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Hooniverse Asks- What’s the Most Impressive Jet-Age Dashboard?

Robert Emslie December 19, 2014 Hooniverse Asks

Plymouth-1961-Plymouth

Cars have always been about style, and in the fifties and early sixties that style was often derived from the Jet aircraft that were then the whiz-bang latest and greatest technological advancement, at least here in the U.S.. That resulted in wing-like fins, side swoops, and hood ornaments that looked like actual aircraft. On the inside, it meant cabins that emulated the cockpits of these modern aircraft, or at the very least, a look that car stylists thought would make you feel like you were piloting the latest jet fighter.

Chrome played a big part in both the exterior, and somewhat surprisingly considering its highly reflective nature, the interiors of these cars. Car makers of the era celebrated chrome as though it were a long-lost friend, which it had been having been banned from excessive use during the war in the previous decade. Also finding a place in these jet age cars were controls that seemed from the future, things like pushbutton transmission selectors, and self-seeking AM radio dials. It was a glorious age in which to live.

Few of us lived in that era, I know I didn’t, but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate it’s naiveté and sense of hope in the future. Lots of cars from this era had magnificent, baroque dashboards that were excessive endeavors in both venture and execution. Let’s look back and decide if we can find which one was the greatest.

Image: Curbside Classics

Hooniverse Asks- What Car or Truck Most Overstayed its Welcome?

Robert Emslie December 18, 2014 Hooniverse Asks

LeaveWelcomemat

I once heard this joke: what do you do with party left-overs? You gently help them out the door. Cars, just like people, often don’t know when it’s time to go. Whether it’s the Chrysler PT Cruiser, or Alfa Romeo’s Duetto Spider, some of them could be seen as overstaying their welcome.

I’m not saying that some classic cars don’t always have a place in the pantheon of greats. Well, maybe I am, and perhaps it’s time for companies like Morgan to move on. I mean, seriously, do we still need sliding pillar suspensions to show us how it used to be done? Of course on other occasions, it’s simply a nameplate that needs to go. I think that we could do without Ford’s Taurus, considering that the current Volvo-based car isn’t anything like the revolutionary original. Let it go, Blue Oval guys.

What do you think, are there certain cars – or even brands- that really need to call it a night? What are the cars that have potentially overstayed their welcome?

Image: NBC Bay Area

Hooniverse Asks- What’s The Best Factory Van Color Scheme?

Robert Emslie December 16, 2014 Hooniverse Asks

1970s-cruising-van-wagon

If you see my van a-rockin’ don’t come a-knockin.’ Long before the slammed Euro sedan became the Lothario ride of choice, a lot of singles bar pick ups were escorted back to… a full-sized van. Yep, the big van, which is today almost exclusively used as a commercial vehicle here in the U.S., was once the ride of choice for a certain class of individuals. I attribute it to the technological advances in captains chairs and shag carpet that took place in the seventies.

As you might expect, the automakers were quick to capitalize on this trend, offering up a slew of unique paint jobs and porthole window options on their sin bins. Full sized vans offered a broad canvas for such creative outlet, and some of the factory work turned out to be pretty alright.

What I want to know from you is which one do you think was the most amazing. Whether Chevy Van, Econoline, VW Bus, or Dodge, the factory hip to be square vans were a seventies phenomena, and we want to celebrate the best ones here today. Oh and, what’s your sign?

Image: LifeLounge

Hooniverse Asks- What Has Been the Best Example of Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday?

Robert Emslie December 15, 2014 Hooniverse Asks

Chevy SS

It’s long been the conviction of performance-oriented car companies that racing improves the breed. That track experience translates into better cars for the street, and we’ve seen this is action with the advent of better brakes, advanced tire technology, and of course higher horsepower from our cars’ engines. The expectation that competition imbues production cars with greater capability also trickles down to the consumers’ expectation that a car that wins on the track must also be a winner in their driveway. Hence was coined the term win on Sunday, sell on Monday.

There have been a ton of cars that have done track duty as well as attempting to find favor with buyers, and a number of car manufacturers have attempted to leverage on-track heroics as a key aspect of a model, as did Mercury in this ad for their late ’80s Cougar. That obviously didn’t do enough to keep Ford’s mid-level brand from collapse a decade and a half later, but it still did imbue that less-attractive T-bird with a layer of cool it didn’t always have.

That’s probably not a good example of win on Sunday, sell on Monday, but I know there are some good ones out there, I just need your help in finding them. Can you think of some cars that saw their sales helped by a racing connection? What do you think is the best example of win on Sunday, Sell on Monday?

Image: Forbes

Hooniverse Asks- What’s has Been the Most Futuristic Production Car?

Robert Emslie December 11, 2014 Hooniverse Asks

Sable

You know it really pisses me off that this glorious promised ‘future’ never has actually arrived. I want my jetpacks, my guilt-free steak dinner in pill form, and most of all, my cars that looks and drive like they’re out of the Jetsons. I want to be the one shouting, Jane, how do you stop this crazy thing?!

While life in general hasn’t met with the futurist’s promises, there have been on occasion cars and trucks that have looked as though they have just driven out of a time machine from a far-flung soon to be. They come about every decade or so, and the best among them seem to keep that not-of-this-time vibe as though the rest of us have never caught up.

If you consider production cars over the years, is there one that you think stands out as appearing especially of another era and avant-garde? What do you think has been the most futuristic production car?

Image: bildata.dk

Hooniverse Asks- What Carline Changed the Most Dramatically Over the Course of its Life?

Robert Emslie December 10, 2014 Hooniverse Asks

Sonata000

There’s a sub-section on Reddit called ugly ducklings where people are supposed to post their pictures from awkward teen to smoking hot twenty-somethings. Or something along those lines. It’s mostly a place for said individuals to post pics of themselves shirtless or all dolled up. Still, the knowledge of that site got me thinking about cars that have, over a long lifespan, seen dramatic changes in either their appearance or their purpose in life.

Most models that have had long career arcs – like say, Ford’s Mustang – stay true to their school when it comes to both of these criteria, but that’s not always the case. I’d like to point out the various personas taken on over the years by one of the Mustang’s stablemates – the Thunderbird. Wow!

Can you think of some other models – or even entire marques – that have had such dramatic changes over the course of their existence? What do you think is the carline that has changed the most?

Images: Mirage-Performance,  The Car Connection

Hooniverse Asks- What’s The Most Desirable Used Diesel?

Robert Emslie December 9, 2014 Hooniverse Asks

diesel emblem

Wether you call it Texas tea, black gold, OPEC dreck, or just like to shout drill-baby-drill, there’s no arguing that petroleum is the life-blood of our global economy. Oil distillates come in many forms, but one of our favorites, owing to its higher thermodynamic efficiency, is the sticky slop known as diesel. Maybe we also envy how owners of diesel vehicles tend to laugh at the spark plugs and carburetors of their gas-engine brethren. Or maybe, we crave the ability to drive something that sounds like it’s rattling itself to death with the comforting knowledge that it is operating at peak efficiency.

Diesel engines have been around for decades, and diesel cars and trucks have been offered for sale about as long. Some have gained an enviable reputation, while others are, how shall we say, rightfully shunned (I’m looking at you, Oldsmobile). Regardless, they all share one common feature and that’s the can of marbles under the hood that we all know and love. If you think about diesels, do you have a favorite? What do you think is the most covetable of old diesels, and which would you consider buying or recommending to others?

Image: mbca.org

Hooniverse Asks- Have You Ever Gotten Out of a Traffic Ticket?

Robert Emslie December 8, 2014 Hooniverse Asks

traffic-ticket

I got pulled over for speeding once on the way back from a party. Both my wife and I had imbibed at the soirée, but I had purposefully cut myself off a couple of hours before we intended to leave so as not to put us or others at risk. Well, the police officer smelled alcohol when he popped his head into the car to talk to me (I blame the missus) and hence had to give me the field sobriety test. He was eminently patient and professional and I passed every one of the balance and cognition tests. At the end he said that I needed to blow into the breathalizer to confirm I was not compromised and we had to wait until the sergeant arrived with it as the city only had one! The sergeant showed up and I blew into the little straw. The results came back- 0.04, which is half the legal limit, and according to the cops, safe to drive. I was both vindicated and, thankfully, free to go.

The cool thing about that story – aside from not being saddled with all the shame and expense of a DUI – is that the police officer never even cited me for the speeding. It was a win-win. That’s the only time I’ve ever gotten out of a traffic ticket. On all other occasions I’ve been caught dead to rights and didn’t even bother to fight the citation in court. How about you, have you ever gotten out of a traffic ticket, either on the spot or in the court? How’d that go for you? Oh, and don’t drink and drive!

Image: TheFreeThoughtProject

Hooniverse Asks- Do We Need Sporty Coupes Below the Challenger, Mustang, and Camaro?

Robert Emslie December 5, 2014 Hooniverse Asks

Ponies

I know I keep coming back to this, but it’s really pissing me off. We used to be able to buy little pony cars – coupes that were smaller than the traditional Mustang/Camaro/Whatever – that were less expensive and less expansive, while still offering 80% of the fun at usually only about 60% of the cost of their bigger brethren. Today, not so much.

In fact, there’s only about two small sporty coupes that I can think of here in the States – the Scion Tc and Hyundai’s Velostor, and I had to look up the spelling of that second one because it’s so weird and I’m so dumb. Whatever happened to the Celicas and 240SX’s and all those other little sporty coupes that were entertaining without the need of a V8? Did they – like the wagons – get killed off by the ungodly SUV?

Screw that, I want my EXP! In fact, I think that we should have a whole corral of little sporty coupes, and I don’t even care that they’d be all front-wheel drive. I know, heresy, right? That’s just how things have gotten. How about you, do you think that the Mustang and Camaro, and the even larger Challenger, are where pony cars should stop when it comes to the shrink ray? Or, like me do you jones for a My Little Pony?

 

Images: Mustang6G, Wallcook, background wallpaper.com

Hooniverse Asks- Are The Bangled Bimmers Still to be Considered Really Fugly?

Robert Emslie December 4, 2014 Hooniverse Asks

635i-2

So a few days back Chris Harris posited on Jalopnik that we were all wrong about the styling of the mid-nineties through mid-aughts BMWs. As you may recall, those were the cars that were penned under the supervision of Chris Bangle who at the time was BMW’s Chief Designer. He was the first American-born individual to hold that lofty post, and all of the cars under his watch exhibited what Bangle and the brand referred to as ‘flame surfacing.’ What most people outside of BMW called the new styling was butt-ugly, and thus was created the term ‘Bangled.’

Now, Harris puts forth a well considered and thoughtful case for all those outside of BMW being wrong about these cars, and the fact is that BMW’s sales surged during the Bangle era, so people bought into the style. But I have to say that I strongly disagree. In fact, I think that the BMWs from the Bangle era are perhaps even more awkward and forced today, when they are compared to the company’s current less ‘out-there’ efforts. I respect and applaud BMW’s attempt to define a new styling paradigm but in my opinion it needed to be attractive as well as different. To me, the Bangle cars are just different for the sake of being different.

Thus sets up today’s question – and a choosing of sides, Chris Harris’ or mine – as to whether or not BMW’s Bangle corral has improved with age. What’s your take on the Bangled Bimmers, has the styling grown on you over time? Or, are they just as ugly now as the day they left the factory?

Image: autoshinespecialistvalet

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