This list is the result of millions of you clicking on an image and wanting to know the story behind it. Your passion and interest in global car culture sometimes surprises us, amazes us and catches us completely unaware. As much as we like to think we can predict which stories will be the most popular, there are always the runaway successes which connect enthusiasts all over the world. With our advanced analytics, we know exactly how many people viewed each story this year, and that enabled us to compile some pretty awesome Top 10 lists. So that’s exactly what we did. This is a rundown judged by unique page views, rather than overall page views, as some articles have more chapters than others.
So grab a brew and see what you might have missed, because these are our Top 10 feature car stories of 2014. Think you know what they’re going to be? So did we… Check out what roughly 6,000hp looks like, when voted for by you…
#10 – The Least Desirable Skyline?
Quite possibly the most misleading title of all time given the reaction it received. Dino and Larry tag-teamed this shoot to give us some wonderfully evocative images, but the Skyline itself gets the most credit. Time honoured treatment – it’s the kind of car you wouldn’t build yourself but when somebody else has and you see it, you must have it! Maybe that’s why so many of us flocked to this feature?
There’s just something so right about the Watanabe wheel fitment, the heritage-inspired colour scheme and purposeful stance. Personally, I think the boxy R30 styling is gorgeous, and Rich from Garage Spec felt the same way when he had to head home to the US, so the story was just as good as the imagery.
Didn’t see it first time around? Check out the full feature here: The Least Desirable Skyline?
#9 – A GT-R For The Street & Track… By Nismo
At #9… another Skyline! I’m not spoiling any surprises, rather building them when I tell you this is actually the last one which features in our Top 10 rundown. It’s apt then that it comes from Nismo themselves. Dino being Dino gained us access to the hallowed division’s own workshop, and analytically walked us through every gorgeous detail.
This really is a build we can all aspire to regardless of automotive preference. The quality of fit and finish is OEM, but when applied to one of our favourite cult performance machines the whole build oozed class and gives a certain stamp of approval to the modified car world we all love. Dino rightly asked if the Clubman Race Spec BNR34 is the best ever created, and that was a discussion you guys enjoyed having, and no doubt encouraged you to bring more friends in by sharing it around.
Didn’t see it first time around? Check out the full feature here: A GT-R For The Street & Track… By Nismo
#8 – Twin-Engined & Terrifying: A Monster Suzuki
The stuff of legends, pure and simple. Dino worked long and hard to gain us access to the workshops and racecar projects of Monster Sport. Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima was the first Japanese driver to win the mighty Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in the US, and a feat like that isn’t easy. The fact he also builds his own racecars just adds to the mystique. Look again and realise the base material is a 4×4 grocery getter and you need to know more.
Many of us knew the ’95 Suzuki Escudo existed, but we’d never had a chance to really take a close look at it. Just how did the twin engine setup work? How was it all laid out? Those cut-out front arches and 17-inch SSRs are nearly 20 years old now!
Didn’t see it first time around? Check out the full feature here: Twin-Engined & Terrifying: A Monster Suzuki
#7 – When An 8.3L V10 Swap Just Isn’t Enough…
We’ve always known you guys like the automotive mash-ups we find around the world – the mutant projects that answer the question, ‘what if?’ Or in this case more specifically, ‘will it fit?’ Thankfully the answer was yes. Just. And when a Viper V10 isn’t enough, a pair of turbos worn like earmuffs to drown out reality, nail the overkill perfectly. Joachim Muri is the man responsible for making it exist, and this Volvo proved that wild builds ignite your excitement.
The power figures are incredible, and according to Joachim this is just the start for ‘The Jericho’, as he calls the Volvo. Dino hinted at what might be coming next during the winter months, so will we see even more drama unfold next year? I do hope so!
Didn’t see it first time around? Check out the full feature here: When An 8.3L V10 Swap Just Isn’t Enough…
#6 – Phantom M3: The Best BMW They Never Built
Quite possibly my all-time favourite BMW, I’m so glad to see it in this list. Paddy found it at the Players Show in 2013 and travelled to Birmingham in the UK for the feature shoot, before leaving us to be a big posh photographer for manufacturers. Owner Nick Pritchard paid incredible attention to the details that BMW include in every genuine M3, immaculately presenting them in this phantom M3 wagon. His dedication in getting everything just right is inspirational.
In the feature, Brad wrote about some of the lengths that Nick and the wagon’s original owner had gone to, and the overall result was a finished car which made us all want to walk into a BMW showroom with a printed picture of it and say, ‘see, we told you so!’ I urge you to revisit the feature and remind yourself of just how good this true production standard one-off really is.
Didn’t see it first time around? Check out the full feature here: Phantom M3: The Best BMW They Never BuiltMonsters Everywhere!
#5 – MADBUL Meets Rocket Bunny
Two of our favourite people getting together to revamp one of our favourite cars – what was not to love? It was always going to be popular, and the reveal story for Mad Mike’s Rocket Bunny kitted FD3S ‘MADBUL’ RX-7 went stellar. What Mike was going to shred up tracks with in next is something you guys wanted to share with the world. I think that’s an important factor here too, because MM is the real deal – he’s out there on a daily basis doing what he loves and making it happen for himself and his family. Inspirational stuff.
Oh the RX-7? It turned out pretty well, huh? Personally this is my favourite RB kit and Kei Miura did a stunning job in working with the classic Mazda lines. We then got to see Mike debut the car at Goodwood Festival of Speed in England after Red Bull flew it in especially for the event. The Rocket Bunny name has evoked many emotions in enthusiasts over the past year, but this is true testament to the enduring popularity of the styling house from Japan.
Didn’t see it first time around? Check out the full feature here: MADBUL Meets Rocket Bunny
#4 – The Volkswagen Caddy From Hell
If hell is in the southern United States, then I’m a sinner, so where do I sign? Matt Jones headed into the woods and came back with the devil himself on camera. This bastard mix is raw, gritty and Matt’s images gave a Backwoods and Deliverance kind of feel to the shoot. Owner/builder Shane Drake wedged a Triton V8 in the front of the VW and in the process grabbed our attention. Then we found out what he swapped for the engine and it just got better and better! Want to know what it was? Read the feature…
We always bang-on about embracing all forms of car culture here at Speedhunters, and this really shows we’re committed to that. A backyard build a million miles away from Nismo, but the same result – something you guys could relate to, and something that looks like it’s amazing fun. If you ever thought you couldn’t build a killer project, this should fuel your fire to the point of explosion!
Didn’t see it first time around? Check out the full feature here: The Volkswagen Caddy From Hell
#3 – The Hoonicorn RTR Exposed
One of the most comprehensive builds we’ve seen all year, it broke the internet and our hearts. Ken Block has taken having a good time and defined and honed it, and then built an icon to embody it on an automotive level. Whilst the rest of the world was sharing the Gymkhana SEVEN film, we had our secret weapon Larry Chen sharing the behind-the-scenes experience and minute-by-minute details of the exquisite build. I’m going to blow our own trumpet here too, because the original concept was drawn up by Andy Blackmore, built by Vaughn Gittin Jr. and his RTR team, and Larry is an official Hoonigan photographer. That sort of access has been hard-earned and we’re very grateful for it.
At first it might have seemed like a quantum step away from the cutting-edge rally cars we know Ken for, but when Larry peeled the skin on back on the Hoonicorn it soon became apparant that the team had built an incredible machine that loosely resembled a ’65 Mustang – itself an icon of the automotive world. Part toy, part world destroyer, it’s no wonder this one was so popular.
Didn’t see it first time around? Check out the full feature here: The Hoonicorn RTR Exposed
#2 – Looks Like A Volvo, Pulls Like A V10 BMW, Brakes Like A Porsche
You don’t know how happy it makes me to find this Volvo at #2. To see a brick like an ’80s Swede rank so highly validates our never-ending hunt for the bizarre, yet beautifully built. No matter what the brand or execution, you guys really get off on kick-ass street cars, often running straight paint with no livery, cages, creative and powerful engine conversions and immaculate levels of finish. You’re a discerning bunch and we love you for it! We first saw this Volvo at the Elmia show in April, and ensured a feature shoot was lined up as soon as humanly possible.
The BMW M5 sourced V10 is such a distinctive and amazing engine – it’s one of those powerplants that in coming years will become more common in swaps, but right now it’s still a fairly rare sight. As for the Volvo part? Well, they’ve become more and more popular over the last decade – cheap, rear-wheel drive, solid, and everybody knows somebody who had one. The inoffensive, safety-orientated marketing just makes it all the more amusing when you see one that can move like this…
Didn’t see it first time around? Check out the full feature here: Looks Like A Volvo, Pulls Like A V10 BMW, Brakes Like A Porsche
#1 – Murcielago Mix Up: The Fiat That Ate A Lamborghini
It was always going to be a popular feature due to the nature of what we were looking at, but in the face of competition from all over the globe and some incredibly well known and respected names, a small workshop in rural Italy built our #1 ranked feature car of 2014. For me it perfectly embodies everything that Speedhunting should be – the build is wild, combining elements of well-loved cars, equal parts madness and engineering excellence, and it defies logic. It’s not road or race-legal, practical or even easy to replicate. It is, however, truly unique.
The photoshoot involved travelling nearly 1,800 miles in one day and having only an hour of sunlight to shoot it in. The builder didn’t speak any English either, but we both just grinned our way through the experience. I can remember pointing at the car to get it moved around, and him pointing at the passenger seat. Liked, loved and even loathed, we watched the feature spread like wildfire around the internet. This was genuinely one of the best days at work I can remember in a long time…
Didn’t see it first time around? Check out the full feature here: Murcielago Mix Up: The Fiat That Ate A Lamborghini
That list reads like an automotive breath of fresh air to me. Travelling the long way from the USA to New Zealand, you’ve shown us your broad span of interest knows no bounds when it comes to manufacturer or engine choice. We all have our personal favourites of course, and yours might not be here, but I think that’s because quite a few of these builds solely exist thanks to the minds of their creators. For me, the top four builds are cars you never would have predicted before you saw them. Now you have, your world has moved on a step – because we’re all on a journey here. So what comes next? All I’m going to predict is that next year is 2015… What have you got planned?