Morgan’s new 3 Wheeler gets due date, a hybrid Humvee replacement, Porsche’s Le Mans prototype on track
Morgan’s bizarre new 3 Wheeler debuts next month
Intake: Ground-up new cars from Morgan don’t come that often, so the arrival of the British company’s next three-wheeled machine on February 24 will be a big deal for the little firm. Morgan says the new three-wheeler is its first “clean-sheet visual design” since the swoopy Aero 8 of 2000, and will be its most customizable car ever. Powered by a three-cylinder Ford engine rather than the traditional S&S twin, it will be shown in several “identities” to display the wide range of options available “from bold, individual, and eccentric colours to fit-for-purpose adventure, and motorsport-inspired mid-century racers.” (Squint at the photos below for proof.) The smallest Morgan will also have a new name which, along with rest of the specs, will be revealed on launch day. Stay tuned!
Exhaust: In an age obsessed with the next new thing, Morgan’s quiet confidence in an old-school, slightly bizarre flavor of automotive enthusiasm is refreshing. We can’t wait to see the continuation of Morgan’s 113-year-long three-wheeling legacy.
Bronco Raptor pricing undercuts Wrangler 392 by $5K
Intake: Mere days after revealing the crowning jewel of the Bronco family, Ford’s announced pricing for the lower of the two Braptor trims: The vinyl-upholstered base model will start at $69,995, precisely five grand below the Hemi-powered Wrangler 392. There’s no word yet on the sticker of the higher-spec, suede-trimmed Bronco Raptor.
Exhaust: Seventy grand for a Bronco?! Consider this: At launch, Ford offered a limited run of optioned-out First Edition Bronco—Sasquatch, 2.7, 12-inch touchscreen, heated seats, good stereo, the works—in both two- and four-door configurations, with the latter stickering at $63,250. Demand was so high that Ford doubled production from 3500 to 7000 units … and promptly filled those reservations, too. $7K more for a lifted Bronco with 85 more horsepower, fancy Fox dampers, and a linebacker stance? Not so crazy after all.
Oshkosh Defense unveils sneaky hybrid-electric tech for the JLTV
Intake: The Oshkosh JLTV (joint light tactical vehicle), designated to replace the Humvee from military use, is now quietly evolving with the implementation of hybrid-electric technology. The eJLTV, so dubbed, incorporates a new hybrid powertrain that charges a lithium-ion battery under operation and eliminates the need for plug-in charging. Oshkosh claims the hybrid can fully charge under diesel power in a half-hour and even go silent on only electric power for about the same length of time. Being hybrid, fuel economy improves by over 20 percent. Oshkosh also maintains that no sacrifice has been made in the overall protection or performance of the original JLTV. This fall, the U.S. Army will re-open its JLTV program for bids again, seeking its next supplier of 15,468 more units, a contract that’ll last through 2032.
Exhaust: The U.S. Army hasn’t indicated what specs might tickle its fancy in the upcoming batch of JLTVs. However, Oshkosh appears keen on keeping the contract, speculating on an electrification angle, and doing a little pre-emptive extra credit as well. The president of Oshkosh Defense, John Bryant, says, “While the U.S. Army has not requested a hybrid-electric JLTV as part of the JLTV recompete, the eJLTV proves that Oshkosh Defense has the team and technical capabilities to produce this highly capable vehicle today.” Time will tell whether a competitor can rise to the occasion and claim the contract.
Celebrate 86 years of the avant-garde Cord 810
Intake: It was 86 years ago today that the cutting edge luxury of the Cord 810 rolled off the assembly line. The front-wheel-drive, hidden-headlight, coffin-nosed tribute to streamline moderne styling sent shockwaves throughout the industry, and celebrities of the era clamored for them much like
Teslas Fiskers in recent memory. While plagued with reliability problems initially, the 810’s body was so good that two automakers (Hupmobile’s Skylark and Gramham’s Hollywood) re-used the design upon Cord’s demise, under the allegations of financial misgivings.
Exhaust: It’s not often you get to celebrate the birthday of such a beautiful and forward-thinking vehicle, Even better, it’s slick vacuum operated semi-automatic gearbox, low-slung suspension, and (optional) supercharged V-8 offered performance far ahead of its time, and perhaps even acceptable by today’s standards. That’s one heckuva feat, and for that we solute the Cord on this special day.
Maserati’s baby SUV snowdances toward spring debut
Intake: Originally scheduled to debut in November of last year, Maserati’s Macan-fighting Grecale SUV is undergoing winter testing ahead of its rescheduled arrival date this spring. Slotting below the Cayenne-sized Levante, the Grecale will ride on the bones of Alfa Romeo’s Stelvio sports-utility and offer no less than three powertrains: a milder tune of MC20 supercar’s brand-new Nettuno V-6, a hybrid two-liver four-banger, and, eventually, a battery-electric driveline. For now, a camouflaged prototype is dancing happily through Lapland undergoing winter testing, giving us the clearest-yet look at this pint-sized Italian crossover.
Exhaust: If the sales success of the Stelvio and the Macan are anything to go by, the Grecale should be quite the cute little cash cow (calf?) for Maserati—a higher-volume, relatively affordable offering the Trident brand desperately needs in the wake of ailing Ghibli sales.
2023 Porsche Le Mans hypercar hits the test track
Intake: It’s a little late to the LMDh party, but Porsche will pit itself against Toyota, Peugeot, Acura, Audi, BMW and Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus at Le Mans in 2023 with this twin-turbo V-8 hybrid racer running on renewable fuel. In addition to the French flagship event, Porsche will compete in the full FIA WEC Endurance Championship and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Champion with Penske Motorsport. Porsche has also partnered with Williams Advanced Engineering on the battery pack, Bosch for the motor-generator and electronics, plus Xtrac for the car’s transmission. When combustion and electric power are combined the powertrain puts out (an FIA-regulated) 680 hp at the half-shafts, with the ICE engine running to 10,000 rpm. The car was successfully put through its paces for the first time at Porsche’s Weissach test track.
Exhaust: This new era for endurance racing looks promising as the regulations give car makers a lot of wiggle room on combustion engine design and aerodynamics—as Peugeot’s wingless entry demonstrates. It’s a shame we’ll have to wait another year to witness Porsche’s challenge.