GM expands motorsports development in NASCAR country, Lamborghini flirts with LMH entry, a Royal-Reynolds Rolls is for sale
GM’s Charlotte Technical Center breaks ground in NASCAR country
Intake: General Motors broke ground for its newest racing development center just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, in the suburb of Concord. That’s right in NASCAR’s backyard, as Hendrick Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing are in the neighborhood. GM will use the center for all race series in which GM competes: That’s NASCAR, Indycar, IMSA, and NHRA, to name a few. The 130,000-square-foot facility will house state-of-the-art simulators and serious computing power to test cars and model parts digitally, speeding up the development process.
Exhaust: GM’s performance and racing programs are a great recruiting tool for the company, helping it draw engineers to exciting careers that benefit both the racing teams and production cars. This facility will be working with race-winning teams right of the bat and should help the company pull the best and brightest talent.
Is Lamborghini getting serious about entering Le Mans Hypercar competition?
Intake: We’ve already seen Lamborghini’s track-only Essenza SCV12—the fixed-roof V-12 monster debuted last summer. (The presence of a roof differentiates it from the similarly non-street-legal SC20.) What’s new is the information that the SCV12’s carbon-fiber chassis is homologated according to Le Mans Hypercar regulations, which allow OEMs to derive eligible race cars from existing road-going models. The carbon-fiber structure developed by Lamborghini’s Squadra Corse is strong enough to eschew an additional steel roll cage, optimizing weight and space. The Xtrac sequential gearbox, which helps channel power from the 830+ hp V-12 to the rear wheels, is integrated into the chassis and serves as a load-bearing component.
Exhaust: Though it’s expressed interest, Lamborghini has made no official, iron-clad commitment to the Le Mans Hypercar class currently populated by Ferrari, Toyota, Glickenhaus, ByKolles, and Peugeot. The Essenza SCV12 suggests that the door remains open.
This Rolls-Royce was run by a Princess and The Bandit
Intake: A 1975 long-wheelbase Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow ordered new by Princess Margaret and subsequently sold to Burt Reynolds could be yours. The Silver Shadow was ordered by Her Majesty the Queen’s younger sister in November 1974 and specified in Cardinal Red with a black vinyl roof and a black leather interior with Cherry Red carpeting. Extra royal features included clear Sundym glass, flashing blue lights, and an illuminated royal shield on the roof. In 1984, Smokey and the Bandit star Burt Reynolds imported the car to the U.S.A, but perhaps the stately performance was a disappointment after tooling around in Trans Ams, because the car was shipped back to Europe just three years later. The Silver Shadow is now being sold at part of a 25-strong collection of Rolls-Royces and Bentleys up for grabs at RM Sotheby’s “A Passion for Excellence” auction in Lichtenstein this month.
Exhaust: Not one, but two famous owners must make this Silver Shadow one of the most collectible of its era. Although it’s offered without reserve we fully expect to sell at the higher end of its estimate of 65,000–110,000 Swiss Francs ($721,60–$122,100).
The million-dollar parking space
Intake: A parking space in Hong Kong has just sold for a world-record $1.3 million. The space is located in a swanky development called The Peak, in the city’s Mount Nicholson area, which overlooks the harbor. Hong Kong is notoriously packed, so any available real estate comes at a premium price, even if it’s only big enough for a single car. This latest sale beats a previous record of $980,000 set in 2019, according to a report by the BBC.
Exhaust: You thought parking in your city was expensive? Think again. Even the reported million-dollar Manhattan spaces almost look like good value compared to this Asian excess.
Could this Craigslist-find, Caballista-tribute Corvette be a Neo-neoclassic?
Intake: Don’t let your eyes deceive you, this is not the Corvette Caballista made by Les Dunham. Les was the man behind the pimpmobile Cadillac Eldorado, a car that fathered the genre popularized in 1970s Blaxploitation films like Super Fly. While Les created approximately 50 Caballistas based on the C3 Corvette, we’ll throw in another movie reference to suggest it’s truly been an endless “Corvette summer” for C3s of the late 1970s. People loved to customize its long hood/short deck fiberglass body in various configurations, and even the Caballista’s polarizing aesthetic found its admirers, including the seller of this particular example, who created his own Les Dunham tribute.
Exhaust: Like many Corvettes of its era, this one looks like a garage queen. The neoclassic’s craftsmanship seems legit, too. But the devil’s in the details, and the flat-faced, Continental Mark IV-derived grille doesn’t have the beveled face (and complementary front fascia/hood) of the original Caballista. Details like the custom bumpers and B-pillar conversion from sweptback to upright and formal also leave something to be desired. All of which begs the question: Is imitation really the sincerest form of flattery?