Hooniverse Weekend Edition – Writing for Hooniverse, Some Months On

Duct tape and a knock-off Gorillapod. Not a long-lifed setup.

Editors Note: This weekend, Hooniverse will be running a series of posts introducing you to some of the new writers who are now in our part of the Hooniverse. This time it’s Antti Kautonen who has his own series of features called the Finnish Line. Let Antti know how much you appreciate his writing here.

This weekend, each one of us new guys steps on to the stage and rephrases themselves in the form of an informal introduction. For some, it’s their first post in terms of saying something about themselves instead of presenting a car; for some like me, it’s a chance to look at themselves in a newer light.

When I got the gig of writing for this site, my automotive writing career didn’t have that many miles under its belt. I had spent my formative years between endless rows of used cars on Sundays with my dad, kicking tires and trying to re-attach anything I had inadvertently snapped off, like a fuel flap of a Peugeot 309; leafing through old car magazines had somehow instilled the will in me to put some of that imagery into words. Later on, the words came to me as I picked up English and wanted to put it into good use, and foisting my weird interests on the collective FinalGear forums seemed to be a good place to start. Checking out used cars, writing about beaters I saw; it seems it’s everything I’ve wanted to do. Reflecting on the months I’ve now spent writing posts here, with a glass of nicely crafty Cabernet-Shiraz at hand, I feel like it’s a good idea to look back and make notes of the notes I make.

First of all, I have to say how instrumental a good camera phone has been to me. 90% of the stuff I post are momentary snaps, taken in anticipation for the owner to snatch the car away. No matter how much I’d want the chance to shoot the cars with a DSLR, it’s simply too much of a PITA to haul around when the fact is most of the cars are lunch hour sightings, or randomness at the Garage of Dreams (watering hole for cars such as the Mirada). The latter does have challenging lighting, and as such the photos do easily turn out either partially washed out or grainy or both. Whenever I have the time and the subject is sure not to move for a few hours, days or months, I sneak back and document the car better (the sharknose 524td or the Italians). I do tip my hat at Murilee, as the inspiration to what I do is obvious.

Another thing I need for my Hoon to bloom? Nettiauto. I habitually trawl the biggest car sales site in Finland, trying to find something I personally lust for and something that’s within my price range. I continuously fool myself into thinking it makes even the slightest bit of sense to trade one of my two cars for something else when the fact is it never does; browsing Citroën BX:s and XM:s and E28:s and E34:s isn’t for the sake of content, it’s for myself. I swear, one of these days some fool will put his Alfa Romeo 75 for sale near me and I’ll be all over it like BZR on a Miata Torsen.

I do have a few muses, too. Since in this piece I’ll be skipping my significant other for the sake of maintaining her modesty (and since she does, every now and then, doubt the necessity of sneaking around car parks snapping pics), I’ll focus on the two Japanese classics I currently own. During these months, my bent-up Mazda 323F has received two new doors and a fender, but is still not 100% correctly put together and has spent all this time parked on the street. Things are about to change, however, as the Sapporo needs one or two things done and I’m sick of biking to work after three days; this weekend, I’ll put the studded tires under the Mazda and get it back on the beat. I swear.

The Sapporo? It’s been my daily driver through the gruelling winter, and even if it hasn’t gathered any rust that I know of, it’s busted its exhaust, transformed a CV joint into a maracas and started leaking power steering fluid, accompanied by a screaming PAS pump. Hence it’s in the school auto shop down the road – with its right front wheel assembly taken apart and dismantled before it becoming painfully obvious that a Galant joint won’t fit on a Sapporo axle unlike claimed. But, I intend to replace everything on it that’s not showroom fresh with original Sapporo parts I can acquire over time. If it’s the best of all Sapporos in Finland it might just as well be the best it can be.

What next? I’ll keep on doing what I do, only more and better. I’ve now lived in this town for six months and not a day has gone by without something interesting making itself known. It’s just my job to show it all in the best and most honest light possible – and as we’re going towards summer again and it’s again light in the afternoon, it’s likely I’ll be doing just that. Every now and then, I’ll find something lightly used and take it for a little spin, perhaps considering an unfairly set-up part-exchange, even if the 323F is what I consider the best all-around sports hatch in its class. It helps that with five doors and pop-up headlights it’s really in a class of its own.

Read more from Antti Kautonen by clicking here.


[Photo credits: Mika Suhonen, Janne Pitkänen]

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