Your turn to vote for the Hooniverse Car of the Decade

We started this silly site ten years ago. In that time, we’ve covered a ton of topi- okay I can’t finish that sentence. It’s been mostly Craigslist finds, LeMons racing, and the occasional new car review mixed in. But each year, we band together to shine a light on a beacon of Hooniversal wonder. That’s when we crown the title of Hooniverse Car of the Year (HCOTY) upon one deserving machine. The editors of the site nominate a range of vehicles, and you, dear reader, are the ones who cast the vote.

This time around, the nominees have long been determined. We’re pulling from all the past HCOTY winners to create a pool of excellent rides. And from one of these will we find our Hooniverse Car of the Decade. So let’s get on with it, right? I’ll lay out the nominees and there will be a poll at the end of this post. Cast your vote there, and when we ring in the New Year we will have a Hooniversal Champion.

The OG – Eric Bana’s Beast

I’m pretty sure it was Mitch’s idea to have a HCOTY. And then he nominated this gorgeous machine; actor Eric Bana’s stunning Ford Falcon XB. The car was built up. Raced. Crashed, hard. Then rebuilt again. It was a great nomination and a very deserving HCOTY winner. This is the car that started it all, with respect to this year-end tradition.

Drama: The Datsun Drift Truck

Woo boy, did we have a heck of a time for HCOTY round 2. A well-stacked field yielded to the power of Chad Copeland’s Datsun 620 Drift Truck. He rallied his troops and they came out in force to make their votes count. The drift truck won that year, but I think some long-time regulars are still salty about it.

Rising from the dead?

I’m going to copy and paste the text on the nominee post for this one:

Name another car in any race series that gets to (and usually from) the race under it’s own power and typically pulls a covered wagon it’s own support trailer and keeps spare engines strapped into the co-pilot seat.

According to the “Official Rules” put forth by the Founding Fathers of this fine establishment:  The primary rule of HCOTY is that the car has to, in some way, embody the true spirit of Hooniverse: responsible hooning, a genuine passion for cars, a love for the antiquated, the oddball or the obscure, and a healthy absence of common sense.

WELL, THAT PRETTY MUCH COVERS IT.

Despite a spectacular cartwheel, getting rear-ended and many other bumps, bruises and technical difficulties along the way, the Killer ZomBee refuses to quit!  After many miles both on, and off the track, the British Leyland-that-could finally took home the coveted IOE trophy earlier this year.

In my humble opinion, the car is not what this HCOTY nomination stands for.  The car is merely the vessel in which our very own Sparky and a fantastic group of car nuts lives out their dreams, one weekend at a time.  Here’s to Team Killer Bees on a great year and many more to come!

Electricity comes out on top

One part 1979 EZ-GO Golf Kart. Another part late 1930’s Midget race car. Mash them together and you have one hell of an HCOTY winner. This machine is best known as “Scott’s EV Midget”, and it’s an awesome build. You can read Part 1 of the story here. The rest is probably lost to the bullshit site transfer that happened during our redesign where we lost tons of old stories and images. Yes I get upset about this every single day… but I digress. LOOK AT THIS AWESOME MIDGET!

The year there was a tie…

Hooniverse Hero Speedycop is the best kind of crazy person. One year, for the 24 Hours of LeMons, he turned a derelict Cessna airplane into a road-going (and street-legal!) race car. This man is in the (yet-to-be created) Hooniverse Hall of Fame, for sure. And this is one of his best builds.

The Cessna tied against.. the Worst Car of All Time. I’ll let Eric Rood’s words explain why it was nominated in the first place:

Rather than recap each race and transit, here is an extremely brief overview of the highlights and lowlights:

  • The first team to take it over, Sputnik Racing, registered and tagged it so it could be driven between races on the street. This proved a blessing and a curse (mostly a curse) many times over.

  • Since the 2012 Season Ender, the K has traveled much of the U.S.’s expanse from Florida to Washington and from New Hampshire to California. It crossed the country no fewer than three times and traveled around 25,000 miles (A lot for any car, let alone a 25-year-old beater of a Plymouth Reliant), split between the car itself, planned towing, and unplanned time on flatbed. It also wracked up more than 4,600 race miles, meaning K Car has seen almost 30,000 miles of movement in the past year.

  • By the K’s final race of the season, it was on its eighth motor. It had destroyed four 2.2-liter Chrysler engines (and was on its fifth) before receiving a Mitsubishi 6G72 swap. It then blew up three of those, naturally.

  • The Reliant took home a couple of event-specific trophies and an unprecedented three I Got Screwed awards.

  • K-Car fanatic Steven McDaniel drove it through Death Valley on a 118-degree day—where it predictably broke—on the way to Buttonwillow Raceway in June. In December, six-time LeMons overall winner Mike Taylor drove it through Wyoming when the outside temperature reached -21 degrees, possibly colder. It eventually proved too frustrating and the good folks from another HCOTY nominee, Stick Figure Racing, generously lent Taylor their tow rig to get it to Sonoma.

  • After 12 miserable race attempts, the K finally took home the IOE at Road America.

  • Teams who ran the K, led by unofficial Steward of the K Doug Kirchberg, cobbled together a fittingly hooptie trophy out of a small sampling of broken parts as a tribute to…something.

The best Gremlin ever

A Gremlin. Won something. And it makes sense that it would win it here. The Gremlin Rescue System vehicle was designed to get people out of crashed cars, and quickly. It came packed with the Jaws of Life and a stretcher. And one of its intended uses was track-side safety vehicle. Pretty ugly, yet pretty awesome all in one package.

Roadkill’s Revenge: NASCARlo

I nominated this one… and I still stand by it. Roadkill’s NASCARlo is such a wonderful machine. The delightful fiends at Roadkill took a ratty 1970 Monte Carlo body and plopped it atop a late-model stocker race car. This makes it fast, ugly, terrible, street legal, and awesome all in one go.

The voting that year was heavily outweighed when Roadkill posted a link to our post on their Facebook page. Regardless, NASCARlo won (and I was happy with the outcome, haha). I still owe Finnegan a six pack because we said they wouldn’t get it fixed after crashing it… but they did. Because Roadkill.

The first two-wheeled thing on the list

[Image: The Vintagent]

Tanshanomi nominated a motorcycle. There was no way a motorcycle was going to win Hooniverse CAR of the Year. But then the votes started rolling in, and this gorgeous hunk of machinery captured the crown. Builder Mehmet Doruk Erdem wanted a motorcycle that evoked thoughts of 1950’s streamliners. The BMW Alpha manages to look both old and new at the same time, and it’s one hell of a wicked creation.

Editor’s Choice: A special award for a special vehicle

Remember that time when Zach Bowman sold off most of his stuff and stuffed his young family into a small RV? We sure do. Bowman’s Odyssey was the nearly year-long saga of Zach and his family spending a long time on the road. A stout Dodge Ram served as travel companion, home, nursery, office, and so much more. Though this rig didn’t outright win HCOTY in 2016, it did capture the hearts and minds of the Hooniverse front office.

Bradley Brownell decided it should capture an Editor’s Choice HCOTY award. And I think that means it deserves inclusion on this list here. Hell, it might even win the whole thing…

What a swell-o yellow thing

Speaking of Brad, his own 1976 Porsche 912E won HCOTY back in 2017. Mr. Brownell loves his super Beetle and drives it everywhere. In fact, he hates flying so much that he recorded many a mile behind the wheel of this delightful machine. It recently had a full engine rebuild and should be seeing more road time very soon.

During its HCOTY contest, the Porsche captured 37% of the vote. The next closest competitor snagged just 18%. This was a decisive victory. And for good reason. What a lovely old thing…

Check out this fatty…

I love the Fat Hippo. This is the second motorcycle to capture our HCOTY title. And it deserves it, no question. You can read the full nomination post here. But the gist is that the builder scraped together parts to make the bike he wanted. The end result is awesome. And it’s the exact sort of vehicle that rightfully gets to wear the HCOTY crown.

On to the voting:

Which vehicle is the Hooniverse Car of the Decade?
Which vehicle is the Hooniverse Car of the Decade?

62 Comments

  1. “The drift truck won that year, but I think some long-time regulars are still salty about it.”

    I’m prepared to let the matter rest as soon as I receive my Hooque.

    1. Far be it from me to discourage you Professor Harrell, but I believe that there is some -even if unwritten- understanding that any vehicle entered must have at least moved under its own power within the last decade. I suspect this reduces the number of potential winning vehicles in your fleet rather sharply, even if we stipulate to the rather loose and vague definition of “vehicle” to which you subscribe.

      Just sayin’

      1. Three things:

        (1) I’m a lecturer, not a professor. No tenure for me.

        (2) The Alpha was a project that had never moved under its own power at the time of its nomination and victory.

        (3) I’m not complaining about the HCOTY process; I’m complaining about the entirely unrelated Hooque delivery process. It’s traditional at this point.

    1. Shit, did I forget one?
      Honestly piecing this together through the missing posts and pics was much more of a pain in the ass than I expected…

  2. I have to vote for the Zombee.
    How much more hooniversal can you get than a car that is actually straighter and better aligned to specification, AFTER a crash, AND the crash is on video?

  3. Zombee all the way!

    Yeah, I know I haven’t been on here much in the last five years (hi everyone!), but I was a regular at one point during this decade so I reckon my voter registration’s still valid.

  4. I’m fine with the Zombee winning. But I’m voting for Zach… I still think he should’ve won in his year

    1. did he cartwheel the RV and keep going?

      When he does that, I’ll vote for him over the Bee

      Did he drive it off a bank and into a tree and then rebuild it?

      When he does that, he’ll get my second choice over the Beast.

      What I’m saying is, I want to see more carnage. ::claps hands::

      1. Points all considered…
        Zachdid fix things on the truck though, and I’d wager it’s far harder to maintain a marriage while in an RV for a year than it is to mend a bent Falcon
        (Not to diminish the Bana car, I love it too)

  5. Future submissions should meet the following criteria: “was this submission upside down at some point while moving?”
    If the answer is no, see Pete for further info.

    1. The fact that it was upside down while moving should surprise no one. The fact that it was moving under its own power should surprise all familiar with British cars.

  6. I’m surprised anyone voted for the drift truck haha – it’s super rad but most of you still hate how that vote turned out

    1. It was against that fucking awesome 1907 Peking-to-Paris Red Dragon Itala. Remember that thing, and how goddamned cool it was?

      The drift truck was fine, but was it “doing a rally across all of asia and europe in a 100-year-old car with a sofa on top” cool? No. No it was not.

    1. What’s with all the brown tarps on the ground? Certainly the car’s fluid capacity isn’t enough to leak more than about a foot past the perimeter of the car.

      1. The car show this picture was taken at took place inside a gymnasium and the tarps were to prevent fluids and tire marks getting on the floor.

  7. Zombee is on a solid run, but I voted for Scott’s EV Midget. It has this great blend of ambition for/lack of speed, blended with a solid dose of death wish, cut to a fair enough execution…I really like it. Hard to choose though, as there are a lot of cool builds here.

  8. Zombee is on a solid run, but I voted for Scott’s EV Midget. It has this great blend of ambition for/lack of speed, blended with a solid dose of death wish, cut to a fair enough execution…I really like it. Hard to choose though, as there are a lot of cool builds here.

  9. MIATA! No MX5? Any Miata would be the right answer or we could find an specific car and vote for it.

      1. Fair enough, but Miata still has been best bang for the buck during this decade for someone who enters the world of track days or autcross, IMHO. Or what would you suggest?

        1. Last I knew, “best bang for the buck at autocross” wasn’t the standard for this (HCOTY/HCOTD), and it’s entirely too boring an answer since it has been THE default answer to that particular standard (cheap entry to autocross/track days) for a long time.

          Please note that I’m not calling the Miata boring, just that it would be an incredibly boring candidate here.

  10. Voted for Zach, not sure what all the Zombee meta is about. It’s a beat up LeMons MG, what am I missing? Bowman’s articles triggered wanderlust in me that I’ve been unable to sate. Totally changed how I see pickups without beds

  11. Voted for Zach, not sure what all the Zombee meta is about. It’s a beat up LeMons MG, what am I missing? Bowman’s articles triggered wanderlust in me that I’ve been unable to sate. Totally changed how I see pickups without beds

    1. Pete was one of the earliest and most enthusiastic commenters to Hooniverse and AtomicToasters when we started both.

      …you know, now that I think back on it, I have no effin’ clue where we found Pete. HEY PETE, where’d you come from, were you like a stray that just wandered in one evening and we fed you and you stayed?

      …anyhow, he joined our little community loudly and enthusiastically when we first started it. He is among the O.G. of Hooniverse. When he started on his various LeMons adventures, he did it with lots of photos specifically for us to post, and in fact even wrote a lengthy story of a road-trip to LeMons with a one-wheeled unicycle trailer towed behind him for him to sleep in… and a spare engine where the passenger seat used to be, if memory serves.

      He’s one of the few who has made a point of reaching out to those of us who started this little family, and become a real-world friend to a lot of us. @disqus_rBIRIUy16t:disqus (and others of course) even visited he and Super-Spouse in their totally-not-weird-or-creepy-in-any-way totally-isolated-from-all-civilization rustic cabin in the woods and discovered they’re actually Hobbits at like 4′ tall.

      The legend of Pete is strong. So while I absolutely endorse voting for Zach’s RV, if that’s what speaks to you, we’re obviously all pulling for Pete to win. He’s family.

      1. Some say he has traveled cross country for takeout and has spilled more oil in his driveway that the Exxon Valdez.

    1. It’s an achievement of sorts, but whenever you post a link, I have to hover to check if it’s…safe. 😘

        1. That got messy when people started not sending gifts… it was a ton of fun, and I feel like I still owe Doc Harrell a return present for what he sent me, but it was run by others via Facebook and became a bit too much work.

          If anyone wants to try and take on the mantle for 2020, I’m listening.

          1. Understood. I’ve still got a big pile of auto press swag from stef that I wanted to pass along

  12. That drift truck makes me really want to find a 620 Datsun– such a simple, rugged, handsome little truck. I’ve been itching for a small pickup, and old Toyota pickup pricing has gone through the roof.

  13. So this olelongrooffan laid awake half the night assembling in my mind the multitude of reasons which recipient is the most deserving of the HCOD award. Luckily, upon awakening this morning, thereby saving my fellow Hoons from a long, white beard kind of essay, this olelongrooffan realized that a multiple time loser of the HCOTY award must not possess the most proficient of persuasive communication skills. However, please remember this my fellow Hoons, while SpeedyCop can and does build awesome race cars almost on demand (and I am a certified member of his fan club) and Zach’s year long odyssey is much to be desired and admired (where is that truck now?), only the Zombee Racer can lay claim to have participated in competition with a motor commandeered from his wife’s car (and that marriage survives to this day). This olelongrooffan can state with almost certainty this has never occurred in race car competition previously. To me, that is reason enough for the bestowing of the HCOTD award to the little race car that could.

  14. If there is anything to be learned from this it’s that to get to the podium your car must have flown at some point.

  15. I see we’re being Drift Truck’d again. Ah well, it’s too bad. Pete and the ‘Bee will always be my choice. I think it says all it needs to say that before any campaigning started, it was a comfortable neck-and-neck race between Zach’s RV and the ‘Bee. That says who our choices really are, and I say fuck the ballot-stuffing. It’s been a problem almost every year, and I imagine it will continue to be, but I say congratulations to Pete and Zach. They were within a vote or two of one another for the whole run.

    Of course I have no say in that, but that’s how I see it.

      1. Speedycop and the K-wagon are both on the ballot because of a tie that year. You should add their votes together and divide by two. Unless, of course, that still isn’t enough to award the whole thing to The Little MG That Could.

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