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Hooniverse Goes To: Hot Import Nights San Pedro

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Hot Import Nights has been around for a number of years now. I’ll be honest though, I hadn’t heard of a HIN event anytime recently. One of the largest dates on the HIN calendar happens a few towns over from me so I had to experience it for myself.

Our friends at Valvoline invited us over to take in the event from start to finish and really see what it’s all about. My expectations were filled with visions of stanced cars competing for space with vehicles flooding the ground with neon lights. A few of those cars were there, but they were the minority machines packed into a sea of far more interesting bits of metal. Track-prepped Honda S2000 and Subaru WRX examples were plentiful, and they were surrounded by other cool cars from Europe and Asia.

Additionally, the HIN family welcomes domestics to their events. I saw current-generation Mustangs, prior-generation Chargers, and a C7 Corvette. What I also saw was thousands of people gathered to share their love of cars… and that’s pretty much always a good thing.

[Disclaimer: Valvoline invited us out to take in Hot Import Nights, and helped us put together this video.]

Back on Track Day: Hooniverse Goes to Ahvenisto


Out of all the racetracks in Finland, Ahvenisto stands out. Most of the tracks here have been built somewhere in the middle of nowhere, and that usually renders them quite flat. But Ahvenisto stands proud by a ridge, with uphill sections and daring curves without yards and yards of run-off area. Originally, there wasn’t much close by but woodlands and fields, but urban sprawl reached the track quite quickly. Nowadays the track has to hold its ground to be able to exist in modern smalltown Finland, where people move next to race tracks and then complain about engine noise. But I digress: every minute spent at the track is worth it, as long as the track is in active use and respected for the motorsport history it embodies.

It has become sort of customary for our circle of FinalGearheads to end the summer season with an Ahvenisto trackday somewhere in late September or early October, and this year was no exception. I was eager to take my Miata there, as it’s the closest thing to an actually track-ready car I’ve had in my fleet.

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We’re at COTA all weekend for WEC and Tudor

I will be at both big races happening in Austin this weekend. WEC has the massive 6 hours of COTA and Tudor has the Lone Star LeMans. I have full paddock access for both series and I will be bringing you daily updates about the going on’s here in ATX. If you want anything specific, let me know either in the comments, or send me an @ on Twitter @PartyPat116

Hooniverse Goes To Bugorama 76 At Sacramento Raceway


Late last week while cruising around the internet, I found mention of the 76th Bugorama event (obviously there are a few of them per year). Being a part of the aircooled Porsche community, I’m almost obligated to be a fan of the old aircooled Volkswagens, and this show was pretty darn cool, I must say. It was a good long day in the sun, and it was a worthy way to spend my Sunday afternoon. A VeeDub friend of mine and I packed up and headed out at about 6AM to get there by 8 for the start of the swap meet in the morning. I thought the twenty-dollar entry fee was a bit rich, but what can you do? Follow along on our journey, and try to make one of these events some day.

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Motorboat Monday: The Military Houseboats of the River Deben


As people search ever harder for affordable housing it is hardly surprising that living on water is becoming more and more popular. Houseboats have been a thing for centuries, but as they increase in number they increase even more in variety from purpose built barges through to converted hulks.  Generations of hulls have seen out their lives as houseboats; anything still buoyant is ripe for conversion. Among the floating sheds, though, you still find the occasional gem.

Decommissioned military vessels used to be a common starting point for low-cost river living; after WWII they were disposed of in great number and could be snapped up for very little outlay. The vast majority have by now disintegrated and been consumed by the mud, but on a recent walk along the banks of the Deben, I was delighted to note that some remain being loved and looked after.

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Hooniverse Goes To The Virginia City Hillclimb


Just last week I was listening to the Smoking Tire podcast (when I’m not listening to the Hooniverse podcast or hosting the Cammed & Tubbed podcast, of course), when I heard mention that the famous Cobb Tuned Fiesta ST would be making an appearance at the Virginia City Hill Climb that very weekend. I live in Reno, and Virginia City is about a 30 minute drive from my house. I should probably go to that, yeah? So that’s how I found myself driving to the middle of nowhere at 6 in the morning on a Saturday to watch a bunch of cars I can’t afford drive up a mountain. That’s my idea of fun!

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Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion – Nothin’ But Corkscrew

Monterey Historics laguna seca corkscrewOnward with our continued “coverage” (in the form of massive picture dumps) of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Upon receipt of my media band and a photographer’s vest, you can be damn sure the first locked gate I bypassed was the Corkscrew’s. What follows are some highlights from Saturday’s Shelby GT350-specific (this year’s featured marque), the ’55-’62 Sports Cars (Vettes, 356s and some priceless Ferraris), Pre-1940 Sports Racing/Touring, and ’73-81 IMSA GT-GTX, AAGT, GTU (BMW CSLs, Turbo Porsches and some fast but offensively ugly Vettes and Monzas) races.

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A visit to the Classic Car Club Manhattan


The original Classic Car Club started in 1995 in London. In 2005 it came to New York City. The idea is simple: join club, pay dues, drive cool cars, socialize, party. The club, located on Manhattan’s lower west side, close to the Holland Tunnel entrance, is a car enthusiast’s paradise on an island that is not known for its love of cars.

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Weekend Edition: Hooniverse Goes for a German Junkyard Run


Just a few days ago, I was in Hamburg, Germany. We had a few hours to kill in the area, so naturally it was suggested that we go see a sizeable junkyard just a couple minutes’ drive from my friend’s place. “It’s one of the biggest yards in Northern Germany. And there are a lot of Golfs there.”

I’ve always been a big fan of Murilee Martin’s junkyard postings over at Jalopnik, Autoweek and TTAC, and I’m not sure if there has been a German Edition in his works. You’re free to consider this as a homage of sorts, then.

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The Mystery Of German Motors


When I was in Michigan a few weeks ago, I was driving around in the Detroit area, and I found this interesting little shop on the corner of a side street I’d ventured down. Honestly, I’d gotten a bit lost, and was sort of wandering aimlessly until I found a place that looked familiar, or at least frustrated enough to pull over and confer with the sat nav. Being a huge German car nerd, I always get a bit excited when I see a nondescript shop with the tri-colored German markings on the side. Throw in the name “German Motors” writ large in blue, and I’m geeked. I thought I’d pop in, see what was up, and maybe hand out a business card or two (being that I am in the parts business). What I found, though, was an overgrown “yard” and parking lot. There was some oddness going on here. Click through to see more of what I’m talking about.

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