation of either the car or its stereotypical owner. Either of those will result in a brand that some people classify as TBAAAC – To Be Avoided At All Costs. It may be a well thought out thesis, or the result of a third-hand story about someone thinking their ride’s new car smell was farts, but it definitely drives choice.

Today, I want to hear about your choices, or at least those when it comes to excluding certain brands from your automotive selection set. Are there any makes or models that you consider off-limits to your own personal ownership? If so, which ones are they, and how did you come to that decision?

Image: RGBStock

Hooniverse Asks: Will Any Wildly Styled Contemporary Car Stand the Test of Time?

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Look, I’m going to come right out and say it; I think that the Lexus NX is one uber-fugly, overly ornate, trying-to-hard-to-make-an-impression design. I mean, there’s nothing subtle about the car, from its dreidel – or whatever they’re calling it – grille, to the overwrought tail lamps, it’s a study in automotive excess. The good thing about that is, in a decade or so, we most likely won’t have to be bothered even seeing it.

Have you noticed that? It seems that the flavor of the moment styled cars fade away very quickly, while the more classically-penned designs stand the test of time and can still be found on the road. It’s just like any other fashion – I mean, when was the last time you saw anyone non-ironically wearing parachute pants, and did you beat them to death for doing so?

I don’t think that trend has any likelihood of ending any time soon, but then again, I could be wrong. I’ll admit, I was mistaken in thinking that cat thongs were going to be a thing, but I think on this I’m on solid ground. Today I want you to try and prove me wrong. Do you think that there is any crazy-styled mainstream car produced today that will be aesthetically appreciated down the road?

Image: Motor Trend

Hooniverse Asks: What Current Production Car Most Smells of Rental Car-itis?

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Are you familiar with beige? Yes, I do mean the color, but I also mean the concept that the color implies, that of prosaic averageness of which no one aspires. If you’ve ever been in a standard issue rental car, you know what I mean.

Rental cars are, on average, the most boring editions of the models from which they spring. You may pine after a Mustang GT with the competition package for you own ride, but that V6 convertible you rented in Maui was ripped from the bosom of pony car greatness and cast into the gaping maw of unrelenting mediocrity.

Here’s the thing though, while some rentals are crap versions of otherwise respectable cars, there are others that are just plain old crap cars! That’s what we want to catalog today, the cars and trucks that you can buy that are imbued with the stench of the rental fleet despite not requiring ever being near an airport. What do you say, what current production car is most rental-like straight from the factory?

Image: Nerdwallet

Hooniverse Asks: What Was the Worst Car You Had to Be Cheerful About a Friend or Family Member Buying?

Mr Bean

Keeping the peace among your family or friends can be trying, especially when others do things that – in your mind – are incredibly dumb. That extends to car buying, as people don’t always share your enthusiasm, or loathing, of particular makes and models and can – in the immortal words of the Indiana Jones Cave Knight – choose poorly.

Of course not wanting to ruin a relationship over so minor a transgression, you blithely cheer their choice, while deep inside you wonder how you could have become friends/be related to such an idiot. Has that scenario ever happened to you? If so, what was the car, and how did you handle it?

Image: Mr-Movie

Hooniverse Asks: What Car Looks Awesome in Orange?

orange-king-of-fruits

Color is a powerful albeit random property. Most of us have a favorite color, hell it’s a go-to question for the unimaginative when trying to make small talk on a first date! The thing of it is, not only is color a very personal taste, it’s also dependent on its host.

Car color choices are sweated over by corporate designers, and are usually about five years behind those of the fashion industry, from whence they originate . Picking the right hue is a dicey affair, as everyone knows that some cars look better in some colors, and not in others. Black and White – the total presence of all other colors and their total exclusion – are standards that seemingly defy this notion, and are almost always on the palette. There is one color however that correspondingly almost always seems to get excluded.

Orange, the color, not the delicious and nutritious fruit, seems to be a color that doesn’t particularly work well on many a car. Oh sure, it looks just fine on the General Lee, but how about a GT-R? Today, I want your opinion on what cars actually do look awesome in orange. You can’t rhyme it, but you can define it. Let’s see what cars look acceptabe in orange.

Image: HealthyFoodHouse

Hooniverse Asks: Who is a Better Driver, Your Mom or Your Dad?

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The battle of the sexes has long been fought behind the wheel of the car. That includes your parents, even if just the thought of that pair and sex battles gives you the heebie-jeebies.

For at least as long as there have been automobiles, the question has come up – who is a better driver, a man or a woman? We all know that it’s both inappropriate and horribly sexist to suggest that one’s gender might influence one’s driving ability, and yet that’s just what we’re going to do, and with your mom and dad too!

It’s pretty safe to say that for the first 16 years of our lives at least, we are reliant on the driving abilities of our parents. Schlepping to school, soccer practice and the movies – taxi service is just one of the jobs that parents are required to perform. Considering all the miles your dad and mom put on their cars in service of your princely (or princessly) needs, do you think one was better than the other? We haven’t got anything better to do so let’s start a family argument; between them, who was/is a better driver, your mom or your old man?

Image: Hemmings

Hooniverse Asks- Has an Automotive-Related PSA Ever Worked on You?

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Have you ever seen this seat belt safety ad? It offers an extremely artful and powerful message that our safety is important, not just to ourselves, but to those around us. I’ve watched it about five times now, and while I ALWAYS wear my seatbelt, this makes me think a little more about why I’m doing so when I get in the car.

Public Service Announcements are almost always clever, they have to be to cut through the clutter of advertising that’s thrown at us daily. If you’re old like me, then you’ll no doubt remember that you could learn a lot from a dummy, which was one of the most iconic car safety campaigns ever run.

The question for today is, are PSAs clever enough to get through to you? Has there ever been a Public Service Announcement that really resonated with you and perhaps got you to change your behavior – whether it be seat belt use, calling a cab after a few too many, or the modern scourge of our time, texting and driving? Has a car-related PSA ever worked on you?

Image: YouTube

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