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V.I.S.I.T: A Rover and Life After Death

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Darren was a grafter. A bricklayer by trade, he would pride himself in getting stuck into a project. The more he was seen as being willing to get involved, the more likely he was to be awarded the work. So, in all weathers, he’d be the first on site and probably the first to leave. Usually his materials would already be there, waiting. His trusty Hilux rarely had to carry bricks or blocks any more; operating as a sub-contractor the most he’d likely have to carry around was his tools and a couple of bags of “emergency” cement.

All of which would be ejected from the loadbed for the weekend, when the Hilux would become his leisure vehicle. Darren and his friends would work hard, play hard. Life was short so every moment of free time was worth accounting for. Living in Milton Keynes, though, was a curse for the intrepid. In his heart Darren yearned for the coast and the chance to deploy a jetski, which would bring with it a fantastic excuse to wear figure-hugging dayglo neoprene clothing.

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A Good Drive

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It wasn’t a promising start. The sky was crude oil black, the wind was choppy and stiffening and home was enough of a distance away to be “a journey”.

The city roads at the beginning were strewn with late night traffic. Erratically driven cabs compete with aggressive hatchbacks sprinting from one night club to the next. I tried not to join in the fray, just followed the signs and concentrated on getting onto real roads. Fortunately nobody else seemed to be straying away from town. Plenty coming in, very little going out. Loads of speed cameras dotted around, though, so best I have my wits about me.

The suburbs have sticky fingers which seem reluctant to relinquish their grip on me. An endless cycle of traffic lights and roundabouts, contradictory roadsigns and detours threaten my progress. They fail, beaten by my determination.

And the prospect of home.

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The 10 Worst “Worst Cars” Lists Of All Time

Bradley Brownell October 12, 2015 Speed Reads

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The world of automotive journalism is growing more cynical with each passing day. Every single article I read seems to increase their demands for what it means to be a car. If it doesn’t have bluetooth and a backup camera, and you can hear a bit of road noise from the driver’s seat, it’s a piece of junk, no matter the price. All cars need a brazillion horsepower, and if they can’t make it to sixty miles per hour in under 6 seconds, it’s too slow to get out of its own way. Write it off as junk. Then include it on a list of the “worst cars of all time” as a way to get quick clicks. This has been happening for years, but it seems to be getting worse. Here is a list of some of the worst offenders.

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Hooniverse Bookshelf: America Edition – “American Wheel Man”

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Happy America day. To celebrate, I’ve lined up three book reviews today that celebrate the speed, ingenuity, and forward-thinking ways that used to typify the American automotive and racing industries. There was at time when we could proudly stand as a nation and see our drivers, cars, and teams taking on the best that the world could throw at us. There’s a bit of that remaining today, but certainly nothing like it was in the 60s and 70s. Racetracks the world over were dominated by our best cars, and driven by our most prolific drivers. This is the third of today’s books. In his day, George Follmer was one of the best racing drivers around, getting behind the wheel of anything anyone would let him drive. This book, published in just the last couple of years, “American Wheelman” by Tom Madigan, covers the life and times of Mr. Follmer, an American legend who was fast in anything on four wheels. Is this book worth putting on your bookshelf?

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Hooniverse Bookshelf: America Edition – “America’s Star-Spangled Sports Car”

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Happy America day. To celebrate, I’ve lined up three book reviews today that celebrate the speed, ingenuity, and forward-thinking ways that used to typify the American automotive and racing industries. There was at time when we could proudly stand as a nation and see our drivers, cars, and teams taking on the best that the world could throw at us. There’s a bit of that remaining today, but certainly nothing like it was in the 60s and 70s. Racetracks the world over were dominated by our best cars, and driven by our most prolific drivers. This is the second of today’s books. This is an updated and revised and modernized version of Karl Ludvigsen’s original 1973 publication of the same name, “Corvette: America’s Star-Spangled Sports Car”. Obviously, this book extends that 1973 book, adding ten more years up to 1982. There will obviously be a second book to finish out the rest of the car’s history. I’m sure Karl is more than capable of handling the research for that book himself, but perhaps he should call Eric Rood for a bit of help? Anyhow, is this prolific Ludvigsen original worth adding to your own book collection?

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Hooniverse Bookshelf: America Edition – “The Snake That Conquered The World”

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Happy America day. To celebrate, I’ve lined up three book reviews today that celebrate the speed, ingenuity, and forward-thinking ways that used to typify the American automotive and racing industries. There was at time when we could proudly stand as a nation and see our drivers, cars, and teams taking on the best that the world could throw at us. There’s a bit of that remaining today, but certainly nothing like it was in the 60s and 70s. Racetracks the world over were dominated by our best cars, and driven by our most prolific drivers. So lets dive into it, shall we? The first book on the docket today is Collectors Edition reissue of 2011’s “Shelby Cobra:” The Snake That Conquered The World” by Colin Comer. Comer is one of the experts on all things Shelby, and this book is one of half a dozen the man has released on the topic of ‘Ol Shel. So, is it worth picking up?

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Bike (Technology) You Should Know: Modern Motorcycle Technology by Massimo Clarke

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Hooniverse is generally not about motorcycles. Yes, there’s a good-sized minority of regulars who ride, but Hooniverse is overwhelmingly an automotive site. I pitched the idea behind Bikes You Should Know to Jeff as “helping our readers have something intelligent to say when the conversation at a backyard barbeque turns to motorcycles.” However, Hooniverse readers are a curious lot. For most of our non-riding visitors, motorcycles are still interesting in the same way that six-wheeled and tracked vehicles and gyrocopters are interesting, even if they have no desire to own any of them. (Although it seems that everyone wants a ‘Busa-powered something.)

I read Hooniverse from the point of view of someone who knows a fair amount about bikes, and not a whole lot about cars beyond being a decent car-spotter. In technical discussions, I am often struck by just how differently car and bike engines and transmissions are constructed. That’s why today I am recommending a book to my non-riding Hooniversalist brethren: Modern Motorcycle Technology by Massimo Clarke. This is a great means to learn all the way bike drivetrains are different than what you’re used to, and why. … Continue Reading

Driving a ’81 ‘Vette for the first time and smashing head-on into reality.

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It seemed like a damn good idea at the time. I was drawn to the Stingray like the proverbial moth to a flame; the scarcity of these cars in the UK combined with extrovert looks and all-American hero image aligns it with pure exotica, even in the minds of those who should really know better.

I had never, ever driven a Chevrolet Corvette of any description, so when I found this cocaine white ’81 example just sitting there, keys in the ignition, I saw no reason to not tick another life box.

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Which Motorsport Is For You? – A Helpful Flowchart

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We’ve all been there, pondering what form of motorsport would suit our abilities, as well as the abilities of our respective cars, in the best fashion. This helpful flowchart can help you to eliminate at least one of the variables, by determining which method of four-wheeled fun is most suited to your personal characteristics, which can help you choose the race car (or bike) that fits with your alignment.

While the chart was likely intended to be taken in a joking fashion, I think there is a lot of honesty to it. Each bubble determines a defining part of your thought processes, and in turn leads you in the right direction. Sure, there are some stereotypes at play here. For example, ‘All drifters are sitzpinklers’,  ‘All TSD Rallyists are aged and pedantic’, or ‘Scandawegians with a death-wish are all good at Stage Rally’. Take it with a grain of salt, answer truthfully, and you’ll be motorsporting in no time.

[Source: Autophiliac]

Picture Books for Little Hoons

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Being a car guy (or car girl) doesn’t stop when your little one takes his or her first breath. Being a well-rested car guy? Well, that’s something else entirely.

But having kids in your life isn’t the complete life-altering experience that movies and television make it out to be. Sure, you might start taking better care of yourself healthwise, perhaps exercising more and drinking less – or drinking more: people, it’s parenting fluid – but the essential things that are important to you don’t change. Instead, you get to share them with a new, miniature person. One who has lots of questions.

When my daughter was born, I felt my heart grow three sizes in a single day. I held her fragile, warm form close and whispered in her tiny, perfect ear, “Kid, I am going to buy you so many Hot Wheels. Seriously.” But I was also going to do all the other daddy things like changing diapers, and cooking her meals, and chasing her around the playground, and fitting a child seat into a Series II Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead.

I was also going to read to her, and to encourage her to read. I started making a list of books. Here are a few. … Continue Reading