Hot Wheels goes full “elegante” with Gucci Seville, a factory-less EV, 2022 Mustang blacks out

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Mattel Creations

Hot Wheels goes full “elegante” with Gucci Seville replica

Intake: Italian fashion house Gucci is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a Hot Wheels partnership, making a very special die-cast version of the 1982 Gucci Cadillac Seville. The folks at Mattel Creations—the Mattel division responsible for high-end, collector-grade products—also say this is the first official collectible from Gucci, and the detailing on this is certainly worthy of the partnership. The final price is a Gucci -worthy $120, and the limited-production Caddy goes on sale on October 18, at 9 a.m. Pacific Time.

Exhaust: While we’re surprised to see Gucci choosing the second-generation Seville instead of the more famous first-gen, that’s likely because Hot Wheels already had the later model tooled up. No matter, it’s great to see Hot Wheels connecting with its ever-diversifying fanbase in yet another way. Too bad at least one of us at Hagerty is waiting for a die-cast of the other Italian-designed, bustle-backed luxury sedan from the early 1980s instead …

Alpine taps Oreca for LMDh plunge

Alpine/Oreca team up for future LMDh prototype program
Alpine

Intake: Alpine has announced that it will use Oreca as a chassis supplier in its upcoming LMDh prototype, according to a report from Sportscar365. The French brand will take the plunge starting in 2024 and has committed to backing the Signatech team to run its program for four years as of now. Alpine also mentioned that it will lean on its Formula 1 team for development expertise in both the powertrain and aerodynamics disciplines. As a refresh, LMDh cars must run hybridized powertrains, with a spec electrical component supplied by the sanctioning bodies. As a trade-off, that allows them to run in prestigious European races like the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but also run here in the U.S. in events like the 24 Hours of Daytona. Alpine is the seventh manufacturer to throw its hat in the LMDh ring, joining Audi, Porsche, Acura, BMW, Cadillac, and Lamborghini.

Exhaust: Alpine climbing aboard the new hypercar hype train is good news for race fans. The brand will be one of just two to compete in Formula 1 and the top levels of world endurance racing (Ferrari being the other one). There are 12 companies total signed on to join the next-generation prototype racing in either class. That’s an astonishing number, encouraging for two reasons: 1) It’s full of the manufacturers we know and love; 2) It appears to be (relatively) affordable enough that privateer teams are also taking up the arms at the sharpest end of the grid.

Detroit’s old Cadillac Stamping plant site finds new life

Cadillac Motor Car Company
The Print Collector/Heritage Images via Getty Images

Intake: The former Cadillac Stamping Plant on Detroit’s east side is finding new life. According to the Detroit News, construction has begun on a $48 million complex, the M3 Commerce Center, named for Gratiot Avenue (also known as M-3). The site will be home to Lear Corporation, which will make seats for GM’s Factory Zero Assembly factory when it opens in mid-2022. Lear will occupy nearly two-thirds of the 684,000-square-foot building and is expected to bring 450 jobs to the city. “It’s a real exciting time in Detroit,” says Tim Conder of Missouri-based NorthPoint Development, “and we’re proud to be part of it.”

Exhaust: Much like the historic Michigan Central Station and Packard Plant, which both sat vacant for years, there’s exciting new life at Cadillac Stamping Plant site. As sad as it is to see factories close and buildings shuttered, it’s uplifting when new businesses arise from the ashes.

Cadillac Plant interior
Flickr/Brook Ward

Piëch GT is production-ready, but where will it actually be produced?

Intake: Swiss EV sports car startup Piëch says its GT is ready to begin testing. The car, first shown as the Mark Zero concept at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, is designed around a modular platform that can house a battery-electric, fuel-cell, or even an ICE powertrain. The first version will be battery-powered, with the cells mounted between the passengers and behind the seats to allow a lower driving position. This echoes Porsche’s plans for the all-electric Boxster and Cayman. The car is to use three electric motors rated for a total power output of 603 hp and a 0–60 mph time of less than three seconds. The 75-kWh battery pack is good enough for a 300-mile range and can be charged up to 80 percent in just eight minutes on the fastest charger currently available. Piëch was founded by Anton Piëch, son of the late VW boss Ferdinand, and has on board such automotive luminaries as former VW Group CEO Matthias Mueller, ex-BMW motorsport chief Klaus Schmidt, former Porsche-man Andreas Henke, and Jochen Rudat, who comes from Tesla. What Piëch does not have is a factory. Instead, production of the planned 1200 cars a year is to be outsourced to as an as-yet-unnamed OEM. Sales are slated to begin in 2024 and future plans include a crossover and a 2+2 coupe.

Exhaust: The specification and styling of the Piëch GT is impressive, but who will build it? The answer surely has to lie in the VW Group when you consider who’s running the company. The shared battery-layout with Porsche may well be another clue. 

Ford shows the gas-powered Mustang some love

Ford Mustang California Special with GT Performance Package
Ford

Intake: While it may seem that the Mach-E is lassoing all the Mustang headlines right now, Ford hasn’t forsaken its dino-juice-drinking sibling. For the 2022 model year, customers can choose a new Stealth Edition Appearance package for their EcoBoost Premium Mustang. The package adds—surprise—blacked-out badges, black 19-inch wheels, black mirror caps, and clear LED taillamp covers just like the ones included in the Ice White appearance package. For customers seeking a bit more bite to supplement their five-oh-powered Mustang California Special, Ford will now offer the GT Performance package as an add-on. The package includes six-piston Brembo front brake calipers, heftier front springs and a larger rear sway bar, additional body bracing, a Torsen limited-slip differential, and staggered 19×9-inch front and 19×9.5-inch wheels with sticky Pirelli summer tires.

Exhaust: It’s no surprise to see Ford readying a blacked-out appearance package for the 310-hp, 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost Mustang. These packages sell well on pretty much any vehicle—and they’re available on everything from Jaguars to Chevys. Frankly, we’re surprised such a package for the Mustang didn’t exist sooner. The GT Performance Package turns the Coyote V-8-powered Mustang into a serious performance machine, and adding it to the California Special edition broadens the appeal of an already neat configuration. We’re glad to see that Ford still has a few laps left for the S550-gen pony car.

Mini offers Anniversary Edition to celebrate 60 years of Cooper heritage

Mini

Intake: An exclusive batch of the John Cooper Works Hardtop two-doors will mark 60 years since the first Mini wore a Cooper badge. The cars offered in the U.S. will be finished exclusively in British Racing Green with white hood bonnet stripes, mirror caps, and roof. The Cooper Car Company logo is placed on the door sills and side scuttles while the number 74, the number used by the first Mini Cooper to ever race, is on the hood. Further, three generations of Cooper signatures—John Cooper, John Michael Cooper, and Charlie Cooper—are “etched in the cockpit fascia.” Mini says that these limited-production models come with touchscreen navigation and an MSRP of $40,750, including destination.

Exhaust: There is a lot of great Mini Cooper heritage to celebrate, and what better color to headline the party than British Racing Green? Unfortunately, this homage to the Cooper name doesn’t pack any added performance. On the other hand, it also looks like it’s the same price as a John Cooper Works Hardtop equipped with the Iconic trim, which includes on-board navigation. At that price, why not opt for the racy looks?

This Group Citroën BX is a rally rarity

Intake: Citroën dominated World Rallying for almost a decade between 2003 and 2012, but before such success came an extraordinary experiment during the 1980s’ Group B era. Taking the boxy Marcello Gandini-designed BX as a starting point, Citroën commissioned Heuliez to create a rally-ready bodyshell that would still resemble the production car. Like the MG Metro 6R4, the BX 4TC wasn’t exactly pretty: boxy fender flares, scoops, huge rear wing. On the engineering side, it was also rather thrown-together. The 385-hp four-cylinder turbo engine was based on that fitted to the Peugeot 505 Turbo and mounted longitudinally, unlike that of the standard BX, an arrangement which relegated the radiators to the rear of the car. The gearbox came from the Citroën SM and the company’s trademark oleopneumatic suspension was included, too, which could have made the BX 4TC a winner according to driver Jean-Claude Andruet. “When we know how to fully exploit the handling of this car, it will be formidable,” he said. Unfortunately, he never really got to find out as it was only entered in three rounds of the World Rally Championship, with a sixth place in snowy Sweden being its best finish. Just “six or seven” BX 4TCs still exist and one example is now up for auction at Artcurial in Paris where it’s estimated to fetch €250,000–€350,000 ($289,000–$405,000).

Exhaust: Rallying has never been as bonkers as it was in the Group B days. These monsters of the forest tracks were so fast and so dangerous that they were banned. Few survive, and this one-season wonder Citroën must be among the rarest of them all.

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