Bronco Raptor is a go, Pontoon boat with an automotive twist, dog toy made from axle stop

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Green Light: Ford’s Bronco Raptor set to tear up deserts next year

Intake: Ford recognizes the appetite for block-lettered FORD grilles hiding big horsepower. In a move we hoped would come to fruition, Ford just confirmed the impending arrival of a new Raptor trim level on the Bronco. Details are minimal at this time, but the 2022 Bronco Raptor has the requisite nose, complete with the amber clearance lights that are a hallmark of the Raptor brand. Expect performance to be appropriately ridiculous. Desert sand is surely quaking at the prospect of meaty off-road tires shaving its surface and landing from stupid jumps.

Exhaust: If you’re crossing your fingers for a V-8, don’t hold your breath. Remember, the Raptor is normally a suspension, wheel/tire, and exterior/interior trim upgrade package. Perhaps it will sport the Bronco’s existing 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 and add a wee bit more boost to justify the price premium. If we’re really lucky, maybe we’ll see the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 nestled between those frame rails. No matter what, it’s a formula that’s going to work. If a Mustang and a Cobra live together in harmony, why not give Ford’s prehistoric pack hunter a home on the fender of another wild horse?

You can’t walk on water, but you may soon be able to drive a “car” on it

VW Bus pontoon boat front
Floating Motors

Intake: Here’s a start-up that, if its feature product reaches the production stage, will stay afloat—even if the business doesn’t. Italian designer Pierpaolo Lazzarini’s Floating Motors is just one piece of a much larger innovative puzzle from Lazzarini Design Studio, which has been pushing the envelope for years, designing everything from automobiles to yachts to floating architecture. Lazzarini’s latest and greatest idea is a series of pontoon boat designs that look like cars you already know, including a Mini, a Jaguar, and a Volkswagen bus. None of Lazzarini’s automotive-inspired boats have moved beyond the design stage, but if you love his digital renderings and have $35,000 laying around, you could be one of the first to receive a La Dolce (the first available model) and become an official Floating Motors dealer.

Exhaust: If you love the water and want to cruise the waves like no other, this could be your ticket. It appears there’s virtually no limit to what Lazzarini can do, but beyond the roomier VW bus, you have to question the practicality of a boat that resembles a cramped minicar or a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL gullwing. It’s tough enough getting in and out of those when you’re on land. With that said, the potential buyers of these creations likely aren’t thinking about practicality anyway.

No Time To Die Edition DB5 Junior for spy kids

Intake: The Little Car Company has joined forces with EON Productions to build a run of gadget-laden DB5 Juniors. The 125 cars were developed with the aid of Oscar-winning special effects supervisor Chris Corbould who also worked on the full-sized Aston Martin Goldfinger continuation series. Operated by a hidden switch panel in the passenger door are a set of replica Gatling guns concealed behind the headlights, a digital number plate and a smoke screen. Just like the standard DB5 Junior, the No Time To Die Edition has multiple driving modes and a range of up to 80 miles from its electric powertrain.

Exhaust: “When I saw the DB5 Junior in the flesh, I was amazed at how identical it is to the full-sized car – its stunning. It’s an amazing feat of engineering,” says Corbould. Equally amazing is the price at £90,000 ($123,140)! No Time to Die debuts in theaters October 8.

Your dog’s favorite toy began as a car part

KONG dog toy and Volkswagen origins
Volkswagen

Intake: If you own a dog of any sort, there’s a good chance your pooch has enjoyed chewing on a KONG toy at one time or another. Stuffed with peanut butter, probably. Turns out, the KONG began life as the humble rubber axle stop on a 1960s Type 2 VW Bus. In the 1970s, Joe Markham was a young auto mechanic in Denver, Colorado. He had just adopted a a lovable German Shepherd named Fritz, who had flunked out of the police academy for “excessive chewing.” Markham tried everything from animal bones to radiator hoses, but Fritz defeated them all. One day, while elbow-deep in a Type 2 bus suspension, he caught Fritz gnawing on the axle stop, unable to chew through the rubber. Lightbulb! After six years of consulting with VW suppliers and eventually a German rubber manufacturer, Markham found the perfect material blend in 1976.

Exhaust: Well this one was unexpected. On the other hand, car parts are designed for  repeated abuse in high-stress conditions. Clearly that includes the humble rubber axle stop, whose strength and flexibility ended up being the key to withstanding the mighty jaws of good ol’ Fritz. Just keep the peanut butter in the kitchen if you want to keep Spot from gnawing on your VW Bus axles.

Lotus announces European pricing for the Emira

Lotus/Richard Pardon

Intake: The new Emira—the final ICE Lotus—will cost £75,995 in the U.K (an equivalent of around $100,000). That sum gets you a V-6 First Edition mode, which comes in a choice of six colors: Seneca Blue (above), Dark Verdant, Shadow Grey, Nimbus Grey, Magma Red, or Hethel Yellow. Exterior design features include LED lighting, and a Lower Black package which finishes the front splitter, side sills, and rear diffuser in gloss black. A titanium exhaust tip is also part of the deal. Inside, there are seven shades offered, including red, black, and tan Nappa leather, or black Alcantara with red, yellow, or grey contrast stitching. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are integrated with the infotainment system. The First Edition also comes with a Drivers package that offers a choice of Tour or Sports suspension with Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport or Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. A Convenience package provides parking sensors, reversing camera, rain sensing wipers, auto-dimming mirrors and a rear luggage net. Finally, a Design package includes privacy glass, a black Alcantara headliner, sports pedals, and your pick of red, yellow or silver brake calipers.

Exhaust: Lotus says U.S. Emira pricing will be revealed “in the coming weeks”.  Expect the numbers to be even more friendly than the European pricing, which is already pretty tasty considering the high level of equipment included on the First Edition.

Leno’s take on the John Player Norton? It’s smoking hot.

Intake: Say “classic British motorcycle” and the average two-wheeled will picture a Norton. Jay Leno bought his 1974 John Player Special brand-new, and the 828cc twin-powered bike has aged like fine wine. The engine is rubber-mounted to keep shakes from tiring the rider, and the oh-so ’70s bodywork is credited to Mike Oldfield and inspired by the endurance bikes fielded by the Norton works team. Leno made a few of his own tasteful changes, upgrading the front brake and exhaust, along with an alarm to prevent the oil system from running dry. It makes for a highly interesting but also highly rideable bike.

Exhaust: The John Player branding isn’t widely understood on these shores. People often think it is tied to a particular racer, but it is actually a cigarette brand that went to sponsoring racers as television shows and movies began to withdraw from promoting tobacco products. The most famous John Player liveries are usually black and gold, but the red, white, and blue here are just as timeless and tasteful. Only 120 examples made it to these shores, so any sighting is a treat.

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