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Hooniverse Asks- Should Ford Have Built the Mustang I?

Robert Emslie August 21, 2014 Hooniverse Asks

1962FordMustang-IAd-2_jpg

On April 17th, 1964 the Ford Motor Company introduced what would eventually become one of their most emblematic products, as well as a car that would serve to define an entire genre of automobiles. That’s pretty impressive, however, it could have gone far differently. The Mustang name, despite its equine badging, was a nod to the North American P51, the fighter plane that is generally considered to WWII’s most bad-ass. The production car had little in common with the plane, but it perhaps had even less in common with the wild sports car to which Ford first applied the moniker.

In 1962, fully two years before the Falcon-in-a-party-dress Mustang debuted, Ford released a show car that carried the same name and badge, and it was a doozie. The Mustang I came out of the Fairlane Group, a team that included Lee Iacocca. They were looking for a halo sports – or sporty – car to recapture the glories of the way-cool, but poorly selling two-seat Thunderbird. One take was the Mustang I which arrived with radical features like Lotus F1 style wobble wheels, aluminum bodywork, and perhaps, most radical of all, a mid-mounted V4 engine, pulled from the German Taunus.

The Mustang 1 was a fully-drivable prototype, and was built by the legendary Southern California shop of Troutman-Barnes. It was however, never seriously considered as a production model, the 4-seat, Falcon-based car having already been approved. What do you suppose would have happened if instead, the Mustang I had actually taken its place? Of course it would have needed a raised windshield, and some pretense of a roof and door glass, but other than that, it was pretty much ready to go. Do you think Ford would have been successful as America’s only purveyor of a mid-engine car? Would Ferrari have taken the company’s purchase offer more seriously if they had? What do you think, should Ford have built the mid-engine Mustang?

Image: oldcarmanualproject

Hooniverse Asks- What’s the World’s Most Iconic OHV Straight Six?

Robert Emslie August 20, 2014 Hooniverse Asks

Blue-Flame-Six

If I were to ask you to name the world’s most well-known and emblematic V8, your most likely response would be: Tatra’s aluminum 2,545-cc T603F. I mean, duh! Actually, there’s but a select few of us who would make such a claim, and that’s why I love you guys so much. No, the truth be told, the most iconic V8 is likely Chevrolet’s ubiquitous 350, almost universally known as the Small-Block-Chevy.

Ask the same question about OHC straight sixes and you’d no doubt hear the most votes go for BMW’s M50, or perhaps a strong contingent pulling for Jag’s long-lived XK mill. When it comes to inline sixes that keep their cams in their heads, there’s a lively debate to be had. When it comes however, to the engines with the same number of pots in the same orientation, but with a single cam residing in the block, well then things can get a little hazy.

Actually, the Overhead Valve straight six represents one of automotive history’s most enduring formats, and one that – in many cases – has proven to be Michael Myers-esque in their resilience. An OHV straight six powered the first Corvettes, and any number of ‘economy’ cars of the sixties. Chrysler liked to slant theirs, while Ford made them by the thousands so that even timid people could share in the enjoyment of a Mustang. Whether one of those or another, what do you think has become the world’s most iconic OHV straight six?

Image: Hemmings Blog

Hooniverse Asks Bonus Edition: For What Should I Be Looking?

rallycross

So this weekend up at my old stomping grounds, more commonly known at the Daytona International Speedway, the France family is hosting the inaugural Red Bull Rally Cross race at that venue. It is a two day event, (Friday and Saturday) and this olelongrooffan will be attending on Friday. Yes my fellow Hoons, you read that correctly, Friday. The dude that signs my paycheck has granted me a rare day off to attend my virginal rally cross event. Why not Saturday you may ask? I have been honored to spend a couple days with my oldest brother Bob hanging by his pool and enjoying a cold beverage or two.

My attendance at the former event is what leads to this Bonus Edition of Hooniverse Asks. As this is my first time at a stadium style event of this nature, what is the cool sh*t this olelongrooffan should check out? If any of my fellow Hoons have a suggestion or two, please leave them in the comment section. I’ll be checking in regularly. Thanks in advance Hoons.

[Image Source: Daytona International Speedway Site]

Hooniverse Asks- Are Automatic Door Locks a Reassurance or Just a Pain in the Neck?

Robert Emslie August 19, 2014 Hooniverse Asks

Car lock

My kids hate riding in the back seat. The reason is that – for whatever reason – Ford decided to make all four of my car’s doors lock when getting above something like 5 mph, but not to unlock them when the trip is over. I’ve taken to hitting the all-clear button on the driver’s door to facilitate their escape, but sometimes I forget.

Automatic locks seemed to come into fashion back in the eighties, back when carjacking was a thing. These days it helps ensure that doors stay closed during accidents, and still keeps you safe from the likes of the more aggressive stoplight window washers, or perhaps that ex who just can’t let it go.

Automatic locks can be a pain though. Like in my car they can sometimes seem to trap you inside. They also can make moving the car to a more convenient position for a passenger to enter more troublesome. What do you think about this modern world problem, are automatic door locks a boon or a burden?

Image: Dancing With Dragonflies

Hooniverse Asks- What Will be the Next Car Brand to Go?

Robert Emslie August 18, 2014 Hooniverse Asks

Grim-Reaper copy

I predict that within 5 years, Scion will be no more. The Toyota brand was introduced back in 2002 as a way to get Millennials into the Toyota family so they could later graduate to Toyota’s mid-scale cars, and eventually the Lexus marque as they became old and rich. Unfortunately for its parent company, the bulk of people buying the hip and happening new brand were older folks who would have otherwise already bought a Toyota but appreciated the fact that the Scions were cheaper. Old people, they’re always one step ahead!

Aside from the generous gift of the lovely and desirable BRZ, Scion’s product line has for long been left to wither on the vine. New models are in the pipeline, however it’s to be seen if the are (A) significantly differentiated from their Toyota brothers, and (B) engaging enough to get people to buy them. I am of the opinion that they will be neither and that will be used as an excuse for Toyota to kill off the brand and its separate advertising and support budgets.

Now, I could be wrong – my wife has pointed out many times that is often the case – and hence I’d like your take on, if not Scion, then what brands do you think are on the precipice of irrelevance. Do you think that there are brands – SEAT, Jaguar, and Lincoln come to mind – that might be next on the chopping block?

Image: Rootfun

 

Hooniverse Asks- What Would Have Been Robin Williams’ Car for Coffee?

Robert Emslie August 15, 2014 Hooniverse Asks

Robin

The news on Monday of Robin Williams’ death came as a total shock to me as I am sure it was for you. The beloved comedian obviously had many, many internal demons that vexed him and our deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends. As tragic as Robin Williams’ death was, it also seemed incongruous as his life had long been a celebration of bringing joy to others. Whether on TV, stage, or in many of his movies appearances, Williams’ craft was first and foremost as a comedian.

That advocation of course made Williams a prime candidate for an invitation to fellow comedy-meister Jerry Seinfeld’s applauded web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. I’m sure you are familiar with that show’s M.O., the host chooses a car or truck that he feels is evocative of that episode’s guest, and then the two of them go for coffee in said car. It’s simple, brilliant, and something that sadly well never get to experience in reality with Robin Williams.

That doesn’t mean that we can’t imagine how such a show would play out. Everyone has been paying tribute to Mr. Williams’ talent since his untimely demise, and this is perhaps the way that we can as well. In that light, what we’d like to know from you is, what car or truck do you think Jerry Seinfeld would have chosen for this hypothetical meeting of the lost minds?

Image: Filmajano

Hooniverse Asks- What was History’s Worst Automotive Brand Denigration?

Robert Emslie August 14, 2014 Hooniverse Asks

Daewoo LeMans

There comes a point in everyone’s life where they reflect on the decisions they’ve made and realize that a number of those have not been in their best interests. The gauge of our apparent success or failure in the eyes of society is generally the weight of the bad decisions to the good. That also applies to car makers, and pretty much every one across the board has made certain mistakes that have tarnished their brand in one way or another. Today we want to discern which one could generally be considered to have been the worst offender.

You obviously know most major brands’ successes, the Ford Mustangs, Chevy Corvettes, or Toyota Corollas – yes, even those.  Those are all achievements in which their respective maker can take pride, and for which less-successful makers can seethe in envy. Nobody likes to feel bad about themselves and so today we’re going to look at the opposite end of the spectrum, the cars and trucks that have shamed their respective brands in the way that Charlie Sheen has tainted his family name. Winning! Yeah, I don’t think so, Charlie. Help us out, what do you think have been history’s biggest automotive brand denigrations?

Image: CarGurus

Hooniverse Asks- Stalk vs. Hub, Where Should the Horn Switch Reside?

Robert Emslie August 13, 2014 Hooniverse Asks

Horny

If you’re like me then you appreciate the minutia of life. You probably get excited over the fact that R2D2 is carved into one of the ancient Egyptian pillars in Raiders of the Lost Arc. You also fully jones over all the Jeep icons that can be found on that brand’s new Renegade, like  so many hidden – and not so hidden- tattoos. And you also very likely have a strong opinion over where exactly is the best place for a car’s horn switch – the steering wheel hub, or on the end of the turn signal stalk.

Either position has its pros and cons. The steering wheel hub is a likely place for you to slam your hand in the event of an imminent impact, you might as well be making some noise while you’re at it. The stalk on the other hand allows for the more precise application of the ‘friendly toot’ which is used to alert absent minded drivers that the light turned green a nano-second ago, or to announce your arrival at the home of a date whose father ‘knows who you are.’ Considering your proclivity for perfection, which of these placements is, in your mind, the best, and why do you think so?

Image: fluidmotorunion

Hooniverse Asks- Is Racing Too Dangerous?

Robert Emslie August 12, 2014 Hooniverse Asks

Kevin Ward Jr

The incredibly tragic death of Kevin Ward last Saturday night is just the latest evidence that racing is not a sport that could be construed as a Sunday walk in the park. Over the decades, drivers, both obscure and – perhaps more often, of note – have lost their lives in the pursuit of speed.

Now, I don’t wish to engage in a debate over who was the most to blame in Saturday’s tragedy, Ward or Tony Stewart, but I’m wondering if, with the technology available today, is racing far more dangerous than it could be? It seems as though, despite the efforts of sanctioning bodies to require equipment that provides a modicum of safety, deaths still occur. One of the most tragic being that of Dale Earnhardt whose shunt into the wall caused a life-ending trauma, despite NASCAR’s adoption of neck braces, helmet lanyards, and in-car cages.

Racing isn’t the only sport where safety is under scrutiny, football too has entered the national debate regarding players’ head safety and the risk of playing with a potential concussion. The era of playing through the pain is over, and when it comes to racing – whether car or bike – the question arises, are we doing enough to keep racers safe? Would additional sanctioning body regulations improve safety while not rendering the sport impotent? Are additional regs even needed? What do you think, is racing presently too dangerous?

Image: nydailynews

Hooniverse Asks- What Would You Like to Race on Top Gear’s Track?

Robert Emslie August 11, 2014 Hooniverse Asks

TopGear Track

You have no doubt heard that BBC Worldwide is going to open up Top Gear’s test track at Dunsford Park to regular blokes – and blokettes – like you and me. For a fee, you can circle the infamous airport circuit in a Kia Cee’d just as have many a star in that reasonably-priced car. For a bit more (£99), you can ride shotgun while the Stig (or a reasonable facsimile) wrings the car out for all its worth.

The track was originally designed by Lotus as a test track for their racers. At 2.82 kilometers in length, it’s designed to provide a variety of conditions intended to tax most aspects of a car’s handling and performance. The current track record holder for a Stig-piloted car is held by the Pagani Huayra at 1:13.8. The quickest star around the track is presently Matt LaBlanc who flogged the Cee’d to a 1:42.1 time. The show’s current car is an Astra, and no one has managed better than a 1:44.7 in that one.

Pretending you’re a star in the show’s reasonably priced car is one thing, and having the Stig chauffeur you around in the same is another. But what about being able to match your particular driving skill to a similarly capable car? Is there a particular car that you would personally like to use in anger on Jezza’s playground? What car would you like to drive on the Top Gear track?

Image: Wikipedia

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