Best of the Web: Lordstown Motors

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A lot has happened since June when Lordstown Motors announced their Endurance–the EV Truck. This article reminds of the grand vision of Lordstown motors.

“In a dramatic turn, one of the big questions left unanswered at the launch of the Endurance — namely, where the money to build it would come from — has been substantially addressed. In early August, Lordstown announced a merger with a “special purpose acquisitions company” called DiamondPeak Holdings. The merger will let Lordstown be publicly listed on the NASDAQ and generate upwards of $675 million of new investment to nudge the Endurance toward production. The deal should be finalized by the fourth quarter of this year, potentially setting Lordstown’s assembly line in motion — and starting to fill a claimed $1.4 billion in orders — in the second half of 2021.”

Peter Hughes

Best of the Web: VW Bus

We’ve been digging up some vehicles from the past that are iconic in representing freedom and open road. Please enjoy some videos and facts about the VW Bus.

The Volkswagen Type 2, known officially (depending on body type) as the TransporterKombi or Microbus, or, informally, as the Bus (US) or Camper (UK), Pão de Forma (Loaf of Bread) (Portugal) is a forward control light commercial vehicle introduced in 1950 by the German automaker Volkswagen as its second car model. Following – and initially deriving from – Volkswagen’s first model, the Type 1 (Beetle), it was given the factory designation Type 2.

As one of the forerunners of the modern cargo and passenger vans, the Type 2 gave rise to forward control competitors in the United States in the 1960s, including the Ford Econoline, the Dodge A100, and the Chevrolet Corvair 95 Corvan, the latter adapting the rear-engine configuration of the Corvair car in the same manner in which the VW Type 2 adapted the Type 1 layout.

Unlike other rear engine Volkswagens, which evolved constantly over time but never saw the introduction of all-new models, the Transporter not only evolved, but was completely revised periodically with variations retrospectively referred to as versions “T1” to “T5” (a nomenclature only invented after the introduction of the front-drive T4 which replaced the T25). However, only generations T1 to T3 (or T25 as it is still called in Ireland and Great Britain) can be seen as directly related to the Beetle (see below for details)[citation needed].

The Type 2, along with the 1947 Citroën H Van, are among the first ‘forward control’ vans in which the driver was placed above the front roadwheels. They started a trend in Europe

An ambulance model was added in December 1951 which re-positioned the fuel tank in front of the transaxle, put the spare tire behind the front seat, and added a “tailgate“-style rear door. These features became standard on the Type 2 from 1955 to 1967. 11,805 Type 2s were built in the 1951 model year

What’s News: 2021 Bronco

Finally some news we can sink out teeth into! This week has been on fire in the car industry.

Now Ford unveils their 2021 Bronco. This is bigger news than a normal unveiling because the ever popular Bronco hasn’t been around since… 1997

Naturally their are a few hiccups along the way. It seems that a tire option available on your new Bronco is the Goodyear Wrangler. As Wrangler happens to also be the name of the Bronco’s competition, Jeep Wrangler, it’s not a great thing to have labeled on the side of your new Bronco.

This one falls short of a true controversy in our book though. There is an easy answer–turn the tires around? That honestly seems to be what they’re doing.

Here’s a few nice pictures and videos to amuse you.

Best of the Web: Mercedes Concept Avatar


There are many questions one could ask about the Avatar-inspired concept car that Mercedes-Benz unveiled Monday night at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show. Why did the company think this was the best way to highlight its sustainability goals? How much of the ideas and technology in the car will ever translate to the road? And why Avatar?

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Best of the Web: Safety Tips

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Tips from NationWide Insurance 

More driving safety tips

  • Don’t allow children to fight or climb around in your car – they should be buckled in their seats at all times. Too much noise can easily distract you from focus on the road.
  • Avoid driving when you’re tired. Be aware that some medications cause drowsiness and make operating a vehicle very dangerous. Learn more about drowsy driving.
  • Always use caution when changing lanes. Cutting in front of someone, changing lanes too fast or not using your signals may cause an accident or upset other drivers.
  • Be extra careful while driving during deer season.

Focus on driving

  • Keep 100% of your attention on driving at all times – no multi-tasking.
  • Don’t use your phone or any other electronic device while driving.
  • Slow down. Speeding gives you less time to react and increases the severity of an accident.

Drive “defensively”

  • Be aware of what other drivers around you are doing, and expect the unexpected.
  • Assume other motorists will do something crazy, and always be prepared to avoid it.
  • Keep a 2-second cushion between you and the car in front of you.
  • Make that 4 seconds if the weather is bad.

Practice safety

  • Secure cargo that may move around while the vehicle is in motion.
  • Don’t attempt to retrieve items that fall to the floor.
  • Have items needed within easy reach – such as toll fees, toll cards and garage passes.
  • Always wear your seat belt and drive sober and drug-free.

Plan Ahead

  • Build time into your trip schedule to stop for food, rest breaks, phone calls or other business.
  • Adjust your seat, mirrors and climate controls before putting the car in gear.
  • Pull over to eat or drink. It takes only a few minutes.

Best of the Web: Tesla Truck is, well…

Tesla chose to unveil this here and now because Musk loves Blade Runner. And to date, he’s made some wild claims about what it can do: out-truck a Ford F-150, outperform a Porsche 911, be “literally bulletproof” and ideally start under $50,000. It’s also “the official truck of Mars.’”
(Story Link)

Yes that’s really the new Tesla Truck and it may challenge Tesla fans loyalty. It’s ironic that it’s the official truck of Mars because Musk’s Mars rocket just blew up too. Ominous!

Compare for yourself.

With Rivian

Update:

The ugly design appears to have a function. According to Musk’s recent tweets the body material, 30x cold roll steel, is too tough for ordinary machines to shape it.

While we grieve the lack of style brought to most modern design cars the cybertruck might be a step too far. Or not, you be the judge of that.

Best of the Web: F vs F week, actor speaks about the GT40 he drove

We drove a Superformance GT40 racing replica… and it was even better than the real thing

By Adam Hay-Nicholls

Ahead of the release of Le Mans ’66, the tale of Ford versus Ferrari, GQ takes Christian Bale’s place aboard a ‘continuation’ GT40

It was a David and Goliath story, although who’s David and who’s Goliath depends on your point of view. Ferrari was a small company, but it dominated the European racing scene and built the world’s most exotic artisanal sports cars. Ford was the biggest car company on the planet, but it made cheap, practical mass-produced family cars and hadn’t gone anywhere near motorsport. They decided to buy Ferrari. Enzo Ferrari was willing to sell the road car division, but when, at the contract signing, he spotted how the American corporation planned to take control over the racing business too, he closed his purple-inked pen, waved the legal papers away, made a short, spittle-flecked outburst directed at Henry Ford II (in unprintable Italian) and left for lunch with his consigliere, never to return.

From that moment, on 21 May 1963, the battle lines were drawn. “Hank The Deuce” went straight back to Dearborn and told his people to build a car that would “kick Ferrari’s ass”. It took a few goes, but in 1966, with more than £55 million spent on development (£1.1 billion in today’s money!), Ford’s GT40 scored 1-2-3 at the Le Mans 24 Hours and took the spoils again in ’67, ’68 and ’69. Ferrari, who was victorious in every race between 1960 and 1965, never won Le Mans outright again.

One hundred and five race and road-going examples of the GT40 were built in Slough, UK, and Wixom, Michigan, between 1964 and 1969 and today values run the gamut between £3m and £10m. But you can buy a “continuation” GT40 for less than the price of a Lamborghini Huracán.

Built in South Africa by specialist Hi-Tech Automotive, the California-born Superformance GT40 has a lot more going for it than a mere “replica”. Carroll Shelby, the man who led Ford to those mighty endurance victories, gave Superformance his thumbs-up to construct officially designated GT40/P numbered chassis. So, it’s not a genuine Ford, but it is a genuine GT40. It’s licensed by Shelby and Safir GT40 Spares as the only true GT40 continuation car and is eligible for Shelby American Automobile Club and GT40 registries.

Because it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between an original and this 2019 car, Hollywood film Le Mans ’66 uses Superformance GT40s for race scenes.

Eighty-five per cent of this car’s all-new parts are interchangeable with the original’s, including the pressed-steel monocoque. The GT40 is a notoriously tight fit, but Le Mans Coupes Ltd, Superformance’s Gatwick-based UK distributor, will customise it with a “Gurney bubble” (allowing a couple of extra inches’ headroom) if required, and set the seat and pedal box accordingly. The “40” in its nomenclature is a nod to the GT’s height – just 40 inches from the ground to the top of the windscreen. Be careful not to decapitate yourself when you shut the door, the line of which extends to almost the centre of the roof for aero efficiency.

The car GQ is taking out is based on the GT40 Mk1, with a 1966 number plate and, perhaps more importantly, a savage 5.7 litre Roush V8, which produces 450bhp and 465 lb ft of torque. At 1,150kg, which is pretty much identical to the original, it’ll hit 60mph in sub-four seconds.

One major difference is fuel injection, which is essential for passing modern homologation emissions standards, though to look at the block you’d never really know, unless you start counting wires. Despite the lack of carburettors, the sound is still maniacally epic. Behind the period seats, in which one lies almost horizontal, 347 cubic litres of Detroit guts and muscle pants, coughs and barks, impatient to be uncaged.

The iconic dash is an uncomplicated, rugged strip of round Smiths instruments and labelled toggle switches. Dead ahead is the rev counter. The speedometer is placed way to the passenger side of the cockpit where you’d expect the glovebox to be, angled sideways. The tight gearshift, linked to a Quaife RFQ transaxle, is mounted on the door sill as was the original. Likewise, first gear is dog leg. The throttle pedal is stiff and you have to press it more than an inch before the power feeds in, while the clutch is easy to balance.

There’s so much feel in the seat of your pants thanks to the H&R springs, which can be upgraded to adjustable Öhlins. It’s a very physical car to drive due to the lack of power steering. Potholes are liable to snap your wrists, but the Avon CR6ZZ tyres are so high-profile you’re in no danger of kerbing a wheel. This car’s rubber footprint is enormous: 215/60 R15s at the front and 295/50 R15s at the rear – race carcasses with civilian tread. Really, the GT40 is designed for smooth, French asphalt, but works well on both road and track and is easy to control in slippery conditions.

The car is sleepy under 2,000RPM, and then it cocks an eyebrow. At 3,000 it gets on its feet and starts to snarl. Between 4,000 and 6,000 it bares its teeth, digs its claws in and tears for the horizon. Injection actually enables a broader power range than carbs. The noise is like Dolby-processed adrenaline; an operatic, frantic, ear drum-warping yell. It’s difficult to know how fast you’re going because looking at the speed could be catastrophic. It might not be even 60mph, but the noise is so thrilling it feels like 200. This, on the Mulsanne Straight, must have felt like Apollo 11 on lift-off. Le Mans Coupes can sort a 560bhp 7-litre V8 if you want to go even faster. Check with your otolaryngologist first.

There are, of course, no driver aids. The only safety net is improved cross-drilled ventilated Wortec brakes, which stop better than the Sixties solid discs but still look period. The gears are designed to deal with higher power. Those are pretty much the only differences; it has a central handbrake and an immobiliser and the seats sit on the chassis rather than “helicopter straps”. The two fuel tanks are set to “auto-bleed”, rather than the driver having to manually switch from one to the other. There’s air conditioning where the spare tyre would have been, although later Ford GT40s had AC as an option. That’s it. Otherwise, this is the same as the Mk1.

V Max can be altered according to gearing. For road use, or a track like Goodwood (Superformance will build you a 100 per cent accurate “tool-room” car eligible for the Members’ Meeting and FIA historic racing), you’ll want a shorter fifth gear than you will at Le Mans, but feasibly this car can go over the double ton. This one tops out at 180mph.

Our car is priced at £162,000 fully built, while road-going MkII versions cost from £165,000. An FIA-eligible race car, with its Historic Technical Passport, is around £265,000. Superformance has sold 450 of these continuation cars worldwide, and 50 in the UK, since 2007.

It’s more powerful than the original, more reliable and more economical. Yet only a certified GT40 anorak could ever spot the difference. It was good enough for Carroll Shelby, not to mention Matt Damon and Christian Bale who play Shelby and British driver Ken Miles in the movie. And it’ll save you millions compared with an original GT40. Pull up next to a modern Ferrari in this and you will win – at a standstill, at least. Just listen to the noise! The car should win the Academy Award for Best Original Song all on its own.

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Best of the Web: Farting Tesla’s? You betcha!

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This is kind of news you need to get hot-off-the-presses, and we couldn’t hold it back.

Elon has been tweeting again and this time it’s not just hot air. Government regulations require EVs to emit some noise at speeds under 20 mph. On the serious side this is a safety need for people with disabilities to prevent accidents because they couldn’t hear the silent cars.

However, there is no direction as to the exact sound and in a twist of whimsy, that the writers at the kicker blog truly applaud, Tesla will offer a few options that are truly inspired. Fart sounds for example.

 

Another option could be the sound of coconuts clopping, or more cowbell.

No this isn’t April fool’s. Just a car company with the guts to not take life too seriously.

Proof we didn’t just make this up.via GIPHY