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Hooniverse Asks: How Far Do You Usually Go On a Tank of Fuel?


With all the talk of late about how Teslas are able to go 200+ miles on a fully charged battery and how other companies have set that as a benchmark for future all electric fare, I got to thinking, just how does that compare to the gas (and diesel) engined cars and trucks the rest of us riff-raff are consigned to pilot?

Fuel economy and gas tank size vary wildly from car to car, but I think that there’s about a 250-mile expectation of most of our daily drivers. What about you, is that your expectation? How many miles on average are you getting out of a tank?

Image: 2040 Parts

Hooniverse Asks: What Was The Most Aesthetically Unsuccessful Factory Paint Color on Any Car?


The color, texture and fabric choices that the automotive industry uses is derived from the fashion industry, and typically follows that category by about five years. That’s why we saw so many brown cars in the late Seventies, a short time after Earth tones had fallen from favor in the halls of haute couture.

We all love brown cars, don’t we? I don’t know why it is but that Gaia-grain looks pretty good on pretty much any car you can so swath. May be it is a race memory, recalling our original evolutionary march out of the dirt.

Whatever the reason, it’s usually a solid choice for a car, although over the years there have been many other hues that have attempted to usurp Brown’s position, and have failed fitfully in doing so. What we want to know today is, which of those do you think was the worst, most abject, failure in a factory color scheme? Hopefully someone won’t offer your choice before you, making you see red, and then be green with envy until you feel blue.

Image: CarsGuide.au

Hooniverse Asks: What’s the Most Desirable Tuner Fox Body Mustang?


Last week over on Jalopnik I featured a Saleen SSC with just 661 miles on its Fox Body clock. Now, I’ve never driven one of these tuner ‘Stangs, but I’ve heard tell that they were a pretty good drive back in their day, and that makes me wonder how anyone could have successfully fought the temptation to add to that odo count.

Saleen was just one of the tuner names that saw the Foxstang as a blank canvas for their art and proceeded to make a special edition in their own image. The questions for today are, which one of those do you think was the best, and why?

Image: AutoGuide

Hooniverse Asks: Are Fancy Automatic Targa Roofs Missing the Point?


Driving a convertible is a unique experience. It at once brings you closer to the feeling of speed and the exhilaration of the sights and sounds around you, while at the same time doing a poorer job of  managing that experience than its stiffer closed-cabin siblings. Floppier, heavier, and sometimes woefully more awkward in the visuals department when the top is up, convertibles are still pretty popular.

One way that manufacturers have tried to let us have our cake and eat it too has been with the Targa roof, a design that affords much of the benefit of a full convertible, but still with a good bit of the structural integrity of a coupe, and at a similar weight. Porsche once embraced this design for both their 911 and 914 lines, and it’s been used by Fiat (X1/9), Ferrari (308, 348, etc), Pontiac (Solstice), the Corvette from the C4 onward, as well as others. A manually removable soft or hard section above the driver and passenger seat can instantly transform a car from a quiet coupe into a fresh air fiend’s best friend. And the structure isn’t much heavier than the coupe base. It’s a win-win right?

Well, these days, I don’t know how much win there is with the current crop of Targa-roofed cars. Porsche has reintroduced the model to their 911 lineup while Mazda has expanded the new MX-5 line to include a retractible hardtop model. These seem at first glance to embody the benefits of the targa roof lifestyle, but on closer examination are in fact as complicated, if not more so, than their fully convertible counterparts. For the Porsche, that Targa roof adds a hefty 10% weight penalty over the coupe. I’m all for making things easier to do, but even I have my limits. What about you, do you think these new automated Targas miss the point of their purpose?

Image: YouTube

Hooniverse Asks: What Automotive Industry Conspiracies Do You Think Might Actually Be True?


The auto industry has long been a hotbed of conspiracies and collusion about one group secretly doing something nefarious to impede the efforts of another. And of course for those who spin these tales of treachery we’re the ones who inevitably are the losers.

There’s the lore about the car that runs on water and the 500-mpg carburetor, supposedly both inventions suppressed and long swept under the carpet by the oil industry. Then there’s the story of Los Angeles’ trolley car system-once the largest in the world-having been colluded into dismantlement partly by General Motors who saw lucrative  bus sales in its replacement.

Well yeah, that last one is mostly true. Or, at least that’s what I’ve heard. Today, I want to hear what you’ve all heard. What are the auto industry conspiracy theories that you personally think might very well be true?

Image: YouTube

Hooniverse Asks: Would You Support a Driver’s License Interlock on New Cars?


I recently saw a news item about an 82-year old man who was struck in the crosswalk by a woman in a minivan, and dragged hundreds of feet resulting in his death. The woman claimed to have not even known she had struck the octogenarian. She also was driving without the benefit of a driver’s license or auto insurance.

Okay, first off, screw people who do that. I got to thinking about how we could keep bad apples like that woman off the road and I came up with what I think is a brilliant plan. That is, to build an ignition interlock into all new cars that requires the driver to insert their driver’s license into a dash-mounted slot before the car will start. I mean, you’re going to be taking your license with you anyway, right?

That check would keep a lot of unlicensed (and unqualified) drivers off the roads, including those who have lost their licenses due to DUIs or other tomfoolery. It would also allow the car to make a quick check with the insurance company to ensure everything’s a-okay with your policy before you could high-tail it anywhere.

Yes, there are ways around such a safeguard: a passenger could provide the license allowing a scofflaw to dive, but I think that would be the rare occurrence. No, the bigger question is, would you be willing to make such a concession to “Big Brother” to ensure an added element of safety on the road? What do you think, would you be okay with a license interlock to drive your car?

Image: adiconsum

Hooniverse Asks: What Former Race Track do You Most Wish Was Still Around?


I’m fortunate enough to have actually turned a tire at the venerable but long gone Riverside International Raceway. And by fortunate, I mean old.

Riverside fell victim, as was the fate of many tracks, to encroaching suburbia. I’m watching another of my favorites—Irwindale—suffer a similar demise. You’d think that situating that track next to a noisy freeway and in between active gravel pits would keep it safe from the axe, but you would be wrong.

Our favorite sport has seen many of its classic venues fall to the rising tide of residential encroachment or business park blight, and that has left us without a lot of asphalt, but with a bunch of memories. It’s those memories that I want to tap into today in asking you: which long gone race tracks do you most wish were still around?

Image: raincrosssquare

Hooniverse Asks: What Other Lies Do You Think Automakers Are Getting Away With?


Lies, damned lies, and statistics, is a phrase popularized by Mark Twain among others, proving that prevarication is not a concept born of modernity. Volkswagen is perhaps the world’s biggest liar right now, having cheated its way through global emissions tests for a decade or more, but they are far from the only ones. In fact, just this moth Mitsubishi was caught having lied about their cars’ fuel economy. Less was made of that company’s fabrication however, since who the hell gives a rat’s rear end about Mitsubishi?

Still, with these corporate scandals having come to light, it makes you wonder, what else are auto makers attempting to get away with these days? What do you think are some of likely lies that car companies are trying to pull off right now?

Image: TheFreep

Hooniverse Asks: What’s the Least Interesting Old Car?


The other day I was driving down the street and an old Chevy Nova caught my eye. It was a fourth generation car, a two-door sedan in grey primer and with a wonky trunk lid. Sadly, my first thought was, who’d want that?

Now, I realize that particular Nova represented one of the last of Chevy’s RWD platforms, and that the car was pretty good looking in its day. I still couldn’t stir any enthusiasm for it. It was just an old beat up car that didn’t generate any sympathy.

It seems that almost all old cars have their patrons, even the AMC Pacers and Twin-Stick Dodge Colts of the world. That’s why I’m wondering if there’s one old car out there that almost no one would be captivated by? What do you think is the least interesting old car there is?

Image: Wikipedia

Hooniverse Asks: Dogleg Gearshifts- Enthusiast Staple or Unnecessary Pain in the Ass?

mikes pantera 7420 shifter inside

We used to have a Pantera in the family. You know, pointy nose, big honkin’ V8 just behind your shoulder? It was good stuff. Another thing it had was a gated dogleg gearshift, the kind where first is visited on the rarest of occasions. Considering the copious quantities of torque the 351 pumped out, that was most often the case. And let me tell you, even with that minor annoyance a Pantera is a delight to drive around town, just as long as your left leg is up to the heavy clutch action.

That’s not always the case with cars that put first gear second. I recall a short stint in a Mercedes Benz 190 2.3-16, and those are not imbued with much in the way of oomph down low. That required an awkward left-ward snatch at every stop light and police pull-over.

So, we could say that a dogleg’s irritation level is most likely dependent on the engine to which it’s attached. Or maybe, it’s a onerous nod to a racing pedigree that’s of little use on the street. What do you think about them, are they the coolest of stick shifts, or are they an unnecessary annoyance to have to adjust to?

Image: PanteraPlace