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Hooniverse Asks- What’s the Most Pretentious Car in the World?

Bentley SUV

Have you ever taken the time to break down the term Sport Utility Vehicle – or SUV – to its basic elements? There’s sport, which indicates some sort of energetic or athletic prowess; utility with brings to mind the capability to transport cargo; and then there’s vehicle, which is, well, probably the only element that’s accurate for any so denoted vehicles. Considering those elements, and the expectation that any so anointed vehicle would be adroit in at least one of them, why would anyone buy the above expected Bentley SUV?

Seriously, would this be your first – or fifteenth – choice to take the family to the ski slopes? Or perhaps swallow a new baby’s worth of strollers, diaper bags and other related tiny human accoutrements? The proposed SUV seems to me to be little more than Volkswagen’s (Bentley’s parent corporation) attempt to jump on the money train.

You know, I say more power too them. That’s because not only are certain cars – and SUVs – pretentious, but so are the people who buy them. We’re not them so of course we can pass judgement on them. To that end, what do you think is the most pretentious car or truck they could buy today?

Image: Forbes

Hooniverse Asks- What’s the Craziest Commissioned Car?

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To say that the Sultan of Brunei has a few bucks is like saying that McDonalds has sold a few burgers. In fact, Hassanal Bolkiah, who has ruled the Middle Eastern nation since 1967, is filthy rich. That of course allows for the Sultan to pretty much get anything he wants, and one of the things that really gets the Sultan swinging is having tony car makers like Ferrari and Rolls Royce create special one-off models for him from their already exclusive models.

Commissioned cars are yet another advantage of the uber-wealthy, something that separates the monied from the rest of us riffraff. Few of us could ever afford even the least dear of Ferrari models, fresh from the factory. People like our friend, the Sultan not only don’t think twice about such a purchase, they even get Ferrari to build them something the company vowed they never would, like a wagon or four-door version of a top of the line tourer.

Of course Middle Eastern potentates aren’t the only ones making it rain at high-end car makers and getting their dream machines in return. There are celebs, English footballers, and others that also get the red carpet – if that’s what you want – treatment. We’ve seen a vast number of such one-off cars that have been commissioned by their eventual owners, and for today’s question, I’d like to know is which one do you think is the most outrageous, the most audacious. We can’t afford ‘em, but we can rank ‘em. What in your opinion is the craziest commissioned car?

Image: onlycarsandcars

Hooniverse Asks Bonus: What’s the Creepiest Vehicle You’ve Ever Seen?

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One of my new favorite Twitter accounts is Abandoned Places, a site dedicated to derelict, decaying, and disused buildings around the world. Oftentimes, this includes abandoned vehicles, left to slowly decompose and return to the earth, a rusty reminder of better days. Last night, I saw this rusted out London bus and wanted to share it with you all.

We’re all familiar with the popular Living and Dying series that features here at the Hooniverse quite often: cars all over the world are put out to pasture (sometimes literally) and left to die. The question to you is simple: what is the weirdest, creepiest, or perhaps coolest abandoned vehicle you have ever seen with your own eyes?

[Source: Abandoned Places]

Hooniverse Asks- What Other Vehicles Should Get the Lego Treatment?

lego-tumbler-batmobile

Lego – the beloved children’s toy from Denmark – unveiled last week at Comic-Con the latest addition to their Ultimate Collectors Series, the 1,869-piece, Lego Batman Tumbler. At $199 MSRP the kit is not only amazingly detailed, offering movable surfaces and a full interior, but also includes two minifies – the Dark Knight himself and, for the first time ever, Heath Ledger’s Joker, in full purple suit and too-much-chlorine-in-the-pool green hair.

Being rendered in Lego is our generation’s method of immortalization. Not only will the peg-block constructions live on in the toy boxes of children for years to come, but they will also serve as reminders of our youth as errant pieces are discovered underfoot when making a late night run to the fridge. Despite the company offering a seemingly unlimited number of construction kits to build everything from simple low walls – one of my favorites as a kid – to aircraft carriers, it’s not all that common that they honor a specific vehicle.

I think they should do so with greater frequency. We’ve seen Lego Caterhams, and even a full-sized Lego car, but that’s not nearly enough. What cars and trucks would you like to see get immortalized in Lego?

Image: Pocket Lint

Hooniverse Asks- What Car Companies Should Really Just Get a Room?

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Engineering and designing a car is really, really, really expensive. No, seriously, it costs so much that some companies, like Ford with the initial Taurus, have risked the their entire future on the success of a single model. That’s why so many car companies partner with rivals just to be able to get a cool ride to market without breaking the bank.

Cross-marque cross breeding didn’t start with the Scion BRZ and Subaru FRS, even though it’s so weird to see two pretty much identical cars sold at these disparate brand’s dealers. Looking back to Ford, there was the time that they jumped in bed with Nissan and birthed a minivan baby. The resultant Mercury Villager and Nissan Quest saw their debut delayed because one marque liked pictograms on their HVAC controls while the other favored words. Less filling! Tastes great!

It’s stuff like that which makes you wonder why companies don’t just go it alone. Then you see the financials on what it takes to design something like a firewall and you then wonder how any single company can make any money in this day and age. Look, it’s a given that car companies are going to hook up like college kids on a Friday inight, but the question I want to send you into the weekend with this week is which two companies really should be doing the romance thing? What companies -whether presently connected or not – should really see how things pan out when they activate their own untapped wonder-twin powers?

Image: ft86club

Hooniverse Asks- How Would You Improve Traffic Signals?

traffic light

America’s first electric traffic signal was installed on the corner of Euclid and East 105th Street in Cleveland Ohio, on August 5th, 1914. Prior to that, traffic was controlled by stone semaphores actuated by prehistoric birds. This is a fact I learned as a kid from watching the Flintstones.

Traffic signals have changed dramatically since those early days – no more birds – and in the modern era they have been pretty much unified as a trio of lights – red, yellow, and green, that define your actions at the intersection. That has not changed much since that iteration’s inception, back in the early 1920s. One recent improvement has been the addition of a countdown pedestrian light, but according to analysis of their use, they tend to make intersections more dangerous for drivers, while making them safer for hoofers.

Aside from that, and the switch to less energy-hogging lighting sources, the traffic light is today pretty much as it was at its inception. That of course doesn’t mean that it can’t stand improvement. What I want from you today is your cutting edge ideas on ways to improve the automated intersection authorities. Do you think that the age-old standard of red. yellow and green needs a palette update? Or, is there some other aspect of intersection management that you think could stand improvement? How exactly would you improve traffic signals?

Image: FreePhotos

Hooniverse Asks- What Car or Truck do you Hate to Admit is Really Okay?

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Do you have a brother in law, you know, the guy who is boning your sister? Do you ever stop and think that, when you think about it,  he’s not really that bad a guy, even though he’s defiling your sibling – his wife- on a regular basis? That’s the kind of introspection I’m looking for today.

Cars are like brothers-in-law. Some are cool and you don’t mind including them at the table at family gatherings. Others are… well, let’s not beat around the bush here, Satan’s spawn. Of course when it comes to cars and trucks you don’t have to break bread with the ones you don’t like, you just formulate negative opinions of their drivers when you see them on the road.

Sometimes however, we misjudge both relations by marriage, and cars. Those are the ones that we’re interested in today – not the relations, we all know they still suck – but the cars that perhaps didn’t make the best first impression. What are those cars or trucks that you hate to admit you don’t like, but are really okay?

Image: gomotors.net

Hooniverse Asks- What is the Motorcycle’s Greatest Era?

motorcycle-evolution

The other day I was watching a video of the building of a replica of a 1909 Torpedo V4 and it struck me that there are simply so many motorcycles that have come and gone over the years that my meager grey matter simply can’t catalog them all. For me, motorcycles tend to start just before WWII and end sometime in the ’80s. That’s my penchant for British bikes talking, and I know that there have been great rides both before and after that time, I’m just mostly ignorant of those that came before, and ignoring most that have come after.

Perhaps more so than the automotive age, the motorcycle age has seen a multitude of distinct eras. Most of them have been focused on going fast, but the method to the madness in each case has always been unique. From bicycle-based, to café racer, chopper, disco bike and beyond, which do you think has been the motorcycle’s greatest era?

Image: motorcycle.com

 

Hooniverse Asks-What Car or Truck Looks the Best When Lowered?

Eldorado Down

In the ’70s you might have been instructed to get down and get funky! Those dancing days were also the heyday of the low rider, that unique subset of car culture that focuses on cars that literally get down. Today that has branched out into the stanced set, and for years cars have been lowered for improved handling and not just the ability to look up girls’ mini skirts from their drivers’ seats.

Some cars and trucks look goofy when dropped, while others may make you slap your forehead in wonderment as to why they never scraped the pavement from the factory. As you might expect, there’s the right way to drop a car – purpose-built springs and struts, and perhaps hydraulic helpers to get you over life’s little bumps in the road. There’s also the wrong way, which usually involves cutting springs and letting air out of tires. For those who take that route, I just want you to know, you’re not fooling anyone.

I’m not fooling when I ask, what is in your opinion the car or truck that, visually at least, gains the most from being dropped? What do you think, what is the best-looking lowered car?

Image: losboulevardos

Hooniverse Asks- What has Been History’s Best Car Ad Tag Line?

He's Lying

Oh what a feeling! Engineered to move the human spirit. Not your father’s Oldsmobile… Just like a hip movie sequel needs a tagline - this time it’s personal… – so too do car companies to cut through the clutter and make buyers think they’re buying a brand or model with which they identify. After all who wouldn’t want the ultimate driving machine, right?

There have been so many tag lines over the century plus of the automotive age, from the Henry Ford Company’s Buy My Car, Consarnit! of 1899, to Honda’s latest Start Something Special, which is about as lame a tag as you could imagine. Come to think of it, Honda’s cars have been kind of lame of late too. Hmm, go figure.

Considering all the less-lame car company, and model, tag lines that have popped up over the years and decades, which do you think has been the most clever? More importantly, which one do you think has had the greatest impact on public perception of the car or company?

Image: FreeRepublic

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