GM Defense taps Hummer platform, Mazda CX-50 aims at the outdoors, DeLorean selling scale models
GM Defense eyes Hummer EV-based military vehicle
Intake: According to a new report from CNBC, GM Defense is planning to develop a prototype military vehicle based off the bones of the Hummer EV. GM Defense President Steve duMont called the vehicle an “electric light reconnaissance vehicle,” or “eLRV” for short. The revelation comes following a visit from Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks to the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, in which she discussed the military’s electrification plans and how what’s coming down the pipeline—namely the early rollout of GM’s highly-anticipated Ultium battery platform—might be of use to our armed forces.
Exhaust: You can take the Hummer out of the military, but you can’t keep the military out of the Hummer. It will be neat to see the Hummer nameplate—or at least its fundamental architecture—back in the military space as something other than a diesel-chugging brute. GM Defense is on a bit of a heater right now; in June of last year, it nailed a hefty $214.3M contract to produce a Colorado ZR2-based infantry squad vehicle for the U.S. Army. It followed that up with a $36.4M contract earlier this year to produce Heavy-Duty Suburbans for U.S. government agencies.
Mazda’s newest SUV aims at America’s outdoorsy heart
Intake: Beginning this January, a new SUV will roll off Mazda’s factory in Huntsville, Alabama (a joint venture with Toyota): The CX-50. Built on the same architecture as the Mazda3 and the CX-30, this compact five-seater departs from the marque’s city-chic aesthetic to present a more outdoorsy vibe. Mazda’s i-Activ All-wheel-drive comes standard, whether you opt for the naturally aspirated or the turbocharged powerplant, and includes a suite of different drive modes for varying terrain. Outside, the CX-50 dons a scratch-resistant suit of plastic cladding, along with slick details like roof rails and matte hood appliqués. Mazda’ has only so far revealed a few views of the interior—including a digital instrument cluster and a handsome terracotta color scheme—but you can expect more details on this 2023 model in the coming months.
Exhaust: Mazda is a small company with big ambitions, and the CX-50 will likely prove a major linchpin in the Japanese automaker’s upmarket sales push. Mazda still sells nowhere near the volume that Toyota does in the states (1.66M YTD 2021), but the U.S. is the company’s largest single market, accounting for 27 percent of global sales in 2019. At first glance, Mazda has done its homework: The Alabama-built CX-50 and its rugged aesthetic are poised to capture attention at the height of the market’s obsession with off-road-ish crossovers.
DeLorean releases 1:43-scale model for 40th anniversary, but they’re going fast
Intake: The DeLorean Motor Car Company—yes, in case you missed it, it exists beyond the movies and the company’s original closure—is accepting orders for the release of a 1:43-scale 40th anniversary model. Manufactured by Vitesse, the die-cast DMC-12 models cost $40 apiece, and production is limited to 1000 examples. The individually numbered models are shipped in unique 40th Anniversary packaging and come with a certificate of authenticity and holographic authenticity identification. Models are expected to arrive in December 2021, although DMC warns that “shipping delays from the manufacturer due to current events may cause them to arrive later, therefore Christmas delivery is NOT guaranteed.”
Exhaust: It seems there will never be enough automobilia to satisfy fans of the DeLorean DMC-12 or the Back to the Future trilogy. Need proof? At last count, of the 1000 numbered die-cast models being offered through DeLorean, only 48 remained. If you can’t live without one, you’d better place your order ASAP.
“Team Japan” wants to save internal combustion
Intake: Five Japanese manufacturers have joined forces to fight to keep the internal combustion engine alive. Mazda, Subaru, Kawasaki, and Yamaha have been rallied by Toyota and will use motorsports to champion carbon-neutral fuels as a green alternative to electrification. At a press conference at Okayama International Circuit in Japan, the alliance announced that it will take part in racing using e-fuels and hydrogen. Toyota has already developed a Corolla racer that runs on hydrogen for the Super Taikyu Series endurance, while Mazda and Toyota are working on a 1.5-liter Skyactiv-D engine driven by next-generation biodiesel, and Subaru will partner with Toyota to run its race cars on a biomass-derived fuel in the Super Taikyu Series. Kawasaki and Yamaha are looking to work together on hydrogen power for two-wheelers.
Exhaust: Toyota now has more allies in its campaign to offer a parallel path to electrification. Toyota believes that hydrogen particularly can reinvigorate the internal combustion engine. “By promoting further collaboration in producing, transporting and using fuel in combination with internal combustion engines, the five companies aim to provide customers with greater choice,” the companies said in a press statement.
Elton John’s Testarossa is up for auction Down Under
Intake: A 1987 Ferrari Testarossa given as a birthday present to Sir Elton John is going under the hammer in Australia. The Rocketman’s record company, MCA, bought the car for his 40th birthday and it was still standing as part of his collection until 2001, by which time he’d racked up 7434 miles. (Not quite a daily driver then, but for a Testarossa Saturday night’s alright, at least.) He made the sacrifice of selling the Ferrari to a dealer and it spent almost another decade in the U.K. before arriving in Australia in 2010. Now showing 10,733 on the odometer the Ross Corsa classic is said to be in outstanding condition and is expected to fetch up to $260,000 at the upcoming Shannons online auction.
Exhaust: This pristine Testarossa really “pops.” The car’s rock’n’ roll royalty provenance and low mileage should make it a smash hit at auction.
For a bruiser Benz, it’s gotta be a Black Series
Intake: The names or Roush, Shelby, and Lingenfelter are vaunted in the U.S. as tuners of American brands, and for a long time AMG served a similar function for Mercedes-Benz cars. The ultimate expression of these vehicles is the Black Series. Jay Leno took a look at a well used—but not abused—2008 CLK63 AMG Black Series in the latest Jay Leno’s Garage episode, and with guest Tommy Kendall he got the full rundown on this high-performance coupe.
Exhaust: It’s subtle, yet wild, plus wider, more adjustable, and more powerful than the ordinary CLK63 AMG, and yet still retains all the luxury a buyer would expect when buying a car wearing a three-pointed star on the hood. This particular CLK63 AMG Black Series has hundreds of hot laps around Laguna Seca under its belt but looks no worse for wear. From the carbon-fiber dashboard to the big honking 6.3-liter V-8 underhood, this car is special but not outrageous looking. If you know you know, and we’re more than comfortable with that kind of secret handshake.