Ford honors unsung Le Mans hero, Mini’s chic triplets, Lotus teases hi-po experiments

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Ford honors an unsung hero, the lightest GT40 ever

Intake: It’s a new(ish) year so that means it’s time for a new Ford GT Heritage Edition. 2022’s take on Ford’s performance past is an homage to Alan Mann Racing’s 1966 lightweight experimental prototype. Mann’s AM GT-1 featured an aluminum upper superstructure to save weight, and boasted additional suspension pickup points to help finesse the handling. Although it never won a major race, the AM GT-1 was still important to Ford’s Le Mans program, hence the tribute act. The Alan Mann Heritage Edition wears the same distinctive red-and-gold livery and racing number 16 as the GT-1, along with white accent stripes. Gloss carbon fiber is used for the front splitter, sills, mirrors, engine louvers, and rear diffuser, and the Brembo brake calipers are black with red graphics. Inside there’s more carbon, along with ebony Alcantara-covered seats and a smattering of golf applique. The paddle shifters, meanwhile, are red to match the paintwork.

Exhaust: The Alan Mann Heritage Edition is the seventh in a run of limited-series cars that celebrate the GT40’s greatest hits, even if it’s the most obscure so far. “Whether it’s going like hell at the racetrack or out-innovating the competition, the Ford GT Alan Mann Heritage Edition honors the vehicles that helped lead Ford to its wins,” says Mike Severson, Ford GT program manager.

Triumph finally begins testing its electric TE-1 project

Grant Evans/Triumph

Intake: The path to creating an electric motorcycle never did run smooth. Triumph has been marching through the steps in conjunction with multiple partners, but the storied U.K. firm has now announced the TE-1 project has finally reached a testing phase. The collaboration between Williams Advanced Engineering, Integral Powertrain, and WMG at the University of Warwick has born out a chassis and components that are now entering the phase where they are tested and made to play nicely together.

Exhaust: Triumph set the goal of the TE-1 program as “driving innovation, capability, and new intellectual property, and enhancing the credibility and profile of British industry and design.” We think it is certainly on the right path and we’re fascinated to receive updates on a development process that is typically kept hush-hush. The TE-1 won’t be the first electric motorcycle to market by years, but there are signs suggesting that a stout, silent performance machine will arrive before long.

Mini drops 3 chic special editions

Intake: Consumer tastes are trending towards ever-larger, higher-riding vehicles, but Mini is determined to convince you that its lineup is as fashionable and customizable as ever. Say hello to three new special editions, each available on a variety of models across the Mini Cooper lineup and based on the highest trim level, Iconic, which includes all techy, leather-clad goodies. First off is the $1000 Resolute Edition, which adds a suite of frosted bronze and gold accents, Rebel Green paint (previously a JCW exclusive), and some retro crosshatched upholstery to both two- and four-door Mini Cooper S Hardtops. Want a breezier color palette? Mini’s cooked up the Untold Edition, which brings Sage Green paint to the Clubman for the first time (for $2250, unless you’re spacing a JCW, in which case the special edition will cost you an extra $1500). The oh-so-trendy color extends to the normally black side spats along the sides and around the fenders. Shiny brass accents add some spice, though the most obvious exterior upgrade is the set of glamorous 18-inch alloys. Sage Green extends into the interior and your Untold choice will be noted on the sill plates and the steering wheel. Finally, there’s the Untamed Edition (below), which gives an outdoorsy, slightly wintry vibe to the biggest Mini of them all, the Countryman, for $1500. Matte stripes and piano-black trim accent a brand-new color, Momentum Grey, and the interior gets a suit of Highland Green leather with the appropriate sprinkling of Untold scripts. 

Exhaust: You can safely assume that these unlimited-run special editions are geared towards drinkers of oat milk lattes, but let’s be honest: the mix of textures and finishes here is creative and eye-catching, and Mini’s made enough changes that the special treatments are obvious. For our money, we’d get Resolve to get a punchy little two-door Cooper with those fun bronze accents. 

Singer’s new restoration line: 911 Turbos!

Intake: California Porsche restoration firm Singer Vehicle Design has announced the availability of its “reimagining” service for 964-chassis 911 Turbos. The prototype, a render of which is shown here, features a 3.8-liter, air-cooled flat-six assembled by Porsche Motorsport North America and producing “over 450 hp.” (A stock 964 Turbo makes 355.) Cosmetics hark back to the first-generation 911 Turbo, the 930, with accordion-style bumpers and a traditional “shark fin” rocker graphic. Air-to-water intercoolers are standard, and the rear fenders feature new engine air intakes, at the tail of the graphic. As with all of Singer’s projects, spec hinges on customer preference and budget, and build details vary from car to car. Rear-wheel drive is standard here, but all-wheel drive is available.

Exhaust: Singer, founded in 2009, has spent the last 13 years growing into the last word on air-cooled restomods—extensively reengineered vehicles, jewellike in every way. More important, the driving experience is exquisite, a genuine match to the $1 million average transaction price. This is the first forced-induction Singer project, and company reps say the result puts a priority on touring and comfort. We can’t wait to try it.

McLaren F1 car coming to LEGO Technic

LEGO

Intake: Lego has made dozens of trucks, hypercars, and race cars as a part of its Speed Legends series, but McLaren’s 2022 F1 entry will be coming into toy stores on March 1 as the first-ever Lego Technic F1 model. The 1432-piece kit creates a 25.5-inch-long car that’s complete with a V-6 engine with moving pistons, a differential lock, and working suspension and steering.

Exhaust: The Papaya Orange livery of the McLaren F1 cars works nicely with the Lego Technic bricks and doesn’t rely on a lot of graphics or decals to convey the details, keeping this very functional kit loyal to the Lego Technic ethos. The large scale also helps make the functional components stand out even more. This will look great in any Ricciardo or Norris fan’s collection (and isn’t everyone a fan of Ricciardo?).

Lotus launches Advanced Performance division

Lotus Advanced Performance teaser
Lotus

Intake: Lotus is tapping into the demand for individualized automobiles by setting up a new special operations team. Lotus Advanced Performance will be in charged of upcoming halo projects, limited editions, and bespoke tailoring of production models for customers. On top of that its portfolio will include unique experiences from driving tours to factory visits, a Driving Academy, the building of the Emira GT4 race car, and the development of various options and accessories. The new setup will be helmed by Simon Lane, who previously headed Aston Martin’s Q branch.

Exhaust: More than just monogrammed headrests and paint jobs to match your pumps, Lotus Advanced Performance promises the prospect of ultra-low volume experimental sports cars, as teased by the be-winged open-wheeler above.

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