A look around the show floor with Jeff Glucker of Hooniverse.com.
The 2011 LA Auto Show opens this week, so it seemed like a good time to check in with Jeff Glucker, of the Southern California-based auto blog Hooniverse.
LA Auto Show: Updates, Images, Previews
Below, he gives us his take on the cars he's excited to see in 2012, which cars might one day be considered classics and the future of "green" motoring.
Q: What is your blog?
A: Hooniverse.com. It's an automotive site born out of a love for all things related to cars. Driving them, photographing them, talking about them, racing them, buying them and selling them. It doesn't matter if the vehicle was built in 1910 or 2010, we're interested in it.
We strive to capture the feeling, familiar to all who love cars, of standing around a car immersed in gearhead babble. Not car enthusiasts in the typical "mine’s faster” sense. We seek out the obscure, rare and unknown to share with our readers. We seek out the stories behind these incredible machines. We don’t concern ourselves with the day-to-day auto news grind, preferring focus on what’s in the garage: ours, yours, or someone else’s. Our readers are automotive omnivores; their tastes range from the old and clapped out to the overengineered and decadent. One thing remains true: they are the reigning Car Guy (or Girl) wherever they go. Their friends ask them for automotive advice, advice likely based on what they read at Hooniverse.com.
Q: What do hope to achieve out of it?
A: My goal is to turn this into a full-time, paying job.
Q: How do readers respond? Their thoughts about it all?
A: We're very lucky to have such an informed, intelligent readership. Hooniverse has turned into a community of men and women who spend their time on the site talking about something they're all extremely passionate about, and this in turn makes for a great place to spend time on the Internet.
Q: What tends to get more responses/comments on the blog?
A: Our "Hooniverse Asks" posts, which run first thing in the morning, typically generate a large number of responses. We pose a question to our readers, and let them answer and respond in the comment section below the post.
Q: How long have you been doing it?
A: I've been in the automotive industry since 2007, but I didn't get in to the editorial side until a year later. I initially started on the business side of the industry before getting a taste of what was just on the other side of the fence. I hopped over and fell in love.
Q: Why'd you start it up?
A: Hooniverse was founded by myself and Tim Odell. We're friends who like to talk about cars, and we were doing so through instant messages, texts and emails. Be it the latest bit of news or the very random stuff we find for sale on Craigslist and eBay, we shared it with each other. We felt that others out there might like to talk about this stuff too, so we started the site and immediately got a sizable following.
Q: Is it a money maker?
A: It makes enough money to sustain itself but nothing more than that.
Q: What your top picks for 2012?
A: Personally, I'm really excited to see the new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, BMW M5, updated S vehicles from Audi, Cadillac XTS, and the BRZ Concept from Subaru. I think the new M5 will be a hit, as will the high-powered Camaro. It's great to see Cadillac bringing out an all-new full-size sedan. The Subaru concept will be interesting because the brand's faithful prefer the AWD layout found on all other Subaru offerings, so this RWD sports car could bring new folks to the automaker's showrooms, or annoy those who are already loyal.
It's not just about performance and luxury cars though. Since General Motors has decided to put a real effort into the compact and sub-compact segments, it will be great to see the all-new Chevy Spark up close, and see if it's a little car that people will actually want to buy. Also, it's fun to see Fiat back on U.S. soil, and the all-new Abarth 500 is a car that I'm dying to spend some time with.
Q: What are the future classics? The cars on the road now that we'll consider classics in the future?
A: Obviously, we live in a great time for fans of horsepower and performance. It's not just American Muscle that's leading the way though, as automakers from Asia and Germany are also producing future classics. Perhaps in 50 years, however, the Nissan GT-R or Audi RS5 will be Barrett-Jackson or Mecum Auctions darling. The Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca will be a future classic, as will the Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon. Would you ever have guessed that you could go buy a brand-new Cadillac station wagon equipped with a 556 horsepower motor and a manual gearbox?!
Q: Where do you see technology going in cars?
A: I see efficient technologies merging with our ever-increasing desire for style and substance. Automakers continue to add features to vehicles, and these items will be seen as standard items in cars down the road. It's almost strange to get in a car today that doesn't have satellite radio and Bluetooth connectivity. Soon, it will be weird when a new car doesn't have laser-guided cruise control and an around-view monitoring system. Still, we can't just cram the latest tech into the car's cabin - it has to be easy to use, and be wrapped in a good-looking package.
Q: What about green vehicles? Still a big deal? Getting bigger?
A: I think we'll eventually reach a point where there are no more green vehicles because nearly ALL vehicles will employ some sort of highly efficient powertrain. Sales of the Nissan Leaf show that there is a growing market ready to own a fully electric vehicle, and sales of range-extended electrics like the Chevy Volt will begin to increase as well. Companies like Tesla and Fisker are showing us that these vehicles don't need to look boring either. Additionally, enthusiasts will enjoy the instant torque provided by an electric powerplant or the flat power curve of a diesel vehicle.
It would be ignorant to ignore the need for vehicles that run cleaner and more efficiently, however, that doesn't mean we should turn our backs on the machines that stole our hearts, and continue to do so on a daily basis. There should be a balance, and the more green cars out there, the easier it will be to achieve that balance.