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Redusernab Asks: Can we stop with retro styling now?

Kamil Kaluski October 19, 2018 Redusernab Asks

I saw this 2002-ish Thunderbird on my drive this morning. It had the optional hardtop with a port window. I never liked it. It was never fast, it never handled well. It was at a period when Ford was trying to be European but failing. And I always thought it was ugly. There was also the New Beetle, the Mustang, Chevy HHR and SSR, PT Cruier, and a few others. All styled to reflect classic lines of their corporate ancestors and not much else to show for it. 

Can we stop that now? Can we kill this trend? Can we design something that’s new, modern, and elegant without looking all modern bubbly? 

Redusernab Asks: What’s the one car you love but will never buy?

Kamil Kaluski October 18, 2018 Redusernab Asks

There are so many cars that I want but that I know better then to actually buy them. The Land Rover LR4 is one of those. I liked it a lot when I reviewed it but I just know that it is a horribly bad idea to buy a used one, especially now when most of them are off warranty. Every time I see one, the want is strong. I can say the same thing about Corvettes, Miatas, large pickups, and many other European cars but for different reasons. I’m old and I’ve learned some things over the years. Yet I have a Lada, go figure. 

So what vehicle would you love to own but you know that you never will?

Settrington Cup – Real Racing(TM) in vintage pedal cars at Goodwood

Kamil Kaluski October 17, 2018 Goodwood

Goodwood is all about cars. But we must recall our younger years when many of us were already car enthusiasts yet we were years away from being able to drive. Some of us wanted to design cars, others to restore or customize them. Others just wanted to race. Settrington Cup is the Goodwood race in vintage pedal cars for children ages six through nine. The starts off with a classic LeMans running start to the cars and then, well, just see for yourself. 

These basic vintage pedal cars can be bought for around £600 in the UK. But racing is never cheap and competitive race-ready vintage pedal cars can reach as much £5000. The fact that Settrington Cup has become hugely popular since its inaugural race in 2012 has driven the prices of these cars up. 

V.I.S.I.T.: Off-roady BMW X5

The annual Topsfield Fair is America’s oldest fair. This year it celebrated its 100th anniversary. There were crappy rides, fatty and sugary foods, interesting shows, and cheap prizes. There was also the biggest pumpkin, livestock, horses, and human cannonball guy. All typical fair stuff. Because I have kids I have to endure this misery every year. 

After an hour of creeping at 0.2mph to a $10 parking spot a mile from the entrance, I spotted the most interesting thing I would see that day. It was a modified BMW X5. But it was modified for the purposes of off-roading. The most unusual thing was the [very] high clearance front bumper with a winch. 

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Hennessey’s Jeep Trackhawk kills the quarter mile in 9.66 seconds

Kamil Kaluski October 15, 2018 All Things Hoon

I drove the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk some time ago and I loved it. It’s a ridiculously powerful SUV and its all-wheel-drive system makes it, in my opinion, the best of the Hellcat vehicles. Bone stock it kills the quarter mile in 11-something seconds – your results may vary. 

Hennessey, known for a lot of things including making cars faster, has made the Trackhawk even faster. They opened the engine are replaced pistons, rods, and the camshaft. They ported the cylinder heads and added long tube stainless steel headers. On top of the block is a huge 4.5L supercharger. On 109 octane unleaded fuel and 22 psi of boost pressure, the HPE1200, as they call it, produces 1003 hp and 892 lb-ft of torque at the wheels. Call it 1200hp at the crank. 

That is enough to send this 4500+ pound SUV, on Nitto 555R drag radial tires on all four wheels, from zero to 60mph in 2.3 seconds. It killed ¼ mile time of 9.66 seconds @ 145 mph. That is brutally fast. It’s borderline hypercar territory. Except this is a comfortable SUV. No word on how fast it would be on pump gas or if it is emissions legal. 

Hennessey is only making 24 of these HPE1200 Trackhawks. The price is $179,000, which includes a new 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. 

Review: 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk – The Best Hellcat?

Can the 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata make a good family vehicle?

I am in my early forties. I am married and I have two kids. I have a nice home and a decent family vehicle. I have something resembling a career and a sweet side gig writing about cars. You’d think I’m living the dream, but I’m not. I have a secret deep down inside me – I always wanted a Miata. But somehow, for various reasons, I never bought one. But I always wanted one. Badly.

But realistically it won’t work for me. How would I drop my two kids off at two different schools every morning in a Miata? And then there are the guitars, lacrosse sticks, hockey equipment, and volcano projects that need constant moving. My dream of a daily driver Miata simply isn’t possible.

Or is it?

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Review: Ford F-150 King Ranch with Power Stroke Diesel

The vehicle pictured here might look like a pickup truck but it isn’t. It is a sedan. It is a proper large American luxury sedan, a true descendant of land yachts from decades ago. Really, it is. Like those land yachts, it has huge amounts of interior space. That space is filled with incredibly comfortable heated, ventilated, and massaging seats. The rear seat passengers have more leg and head room than in any of those puny European luxury sedans. That thing in the back, that’s not a pickup bed. Put a cover on it and it becomes a huge trunk. Put a cap on it and you have the modern large American station wagon.

This begs to define what a pickup truck is. A pickup has a vinyl bench seat for three people. A pickup has a huge bed that easily swallows an eight–by-four plywood planks or 3000-pounds of manure. This Ford F-150 large luxury sedan cannot do these things. It has a power tailgate, like a Range Rover, power folding mirrors, and automatically deploying sidesteps. Driving this to a construction site would be like hiking in your ’s.

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Redusernab Asks: Least expected vehicle on a Buy Here Pay Here Lot?

Kamil Kaluski October 5, 2018 Redusernab Asks

A friend of mine (hi, Joey!) was driving by a local and noticed something that didn’t quite belong there – a yellow Lambo. How strange, right? A bright yellow Lambo among a sea of gray and black mid-level mid-size vehicles that are totally not salvaged, poorly repaired, and have original odometers. There has got to be an interesting story there. 

That made me think – what type of vehicle does one never see at a Buy Here Pay Here lot?

Van transforms a Speedster into a speedboat

Kamil Kaluski October 4, 2018 All Things Hoon

It is my opinion that the worst drivers in America drive cars that have ZipCar stickers all over them. Like my worst enemy, I pay close attention to them. I also try to stay away from rented vans and trucks as many people driving them don’t have a lot of experience with larger vehicles. I’ve seen some crazy stuff. It turns out that in Europe, or at least U.K., I don’t even know if they’re still part of Europe or what’s going on there, isn’t much different. 

A replica of the classic Porsche 356, a 2004 , was peacefully parked along the Regent’s Canal in north London. Then, a wham and bam, and the speedster becomes a speedboat. Someone backing-up their rented cargo van simply did not see it. 

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How not to overland

Kamil Kaluski October 4, 2018 All Things Hoon

Those that are not aware, overlanding is the hottest current trend. The idea is to take an off-road capable vehicle and transform it into something that is even more capable for increased payload and ability to conquer more difficult trains. Recovery and emergency gear is part of the deal. The vehicle then has to be able to carry the essentials, and not much else, needed multi-night camping. Call it hiking in your car – it has a lot of appeal. 

See the Jeep above? That is the exact opposite of what overlanding is supposed to be. This very stock-looking JK Sahara is clearly significantly overloaded. The custom looking, if sketchy AF, roof rack seems to have everything on it and the kitchen sink, probably literally. But what can’t been seen in the above picture is the hitch mounted rack. Click below…

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