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A Hoon’s Thanksgiving Benediction

Redusernab November 24, 2010 Friends of Redusernab

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Author’s Note: I offer this story as a mark of Hooniversal thanks to beaters and rust-buckets everywhere.

The SL2 had been with me for four years, twenty thousand miles, and three sets of handbrake pads. It was twelve years old; had accumulated only eighty thousand miles total before its demise. As it sat in the ice and mud of the service department back lot, miserable in the grey November light, I saw for the first time just how battered it had become.

Every panel, though dent-proof, was scratched and grimy; lines of rust leaked around the sills and windows. The bumpers hung crooked; the rear smashed upward, the front drooping, secretly held in shape and place by a network of zipties. One hubcap was fragmented; victim of a midnight downpour and an unplanted parking lot island.

This was the car I’d learned to drive on; the dented passenger floor and loose door panel a testament to my parents’ tendency to panic-stomp on an imagined pedal while strangling the Jesus handle. It had been my key to freedom throughout high school; a silent accomplice, willing but inept back-road companion, and occasional refuge.

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The Toyota “Swagger Wagon:” Like Watching Grandpa Do the Macarena

Redusernab November 23, 2010 LA Auto Show

Cool kids go to the prom in limos. Cooler kids go in their mom's Toyota Sienna.

The minivan will someday be cool again. But until then, Toyota isn’t helping, even despite their efforts.

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This Kentucky Colonel Trades His Mint Julep for a Martini

Redusernab November 22, 2010 Streetwalker

The martini was supposedly  by a bartender in the late 1800s who named it after his hometown , overlooking the East Bay. (y, but let’s face it, those East Coasters get way too much damn credit.) Today, it’s a worldwide symbol of sophistication that always looks good and never ages badly. Jaguars are the same, when they’re not breaking down. Let’s hope this one (unlike the Valiant) isn’t.

Abandon All Hope, Ye Who [Enter] “Project Car”

Redusernab November 22, 2010 For Sale, In General

“Project Car.” Never has such an optimistic phrase embodied something the sane run away from so quickly. It is to Craigslist’s autos section as “Star Trek enthusiast” or “Loves being spoiled” are to dating sites — great big red flags signaling trouble with a capital ‘T.’ Here’s a secret I just discovered though, actively searching on that term yields some amazing finds and true lunacy. Follow me now as we travel into the rabbit hole.

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And the REAL winner is…

Redusernab November 21, 2010 24 Hours of Lemons

Unfortunately, the Gremlin did not win its own trophy

Sure, it’s easy to run a bunch of laps in a BMW E30.  That’s boring, though!  Anyone can do that!

What we really want to know is the winner of the Index of Effluency Award.  This award is given to a car that you expect to run a few slow laps and “call it a day” (or explode monumentally) but that actually performs well the whole weekend.  This is the award that matters.

And this time, the coveted Index of Effluency goes to…

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And the winner is…

Redusernab November 21, 2010 24 Hours of Lemons

The Race Hard Race Ugly BMW 325is! They finished 9.8 seconds before the Warthog Racing E30, and it could have gone either way.

On Nomenclature

Redusernab November 21, 2010 24 Hours of Lemons

Hours of sitting next to a track will teach you a thing or two about the cars running on it.  The “Rusty Trombone” Passat is named not just amusingly but accurately as well: the slick side-trunk-exit exhaust produces a tone as mellifluous as that produced by the brass horn on the car’s roof.

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Reverse Engineering

Redusernab November 21, 2010 24 Hours of Lemons

The sun is up, and just in time to provide you with this Moment of LeMons Zen.

I spoke too soon

Redusernab November 20, 2010 24 Hours of Lemons

I spoke too soon. It turns out someone showed up with a 25-year-old F-150 with the body on backwards.

I can’t make this up.

The Green Flag Is Up!

Redusernab November 20, 2010 24 Hours of Lemons

The racers are a-rollin’ here at the Circuit of Grand Bayou.  The pack has thinned slightly over the first two hours, and some cars, like the plucky AMC Gremlin, sadly didn’t even make it to the parade lap, but many of the cars are still running fine.

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