The McLaren 570S is a wonderful “affordable” supercar. Affordable is in quotation marks, because it’s a relative term. If you want a semi-affordable supercar, get a Nissan GT-R or a Dodge Viper.
McLaren has long been known for race cars that are both beautiful and win all the time. It should come as no surprise that they recently introduced the 570S GT4 and 570S Sprint. Both are, for all essential purposes, track-ready versions of the road-going 570S. The GT4 is the homologated for competition in the British GT Championship, while the Sprint is an unrestricted track-day model.
Who will be racing the GT4 this upcoming season? Good question, and we already have an answer! The Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse customer racing team will be racing the GT4 in the full nine-round British GT Championship season.
The GT4 is based off of the carbon-fiber Monocell chassis that forms the underpinnings for every single McLaren Sport Series car. The GT4 has a wider body, a GT4-spec aero package, Pirelli racing slicks, magnesium alloy wheels, and a massive rear wing providing downforce. What powers the 570S GT4? A twin-turbocharged V8 that’s been adapted for racing use. In the road-going 570S, it makes 562 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque, and puts the power down through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. While McLaren doesn’t list any power output for the 570S GT4, rest assured it will be within GT4 regulations.
Then there’s the 570S Sprint. Details right now are scarce on it, but McLaren has promised that more details will come in the following weeks. They did satiate our curiosity by saying that the 570S Sprint will come with the same upgrades as the 570S GT4. The 570S Sprint is a hardcore track car not built to any one specification.
Yet another announcement from McLaren was that Ansar Ali will be joining the McLaren team as the Motorsports Director. Mike Flewitt, CEO of McLaren Automotive, said in a press release, “I am extremely pleased to welcome Ansar to McLaren Automotive in such a key role. Motorsport is part of the lifeblood of the McLaren brand, and this role will be key to our long-term plans as we continue to expand the product range and customer-appeal around the world.”
Have $225,500 just burning a hole in your pocket? You can buy a McLaren 570S GT4 for the 2017 season, but here’s the hitch: you need to be a customer racing team. Pricing and availability for the 570S Sprint at a later date, but expect it to be more accessible than the GT4.
When Toyota started Scion in 2001, nobody expected it to do much of anything. It didn’t. Well, yes, the original xB was an all star smash hit, and the tC was a great combination of bulletproof reliability combined with an astonishingly low asking price, but everything else they did, let’s be honest here, was a massive flop.
The 2001 xB was an excellent car. It was fun to drive, affordable, and instantly lovable. It was, in my eyes, the modern version of the original VW Type 1 Beetle. It was originally marketed towards Gen X, but everyone from teenagers to seniors bought it. It was just that kind of car. Every 10 years or so, there’s a car like that. It comes out of nowhere, sells like cocaine in the 1980s, and is fondly remembered by many. The “toaster,” as it was affectionately called wasn’t fast – it was far from it. It was safe, it had almost as much space as a minivan, thanks to its boxy shape and was easily customizable – from the dealer!
Yes, you could walk into a Toyota dealership that sold Scions (I’ll get to that in a bit, I swear), and get a Scion xB, then go over to their customizing desk, and decide how you wanted to customize your xB, all within 20 feet of each other! There were so many options, you had to fill out a questionnaire so the customizing agent could help you out! The great part about this was that you could customize the car to your specific taste, not worry about voiding the warranty and walk out within two hours.
The 2001 Scion xB was the car that kicked off the dealer accessory craze. It was a great marketing tool for many brands. Want a roof rack? You had a choice between Thule and Yakima, and between the two, literally 50 different roof racks to choose from. Want a wrap on your xB? The techs could slap it on in 20 minutes. The list goes on. All these accessories were affordable – you could walk out of the dealership with a Scion xB, customized the way you wanted it, with a good warranty, fully registered and insured, for $22,000.
That’s what the appeal was. As I said, everyone from teenagers to seniors, and everyone in between bought the car. It shocked Scion’s marketing team, and even Toyota. Nobody predicted so many cars would be sold.
Unfortunately, Scion failed to deliver with the second-generation xB. It had gigantic shoes to fill, but it had baby feet. It was heavier – almost 500 pounds heavier. It was more expensive; to the point that people walked over to the Toyota sales desk and bought a Matrix. It used to be that the Matrix was just a hatchback Corolla (the xB was too), but it was kind of like trying to differentiate between twins. The Matrix was cheaper, but it didn’t have the instant customizability that the xB had. The difference showed in sales – Scion still had all their repeat buyers, but the Matrix was just a better car overall. Buyers went to the Matrix, until Toyota killed it in 2013.
Onto the tC. It was a perfectly fine car, but by no means was it on the same level as the Mazda 3 or the Honda Civic. The build quality was great, no doubt about that. It just left something to be desired. But, it was cheap. Dirt cheap. That’s why every 8th car you see on the road is one. Well, maybe not that many, but it sure seems like it. It wasn’t as easily customizable as the xB, but it certainly had it’s benefits. It was cheap enough for those starting to get into the automotive scene to modify it like no tomorrow, but drive it to school or work every day. The Mazda 3 could do that too, but was more expensive. It was also marketed towards college students and above.
Let’s talk about the stupidity of selling Scions next to Toyotas that were similar in price. Seriously, who at Toyota, when they were planning Scion, thought that was a good idea? It’s like selling candy bars next to each other. You can’t choose the right one. That’s what happens when there are too many options. Scion sales would go sky-high for a couple months, then Toyota compact car sales would overtake them like you wouldn’t believe. It was just a constant game of tug-of-war.
Imagine walking into an Armed Forces recruitment center, with all the recruiters standing there, all trying to give you “the best deal you’ll get.” The truth is, they all offer the same thing, but they disguise it well. Just choose the one you like best and the others will find somebody else.
This was Scion’s ultimate downfall in my eyes. They simply couldn’t compete with the elephant in the room.
Yes, they had other problems. Their other cars were practically carbon copies of Toyotas. Why buy a Toyota Yaris hatchback when you could buy a Scion xD? The Yaris was cheaper, and had essentially the same things going for it. The xD had a bit more power, but the Yaris at least looked halfway decent. The xD looked like someone chiseled a block of concrete with an ax, slapped wheels and a price tag on it, and pitched it to Scion.
What might have been the best car Scion made, apart from the 2001 xB, was the FR-S. It was cheap, which was Scion’s main selling point. It was an incredibly fun car to drive, and the perfect one for the budding autocrosser or track day enthusiast. It’s biggest downfall is that Subaru and Toyota sold the exact same car, but with different badges. Yes, I know it was badge engineering, but why buy the Scion when you could buy the Subaru? That was the dilemna many prospective owners faced. It offered more utility and just as much fun as the Miata, but it was a price difference of $2000 between the Scion and the Subaru.
So, what was Scion’s downfall? Poor sales after the redesign of the first-generation xB, offering similar, if not identical products, and no dedicated dealers. Will I miss Scion? Yes. I will miss the magic that the 2001 xB brought to the automotive world, the affordable performance the FR-S brought wailing and burbling into the automotive world, the instant and easy customizability that any Scion brought, and the ferocious sibling rivalry between Toyota and Scion.
Will Scions keep their value? Who knows. Only time will tell. The resale value of the 2001-2007 xB has certainly held up, and likely will for a while. They are cheap, but the price hasn’t gone up or down, like most cars. The tC, a fantastic car in it’s own right, may hold up. It’s hard to tell with that one. The FR-S? Maybe, maybe not. It was a worthy Miata competitor, but it’s identical siblings, the Subaru BR-Z and Toyota GT86 (non-North America markets only), will still be in production.
I am saddened that Scion couldn’t clean up their act, but they obviously weren’t competitive. Their market went away. They had a nice run though, and there are certainly other choices.
The National Hot Rod Association, or NHRA, recently made the most sweeping rule changes to the Pro Stock class since 1982, when they abandoned the pounds-per-cubic-inch format.
The NHRA’s rule changes are a two-phase process. The first phase of the rule changes will be implemented at next weekend’s race at Sonoma Raceway, where the NHRA Sonoma Nationals are to be held.
The changes effective from Sonoma onward are designed to increase spectator appeal, and to enhance the overall pit experience for fans.
NHRA mandated that teams must back the cars into their respective pit spots with the engines uncovered for better visibility for the fans. Crew members can no longer touch the cars during burnouts. The final change is that it is now mandatory for teams to create automobile manufacturer identification headers on the windshield of the car (not to be confused with exhaust headers) that can be sized between 4.25-4.5 inches high.
Starting January 1, 2016, all Pro Stock teams will be required to equip their cars with electronically-controlled throttle body fuel injection. This will make the engines more relevant – some engines still use carburetors. To reduce and control the costs for the race teams, the NHRA is mandating a 10,500 rpm rev limiter be attached to the fuel injection systems.
In addition to this, the NHRA has required all Pro Stock teams to remove the hood scoops, and to shorten the length of their wheelie bars to a length that is specified by the NHRA Tech Department. These changes are designed to make the cars look more like their factory counterparts, and to boost spectator appeal with the unpredictability of the class, due to more “wheels-up” launches.
The NHRA has promised to work with their new TV partner FOX Sports to improve coverage of Pro Stock races, as well as team, driver, and technical features.
“Pro Stock racing has a tremendous history with NHRA and proves each weekend by the close side-by-side finishes that it is one of the most competitive forms of racing in all of motorsports,” said Peter Clifford, NHRA president. “Through these changes we hope to provide a platform so the Pro Stock class can evolve from a technological standpoint, yet reconnect with its roots by generating more interest and appeal among spectators.”
There’s no need for an assembly line with this behemoth. It’s so big that it is literally assembled on-site.
Everything about this mining truck is massive. It’s got 4,000 horsepower, the engine displaces about 6,500 cubic inches, the entire truck weighs more than a million pounds, and it can carry 400 tons. Colossal doesn’t do this thing justice.
Caterpillar shows us just what it takes to build this mammoth machine. It all starts at the plant in Decatur, IL, but the whole thing isn’t assembled until they get out to the job site.
While you could say that just about any Porsche 959 is a stunning car, this one is just an absolute neck-turner. It’s black over carmel brown, and it’s one of only three made in this color combination. Talk about rare.
Porsche only made 337 959’s from 1986-1989. Each and every single one of them is still a technological tour-de-force, but when they came out, there was truly nothing else like it on the road.
The car that I’m talking about is a 1988 model, and it could be yours, should you be going to the Gooding & Company Pebble Beach auction in August. It’s sale price is estimated to be between $1.6-1.8 million, which, if proved accurate, will only reflect the voracious appetite for collectible Porsches like this.
The Porsche 959 remains one of the most technologically-advanced and interesting supercars ever built. Up until recently, they were a rare, astonishing sight in the US, due to the idiotic, bureaucratic import laws that the US has. Why? Because only 50 out of the 329-337 (production numbers vary, depending on who you ask at Porsche) built between 1986-1989 came to the US. However, since the bulk of 959’s were built before 1988, the import laws are completely open on them, meaning that you can drive them legally on US roads without fear of the car getting crushed and you getting massive fines. This is very good news for American car enthusiasts and collectors.
Gooding & Company is calling this car a “Komfort” model, which means that it’s the road-going version of the 959. Komfort was Porsche’s way of differentiating the road-going 959 from the “Sport” version of the 959, which raced in everything from rally to endurance racing. The Komfort cars were powered by a 444-horsepower, twin-turbocharged, 2.8-liter flat six-cylinder engine that was connected to a six-speed manual (most cars at the time still had four-speed manuals – a six-speed was simply out of this world). It was completely ahead of its time in terms of speed, technology and handling.
“Car & Driver” recorded a smoking 3.6-second 0-60 run, and somehow had the cojones to get it all the way up to 190 mph. Porsche says that the car has the potential to hit 205 mph, so it seems obvious that “Car & Driver” just didn’t have the nerve…That being said, the 190 mph that they recorded held their top speed record until 1997 and the McLaren F1.
What made the car so revolutionary was the fact that it had electronically-controlled AWD. The only other production car to use electronically-controlled AWD was the Audi Quattro, which started using the system back in the mid-1980s. This system could distribute torque depending on the dynamic load on each wheel. It could also be locked at a fixed torque split.
I’ve never quite seen such a beautiful Porsche, and while I’ve never seen a 959 in person, this is an absolute stunner. The 959 is high up on my automotive bucket list, and this one only elevates it to be alongside other legendary cars like the Pagani Huayra, Dodge Daytona, Ford GT40, and Shelby Cobra, among others.
I’ve attached the link to the car from Gooding & Company for you to look at. There are very few details on it, but they will be available closer to the auction date (think late July). http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1988-porsche-959-komfort-2/
If you can’t afford that much, there is a beautiful 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 RS Lightweight at the same auction that is estimated to go for $1.0-1.2 million. I’ve attached the link for it also. If you have the means, I highly recommend buying both and driving the wheels off of them. Cars like these are meant to be driven. http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1973-porsche-911-carrera-2-7-rs-lightweight-3/#tab1
The stunning orange Italian exotic car races through the Italian Alps, the wailing V-12 never failing to disappoint Michael Cane, a cigarette loosely dangling from his mouth. It disappears into a tunnel, and a ball of flames ensues. The wreckage of the car is dragged out by heavy machinery by the Italian Mafia. It’s then pushed into a ravine, and a wreath for the driver follows. It’s one of the most stunning and heartbreaking introduction scenes in cinema for gearheads.
There must have been millions of viewers of The Italian Job (the 1969 original version) who assumed that the creamsicle orange Lamborghini Miura was a write-off. They are ALL wrong! I must say that I was never one of them! I had long suspected that Lamborghini would never permit a brand-new Miura to be wrecked in that fashion. I was right. That car disappeared into the tunnel, the cameras stopped, the car came out, and in went the wreckage of an already-wrecked Miura. Bam smash boom. The mangled orange wreckage comes out, gets shoved down the ravine. Done.
The orange Miura powering through the Alps is in pristine condition, and worth well over 1 million Euros.
It’s been described as “the Holy Grail of supercars,” and two British businessmen tracked it down and bought it. Good boys.
The car’s new co-owner, Iain Tyrrell, was tipped off around Christmas that the car still existed. As many are, he was skeptical, yet he decided to check it out. He said in an interview with The Daily Mail, “I was initially sceptical because no one had seen it for 46 years. But my source was a credible one so I started to pursue it.”
The car’s owner invited him to see it, but he had to act like James Bond. No, there were no crazy bad guys with military-grade toys trying to kill him. However, he was only given a mere three hours to verify the car as the real thing. “It was all very James Bond-ish – I had to go to Paris to inspect the car in a secret underground car park,” he said.
Tyrrell explained the confusion surrounding the car: “The Italian Job Lamborghini is the holy grail of supercars precisely because no one knew what happened to it after the film. I have a life-long passion for these cars but I just assumed this particular vehicle was out of reach.” Well, not any more. Lucky man.
The car is essentially brand-new. It’s been well-maintained by all of it’s previous owners, and very little to nothing on the car was changed, as far as Tyrrell knows.
“There are certain quirks within the interior of the car, such as the trim and the stitching. They are like a fingerprint or a birth mark. They can’t be replaced.”
Tyrrell found out that the filmmaker, Paramount Pictures, bought the car from Lamborghini for the filming of the scene, and then sold it to a car dealer.
The dealer then sold the car to an unidentified buyer, who owned it until 2005, when it changed hands several times before ending up with Norbetto Ferretti, a luxury yacht manufacturer. What is so interesting about Ferretti is that he is the son of the dealer who originally bought the car from Paramount. What blows my mind is that every single previous owner of the car had no clue that the car was in such a legendary movie.
Tyrrell and his friend/co-owner, Keith Ashworth, plan to show the car around the world. However, selling it is still a possibility. The value of this car will only rise exponentially.
The mystery of the other car is still unsolved. The smashed-up Miura pushed over the hillside vanished without a trace after it tumbled down the mountainside.
Tyrrell said, “When the production team went back to salvage the remains of the crashed car the next day it had gone. The whole car had disappeared and had obviously been stolen.” Who knows what happened to the wreckage of it?
The legendary Hollywood actor, Robert De Niro, star of several blockbuster films, is going to play Enzo Ferrari in an upcoming biopic of one of the most legendary people in the automotive industry.
De Niro announced that this film will take top priority. Production is expected to begin soon. De Niro said, “It is an honor and a joy to tell the life of an extraordinary man who revolutionized the automotive world.”
De Niro will play the legendary Italian, whose team has been actively competing since 1929 as Scuderia Ferrari. Scuderia Ferrari started off running Alfa Romeos, then started building their own cars in 1947. They have gone on to win an incredible 16 Formula 1 Constructor’s titles since 1950. They have also won 15 Driver’s titles, 222 races, and you get the point. They know their stuff.
The film is going to be produced by former photographer Gianni Bozzacchi, owner of Triworld Cinema, and will work with De Niro’s Tribeca Enterprises company.
According to Bozzacchi in an interview with the Italian newspaper, Il Messaggero, “The film will be titled Ferrari and will be based on an epic story. It will have a high budget and will cover a wide span – from 1945 to the eighties in a twisted game of eras and episodes.”
Robert De Niro isn’t the only big name working on this film, as Clint Eastwood has been approached to direct the film. Bozzacchi claims that Eastwood was “very interested” but wanted to read the script. It is unclear as to whether Eastwood read the script or not.
The writers of Oliver Stone’s Nixon, Steven Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson, also have links to the movie.
The film is expected to hit theaters in 2016. I can’t wait to see it! Look for a review of it as soon as it hits the big screen!
California has recently proposeda new legislation. While that might not mean all that much to us, it should. Legislation A.B. 550 would allow for the owner of a motor vehicle subjected to the rigorous California smog check program to pay a $200 smog abatement fee instead of having to go to the trouble of smogging the car.
This bill would require the payment to go to the Air Quality Improvement Fund. The measure will be considered by the Assembly Transportation Committee.
Currently, the smog check program requires an inspection of all motor vehicles when the car is initially registered, then biennially upon registration renewal, transfer of ownership, and various other circumstances. You can find all of that on the DMV’s website.
The law currently exempts all cars manufactured prior to 1976, and certain other vehicles.
What’s so special about A.B. 550 is that it would allow the owner(s) of a motor vehicle that is required to take a smog test to pay a 200 dollar smog abatement fee IF the car meets the following criteria:
The motor vehicle is 30 model years or older
The motor vehicle was manufactured during or after the 1976 model year
The motor vehicle fails a smog test
The motor vehicle fails a subsequent smog test after necessary repairs were performed
This could mean a lot to hot rodding. Newer cars are easier and cheaper to insure, parts are more plentiful and cheaper, and, since newer cars have the necessary smog equipment, hot rodders can start to build killer smog-legal street cars.
It’s extremely important to me and many others in the automotive industry that we (as in auto enthusiasts) contact the California Assembly Transportation Committee to voice your opinion of A.B. 550.
Here’s how to do it. Email Steve McDonald at email@example.com a copy of your letter. Also, send this to your automotive enthusiast friends! The more people who voice their opinions, the more likely the bill is to pass.
Here is a (very) long list of the committee members’ contact information:
Thanks for listening to my rambling about how this could turn the hot rodding hobby around. If the bill passes, there will be people who abuse the system, but they already do that. I wouldn’t worry that much about it.
I think these cars that are only slightly customized could greatly benefit from A.B. 550:
This bone-stock 1976 Camaro could benefit from an LS-motor swap. Chevy Performance even offers an LS3 E-Rod engine that is smog-legal in all 50 states. You just install the engine and slap on a couple of stickers that let the smog guys know. These second-generation Camaros are popular among hot rodders, and one could throw on aftermarket suspension pieces and nobody would notice.
This is a simply tasteful C-10 stepside. The wheels go well with the dark blue/black paint on the truck. The big visor over the windshield is a cool touch from the 1950s. It would be even better if the owner could put a thundering big-block with EFI on it.
This 1985 Fox-Body Mustang is an early Saleen Mustang. It looks better than the flashier late-model Saleens. It was a performer in the day, but my Mazda3 could beat it to 60, through the quarter mile, and in just about everything but looks. If somebody bought a Fox-Body, got a body kit (Saleen rip-off body kits are common in drifting), put in an EcoBoost V-6 found in the Taurus SHO, this would look amazing, and go like stink. If there was an aftermarket suspension kit on it, even better. This would be a holy terror at autocross and track day events. Plus, it would be a fun daily driver. OK, I’m going to rein myself in now…
The last car on this little list is one I really want. It’s a Chevy C3 Corvette. Let me explain. It has stunning good looks, and would be quite the performer with a modern LS engine under the hood. It’s already been done, and that’s the car in the picture. It’s got an LS3 E-Rod under the hood, and even though it’s a 1972, one could very easily do the same thing to a 1976 or later model.
This crash is the definition of insane. It happened fairly recently too.
The Derek Bell Cup at the 73rd Goodwood Member’s Meeting, which is essentially a place where really rich car guys get together and race their vintage race cars for a trophy. It sounds like a whole lot of fun. There was one moment that I still can’t get over. It was one of those “Oh my G-d HOW the hell did that happen?” moments.
For the record, the Derek Bell Cup is for Formula 3 cars. It is not for every other class of car!
This bonkers crash happened on the second flat-out lap of the qualifying session. Paul Waine’s beautiful red De Sanctis-Ford hit Michael Scott’s equally beautiful 1969 Brabham-Ford BT28 at the legendary Madwick corner.
Waine’s airborne #10 Ford was credited with a still-impressive 17th place for qualifying, but had to retire from the rest of the event. Scott’s Ford somehow got through another six laps before qualifying in 20th place. Scott then went on to finish 13th in the actual race.
The De Sanctis-Ford was an Italian effort that took much inspiration from the Brabham cars of the late 1960s, and was powered by a Ford engine. What seems illogical to me is the fact that the De Sanctis family ran a Fiat dealership. Nonetheless, 1969 was a disappointing year for them.
The Brabham-Ford cars were extremely successful F3 (Formula 3) cars throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
Here’s a link to the video of the crash. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWVPL8oEFJs
Another saddening crash was Jochen Mass, who slammed a priceless Mercedes-Benz 300 SLS into a Lister. Both cars were racing in the Salvadori Cup, and from footage I’ve seen, it looked like the Lister wanted to enter the pits when Mass tried to help. It looks like Mass locked up the brakes in the 300 SLS, and by the time he let up on the brakes, it was simply too late. Cars of that era aren’t known for their braking prowess (they were in the day), so it is a sad surprise. Like any race car worth it’s racing slicks, I’m sure that both cars will be repaired and racing again in no time at all.