Rare 1939 fire engine needs a savior, 4Runner adds TRD Sport trim, De Tomaso teases track-ready Isabelle
This rare 1939 fire engine is looking for a savior
Intake: The crusher is a horrible fate for a fire engine that gave years of service knocking down flames and saving lives. That’s why John Gasper says he bought this 1930s Seagrave Canopy Cab: “To save it from being scrapped.” Gasper, owner of Gasper’s Automotive Restoration in Manchester, Connecticut, opened his business in 2010, but he’s been working on vintage vehicles of all types for more than 20 years. This Seagrave—a 1939 model, Gasper believes, judging from its chrome and other parts—is currently for sale on Facebook Marketplace for $4000.
Exhaust: You don’t see 1939 Seagrave Canopy Cab fire engines very often anymore, so we’re happy that this one was saved from the scrap heap, at least for now. The sedan body is rare, and the Pierce-Arrow 7.4-liter V-12 is monstrous. It’s going to require money, time, and effort to get this rig up and running again—and even more of all three to return it to its former rescuing glory—but perhaps the right person will find it worthy of restoring. This faithful civil servant deserves it.
TRD Sport trim joins Toyota’s midsize 4Runner lineup
Intake: Toyota has expanded the 4Runner lineup with a TRD Sport trim that is more about on-pavement performance and comfort than off-road capability. The TRD Sport uses the Cross-Linked Relative Absorber System, which is found on the 4Runner Limited, to cross-link shocks from opposite corners of the vehicle for a smoother ride. The package is based on the base SR5 trim and is available in both rear- and four-wheel-drive versions. Setting it apart from other 4Runners, the TRD Sport offers color-matched grille trim, rocker panels, and molding, along with a TRD hood scoop. Rather than the SR5’s 17-inch wheels, TRD Sport adds 20-inch wheels with dark gray accents. Inside, the SR5’s cloth seats are replaced by black SofTex-trimmed seats, with the front seats featuring TRD stitching and heat. MSRP starts at $40,150.
Exhaust: The TRD Sport seems to add a lot of content as well as fascia that’s otherwise found only on the 4Runner Limited, for about $7000 less. If the 4Runner’s gaping-maw front end was keeping you from buying, this may be the trim for you. If you need actual off-road capability, this is not a substitute for the real-deal TRD Pro.
De Tomaso Isabelle looks and sounds pretty racy
Intake: De Tomaso has dug deep into its history to reintroduce the name Isabelle. Back in 1959, Alejandro De Tomaso had parted ways with the Maserati brothers at OSCA and wanted to design his own road and race cars. Moving to Modena from Bologna, Italy De Tomaso’s first car was a Formula 2 monoposto powered by a 1.5-liter OSCA motor. The car, named Isabelle after De Tomaso’s wife, made its entrance at Sebring in 1959 and was quick, but failed to finish. Now the revitalized De Tomaso is set to release a new Isabelle based around its million-dollar P72—itself an homage to the P70 racer of the 1960s. So far only the short teaser film above has been released with full details to come on September 15.
Exhaust: Given the evocative name and the glimpse of racing helmet in the video, we’d hazard a guess that Isabelle will be a track version of the P72, Roush V-8 included. The car’s carbon-fiber tub has been designed to FIA LMP standards anyway so a circuit conversion would mostly involve stripping the luxury interior and fettling the chassis. Whether it will be eligible to race or designed for track days, we’ll have to wait and see.
AC’s electric Ace will join Cobra in a newly revitalized lineup
Intake: Just a few weeks after unveiling the first fruits of the AC Cobra Series I, AC cars announced that the Ace will also make an electrified comeback as the Ace RS electric. As with the Cobra Series I, the powertrain for the Ace RS comes from Derby-based Falcon Electric. In this application, AC says the 38-kWh battery will be good for 200 miles of driving on a single charge. That driveline features a 368 lb-ft of torque at its peak, which AC says will propel the machine from a dead stop to 62 mph in just 5.5 seconds. Each car will wear an official AC Cars chassis number, ensuring authenticity. Just 37 Founders Edition cars will be made, starting at roughly $180,000 a piece. Deliveries are slated to start late next year.
Exhaust: EV all the things! We love the Ace primarily because of what followed it—the immortal AC Cobra. But the Ace is worth celebrating in its own right, especially because it too wears such gorgeous body lines. These new-fangled electrified cars, despite their nostalgic styling, shouldn’t dull the shine of the originals by any stretch. Seeing something that beautiful silently slaying the backroads near your home ought to put a smile on your face no matter what. AC claims this thing weighs roughly 2300 pounds, so it should feel nice a lithe at speed—a breath of fresh air relative to everything else on the road, which seems to get heavier by the day.
Audi Grandsphere concept might be the next A8
Intake: Audi is playing a strong concept car game right now. Having only just shown the shape-shifting Skysphere coupe the company has unveiled the Grandsphere as the brand’s future luxury flagship. The “private jet for the road” is designed around level four autonomous driving and has a steering column that disappears into the dash when the Grandsphere is driving itself. Unusually the interior design is exceptionally clean, without a screen in sight when you first enter the vehicle. Instead the infotainment displays only emerge when wanted and occupants can, if they choose, enjoy a digital detox ride instead. The Grandsphere is even longer than the long-wheelbase A8, making its lounge-like interior exceptionally spacious and airy. Should you actually wish to drive a twin-motor four-wheel drive system sends 720 hp to the wheels and can propel the Grandsphere to 62 mph in around four seconds. The 120-kWh battery has a range of 466 miles and is part of the PPE platform developed with Porsche that will also underpin the upcoming Macan EV and Audi Q6 e-tron.
Exhaust: Audi says that the Grandsphere is the closest of its concepts to Project Artemis, the replacement for the A8 which is due to be revealed in 2024 before going on sale the following year. The level of autonomous driving may not be quite as advanced when that date arrives, but we hope that the car looks as sleek as this.