What Was Your Automotive News for 2019?

In the closing days of each year, we’re always asked to look back and reflect on what we were able to cram into another calendar. Maybe it’s just a part of getting older, but it seems like that calendar becomes increasingly busier and shorter every year. I was always told that life is a marathon and not a sprint, yet 2019 felt like a speed run. Most weeks were just a blur to me with some highlights mixed in giving me the only sense of time. I guess it’s a side effect of trying to keep myself occupied with highs to drown out the lows. Or it’s just what being an adult is like and I’ve just now noticed because I’m pretending a little harder to be one now.

Speaking of getting older while feigning maturity, Hooniverse turned 10 this year. With its anniversary came a flood of old memories. Old faces and early pioneers of the site all came together with the current roster to reflect on what makes this site – rather, this community – so unique. In addition to being a great tribute, it served as a reminder of why we’re all still here. For me personally, it’s all the wildly different personalities and tastes that somehow blend so well. Few other places can span such a large swath of car culture and keep the peace. Too many people turn their passions into a war, but not here. That’s why despite the busier schedules and tougher commitments that we all share, the volunteer staff at Hooniverse is still here trying to chip in.

So as most automakers are on break till the new year, I’m devoting another news spot to the highlights of your speed run. Anything that made 2019 memorable for you has a place here, as always. See you all in 2020.

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24 responses to “What Was Your Automotive News for 2019?”

  1. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
    Greg Kachadurian

    Started the year by getting rained on at the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona as is customary now.

    Then some friends and I started a super pro iRacing endurance team (more on that later… ish) and did okay sometimes. I crashed hard behind Nicky Catsburg once.

    A little while later I did my first track day with the Mustang at Atlanta Motorsports Park and did another one there a few months ago. I plan to keep doing at least a handful of those a year and work my way to different tracks. Road Atlanta is probably next and Barber Motorsports Park is on the short list too. Also got a few quick and easy mods planned to make my track days more enjoyable. And maybe one day I’ll finally get around to making a track review of this thing.

    I took a few big road trips this year too. One for the Rolex 24, one for the Classic 24 Hours at Daytona, one to Cincinnati to spend Thanksgiving with my sister, and then more recently put 1,700 miles on a rental car in a week in California for my first Radwood SoCal event. Fun fact: my hotel was within eyesight of Jeff’s condo. He was out of town.

    Probably my favorite memory though was the trip I took to Virginia International Raceway in the Mustang to meet up with several of my sim racing friends for the first time. I had known all of them for at least a year at that point so meeting in person at a racetrack was wonderful. We had an alpaca farm as our Airbnb and hung out at the IMSA race all weekend. Also got to go on track briefly, which was nice.

    TL;DR, my year revolved around living out a dream in the Mustang, sim racing with friends, and road trips. It made all the other less fun parts of the year well worth it.

  2. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar
    Dean Bigglesworth

    Well… It’s been a while. I think since I’ve last posted I’ve bought two cheap Peugeot 205´s and spent a lot more on keeping them running. They work just fine but are still an endless sea of things that need attention, but I’ve done more than 30k km in them(including one rally each) in the last 1½ years or so and they’ve never left me stranded. Which is nice.

    This week I’m driving a press car that I don’t particularly like. It’s a wagon pretending to be a cuv, has tiny 180hp turbo engine; overwhelming feeling: disgust.

    HAd to expand the bookshelf to fit all the records and books i’ve bought but mostly never read and/or listened to. About a dozen originnal Initial D soundtrack CD’s on the way from JApan; sort of exciting yet terrifying at the same time, considering what beered up me spent on them.

    bean digglesworth.

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      On the press car, I’m guessing a VAG Alltrack, or does Skoda still do the 30mm added ride height thing too? (they’ve stopped selling the Octavia Scout in Australia since the real CUV’s have arrived). Hmm, on further thought, many others do them for the European market too, we only get the Focus Active (hatch) or Subaru Crosstrek/XV that I can think of. 180hp is pretty reasonable IMO if the car is still reasonably light. I suppose the hardest thing for car enthusiasts is to get it to feel good – because it’s not important for appliance-car buyers.

      1. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar
        Dean Bigglesworth

        Focus Active wagon. As far a smodern cars go, nothing out of the ordinary wrong with it.. I’ve the same nitpicks with as pretty much every other new car. shit visibility, boring engine, 8 speed tranny might as well be a cvt etc. 180hp is plenty enough, it’s just that the character of the engine is… not there. capable enough but totally underwhelming. which i guess is exactly what 95% of customers that never rev it past 3000rpm want.

        1. outback_ute Avatar

          That’s a shame that Ford have lost the fun to drive edge they once had. I think I understand what you mean about the engine; similar to Toyota handling that sends early and strong “not happy” signals if corner with any sort of speed.

  3. Sjalabais Avatar

    Another year with very little time spent in cars for the sake of enjoying cars. Kids are growing bigger and the house is in ever better shape, but I finally succumbed to reality and built a bike shed in our driveway’s third car spot. All the more important to have the Hooniverse to keep up-to-date, be entertained, and follow the stupid ideas, poorly executed, of this great crowd.

    This spring, it became evident that our Honda Stream – the vehicle I have owned the longest ever, at six years – was done. I gave it away for a symbolic sum to an excited 17 year old who travelled four hours to pick it up. It was replaced by a horribly designed, but cheap to run appliance, our first EV, a Nissan Leaf. If the Hooniverse overlords are interested, I can write up a one year used car review this coming spring – these cars become cheap enough to be of interest for hooning, indeed.

    Our Camry, now 18 years old, was slated to be replaced by a Civic or maybe, after a long hiatus, a Volvo wagon – or some such thing. But after having spent considerable amounts of time and money on fixing a few things in 2018, the car was too nice to unload. 2019 has been good with the indestructable Toyota, despite the CEL lighting up at regular intervalls. My wife used to drive it earlier and I always thought it was an imprecise, slack vehicle, strangely unsuitable to jumping crests and sliding around on gravel roads. With the Honda gone and the even less inspiring Leaf around, I should find something more enjoyable to drive, indeed.

  4. Manic_King Avatar

    My automotive year…. Audi got service and I bought a poor man’s midlife crisis project car.

    PS. Not sure if Christopher Tracy reads this and has thought about importing from Europe, but there’s Overlanding MAN for sale via auction, living box is nicely done and and truck itself is basic but strong 1977 model. Also, one of the funkiest speedometers around, has quartz clock and some additional scale in the middle: https://www.troostwijkauctions.com/uk/truck-motorhome/03-31315-32558-6095213/


    1. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
      dead_elvis, inc.

      That other scale appears to be the tachometer.

      And that is one fantastic rig.

      1. outback_ute Avatar

        That’s where they got the idea for the Fiat 500?!?

        There are a handful of those MAN’s in Australia, the most well-known is at Birdsville on the edge of the Simpson Desert and has a tilt tray (wrecker) to recover broken-down 4×4’s from the desert.

  5. salguod Avatar

    Bought my second BMW (2002 325Ci) to replace the sadly crashed RSX, bought my third Protege (also a 2002) to replace the not as sadly crashed Prius, finally got myself a beater pickup truck (1995 Ranger) and got the Thunderbird back on the road with a new oil pan. I also learned that the 352 in the Thunderbird is worn out and likely needs to be rebuilt or replaced. Fortunately, it still runs well, if down on power, so I can enjoy it while I decide how to proceed.

    1. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

      That’s quite a saga, although the silver lining is more interesting cars

  6. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

    This was a year where we spent less time wrenching and more time driving. We took the stone reliable CX-5 on several road trips to see Oregon (when your state is the size of the entire UK you don’t need to cross state lines). My motorcycle saw some regular use and my son’s 2003 Buick made it all the way to December without major wrenching. On the really cool side my son is working on a Formula SAE car and owns the design of a major sub system. On the minus side weeks of sleepless nights led to a low speed rear end incident and a need to replace several pieces of his Buick.

    I’m looking forward to giving my BMW motorcycle a thorough servicing and resurrecting my wife’s Honda CM 250C from a its long slumber as winter projects and finally getting the money together for a beater truck.

  7. outback_ute Avatar

    Finally moved house this year so have a decent sized garage (roughly 35’x20′) – still not enough room so next task is to do some reorganisation and move the ‘parts department’ out plus looking to enclose the carport & space between it and garage. Not a lot else this year other than the Bathurst 12 Hour again, a few other race meetings and was part of a club display in a small town ‘museum’ (which kept one car out of the way for a few months).

  8. Scoutdude Avatar

    Lots of changes in our fleet this year.

    Replaced my wife’s high mile 2013 C-Max SE with a low mile 2013 C-Max Energi SEL. The old one was bought hastily when she wrecked her Escape Hybrid. I did it as a test, to see if the wife could get used to plugging in her car in anticipation of getting a new Escape or Corsair Plug in Hybrid.

    Added another Marauder to the fleet. It is well used but it is the rarest of colors, Dark Blue Pearl.

    Cleaned out a lot of old projects or vehicles that have been retired/replaced. 3 Econolines/ClubWagons of the Nantucket generation went to the crusher along with an 83 T-bird, while I gave a 95 Outback to a friend of mine.

  9. crank_case Avatar

    Very little driving this year, much like last year.

    However – I finally have a garage, it’s getting wired up at the moment, and pyramids have been built quicker than my electrician friend works, and the floor still needs to be put in, but the garage itself is in place. Getting there..slooowly.

    Hopefully next month everthing will be in place for me to start pulling the Cappucino apart and..eventually..putting it back together. Sourcing parts and stuff will be challenging in itself.

    I filled the car related void mostly by developing an unhealthy obsession with building up a scarily large collection of 1/64 and 3inch diecast (i.e. HWs/Matchbox sized), I’ve lost count, but there’s over 1000 pieces at least.

    I’m finishing the year by taking a break from taking the bus to work and have my parents Renault Modus on loan, which makes sense given city traffic is non-existent in the early morning while the schools are still off rather than the usual gridlock and while I’m thankful of a quicker cosier way to get to work it always amazes me, with the relatively high standard of modern(ish) cars these days, that my Dad manages to find and be persuaded to buy one of the few absolute stinkers. It’s related to the Nissan note, powered by a 1.2 litre naturally aspirated gasoline engine that claims 75bhp, but even that seems wildly optimistic given how slow it feels. Gets noisy and strained at even 50mph on the highway, that’s not normal even by the standards of small capacity hatcbacks. It has a manual gearbox, but don’t get too excited, it’s more vague and than Donald Trumps grasp on reality, the steering would be unresponsive by the standards of a Spanish Galleon, and the brakes harder to modulate than the flow of ketchup from a glass bottle.

    Come to think of it, he has a long history of crapmobiles, some of which he perversly liked – Peugeot 307, Skoda Felicia, Renault 9 (aka Alliance), Vauxhall Chevette (see Chevy Chevette), Toyota Liteace etc. hell, I had to pull him back from the brink of buying an FSO once, occasionally he has bough stuff that at least had charm to make up for its slightly rubbish nature – Daihatsu HiJet or Citroen Dyane, but I’m sure this was entirely unintentional. His car history reads like a non-ironic Lemons grid.

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      FSO would be a cry for help surely?

    2. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      Can I fit in a Cappuccino?

      1. crank_case Avatar

        Maybe, how tall are you? I’m a little under 5′ 11″ and I can get reasonably comfortable with a stock interior, but it’s definitely snug, anyone taller might be uncomfortable and maybe need some modifications. Seats make all the difference though, MK1 Lotus Elise Seats are a common way to get a little lower in the car and get a bit more room. You’d have to try one out really.

      2. crank_case Avatar

        Maybe, how tall are you? I’m a little under 5′ 11″ and I can get reasonably comfortable with a stock interior, but it’s definitely snug, anyone taller might be uncomfortable and maybe need some modifications. Seats make all the difference though, MK1 Lotus Elise Seats are a common way to get a little lower in the car and get a bit more room. You’d have to try one out really.

        1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
          Jeff Glucker


          1. crank_case Avatar

            I think that’d probably be a no, at least not without uncomfortable contortion. Maybe if you removed the targa panels and don’t mind looking like a bonus character from Mario Kart. Kei hatchbacks like the Suzuki Alto Works can be surprisingly spacious though.


          2. crank_case Avatar

            Then again, Matt Farah managed to fitt in one. No idea how tall he is, but he’s not exactly a hobbit.

  10. Number_Six Avatar

    I came closer to checking off my engine layout boxes by getting a supercharged I-4 this year. I just need an inline 6 car and a triple-powered bike and my lifetime engine layout goals are complete*.

    *there’s a rumour Honda is bringing back an inline 6 bike in 2020 as a callback to the crazy CBX, in which case my retirement fund gets dumped in favour of an I-6 bike

  11. outback_ute Avatar

    Years ago a friend bought an old Suzuki SX750 to power an offroad kart, but instead sold it (for a nice little profit) to someone who was working on collecting engines with all the different cylinder counts.