Dinky ’90s Chevy swallows V-8, vintage Bugattis shred snow, Rolls’ new Spirit of Ecstasy

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Facebook Marketplace | Ben Schmidt

Crazy, LS-swapped Geo Metro project could be yours

Intake: The General Motors LS-series of V-8 engines has inspired a new generation of motor-swapping hot-rodders, and the front-wheel drive–specific LS4 has given new meaning to an obscure and unloved platform in need of a serious injection of power. This Geo Metro is now mid-engined, with a LS4 engine, 4T80E transaxle with manual controls, reinforced body, and rear fender flares to accommodate the massive upgrade. All is not perfect yet, however, as the seller states that significant analysis is required to diagnose stability issues at highway speeds. The asking price for this nearly complete project on Facebook Marketplace? A mere $7000, which wouldn’t even cover the cost of the labor required to make this Metro a reality if you paid someone to do it!

Exhaust: Mid-engine Geo Metro conversions aren’t necessarily common, but they have their place in the off-beat parts of the automotive world, like the 24 Hours of Lemons. But having a genuine 5.3-liter LS series engine in a Geo Metro is a rarity, and that’s what makes this Facebook find truly special and maybe even worthy of lust for some.

Unstoppable Seb is the champion’s champion

Loeb and Vettel at Race of Champions 2022
Race of Champions

Intake: Fresh from a stunning victory on the Rallye Monte Carlo, Sébastien Loeb has beaten motorsports’ finest to the take the crown at the 2022 Race of Champions. Held for the first time in snowy Sweden the final proved to be a battle of the Sebs, as the French rally ace took on German four-times F1 champ Sebastian Vettel driving Polaris buggies, RX Supercar Lites, and RX2e electric rallycross cars on a frozen circuit. Loeb had already beaten rally rivals Petter and Oliver Solberg as well as Mattias Ekstrom to reach the final, while Vettel bested Emma Kimilainen, Colton Herta, and Tom Kristensen on his way to the endgame.

Exhaust: Loeb is on fire at the moment, and the 47-year-old shows no signs of slowing down. We can’t wait to see him in action in Extreme E and anything else that the fastest Frenchman takes on in 2022.

Even Bugatti can’t resist snowy shenanigans

Intake: Even vintage Bugattis deserve fun outings sometimes, and Molsheim has proven that by taking a Type 51 to Zell am See in Austria for a spot of ice racing. First held in 1937, the GP Ice Race has returned as of 2019 and is fast becoming a favorite venue for high-end manufacturers who want to show off their vehicles’ prowess on ice. Last year, Bentley brought a kitted-out “Ice GT” to shred the snow, and Singer Vehicle Design took along its insane DLS mule. The latest high-profile additions to the Ice Racing GP come courtesy of Bugatti, who participated in the traditional “skijoring” exhibition—in which a skier is towed by a car—with both its pint-sized Baby Bugatti (which we drove on Willow Springs) and a vintage Type 51. That’s in addition to the competition held on 0.37 miles of frozen track carved from a few fields. Thanks to the event’s lengthy hiatus, this is Bugatti’s first appearance at the GP Ice Race in 62 years. 

Exhaust: Yes, it’s essentially an ultra-exclusive, automotive fashion show on ice, but, for those of us who can’t afford the vehicles (or even the plane tickets) to attend, the photo ops are pleasure enough. Just imagine the glorious racket of a supercharged, SOHC straight-eight echoing off the mountains … 

After a brief hiatus, V-8s are back on the menu at Mercedes

2021 Mercedes-AMG G 63 front three quarter
Mercedes-AMG

Intake: Following a sad disappearance from the order books due to supply-chain issues, many of the 2022 model year’s V-8-powered Mercedes-Benzes are back. A Mercedes spokeswoman confirmed to Hagerty that the MY22 Mercedes-Benz G 550, GLE 580, and GLS 580, as well as the Mercedes-AMG G 63, GLE 63, GLE 63 Coupe, GLS 63, and the Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600, can all be ordered once again. There are no further details regarding additional model availability at this time—those of you hoping for something like an AMG E 63 S wagon may still be out of luck for a while.

Exhaust: Note that the SUVs are the priority here. It’s a small but poignant reminder that even though Merc’s 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 is one of the best engines you’ll find in a sports car today, most of them end up in crossovers. Regardless, we’re just happy to see an eight-cylinder return to this side of the Atlantic.

Waiting for a Golf R? It’s your lucky day

 

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Intake: Orders open today for the hottest version of VW’s already spicy hatchback, the 2022 Golf R. VW’s given North America the sweetest treat of the Mark 8 bunch, too: We’re the only continent to get the option of a six-speed manual in our all-wheel-drive pocket rockets. VW’s released a hype reel on Instagram demonstrating the appropriate response to such news: Running away into the desert with this bright blue German bean, rock tunes blasting, to rip through those gears and turn some dusty figure eights. We approve.

Exhaust: Less grin-inducing than the dirt-filled shenanigans is the price tag: $44,640. That said, everything about the Golf R, especially the manual-equipped one, is aimed at diehard fans willing to shell out for The One Golf to Rule Them All. For more details, read our first drives of the Golf R on the street and in the snow.

Rolls-Royce sculpts a new Flying Lady to cut through the air

Rolls-Royce new Spirit of Ecstasy
Rolls-Royce

Intake: Exactly 111 years since the Spirit of Ecstasy became a part of Rolls-Royce, she has been redesigned for a new era of electrified efficiency. In order to make the Flying Lady more aerodynamic she has adopted a new stance—where previously she stood with her feet together tilted into the wind at the waist, she is now “a true goddess of speed, braced for the wind, one leg forward, body tucked low, her eyes focused eagerly ahead.” Her flowing robes, often mistaken for wings, are now reshaped to be more realistic and more efficient. The new Spirit of Ecstasy will appear on the all-electric Spectre and will help make it the most aerodynamic Rolls-Royce ever made, with prototypes already achieving a cD of 0.26.

Exhaust: Rolls-Royce boss Torsten Müller-Ötvös says, “The Spirit of Ecstasy is the most famous and desirable automotive mascot in the world. More than just a symbol, she is the embodiment of our brand, and a constant source of inspiration and pride for the marque and its clients. In her new form she is more streamlined and graceful than ever before – the perfect emblem for the most aerodynamic Rolls-Royce ever created, and for gracing the prow of our bold electric future.”

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