Shelby American one-off sings ’Murica, topless modern Defender, Ford GT honors lesser-known 1966 heroes

Shelby American

In case you missed it, Shelby American is raffling off a 1-of-1 Mustang honoring Carroll

Intake: This special-edition 2021 Shelby Super Snake Widebody “SnakeCharmer” Mustang was created to celebrate your favorite Texas chicken farmer’s time in the United States Air Force as a flight instructor, during which his callsign was “Snake Charmer.” It features a Whipple supercharger atop the 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 and pushes roughly 825 horsepower to the rear wheels. Inside, special red, white, and blue seat inserts help the interior feel as special—and patriotic—as the exterior.

The car is being raffled off as part of a charity fundraiser. Tickets for the raffle can be bought online or at the Kansas City Air Show, where a separate drawing series called the “9 Days of Shelby” is taking place for various Shelby-branded memorabilia. The winners from each day of that drawing are automatically entered into the larger drawing for the car, which will be held in August of next year. Unable to make it to the air show? You can also purchase tickets for the car’s drawing at this website.

Exhaust: The “SnakeCharmer” is a neat machine, and it’s great to see the passing of the keys take place in a charitable manner. We’d bet that 825 ponies is more than enough to smoke the rears in a fitting tribute to ol’ Carroll himself.

Lotus cofounder Hazel Chapman has passed

Hazel Chapman

Intake: Hazel Chapman, who founded British sports and racing car company Lotus with her husband, Colin, has died at the age of 94. Although it is Colin’s initials that appear on the Lotus logo, Hazel played a huge role in the business. The couple met when they were just 16 and it was Hazel’s parents who allowed Colin to build his first car in the garage at the back of their north London home. This Lotus Mark 1 and the following Mark 2 would be raced by both Hazel and Colin which led to them being commissioned to build more cars for customers.

With £25 funding from Hazel, the Lotus company was formed in 1952. The pair were married in 1954 and Hazel would go on to sit on the board of Lotus Cars, Team Lotus, and Lotus Components. After Colin’s death in 1982 Hazel realized the company needed new ownership to secure a prosperous future, but she would retain a role as Director of Classic Team Lotus. Hazel’s connection with the company she and Colin founded was strong to the end, and a tradition was established that she would be shown every Lotus road car before it was revealed to the public.

Exhaust: The phrase “Behind every strong man is a stronger woman” couldn’t be more apt. “Without Hazel Chapman there would be no Lotus,” says Matt Windle, managing director of Lotus Cars. The entire Hethel team, and those working at our facilities around the world, send their sincere condolences and best wishes to the Chapman family.”

This Dutch Defender is the first to go roofless

Heritage Customs Defender convertible
Heritage Customs

Intake: Niels van Roij, the Dutch designer best-known for his Ferrari Breadvan hommage, has raised the roof on the new Land Rover Defender. The Heritage Custom Valiance Convertible, based on the three-door 90 version of the reborn icon, has a classic stroller-style folding fabric top, forged alloy wheels, plus a massive choice of exterior paints and interior treatments. Prices start at $160,000 plus taxes and numbers are said to be “ultra limited.”

Exhaust: Whether you like this specific execution or not, it stands to reason that a topless Defender will prove popular. We can only wonder why, when the Bronco and Wrangler are roofless, Land Rover hasn’t done this at the factory.

Report: Hyundai dances the management shuffle, German executives in the crosshairs

2022 Kia Stinger GT2 AWD front three-quarter dynamic driving action
The 2022 Kia Stinger showcases Schreyer’s signature Tiger Nose grille, a shape which some—undoubtedly to his chagrin—have compared to a dog bone. Cameron Neveu

Intake: Hyundai Motor Group (the folks that own Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis) is reportedly planning a management shuffle this week, focusing its efforts on the executives in charge of the Design and R&D departments. These are currently managed by Peter Schreyer and Albert Biermann, respectively. Both men have resumes from top German automakers, and made significant strides in providing all three of HMG’s divisions with unique visual identities and world-class performance. Schreyer is commonly credited for Kia’s “Tiger Nose” grille and Biermann is similarly famous for creating Hyundai’s “N” performance subbrand. Why the shuffle? The Korea Times reports that a local industry source says, “Hyundai Motor Group is highly inclined to appoint new faces at a time when the group is trying to transform itself into a mobility maker and not just an automaker.”

Exhaust: Peter Schreyer is literally the face of modern HMG vehicles, responsible for Kia’s Tiger Nose grille treatment that put the brand on the map for many buyers. Albert Biermann’s legacy is packed with vehicles that were high-quality and competitive in performance, and sometimes, in the case of V-8 flagships and N-brand models, even outstanding. Their work proves that Hyundai has made smart management moves in recent history, so all eyes are on Board of Directors Chairman Chung Euisun to see how he plans on executing the multinational automaker’s vision and strategy. No matter, it doesn’t take an MBA to see that replacements for both Schreyer and Biermann would have some rather large shoes to fill.

Next special-edition Ford GT will honor lesser-known 1966 Le Mans heroes

Intake: Look out, Le Mans! Ford Performance just teased its latest Ford GT special edition: the Alan Mann Heritage Edition. According to Ford, this iteration will be a send-up to the lightweight, red-and-gold GT40s that U.K.-based Alan Mann Racing campaigned at Le Mans in 1966. The outfit’s often-used number 16 adorns the underside of the supercar’s rear wing. Back in the day, the team from Surrey, which had already made a name for themselves flying red-and-gold Escorts in rally stages and Cobras at Le Mans as a Ford factory team, built two lightweight Mk1 GT40s for Ford. Their project was never completed, though, as the Blue Oval made the decision to utilize its 427-powered MkII GT40 in favor of the ultra-light in the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. Despite the pivot, Alan Mann Racing still entered two MkIIs for Ford in the 1966 running, and one of their cars even lead laps prior to the famous 1-2-3 triumph.

Exhaust: Ford is holding quite the retirement party for its beloved Ford GT. This Alan Mann Heritage car is the second special edition announced in the past four months for the supercar (in August Ford revealed the Wimbledon White 1964 Heritage Edition), which will cease production in 2022. While these editions are largely cosmetic in nature, we can’t help but hope that the Alan Mann tribute is actually lighter than the other GTs, even if just by a skosh. The team, after all, built the lightest Ford GT40 ever, weighing a mere 2160 pounds. That car, named AM GT-1, rolled across the Gooding and Co. auction block at Pebble Beach last summer, fetching a $5.1-million high bid (ultimately, it was a no-sale).

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