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Remember To Drive

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Deep in the heart of central Texas, it’s twenty nine degrees. I’m hungover, waking with a half-eaten McDonald’s burger laying next to me. What a waste, I tell myself. Eventually, I collect my head, walk out into the cold and crank over my two-week old 1986 BMW 325. These little cars have a funny high-pitch starter whine, cranking to high hell for two seconds and drumming to life in an instant.

The dog is wandering through the yard as I spread out a Mexican blanket in the back for him. Today, we’re going on a quick drive while the roads are free from the fear of ice to get to a little spot along Highway 360 where I can take a few photos of the little E30 (nicknamed EDirty).

The reason this is a special little trip, and this is a special little story, is this E30 has restored the pleasure of driving that I’ve lacked for a long time. Over the last year, life has kicked me sideways, upside down, and underground many times. I’ve been bruised hard enough to lose interest in most of what I loved; be it people, writing, or automobilia.

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Forgotten Racetracks: The Eloy Grand Prix

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Hooniverse has written about several old temporary racetracks used by club racers when prepared racetracks were somewhat scarce: Brynfan Tyddyn, Las Ochas Millas, Callender Field, and Lake Garnett. Nearly all of those had gone away by the early 1970s, when liability concerns crept up and willingness among chambers of commerce dropped down. Street circuits became virtually non-existent at club-level racing, but one remarkable example cropped up in Arizona in the early 1980s.

Not only did the Arizona Sports Racing Associationwho’d branched off from the Arizona SCCA to focus on wheel-to-wheel racingtalk the small city of Eloy into hosting a race around its downtown, they also managed by 1984 to turn it into a two-hour telecast. Now, thanks to the deep archives of local racer Dave Riddle, you can enjoy the ASRA’s five-race 1984 Eloy Grand Prix, which is a profoundly unique affair for reasons that will be discussed after the jump.

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Good News for Brooklands= Good News For ALL OF MOTORSPORT.

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The image above says everything you need to know about Brooklands. Fast, banked turns on which wildly moustachioed, goggled, flying hatted playboys fought wheel to wheel to prove the superiority of their chosen steed and, as we can see, even sometimes getting it to hover. Amazing things happened on this two and three-quarter mile oval in leafy Surrey between 1907 and 1939.  British Motorsport was born here. I, personally, am very grateful.

The years haven’t been spectacularly kind to Brooklands, which seems absolutely, stark, raving mad when you consider its significance. But today comes the news that recognition has finally been granted and there is an actual scheme in place to breathe life back into this ground zero for the octane blooded.

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Publicity Photo of the Weekend – The New for 1977 Buick Opel (by Isuzu)

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Ah the 70’s, such a weird time for automakers. They were trying to sell cars anyway they could while dealing with Government Mandates on Fuel Economy, Emission Controls, and Federal Bumper Regulations. On top of all this, the US Dollar was losing value to the ever stronger German Currency, and the US Core Inflation Rate was hovering around 6% (which was down from only a few years before, as high as 11% for 1974).

So, what does General Motors do to combat both the lack of an affordable small car in their Buick Dealers, and take advantage of a venerable nameplate that has at least some built in equity? They introduce a hand-me-down small Japanese built car, slap an Opel name to the sides, and push in onto an unsuspecting public in 1975. This was the Opel by Isuzu, and it was only available as a two-door coupe for the first two years it was offered in the states. 1977 brought the only addition to the line in this sedate looking 4-door sedan.

So, do you remember these cars (I do, as I owned one from 1976 to 1981)…

Hooniverse Drives to Berlin – via Checkpoints A–B–C–D

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I spent my 30th birthday in Germany. A little bit more than a month later, I was back in Germany, for a New Year’s Eve in The Netherlands. Huh? Well, in Central Europe it doesn’t take long to drive from a country to another, so naturally it would make sense to fly to Düsseldorf, drive to the Limburg region beyond the Dutch border, and then to do a day trip to Berlin after New Year’s. It’s all logical, until you take into account you have to sit in a Peugeot wagon for hours on end…

But there was a Suzuki engine in Berlin, and there was room in the Peugeot. So I woke myself up with a cup of coffee and hopped in. There would be sights along the way.

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Polygons ahoy: Some MS-DOS racing games worth a try on Archive.org

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If you’re around my age (and probably a few years older), you came of age around the time when home computing was similarly coming of age. And if you’re like me, you spent an inordinate amount of time tinkering with polygonal and/or text-based MS-DOS games. While many of these games have fallen into the Abandonware file (although still runnable in Windows with a DOS emulator like DOSBOX), that’s always been just annoying enough to keep my attention.

However, the wonderful Archive.org recently teamed up with DOSBOX to provide a forum that lets nostalgic types like myself play old DOS games from the comfort of their preferred web browser. You can find that DOS games archive/in-browser emulator here. There are enough nerdy types here on Hooniverse to discuss and debate the merits of the myriad of games (Oregon Trail vs. Wolfenstein 3D: In which game do you shoot more? Go.), but let’s instead discuss some good automotive-related games I found worth my time.

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Diecast Delights:- A 1961 E-Type (And how it all started)

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Last week we looked at a Plymouth Roadrunner model from about twenty years ago. Today we look at what I imagine is one of the most commonly found 1:18th scale models in the world. Bburago’s evergreen ’61 Jaguar E-Type.

You probably know somebody who owns one of these. It has been a stalwart of the Bburago range since, I believe, the early ’80s. At this time the scope of their large-scale range was a lot more narrow than it is now. In fact, the face of 1:18 scale modelling itself has changed massively in the time that this model has been around. Back in the ’80s Bburago were pretty much the go-to brand for anybody who wanted to go beyond toy cars and onto proper models.  Let’s take a look at what is now a vintage model.

As usual, click the pics to make ‘em bigger, and please, being that it’s Christmas, indulge me as I take a trip into the past.

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Two-Wheel Tuesday: Victorian “Geared Facile” Replica Build is Workshop Porn

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A spectacularly talented craftsman from New Zealand (who goes by the catchy nom-de-web “Bob”) scratch-built this mesmerizing, handcrafted replica of an 1880s Geared Facile bicycle. And when I say “scratch-built,” I really do mean scratch-effin’-built. From making his own rolling dies to form his own oval tubing and machining his own bearing races to the painting and pinstriping, he did everything. And he did everything jaw-droppingly, meticulously, unnecessarily, gut-tighteningly well.

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Inside the Classic Remise in Düsseldorf, Germany

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Düsseldorf’s Classic Remise is a great place for anyone who wants to get up close with near-priceless classic metal. A brick building once built for locomotive storage, these days it’s a combination of a classic car dealership, car storage, restoration shop, memorabilia mall and car museum with a really nice restaurant thrown in as a bonus. Admission is free, and it’s one of the best ways to spend a Sunday in Düsseldorf. I especially recommend a Flammkuchen mit Speck with an Altbier as a companion, after a few hours of intensive classic car admiring.

In this photo-heavy post, I’ll show you the Remise as seen through a 50mm “Nifty Fifty” lens.

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Weekend Edition: 2014 Turkey Rod Run Road Trip: And Out Of Naples

IMG_2644 So one of the perks of my new gig, one that was unknown to this olelongrooffan, is that after six months employment, I was awarded two weeks paid vacation. The caveat is that those days of vacation needed to be used by the end of the calendar year. As I run the customer service division of my company for the new home communities we have in the southwest part of the Sunshine State and the snow birds having been fleeing the northern part of this great country in droves to my part of this world, my skinny white butt has been spread pretty thin. However, last week during my performance evaluation (four exceptional and four outstanding, thank you very much) I was chatting it up with the British monarchy I work for (Charles, Diana and Henry) about my workload for Thanksgiving week and they all agreed that my taking off for this coming week would be a great idea and to have fun. Well as I had planning on spending Thanksgiving weekend at the Turkey Rod Run at the Daytona International Speedway, this olelongrooffan thought I would road trip it up there trying to avoid Eisenhower’s Interstate System. If my fellow Hoons are so inclined, click on through to ride along with me and see some of the sights I saw on Saturday. … Continue Reading

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