Carrera GT smashes Bring a Trailer record, $30K Equinox EV on the way, lost Bond car found?
Carrera GT becomes most expensive car ever sold on Bring a Trailer
Intake: Porsche’s infamous 2000s-era analog super car had a hell of a year in 2021, and it’s starting out 2022 with a bang. This Guards Red example just became the most expensive car ever sold on Bring a Trailer with a final price of $1,907,000 (buyer’s premium included). That’s nearly half a million dollars above the previous BaT recordholder, a Mercedes-Benz 300SL that sold this past August for $1.4M.
Exhaust: Over the past five years, the Hagerty Price Guide value for a Carrera GT in #1 (Concours) condition has doubled. In 2021 alone, the model set three successive auction records. This 2005 example capitalized on that momentum with low miles and an uncommon color—it’s likely that fewer than 50 Guards Red examples came to North America, compared to 400+ in silver/grey and 100 in black. “Presently, the #1-condition value is $1.5 million,” says John Wiley, Hagerty’s manager of valuation analytics, “but with this sale it looks like the Carrera GT continues to appreciate.” At this rate, the Carrera GT could soon be more valuable than the venerable 959.
Chrysler Airflow unveiled, just another electric CUV
Intake: The reborn Chrysler Airflow was unveiled yesterday, realized in a crossover-utility concept that looks very close to production-ready (certainly compared to 2020’s concept). As Chrysler CEO Christine Feuell says, this concept “represents the future direction of the Chrysler brand,” which aims to be EV-only by 2028. Using the latest engineering in Stellantis’ global arsenal known as the “STLA Brain platform” and the “STLA SmartCockpit,” the Airflow concept also sports Stellantis’ Level 3 autonomous driving technology. The Concept Airflow “envisions the next generation of premium transportation” and sports an interior with the brilliant displays and decorative lighting expected in both concept cars and production EVs. While details are still thin on the ground, the Airflow is reported to have a 350 to 400 mile range, probably dependent on battery-pack size.
Exhaust: Considering how well Stellantis’ technology manifested itself in its U-connect line in the past, don’t bet against the Airflow bringing some of the best features to the table. Sadly, however, the Airflow is wrapped up in an uninspiring package, especially considering the risks the brand took in the past. Not only with the original Airflow—which was a CUV in proportions and styling before such a thing even existed—but with the (formerly red-hot) Chrysler 300 sedan. It’s unfortunate Chrysler didn’t take styling risks with the new Airflow. Perhaps even the original’s massive upswept grille would be right at home with the likes of modern Lexus products, and forthcoming luxury EVs from BMW.
BMW uses Kindle tech to make a color-changing car
Intake: BMW has doused its new iX in E Ink which can change color at the touch of a button. It’s essentially the same stuff as used in e-book readers, but given an additional protective coating for automotive use. BMW’s demonstrator, shown at CES, can switch from black to white, but the company says that other color combinations will be possible in the future. E Ink paint would also allow customization of specific parts of a car or even allow the body to display messages or images. E Ink only requires a small amount of power to switch states, so it shouldn’t sap much energy from an EV’s battery. BMW also showed off a massive, 31-inch-wide, 8K cinema screen in the back of an iX. With 3D surround sound and 5G connectivity, it turns the back seats into a movie theater.
Exhaust: We’ve all seen paint jobs that shift hue in different lights, from TVR’s Purple Illusion to Mazda’s Soul Red Crystal, but this is something else entirely. If only BMW had E Inked the grille, perhaps it could be made to disappear.
There’s an affordable, electric Chevy Equinox on the way
Intake: While the Silverado EV was clearly Chevy’s main party trick for CES this year in Las Vegas, GM CEO Mary Barra also made note in her keynote address of something else, another upcoming vehicle that could have an even wider-ranging impact than the upmarket truck: an all-electric Equinox. Why should you be excited that another crossover is going electric? The significant detail is the starting price: Barra says that the compact EV will start around $30,000 in the U.S. That’s more than 10 large cheaper than Ford’s Mustang Mach-E, and nearly half the price of a Tesla Model Y. The Equinox EV will arrive in fall of next year, according to the announcement.
Exhaust: Expect the $30K car to be rather slim on options, but still—offering a volume-seller EV at this price is a big deal. The Equinox is Chevrolet’s second highest-selling nameplate, and while it lacks the brand cachet of the Mustang Mach-E, the very familiarity of the nameplate could be key to its success. Current Equinox owners open to going electric would likely hesitate to jump from Chevrolet to an unfamiliar brand like Tesla or a rival like Ford. But an electric version of the car they already own? That’s a far more approachable proposition.
Tesla “Track Mode” update unlocks 175 mph for Model S Plaid
Intake: Christmas arrived a bit late for Model S Plaid owners: the long-awaited Track Mode is officially here thanks to software upgrade 2021.44.30. Say hello to new top speed of 175 mph (vs. 163). Track Mode, activated via the touchscreen, brings a lap timer and an accelerometer on the digital instrument cluster, plus the ability to record laps on video. The real magic, however, is the more aggressive functionality of the heat pump system, re-tuned torque vectoring, amped-up regenerative braking, and ride height automatically set to Low.
Exhaust: Brakes remain the 1020-hp Model S’ weak spot here when it comes to track endurance. Even without the extra-aggressive regen mode, this 1020-hp beast weighs 4800 pounds. Anything that can run 9s in the quarter mile needs serious stopping power when you toss it into the twisties. Could the Plaid go even higher than 175—hit the magic 200? Certainly the driveline seems capable, but the feat will likely require specialized wheels and tires. Our advice? If you’re serious about tracking your Plaid, save your pennies and wait until the Plaid’s $20K carbon-ceramic brake upgrade becomes available—it’s promised for mid-2022 as of this writing.
Long-lost Bond car has reportedly been found
Intake: One of the original Aston Martin DB5s that starred in Goldfinger and Thunderball is said to have been rediscovered after it went missing 25 years ago. Then owned by Anthony Pugliese III, the car famously vanished from a hangar at Boca Raton airport, Florida, and rumors of its whereabouts abounded. Art Recovery International offered a six-figure reward, and now that seems to have paid off as The Telegraph reports that the 007 DB5 has been traced to a “private setting” in the Middle East. Art Recovery International’s Christopher Marinello tells The Telegraph: “I don’t believe the current possessor knew the car was stolen when he or she acquired it. Now they do know, I think they should make every effort to have a discreet confidential discussion about how we clear the title to this iconic vehicle. They can only show it off on a very limited basis. It can’t travel outside its current location or be exhibited in a museum, so why not reach out and resolve this?”
Exhaust: If the most famous car in the world has indeed been found, it will mark the end of a 25-year mystery. But will the evil villain stole it in the first place ever face justice?
Volvo adds YouTube app for EV-charging entertainment
Intake: Volvo’s latest infotainment system is powered by Android with Google apps and services built in, and now you can add the YouTube app to watch videos while the vehicle is stationary. “The car is a great venue for enjoying video and audio, so I would not be surprised if this means that people spend more time in their Volvos, even when they are not going anywhere,” says Volvo Cars chief product officer Henrik Green.
Exhaust: As much as we’ve appreciated Volvo’s recent collaboration with Google, we’re not sure people will ditch their NPR “driveway moments” for YouTube like Green suggests. However, with the unlimited data that comes with Volvo’s new cars, it does offer a solution to stave off boredom when parked at a charging station for a bit. Pessimistically, automakers may try to take advantage of this captive audience and use the app as another way to dish up ads.