AC’s Cobra Electric whirrs to life, a pint-sized Testa Rossa you can drive, Bentayga gets giant woven rims

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AC Cars

AC Cobra Electric goes live

Intake: A year after AC Cars shocked the motoring world by announcing it would be going electric, the British company is putting the final touches to the most controversial Cobra of all time. Supply chain issues during the COVID-19 pandemic caused delays, but AC capitalized on the time by improving the car. Thanks to Falcon Electric of Derby, the car now features higher-performance electrical components to reduce weight and improve speed and handling. Now called the AC Cobra Series 1 Electric, the car will accelerate from 0–62 mph in around four seconds, which is a dramatic improvement over the 6.7 seconds claimed a year ago. The range of 150 miles is unchanged, though the price has crept up to almost $190,000.

Exhaust: Whether you of approve of electrifying classics or not, we can all agree that the revisions to the AC at least give it the performance worthy of the Cobra name.

The Little Car Company adds Ferrari Testa Rossa to its roster

Intake: The Little Car Company of little England now has an exotic Italian to add to its catalog of scaled-down specials. The Ferrari Testa Rossa J follows the firm’s Baby Bugatti II, Aston Martin DB5 Junior, and Tamiya Wild One Max. The fun-sized Ferrari is electrically powered like its stablemates and packs a 12-kW powertrain that can see it to speeds of up to 37 mph. A manettino-style switch configures the Testa Rossa J in three driving modes—Novice, Sport, and Race. The hand-formed bodywork is derived from original drawings from Ferrari Classiche and the car wears a real Ferrari badge, plus original-quality paintwork. The interior is trimmed in the same leather as full-sized Ferraris and the classic Nardi steering wheel is removable. There’s just about enough space for an adult to drive, but really it’s aimed at the offspring of wealthy Ferrari fans. Only 299 will be built and prices have yet to be released—in the mean time, you can use the online configurator to pick your perfect specification right now.

Exhaust: We had great things to say about the Baby Bugatti II when we drifted it around Willow Springs, and since the Testa Rossa is based on the same underpinnings it’ll probably be just as much of a hoot to drive. The Ferrari is also likely to be just as expensive–the Bugatti runs to over $70,000 in top trim. Not cheap for a kiddie car, but it’s got collectible written all over it.

Bentayga to wear largest production-spec carbon-fiber wheel ever

Bentley

Intake: Beginning in late 2021, Bentley’s SUV, the Bentayga, will be the recipient of some seriously glam footwear: 22-inch wheels made exclusively from carbon-fiber and built for Bentley by Bucci Composites. Compared to their aluminum counterparts, the new rims save 13.2 pounds apiece, and reportedly slow tire deflation by peeling, rather than shattering, upon impact. The largest carbon wheels in production will be available exclusively through Bentley’s Mulliner division, which naturally offers a carbon-weave front splitter, rear diffuser, side sills, and interior bits to round out the experience.

Exhaust: In total, these woven wonders lower the weight of a V-8-equipped Bentayga by a grand 0.001 percent—but lightweighting is hardly the point here. Bragging rights and good looks? That’s more like it.

 

3.0-liter diesel will be standard on 2022 Sierra Limited AT4

General Motors

Intake: GMC had planned to bring a host of updates to the 2022 Sierra, but plans got a bit derailed due to the global computer chip shortage. That means the interior and fascia updates won’t arrive months after the 2022 models go on sale. Those initial 2022 Sierras will be referred to as “Limited” models and are essentially identical to the 2021 models. One interesting change will be the elimination of the standard 5.3-liter V-8 on the 2022 Sierra Limited AT4, as reported by GM Authority. Instead, it will be replaced with the 3.0-liter Duramax Diesel. The 6.2-liter gas V-8 will continue to be an option.

Exhaust: The AT4 is a very popular trim, so making the inline-six diesel standard is a big move by GMC. This powerplant is considerably more fuel efficient than its gasoline brethren and seems to be well received by consumers and pundits. This decision should help differentiate GMC from its competitors—like Ford, who recently axed the turbodiesel option in the F-150—and elevate the brand above its corporate competition at Chevrolet by slanting the product mix to more premium powertrains.

91 years ago, Missouri duo begins a 7180-mile journey in a Model A—driving in reverse

Creighton and Hargis Model A Journey In Reverse
Brad Minners Collection/Hargis & Creighton

Intake: On July 26, 1930—91 years ago today—James Hargis and Charles Creighton left New York City and began driving their 1929 Ford Model A roadster 3340 miles to Los Angeles. In reverse. Using extra-large rearview mirrors and traveling day and night at an average speed of 10 mph (one would sleep in a specially constructed seat while the other drove), the pair arrived in L.A. 17 days later. After two days of rest, they reversed course—which, in this case means they kept driving backwards—and arrived back in New York on September 5, completing the 7180-mile roundtrip in 42 days.

Exhaust: As if driving that far in reverse gear—much of it over unpaved roads—wasn’t epic enough, the Missouri duo never turned off the Model A’s engine. Since we can’t find any advertising that capitalized on the feat, it looks like Henry Ford may have missed out on an incredible marketing opportunity.

Hope on the horizon for Lordstown Motors?

Lordstown Motors factory aerial
Megan Jelinger/AFP via Getty Images

Intake: In a rather surprising turn of events, a hedge fund (YA II PN Ltd), of all entities, is apparently ready to throw a life preserver to the very company that’s been a juicy target of short selling funds throughout 2021, Lordstown Motors. The EV maker from east Ohio is dealing with executive turnover, as well as financial instability, developments that are prompting the DOJ and SEC to probe the guts of its 2020 SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) merger and recent misreporting of production numbers. YA II PN Ltd is offering up a commitment of $400 million dollars’ worth of stock buying, over a 3-year period, should the current shareholders vote to approve of its proposal.

Exhaust: The greatest threat to Lordstown is its liquidity crisis. A new, sizeable investment could provide the necessary edge  not only to keep the lights on longer but also to encourage other deep-pocketed institutions to join in and fund the EV maker’s recovery. Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, told Automotive News: “Existing shareholders are not taking $400 million worth of dilution. It’s like a standby commitment on the part of YA to buy stock when Lordstown says it needs more money … It’s more like the knight in shining armor than the vulture at the carcass.” If Lordstown is to effectively take the Endurance to production anytime soon, this opportunity is just what the doctor ordered.

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