VW ID. Buzz spied without camo, Valkyrie AMR Pro for the ultra-rich, beer-fueled pre-war barn find breaks speed record
Welcome to The Manifold, our fresh daily digest of news and what’s happening in the car world.
Volkswagen’s ID. Buzz prototype spied out and about in Germany
Intake: Breaking spy photos reveal the latest visual insight into what looks to be VW’s all-new ID. Buzz in near-production form. The EV microbus will be available in both commercial and passenger body styles overseas for 2023, however, in the States, expect the incoming 2024 model to strictly be a passenger vehicle. The gallery below showcases the European’s panel van/commercial variant, aptly called ID. Buzz Cargo. It appears to maintain most of the fundamental cues suggested in the spirited design of the 2017 ID. Buzz concept.
Exhaust: The hotly-awaited ID. Buzz will needs to be a stalwart for the future of EVs, as well as a proof-of-concept for Level 4 autonomy. If any vehicle can both look to the future and capitalize on somewhat familiar brand nostalgia, the reborn Microbus is up to the task. Hopefully by the time it arrives, charging infrastructure will be able to better support the kind of adventuring Microbuses once made famous.
Heavy flooding rains on Ford, Stellantis production parades
Intake: Heavy rains caused major flooding in the Detroit area late last week, and it wasn’t just major highways and basements filling with water. Photos from Jeep owners on social media show a heavily flooded shipping yard near Jeep’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant with multiple vehicles submerged up to the windshield. The photos come from Jeep owners on social media, and according to a report from the Detroit Free Press, the yard is a central staging area for multiple Stellantis products, including Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Durangos (built on the same line) as well as Dodge Challengers and Chargers. Ford was also forced to halt its Dearborn Truck Plant on Saturday as a result of extreme flooding in the area, and a roof leak in the at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne—home of the new Bronco—was forced to shut down its line early on Friday due to a roof leak.
Exhaust: As if the shortage of vital components like microchips wasn’t already hampering automakers enough, heavy flooding in Detroit isn’t helping. We’d expect all of the vehicles in that Stellantis shipping yard to be totaled. An assembly plant is a finely tuned machine humming along to produce extremely complicated cars at a shocking rate. The fact that the Jefferson North Assembly plant only missed its morning shift before resuming second-shift operations at 4:30 p.m. is a testament to the capability of modern manufacturing.
Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro is weaponized for the track
Intake: Aston Martin has taken the Valkyrie it designed to compete in the Le Mans Hypercar series and turned it into a track day toy for billionaires. Having pulled out of the championship Aston Martin will look to recoup the investment by selling 40 AMR Pro versions of the Valkyrie. The original racer was developed with Adrian Newey, Red Bull Advanced Technologies and Multimatic to meet the new Hypercar regulations, but now Aston Martin has ripped up the rulebook. With 1013 hp from its Cosworth V-12 engine, a wider and longer chassis, and the removal of the hybrid batteries Aston Martin says that the Valkyrie AMR Pro should lap the 8.5-mile Le Mans circuit in three minutes and 20 seconds. Crazy downforce and track tires will allow the car to pull 3g in the corners. Aston Martin also says its Formula 1 drivers Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll will help develop the car before buyers get their hands on it and special track days will be arranged.
Exhaust: It’s a shame that Aston Martin won’t be taking part in the Le Mans Hypercar championship, but we never like to see good engineering go to waste, so we’re pleased to hear that the car’s naturally-aspirated V-12 may yet be heard at its 11,000 rpm limit on tracks around the world.
Honda and Acura all-electric SUVs coming in 2024
Intake: Honda will introduce a new battery-powered SUV to its lineup in early 2024. It’s called the Prologue, and Honda says it’s the vehicle that “lead the company’s vision for 100% zero emission vehicle sales in North America by 2040.” The announcement made mention that Acura will also introduce a pure-electric SUV in the 2024 calendar year. Details about range, pricing, size, and more will trickle out in the coming months.
Exhaust: Honda’s a bit late to the all-electric game. It has an impressive array of hybrid vehicles—the Accord Hybrid is absolutely phenomenal—but BEVs are a whole different animal. We know that Honda will be using GM’s Ultium battery platform to develop two new vehicles; expect the Prologue to be one of those two offerings, with Acura’s SUV potentially being the other.
Beer-fueled barn-find Riley races to 160 mph
Intake: A 1930s Riley Nine Kestrel that was rescued from a barn in 2020 has just set a U.K. speed record. The car was recovered from storage in Holland and rebuilt during lockdown by Nigel and Joel McNally of the Kestrel Brewing Company who commissioned specialists Webster Engineering to turn the ratty Riley into a racer. Powered by a 2.5-liter 912-hp five-cylinder engine and clothed in aerodynamic bodywork, it is somewhat quicker than the original, which featured a 1.1-liter four-cylinder that could just about drag the car to 60 mph. Now known as the Flying Kestrel the car captured a new record for the Half Mile Standing Start in Class D (2.5-liters), recording a speed of 159.634 mph. “We have had setbacks and issues, particularly with the aerodynamics on such an old-style 1930s body shape, but we have never lost faith,” said Nigel McNally, who also confirmed the team would be back to break more records soon.
Exhaust: This might just be the first hot rod Riley we’ve ever seen—and we like it! The McNallys are now shooting for 200 mph so we’ll definitely be keeping an eye on the Flying Kestrel.
Porsche 911 GT2 RS reclaims Nürburgring lap record
Intake: A Porsche 911 GT2 RS equipped with the Manthey Performance Kit from Porsche Tequipment lapped the vaunted Nürburgring Nordschleife in just 6:43.300 minutes, a new lap record. That scorching time is 4.747 seconds faster than the previous record holder, the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series. The Manthey Performance Kit consists of chassis, aerodynamic, and brake components specifically developed for this car, as well as the lightweight magnesium alloy wheels from the Weissach Package.
Exhaust: Some clarification of the record: There are 2 ways to measure a lap: The current full Nürburgring lap layout, a 12.92-mile loop that debuted in 2019, and the older layout, a 12.8-mile circuit that has been used since 1997. Porsche’s time mentioned above is a full lap, which equates to a 6:38.835 on the short configuration. Furthermore, at this point the entire Nürburgring lap time battle ground is purely an arena for bragging rights among manufacturers. These times cater to very few actual drivers who can extract that much performance from the car—it’s why professional race car drivers are setting these laps now. Regardless, strap in for the on-board lap video above; it’s absolutely bonkers.