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Hooniverse Asks:  What’s the Most Often Ignored Auto Maintenance Item?

SmallNoteBook

In the classic Warner Brothers cartoon “Porky’s Bear Facts” the industrious pig is faced with the dilemma of sharing his bounty with the lazy bear that lives next door, or let him suffer the consequences of spending his days holding down the rocking chair on his porch instead of filling his larder. This twist on the Aesop fable of the ant and the grasshopper is an excellent example of how you will eventually have to pay the piper when it comes to deferred work.

When it comes to our cars, there’s a lot of maintenance work that some of us might like to put off. Changing the brake fluid? Oh man! Rotate those tires? But it’s so hot out! Of course, just like the Lazy Bear, putting off these kinds of tasks can lead to dire – and potentially expensive – situations down the road. I’m sure that you, like me, are pretty religious about your auto maintenance schedule, but is there that one task that you just put off for as long as you can? What about cars in general? What do you think is the most often ignored maintenance task?

Image: SmallNoteBook

Hooniverse Asks: What’s the Biggest Car Sale Scam?

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Undercoating, car alarms, dealer markup… is there any wonder that car dealers are generally considered to be among the least trustworthy of all professions – just above Member of Congress? It’s been a while since I bought a car from a dealership, the last one being a couple of years back from a hole-in-the-wall used lot. That experience was actually quite painless, and I never felt like the shop was trying to put anything over on me.

That’s not always the case however, and in fact from Used Cars to Cadillac Man to Fargo, the unscrupulous car dealer has been a robust trope in Hollywood fare. That’s pretty much because there’s a lot of history to substantiate it. It seems like everybody’s trying to grab as much as they can – whether it be meaningless fees, or unnecessary add-ons – and it’s up to us to keep from getting screwed. Caveat Emptor!

When it comes to buying a car – either new or used – there are a bunch of standard ploys that some dealers use to pry more from your wallet, and today I want to hear your stories of those that have tried. I also want to know what you think is the worst of those. What in your opinion, is the biggest car sale scam?

Image: Earl Stewart On Cars

Hooniverse Asks: What was the Single Greatest Year-Over-Year Change for Any Model?

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Did you ever see Jonah Hill in Superbad where he played a hefty and horny high schooler? Wasn’t it then shocking just a few years later to see he had dropped what seemed like an entire ‘nother person? He’s rounded back up to where he no longer looks like a skinny guy wearing a fat guy’s skin – Hannibal Lechter style, but for a while there… just whoa.

That was an amazing – and somewhat shocking transformation – and it’s not just people that take-on those kinds of earth-shattering reshaping. Give any car a decade or more on the market, and you’re going to get at least one – maybe even two – fairly significant updates. Sometimes, like with Porsche’s 911, the decades can drop from the calendar and things still look pretty much the same. Other times, every single refresh is an extreme makeover.

We’re interested in the latter today. What we’d like to know is what’s your opinion on what is the most extreme makeover – what car or truck had the single greatest change? What do you think, what is the Jonah Hill of car models?

Image: CorvetteForum

Hooniverse Asks: Do We Need More Go Kart Tracks?

Go Go Gadget

There have been a number of recent reports indicating that kids these days aren’t all that interested in getting a driver’s license and hitting the open road. Perhaps the reason is that, prior to reaching the age of DMV consent, they haven’t had a taste for what it’s like.

I’m very fortunate in that I live a short drive away from two major racing venues, where track days are offered on a regular basis. Not only that, but my Southern California home is close to three or four go kart tracks as well. Not everyone is as lucky, and what I’m wondering today is if – as a society – we are not negatively impacting our oh-so important youth by not giving them access to such opportunities? I mean, people keep telling me that kids are the future.

Go karts, whether electric like at places like K1, or traditional gas-powered, are the next step along the path to driver, right after the Autopia ride at Disneyland! What do you think, would access to go kart tracks help create the next generation of car enthusiasts? Perhaps even more importantly, if you had a go kart track in your neighborhood, would you be anyplace else on a Friday night?

Image: Google Maps

Hooniverse Asks: What’s the Best Car for a Dog Lover?

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Have you noticed that a large percentage of people who dig cars also have a soft spot in their hearts for man’s best friend? I’m not sure what exactly it is, but the two do seem to go together more often than not. Plus, have you ever met a dog hater that you felt you trusted? Yeah, me neither.

When it comes to canines and cars, it’s more of a love/hate relationship as traveling with a pet of any kind can result in your ride looking like the barbershop floor and your windows looking like they’re undergoing some sort of scientific snot survival test. That’s why, just how some dogs are better traveling companions than others, so too are some cars and trucks better at accommodating our four-legged friends.

What we’d like your opinion on today – and you cat people can just wait your turn – is what you think are the best cars and trucks for traveling with Sir Barks a Lot or whatever your dog’s name is. What do you think, what is the best canine conveyance?

Image: WalkingTheDog

Hooniverse Asks: What’s The Coolest Non-Kit Home-Built Car You’ve Ever Seen?

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The car above is not a Ferrari, nor is it a Maserati, O.S.C.A., Cisitalia, Conrero, Moretti, Stanguellini, or Abarth. It is in fact, a home-built, constructed out of period-correct parts – save for the SOHC Datsun L24 under the hood – by a very crafty guy named Ron Lawless.

The level of craftsmanship displayed in that car is something most of us can only dream of, but that doesn’t stop many from having similar ambitions. The results of those ambitions can and do vary widely. And the thing of it is, a lot of them are attempted without a net… er, kit. That’s right, they put them together – frame, body, suspension, wires, and whatnot – without the aid of someone having done it before or at least laying out a road map.

What we’re looking for today are the best of those unique and individual dreams fulfilled. What are the best non-kit home-builts you’ve ever seen?

Image: ©2015 Hooniverse/Robert Emslie, All Rights Reserved

Hooniverse Asks: Which Will be First to go from the U.S. Market, Chrysler or Fiat?

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It was revealed this week that Fiat el queso grande, Sergio Marchionne had sent a mash note to his counterpart at GM, Mary Barra, suggesting that the two mega-corporations should hook up. Barra replied with the expected “eew, gross” and we all had a good laugh.

A merger of such titans is not what the auto industry needs, but the question remains, what was Marchionne thinking? Are things at the Italian auto maker really that dire – any more than, say usual? Or, did the bean counters finally get a look at Chrysler’s long term P&L? Maybe he thought Barra was asking for it?

Whatever the impetus, the advance was rebuffed and it looks like Fiat and its Chrysler minion will just have to go it alone. The thing of it is, there’s questions as to whether or not the conglomerate can do so profitably, what with its massive and in places out of date production infrastructure and onerous long-term debt weighing it down here in the States. The question isn’t really if one or more of the brands will go, but when and which one? What do you think the future holds for our favorite automotive odd couple? Which one do you think – Fiat or Chrysler – will be the first to exit the U.S. market?

Image: autoexplora

Hooniverse Asks- What’s Has Been the Best James Bond Movie Car?

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Bond, James Bond, has over the years driven a multitude of cars, fancy cars. Not only that, but the 007 movies – from Dr. No to Skyfall – have additionally featured a slew of cars driven by those not lucky enough to be James Bond. The Bond Franchise is in fact, a veritable used car lot full of many of our favorites. But which one’s the coolest and hence the best?

There’ll be a little more about Mr. Bond and his archetype architect a little later this morning, but right now we’re focused, not on the spy himself, but by all the iron on display in his 24 film outings. Considering that they have included everything from the iconic Aston Martin to a flying AMC hornet and a submersible Lotus Esprit, which Bond car do you think should most appropriately be licensed to thrill?

Image: zacksfilmthoughts

Hooniverse Asks: What’s a Crap Car Line That Has Had At Least One Redeeming Edition?

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You ever notice that while most of your family is pretty much tolerable there’s that one member that’s always either causing problems or is a total douchebag? Yeah, we all have one, and in fact they’re so common that there’s a name for them – Black Sheep. No offense intended black sheeple.

When it comes to cars and trucks often the opposite exists. Sometimes a dull as dishwater – or perhaps reprobate – model line will have one member that stands out and isn’t really all that awful. It may be in fact that it’s pretty-darn good. That’s what we want to hear about today – the… I don’t know, white sheep? of the automotive world. What do you think are the stand-out models of what are otherwise crap car lines?

Image: PowerflexUSA (Oh Yeah!)

Hooniverse Asks: What’s the Best (or Least Embarrassing) Retro-Classic?

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If you live here in the United States and have access to a working television then you have no doubt seen the KFC ads that feature a Colonel Sanders look/sound-alike hawking the company’s delicious but heart attacking original recipe bird parts. They’ve even gone back to calling the place Kentucky Fried Chicken after years of masquerading as Kitchen Fresh Chicken.  Yeah, right.

That resurrection of a long dead spokesman gives me the creeps, and makes me wonder who’s next, Lee Iacocca? Wait, what do you mean Iacocca’s not dead? Well, that’s okay because the auto industry has for the past 40 years been trying to bring back the past in the form of retro-classic cars. The original Excalibur attempted to give Mercedes’ SSK another go, while open-fendered and baroque mods, based on everything from Cougars to MG Midgets, tried to bring generic olde-timey class back in vogue.

Most of these have been crass and tasteless odes to wretched excess, although that hasn’t always been the case. After all, look at that Excalibur up there, that’s not that bad, right? Is that the best retro-classic there is, however? What do you think, what is the best – or maybe least embarrassing – retro-classic?

Image: Romerosportscars

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