The time is now…
That would be, of course, the time to cast your vote for the 2018 Hooniverse Car of the Year! We have a typically odd assortment of machinery. Be it a funky bike, a burnt-up truck, or an Italian supercar risen from the ashes, you have a wide range of vehicles on which to
throw away your vote let your voice be heard. We will keep the voting booth open for a full week. So you have time to think about this before clicking the button with your choice.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the nominees.
The Citroen 2CV – Nominated by Chris Haining
Our British editor decided on a metaphorical nomination. To Lord Haining, the Citroen 2CV represents everything we love about the automobile. It’s fascinatingly unique. A polarizing French delight. The 2CV is a car like no other before or after. We’ll let Haining say a bit more on the matter:
“The 2CV stands as a glowing beacon to remind us exactly why we love cars. Not everybody is a 2CV fan, many folk detest their every fibre. It polarises opinions like few other ‘classics’ do, and that can only be a good thing. A car needs to have something, a core value, a defining characteristic in order to lodge in your brain and command affection. Like a song with a killer hook, that you first heard thirty years ago and is every bit as memorable today.
And this particular 2CV, owned and proudly shared by a die-hard enthusiast by the name of Graham, is a shining example of how such a car can get under an owner’s skin and trigger a state of inescapable obsession.
That’s why it’s my nomination for Hooniverse Car Of The Year 2018.”
Allyn Pierce’s Toasted Tundra – Nominated by Ross Ballot
What a story here. California had a terrible year with respect to the amount of fires, the damage caused, and the tragic loss of life. In Northern California, the Camp Fire proved wickedly devastating. In fact, it was the deadliest fire in California history and the deadliest fire in the US since 1918. One shining beacon of light that arrived from the ashes was the story of Allyn Pierce and his toasted Toyota Tundra.
Pierce used his full-size truck to shuttle others to safety. In doing so, his truck took serious abuse and fire damage. But it pulled through the hellish landscape and arrived on the other side with human lives intact. Pierce picked up strangers and brought them to safety. He then set to work himself using his skills as a nurse to continue to save others.
For his efforts, Toyota stepped up and gave Pierce a new (and deserved) Tundra.
Our own truck lover Ross Ballot nominated the Toyota and here’s what he had to say regarding his choice:
“Here at Hooniverse we hand out our annual celebratory award named after and meant for an individual vehicle, but let’s be real: it truly isn’t about the car. Cars are pieces of metal and plastic and other inanimate materials, but HCOTY is really about what the owner does with it that makes it worthy of the title. So though it may technically be Allyn’s Tundra getting the nomination, it’s really Allyn that deserves the victory. Because no automotive story is as great as one in which an automobile is used for doing something truly positive and for bringing about true goodness in the world. Here’s to you, Allyn, and thank you for your selfless acts.”
The Volkswagen ID R – Nominated by Christopher Tracy
An insane race car conquering a mighty challenge makes for a great story. Swap out the internal combustion bits for electricity though, and the story proves that much more fascinating. Volkswagen set out to make a hill climb race car and the plan was to make it full electric. There are tremendous challenges in doing so. You have the weight of the batteries, charging times, aerodynamic development, and more. VW pulled it off though. The ID R, driven by Romain Dumas, whirred its way into the record books when set a new Pikes Peak Hill Climb record.
In Tracy’s own words:
“After 156 corners, the ID R achieved a time of 7:57.148s. That bested Sebastian Loeb’s previous record run of 8:13.878s set in 2013.
A month after Pike’s Peak, the ID R smashed the electric vehicle record at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Dumas needed just 43.05 seconds to get up Lord March’s driveway. After Porsche’s record lap of the Nürburgring last summer, it only seems fitting that the ID R should head there next.
Until then, if you happen to be in the LA area, the ID R is on display at the Peterson Museum as part of its “Driving Toward Tomorrow” exhibit. The display runs through February 9th, 2019. And then hopefully we’ll see it at the ‘Ring sometime after that. For now though, I believe the Volkswagen ID R should be the 2018 Hooniverse Car of the Year.”
Tavarish’s Lamborghini Gallardo – Nominated by Jeff Glucker
Taking on a new project car is a delightful and stressful adventure. Freddy Hernandez, better known as Tavarish, understands this quite well. He bought a very inexpensive Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder and decided to fix it up. It was cheap for a reason though, as this Italian supercar had a complicated twin-turbo kit installed, wore the battle cars of fire damage, and had a number of other maladies needing attention.
Tavarish set out fixing his steed. He documented the process on his YouTube channel, including the ups and downs. Doing a lot of the work himself, Tavarish emerged on the other end of this project car build a champion. He did it. He put the car back together, got the turbo system working, and he now has a manual-gearbox equipped twin-turbocharged Lamborghini drop top painted with his own blood, sweat, and tears. This was a hell of a project… and he did it.
This one isn’t being nominated because it’s a Lamborghini, mind you, as that is enough to keep it off such a list. This one is here because of the tremendous effort in getting it running again.
The Fat Hippo Utility Bike – Nominated by Peter Tanshanomi
Take some parts from a junkyard and turn them into something awesome. That’s a clear cut path to a HCOTY nomination. Case in point is Ryan Frankenberg’s Fat Hippo Utility Bike. Let’s let Tanshanomi explain how this mad machine ended up here:
“Ryan Frankenberg is a high-end cabinetmaker from Idaho who has become one of my heroes because of his wondrous scrap-yard build, The Fat Hippo. The Hippo is a remarkably functional trail bike that Ryan fabricated almost entirely from salvaged parts and raw metal stock. He regularly works to clear ORV trails on the public lands around his home; for that he wanted a balloon-tired two-wheeler in the Honda Fat Cat/Yamaha BW/Rokon Trail-Breaker style. What he found himself with was a well-worn Honda TRX250 ATV and, in his words, “more skill, ambition, and vision than money.” Undaunted, he set about using a welder, some basic shop tools, and an uncommon degree of innate engineering sense to conjure up a two-wheeled mountain goat with electric start, auto clutch, shaft drive, crawler gearing, and reverse.
Ryan documented the Fat Hippo’s incubation with a very detailed, entertaining, and undeservedly self-effacing build thread on the ADVRider.com forum. It’s worth a read, because I cannot hope to adequately capture in these few paragraphs Ryan’s attention to detail and clever problem solving skills, along with his prodigious fabrication talents. By the time he was done, there was very little of the original four-wheeler left beyond the engine and driveshaft.
Consider, as just one example, turning a four-wheeler’s center-mounted third member and rear axle (which normally floats within the differential, being fixed in place by the wheel at each end) into a single-sided, single shock swingarm that can handle the stresses a dirt bike wheel receives. Yes, it ends up being as complex as you’d imagine.
There are a lot of hobbyist builders who attempt to build something awesome out of a pile of junk. Most never get very far along, and the vast majority never end up with something of any higher quality than the junk they started with. The Fat Hippo is not only an amazing fabrication project, but the end result is an amazingly functional and unique tool for a very specific task. And that’s why it’s my HCOTY nominee for 2018.”
RP968 Time-Attack Porsche – Nominated by Joel Strickland
You start with something that makes for a decent street car but you want to turn it into a race car. For some, that’s a simple addition of some safety bits and maybe a bit more power. For Rod Pobestek, that means a complete transformation of a Porsche 968 into a devilish time-attack race car packing over 1,500 horsepower. Our resident Aussie has this to say about the car:
“Power comes from a billet twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter four-cylinder engine. This mill tips the scales at just 233 pounds. Around the car is an all carbon-fibre body built with a focus on serious aerodynamics. The front splitter, for example, is strong enough to support the full weight of a person standing on it.
To win this years event, Mawer ripped off a run of 1:19.825. Put in clearer context, that’s just 0.7 sec off the track record set by one Nico Hulkenberg in an A1GP in 2007. Sparks are created as the RP968 runs down the main straight at Sydney Motorsport Park. Almost like Hulkenberg’s crazy ride”
Matt Farah’s Safari Porsche 911 – Nominated by Eric Trytko
Safari Porsche 911s are hot right now. There’s no denying that. One of the cars that is only adding fuel to this fantastic Porsche fire is Matt Farah’s own Safari 911. Farah started with a standard Cassis Red car and then very much made it his own. He turned to Leh Keen for the Safari bits and let his mind run wild on the interior. The result is a car that is clearly built to please its owner and make others smile.
Nominator Eric Trytko adds:
“While Safari style cars and Safari 911 have been a thing for a while, it’s this car in particular that once again brings the style to the mainstream. It will also be the car upon which others are benchmarked. And that is why Matt Farah’s Safari Porsche 911 deserves to be the 2018 HCOTY.”
Matt Farah’s Million-Mile Lexus LS – Nominated by Kamil Kaluski
Lots of automakers make boasts about their reliability. Lexus and Toyota have long-running examples actually out in the real world quietly proving that point for them. One car is Matt Farah’s Million Mile Lexus LS 400. It’s nearly ready to see seven figures tick over on the odometer. Despite that fact, it drives exactly as you’d expect such a car to behave.
Kamil Kaluski drove the car and enjoyed the old machine. It needs a bit of love to fully clean up, but considering the mileage its seen, the LS is in otherwise wonderful shape. Here are some of his thoughts on the aged luxury sedan:
“Earlier this year I drove Matt Farah’s Lexus LS 400. At the time it had 981,199 miles on the odometer. That is a lot of miles for any vehicle. To my surprise the big Japanese sedan drove rather smoothly. It drove like a nice old car in need of some TLC. I sure as hack have driven many worse cars with a fifth of this mileage. A few days in the shop and the million mile Lexus would look and drive like a million bucks.
The number of miles alone is what really makes this vehicle special. The mileage was put on by many owners and many more drivers. The vehicle has been worked on, touched by, and modified by many people along the way. That is never good. But despite of that, this white LS 400 drives great for what it is.
It therefore is my nomination for the 2018 Hooniverse Car of The Year. The first generation Lexus LS 400 was a well-designed, overbuilt, and perfectly priced vehicle. It made the brand synonymous with quality and longevity. And Matt’s Lexus proves that. And that is why it should be the 2018 Hooniverse Car of the Year!”
The Hoonitruck – Nominated by Greg Kachadurian
This one is one hell of a vehicle. Ken Block wanted to follow up his amazing Hoonicorn with something new and different. Enter the Hoonitruck. It’s a tube-frame chassis supporting a 1977 Ford F-150 body. And sticking in the nose is a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost engine originally used for Ford GTLM race car development. Yes, it has a Le Mans race car motor mounted up front.
You can see what the truck is capable of if you watched The Gymkhana Files of Gymkhana 10. It’s an awesome beast of a truck with endurance racing power that easily lights up all four tires when asked to do so.
“It gets my nomination for being one of the coolest, most imaginative, and highest-quality builds I’ve ever seen. Anyone could lower a truck and swap the engine, but the lengths Detroit Speed went to to make it all work well enough for Ken Block and the unique design direction penned by Hoonigan have truly set it apart. The Hoonitruck, like the Hoonicorn, is truly peerless.”