Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Special Editions Named for Females


Car manufacturers have produced a lot special/limited edition models with tie-ins to famous people. Oleg Cassini. Eddie Bauer. Frank Sinatra. What do they nearly all have in common? They’re male. It’s actually rather difficult to think of a special edition car badged with the moniker of a famous woman. I know of two, and only one of those officially bore the woman’s name. (And no, it wasn’t a ’75 Cutlass Supreme. I just made that up.) So, after several weeks of lobbing easy ones over the virtual wall of cyberspace, I’m tasking you with a Hoonatica entry where the low-hanging fruit is few and far between. Put on your thinking caps.

The caveats:

  • Production cars only. It needs to be a version sold to the public. Lots of famous women have had a one-off vehicle crafted for them officially or semi-officially by manufacturers; those don’t count.
  • Specifically Named. Being endorsed or promoted by a female spokesperson doesn’t count, it has to be named after her.
  • Named specifically. It’s not enough for the model to be named for women in general (Dodge La Femme) or targeted towards women as a demographic (Suzuki Lapin Chocolat). It has to be named for an individual woman. [I suppose it could be the proper name of a specific group of women, although I have yet to learn of a Spice Girls Edition Protogé or Rylstone, North Yorkshire Women’s Institute Edition Austin Maestro.]

Difficulty: A bit fiendish. Only automotive history wonks need apply.

How This Works: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates. Bonus points for adding photos. Remember, you can simply paste in the raw image URL now, thanks to the magic of Disqus.

Image Source: and

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Inside & Outside Seating

Outside Seating

Last Thursday, Redusernab published a pair of posts that featured the Subaru Brat and the Lambo LM002. I was struck by something these two vehicles had in common: enclosed cabins uncovered jump seats. Both force certain passengers to ride out in the wind, rain and sun with no option of a convertible top, while the driver sits ensconced in the climate-controlled shade and quiet of an enclosed cabin with a fixed steel roof. How many vehicles have this arrangement?

Well, that’s where the magic of our commenters’ hive mind comes in. As every Monday, your task is to help us construct just such a comprehensive list in the comment section below.

The caveats: NONE! It’s an all-skate. It’s more fun when as many people as possible participate, so I am leaving this one wide open. Any age, any type of vehicle. Just so long as at least one passenger is forced to sit out in the open, and at least one other is in an enclosed, fixed-roof cabin.

Difficulty: See above. A blue run. Not quite a gimmie, but you should make it through without crashing out.

How This Works: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates. Bonus points for adding photos. Remember thanks to Disqus, no HTML is needed: you can simply paste in the image URL.

Image Sources: Redusernab, last Thursday.

V.I.S.I.T. – 1954 Ford Tudor

Despite , I made a rare exception to my “no cell phone while driving” rule, thanks to the State of Kansas’s failure to include snapping cellphone pics in their distracted driving statute, and the fact that I was sitting at a stoplight with my foot on the brake. Furthermore, if the Sunflower State’s Finest did try to bust me, I was only about three feet from Missouri.*

Why did I feel compelled to compromise my safety-first attitude for this particular car? No, I don’t have a fetish for 1954 Fords, even though they’re cool cars. This car’s extra significance comes not from what it is, but rather from who’s behind the wheel. The ‘shopped license plate camouflage should provide the giveaway clue; this seafoam survivor belongs to none other than Redusernab Hyper-Lounge Certified commenter . I had just enjoyed a tasty Shrimp Po’Boy Combo in the company of both the Divine Mr. A and fellow Heartland Hoon .

Despite my efforts to obscure his plate, I am still going to blow his witness protection cover by showing you his dashing mug in an even more flagrant, underway-in-traffic side view of the car after the jump.

… Continue Reading

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: More or Less than Two Windshield Wipers


Modern cars overwhelmingly have two windshield wipers, but that typical arrangement is certainly not the only one. Sometimes more or less than two wipers is a fancy feature (à la Mercedes) or simply a necessity (such as on the FJ Cruiser’s squatty windshield).

Your task today is to catalog for all eternity (or at least as long as Google lasts) all the vehicles that have either a single front windshield wiper, or more than two. (And no, Mr. Clever, rear window wipers don’t count!)

Difficulty: I’m not really sure. There’s more low-hanging fruit out there, but this is just the sort of thing you’re likely to see on obscure and bizarre low-production vehicles, so how deep this well goes is anybody’s guess.

How This Works: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates. Bonus points for adding photos. Remember thanks to Disqus, no HTML is needed: you can simply paste in the image URL.

Image Sources: and

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Factory White Wheels


Not too long ago in the history of the automobile, wheels were almost universally black steel, or perhaps painted to match the body color of the car, if you bought something really fancy. But white wheels? That would look weird. And indeed, when tried, they did look sort of weird. That didn’t stop white aftermarket wheels from becoming a bona fide trend; nowadays they’re seemingly everywhere on everything from sports cars to stanced hatchbacks that can’t traverse a speed bump.

However, original equipment white wheels from the showroom are not quite as common. Your assignment for today is to fill our virtual tome of arcane knowledge with a list of all the production cars that rolled off the assembly line equipped with white wheels. (Bonus points if the body color is something other than white.)

Difficulty: 3.6-1000 nanofarthings per sidereal year.

How This Works: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates. Bonus points for adding photos. Remember thanks to Disqus, no HTML is needed: you can simply paste in the image URL.

Image Sources: and General Motors Heritage Center via

1981 Caprice Taxi…in South Africa?

Peter Tanshanomi April 6, 2015 For Sale


The cool thing (well, one of the cool things) about surfing the Interwebs is the unprecedented opportunity we have to peek in on far-flung locales that we’d have known nothing about pre cyber-age. Working my Google-fu (if you’ll excuse my millennial jargon) while searching for the images I used in today’s Encyclopedia Hoonatica post, I found this Caprice taxi that somehow ended up Far Far Away in Edgemead, South Africa. The seller claims that it was a New York City taxi in a past life, and that it’s “The only New York Chev Caprice in the country“. OR IS IT? Our own Kamil Kaluski thinks otherwise, pointing out,

“I’m not sure that it’s a NYC cab. NYC cabs never came with those checker stickers, that I know of, at least none that I have ever seen, not in the 80s. No roof light, no medallion stencil,… it might be a cab, but I don’t think it was a NYC cab.”

Excellent points, but the seller does say that it “comes with the original taxi number and indicator on roof”…although the roof looks unaltered and the  indicator is nowhere to be seen in the two very basic photos provided. What say you, is this the real NYC deal, or an imposter? In any case, it would still be a rare and most excellent way to drive around on the wrong side of the road at the opposite tip of another continent.

Source: www.gumtree.co.za

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Amber & Red Turn Signals


In nearly all automotive markets worldwide, turn signals are required to be amber. Not so in North America, where Federal (& Canadian) vehicle standards allow them to be either amber or red on the rear of the vehicle. (This remains true despite the government’s own findings that amber turn signals are safer, significantly reducing accidents over red turn signals.) As a result, American auto makers have chosen between red and amber rear turns willy-nilly, with little logic as to when one or the other is used. Therefore, some domestic models originally equipped with one color were switched during a model-year refresh. For example, the Aspen & Volaré twins (including the rockin’ Road Runner versions shown) switched from red in ’77 to amber in ’78.

Obviously, this question centers around the North American market, but there are plenty of opportunities for our overseas readers to participate. Many automakers have gone through the somewhat illogical expense of equipping American models headed overseas with special export-only lighting equipment, while a number of imports have adopted red rear lens designs for the North American market. (Do Americans really hate amber lights enough to justify the expense?)

Your Hoonatica assignment for today is to name all the vehicles that were equipped with both amber and red rear turn signal versions. To be clear, this means the same generation/platform, not just model name!

Difficulty: Easy. Most people have one they can name off the top of their heads.

How This Works: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates. Bonus points for adding photos. Remember thanks to Disqus, no HTML is needed: you can simply paste in the image URL.

Image Source: and

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Front Beam Axle With Leaf Springs

Beam axle with leaf springs

Back when I had my ’66 GMC van, I was amazed on how basic and uncomplicated the front suspension was: A simple, solid axle bolted to two longitudinal leaf springs. It’s about the simplest front suspension one can imagine, and isn’t much different than the suspension on a horse-drawn frontier buckboard of 150 years ago (and why people complained that my van “rode like a buckboard”). No control arms or other linkages, just an axle, springs, and a couple of shocks. It doesn’t provide the best ride, and it’s not a terribly space efficient layout, but it is elegant in its simplicity, very robust, and can be maintained with basic mechanical skills and a few simple tools. (“Yeah! Impact wrench! VRRR VRRR!“)

In homage to my old van, today’s entry in the virtual tome that is Encyclopedia Hoonatica is vehicles with a solid beam axle and leaf springs up front. Lately, E-H queries have not been very technical, so I decided to lob out a question today that’s a little more deferential to those greasemonkeys who spend more time under cars than perusing sales brochures.

The caveats:

  • Passenger cars and light trucks only. We could name medium- and heavy-duty trucks until the cows come home. And then the cows could name a few more.
  • Rear wheel drive only. No 4x4s. A beam axle is not the same thing as a drive axle.
  • Front suspension only. We don’t care about what’s in the rear of your Dodge Caravan.
  • Since this was a fairly common configuration on many early vehicles, both common and obscure, let’s restrict the list to postwar vehicles.

Difficulty: Easy for some, a blank stare for others. Big bonus points for passenger cars.

How This Works: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates. Bonus points for adding photos. Remember, you can simply pasting in the image URL now, thanks to Disqus.

Image Source: via

Encyclopedia Hoonatica TWT Bonus Edition: Freaky Motorcycle Carbs


This past weekend, a sorta-bike-literate friend mentioned he’d just seen his first KZ1300, Kawasaski’s liquid-cooled, six-cylinder roadster. He was more than a little impressed, and shared some of the information the owner had shared with him, including one erroneous “fact”: that the KZ1300 was the only motorcycle equipped with two-barrel carbs. I (being the arrogant know-it-all I am) corrected him and told him of two other bikes that used the same type of double-barrel carb. Then as we continued talking, I told him about a particular single-cylinder motorcycle that was not only equipped with two carbs, but had one CV carb and one slide carb.

I decided (being the arrogant know-it-all I am) that the question of freaky motorcycle carb setups would be a great Encyclopedia Hoonatica question. Now, E-H normally covers car topics on Monday, but Redusernab is not a hard-core “biker guy” site. Since many of you might not be answering a motorcycle question (and a rather obscure one at that), slipping one into the normal E-H weekly slot wouldn’t really be cricket, would it?

So, here’s the first (and perhaps only) Encyclopedia Hoonatica/Two-Wheel-Tuesday crossover edition. I expect the responses will be as fascinating and well-thought as the usual Monday EH comments. Both of them.

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Window Corner Fillers


Thanks to Jim’s Antti’s Mitsubishi-themed weekend, I was reacquainted with the Cordia, a car I though was quite handsome as a young college student soldier. But I never realized back in the day how odd and obvious the black plastic filler was in the corners of the rear quarter windows. It is a styling technique we’ve seen many times over the years. Sometimes it’s done for engineering reasons (stronger roof pillars, or allowing door windows to go down completely) and sometimes it’s done strictly for looks (“Let’s make this window odd and awkward!”). For whatever reason they exist, your job today is to list all the cars that have used this little styling trick.

Just to be clear, this is NOT a Hofmeister kink, which clips off the corner of both the window and the window frame to match it. We need to see cars whose body shell is shaped to make it look like the window opening was originally larger than the glass is, and the extra bit has been filled in with a trim piece (sometimes chrome, usually matte black if the car is less than 25 years old.)

DIFFICULTY: Roughly equivalent to being “it” in a game of hide-and-seek. On the Bonneville salt flats.

Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates. Images are always a nice touch.*

*thanks to the wonder of Disqus, I no longer have to admonish you about HTML and/or image width settings!