Something stinky Stellantis’ way comes, Lotus posts record sales, a Toyota racer to take on C8.R?
Stellantis promises to do something about Detroit plant’s stench
Intake: Something stinks in Detroit. And before you interpret that as an invitation to rant, we’re talking specifically about the odor emanating from Stellantis’ Detroit Assembly Complex – Mack. The plant, which produces the new Jeep Grand Cherokee L, has been stinking since August 27, 2021, when staff reported “persistent and objectionable paint/solvent odors of moderate intensity (Level 3) impacting residential areas downwind of the facility.” The Air Quality Division (AQD) of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) soon got involved, and Stellantis tested air samples from 42 different potential sources. Now, more than four months later, Stellantis has submitted a detailed report on its findings, along with an action plan for odor mitigation that “once implemented, will ensure that odors do not reach the neighboring community.”
Exhaust: Neighborhood residents are already upset by how long the process is taking, so we imagine the phrase “once implemented” will incense them even more. Although Stellantis says the odorous fumes are not toxic, that’s little consolation to residents. As one of them complained to WDIV in September: “I don’t come [outside] anymore. I am a prisoner in my own home.”
Porsche Motorsports to build engines for Singer Vehicle Design
Intake: The relationship between Singer Vehicle Design and Porsche just got more intimate: Porsche Motorsport North America (PMND) will now build some (not all) engines for Singer restorations at PMND headquarters in Los Angeles. Currently, Singer contracts with Ed Pink Racing Engines to build its 350-hp, 3.8-liter flat-six and its 390-hp, 4.0-liter mill (both of which were developed alongside Cosworth). The 500-hp, 4.0-liter affair in the shop’s Dynamics and Lightweighting Study, which Singer developed with Williams Advanced Engineering, will likely remain in-house, built in the U.K.
Exhaust: Singer Vehicle Design (SVD) specializes in ultra high-end restorations of air-cooled Porsche 911s—from engines to seat upholstery to custom-milled gas caps—that reach easily into the seven figures. It is, arguably, the taste-defining shop for this sort of “reimagined” restomod. SVD’s relationship with Porsche is a nuanced one: The company makes a point of articulating that it does not build or sell Porsches; it restores and modifies existing customer cars. That said, Porsche’s official involvement stands to further legitimize these popular restomods. According to Singer, “the characteristics of the engines—very much at the core of every Singer car—will continue to be defined by Singer’s specification.”
Is Audi on its way to acquiring McLaren?
Intake: A report by the U.K.’s CAR magazine suggests that Audi is close to taking over McLaren’s road car and racing operations. CAR claims that the VW supervisory board has yet to sign off on the deal, but lawyers for both firms are in talks. Under the proposed arrangement, CAR says Audi would enter F1 as an engine supplier and McLaren automotive would join Audi’s supercar stable alongside Lamborghini and Bentley. CAR also reports that the VW group’s entry to F1 would see Porsche joining Audi on the grid, perhaps with Red Bull.
Exhaust: When we reached out, McLaren’s spokesman declined to comment—so, reading between the lines, there’s definitely something going here. The deal may not be quite as developed as CAR claims, but it looks like we may well see the four rings on the F1 grid soon.
Lotus just had its best sales year in a decade
Intake: Lotus sold more cars in 2021 than it has since 2011. The 1710 vehicles delivered last year marked a rise of 24 percent over 2020 as the world rushed to buy up the last Elise, Exige, and Evora models. In the U.S.A and Canada, sales were up a whopping 11 percent year-over-year and records were smashed in the Asia-Pacific region as well, despite the ongoing challenges of the global coronavirus pandemic.
Exhaust: 2021 marked the end of Lotus’ internal-combustion era, spurring brand loyalists to snap up the pure-blooded models before it’s too late. The Emira, of course, is one final hurrah for gas-swilling goodness at Lotus, but its very title—the last combustion-powered Lotus—clearly adds some urgency to the situation for pistonheads.
Hot Wheels offering all 461 cars from 2021 for $600
Intake: If you spent last year exhaustively looking—and sometimes failing—to buy all 461 of the mainline Hot Wheels cars offered in 2021, rejoice: Hot Wheels Red Line Club (RLC) members have the opportunity to purchase the entire batch at once. The Instant Collection will be available to RLC members—annual membership is $9.99—on Tuesday, January 11, at 9 a.m. PST (noon EST). For $600, the annual Hot Wheels “Master Set” includes all 15 Treasure Hunt Cars, 15 Super Treasure Hunt Cars, eight Hot Wheels Chase Cars, 50 new models in 15 mixes, and 20-for-1 promotional cars previously available only to retailers.
Exhaust: If the $600 price tag makes you flinch, consider that’s only $1.30 per car, and dozens of the diecast toys included in the set are worth much more than that. Besides, think of the joy of owning the entire collection knowing that you saved the time and effort of driving back and forth to the store each week to search for new editions.
Toyota GR GT3 concept to debut at Tokyo Auto Salon
Intake: Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) plans to use the Tokyo Auto Salon later this month to reveal the GR GT3 Concept, “a racing-dedicated concept car that incorporates the knowledge and refined technologies TGR has gained in the field of motorsports.” So far, all we’ve got is a moody silhouette to go by.
Exhaust: The glimpse that Toyota has given us shows a sleek silhouette with traditional GT proportions including a long hood and fastback roofline. The few details we can glean are louvered vents atop the wheel opening and a sizable wing that’s as high as the roof and extends past the end of the rear fascia. Perhaps the closest production model we can liken it to is the AMG GTR. Will this be an homage to the shapely 2000GT—and could that magic “GT3” alphanumeric mean this Toyota racer could take on the C8.R trackside?
The first 700-mile battery could come from … the Motor City
Intake: Michigan-based Our Next Energy (ONE) created a new battery pack dubbed Gemini for a Tesla Model S that carried sufficient energy to propel the car through a 752-mile journey on a single charge. The pack, whose chemistry is unspecified, is dimensionally the same as the stock Tesla battery but packs 203.7 kWh of energy, double that of a factory Model S battery. The battery is still labeled as experimental, but even as a proof of concept this could mark a very nice step forward in creating electric vehicles that can truly replace ICE-powered ones without an asterisk on usability.
Exhaust: It is worth noting that the record-setting trip took place in winter in Michigan, since the negative effects of cold on battery life is long documented. The trip is also reported to have been mainly done at a more efficient 55 mph compared to the 75 mph speed limit. That is not taking away from the accomplishment of creating a solution to the main reason most regular drivers oppose owning an electric car for regular use.