Woody time for your Wagoneer, NHRA unleashes the Demon, and the lightest Cobra body ever

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New Wagoneer owners can now (kind of) live that woodgrain life

Intake: Almost as soon as Stellantis yanked the silk off the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer siblings last Spring, questions began bubbling up like a bad case of heartburn. “No woody option?” “Where’s the woody option?” Wagonmaster, a shop in Texas, was hot on the trail. “We noticed along with the rest of the world that the woodgrain was not going to be a part of [the Wagoneer], at least from the factory,” said Chip Miller, Wagonmaster’s CEO. “We said then, that we could come up with a solution.” For $1750, you can now buy a woodgrain vinyl and molding trim from Wagonmaster to install on your new 2022 Wagoneer or Grand Wagoneer. It’s the same 3M Control-Trac Vinyl that the shop uses for kits for the original Grand Wagoneers, just cut to fit the new model. Miller says the kits will be available on Wagonmaster’s website in the next two weeks.

Exhaust: It was only a matter of time before someone pulled this off. It’s fitting that a leading restoration shop for the original Wagoneer, one that has worked closely with Stellantis since the rollout of the new body-on-frame utes, is the one to do it. The lucky few customers who have the kit already installed on a new Wagoneer (mostly dealers using it as a demo, but a few local clients as well) are smitten, according to Miller. “Without exception, everyone who has seen it in person has been wowed.” We think it makes the exterior of the new Wagoneer look pretty sweet. What do you think?

The NHRA unleashes the Demon (and Tesla Plaid)

FCA US LLC

Intake: The National Hot Rod Association is the top sanctioning body for those that live for the staging lanes and quarter-mile wide-open runs. One of its most popular programs is the Street Legal group, which allows NHRA-licensed contestants to grab a helmet and safety jacket, roll up to the strip, and send it. But the class has had some safety constraints that in recent years have disallowed certain high-performance OEM cars from competing just because of how quickly stock cars can now run the quarter. Thankfully, an announcement today will change those rules for the better.  Now, racers with 2014 and newer model-year cars that are capable of running 9.00 seconds and/or 150 mph in the standing quarter mile may compete in Street Legal class events without the additional roll cage and other safety gear previously required for those speeds. That means a green light for the previously-outlawed Dodge Demon, as well as Tesla’s bonkers Model S Plaid. Additionally, racers with 2008–2013 OEM model-year machines will be permitted to run as quick as 10.00 seconds and/or 135-mph in the standing quarter. The NHRA says that the move comes as an effort to “keep pace with current trends in the high-performance auto industry” and notes that changes to the program “will allow a broader and more diverse range of vehicles for the participants and give recognition to their on track performance.”

Exhaust: Remember when Dodge took out a full-page ad in some of the buff books back in 2017 that was a literal reprint of the ban letter from the NHRA? Those were because the Demon’s 9.65-second quarter-mile pass was—at the time—too fast to be legal. The times, they are a-changin’. This marks the second time the NHRA has revisited this rule. The first change was in 2012, when the line dropped from 11.5 seconds to the 9.99 mark. That was a fast mark back in 2012, but cars like the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, Tesla Model S Plaid, Shelby GT500, and of course, the Dodge Demon have pushed the capability of production cars even faster, spurring this rule update from the NHRA. One caveat to the new change: Your Demon or Model S Plaid may now be legal in stock form, but you will still need an NHRA license and some personal safety gear, including a helmet, fire-rated jacket, long pants, and closed shoes to show and go. Be sure to read the full rule on the NHRA website to arrive at the track prepared and ready to lay down your best passes.

Carbon Cobra weighs 88 pounds, packs 800 hp

carbon-fiber-shelby-cobra-race-car
Classic Recreations

Intake: Classic Recreations has crafted the lightest Shelby Cobra body ever made. Made of carbon fiber, the entire shell, including hood and doors, weighs just 88 lbs. Uniquely, the carbon structure is so stiff this Cobra doesn’t require a tubular chassis like its predecessors, and will “rival current supercars in weight and horsepower” according Shelby American. Carbon fiber tackles the first part while the second is covered by a supercharged Ford Performance Gen 3 Coyote engine generating more than 800 hp. A T56 Magnum Tremec transmission and Wilwood six-piston brakes are fitted. Dubbed the Diamond Edition to celebrate 60 years of Shelby American, it is officially licensed, will get CSX serial numbers, and be built by a new special division at Classic Recreations. Only ten will be made, priced at $1.2 million apiece.

Exhaust: Classic Recreations founder Jason Engel says that this project fulfills a Carroll Shelby ambition. “A dream of Carroll’s was always to place the highest horsepower engine possible in the lightest, most agile car imaginable and it is our honor to have met that challenge.”

Rivian raises prices, drawing ire of customers with reservations, then backtracks

Rivian R1T
Rivian

Intake: When dual-motored versions of Rivian’s R1T truck and R1S SUV with smaller batteries were rumored, all signs indicated that the cost of entry would decrease and afford more people the opportunity to consider the fledgling EV brand. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Rivian leadership is citing inflationary pressure, increased parts costs, and consistent supply chain disruptions as reasons for why its entry-level dual-motor configuration is now being slotted in at $67,500, the price once held by its quad-motor setup. Meanwhile, said quad-motored R1Ts have now swelled $12K over prior sticker, while the R1S is up $14.5K. Only those who are in the final stages of the transaction will be spared from the price jump. Flummoxed buyers are reassessing their options, publishing grievances all over the Twittersphere and even go as far as cancelling their reservations. The harsh reality of the situation isn’t sitting well for a company that once had the luxury of lowering prices back in 2020 when interest for the upstart EVs came pouring in. The mixed messaging is a tough timing for Rivian’s forward momentum, as the company focuses on dousing a separate fire by breaking ground this summer on a contentious facility in Georgia that will triple production capability when it comes online in 2024.

Exhaust: Rivian isn’t the only manufacturer getting slapped around by covid chaos, but that won’t make this steep price hike feel any less frustrating for those on the waiting list. Unexpected price increases aren’t unheard of in the world EVs. Just this past summer, Tesla had to explain price hikes in its Model 3 and Model Y models. However, in most cases, prices rose by a couple thousand, and price honoring remained in effect. All of this lends validity to the Automotive News report, where a former executive pointed out at $67,500 Rivian would be taking a loss on each R1T, and claimed that the leadership waited until after the IPO to raise prices.

(UPDATE 3/03/22 9:38 a.m. ET: In a letter to existing reservation holders released this morning, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe stated that Rivian would honor the original prices for existing reservation holders. “As we worked to update pricing to reflect these cost increases, we wrongly decided to make these changes apply to all future deliveries, including pre-existing configured preorders,” said Scaringe. “We failed to appreciate how you viewed your configuration as price locked, and we wrongly assumed the announced Dual-Motor and Standard battery pack would provide configurations that would deliver price points similar to your original configuration. While this was the logic, it was wrong and we broke your trust in Rivian … I am truly sorry and am committed to rebuilding your trust.” The letter makes clear that anyone with a Rivian preorder as of the March 1 pricing announcement, the original price will be honored. What’s more, if a reservation holder had canceled their preorder on or after March 1 and would like to reinstate it, Rivian will restore the original pricing, configuration, and delivery timing.)

Not everyone digs Andretti’s F1 ambitions

Michael Andretti
Getty Images

Intake: Last month, the racing world was whipped into a frenzy when Mario Andretti announced that his son, Michael Andretti, had applied to the FIA to field a new team in F1, dubbed Andretti Global. Reception to the announcement was overwhelmingly positive, but according to a new report from Autosport, not everyone in the F1 paddock is as keen to see another team come through. Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff and Red Bull Chief Christian Horner both voiced concerns about another team, with Wolff arguing that Andretti Global would need to prove what benefits it would bring to the sport as a whole (besides the $200M entry fee) if it was to be welcomed. Unsurprisingly, Michael Andretti was caught off guard by the comments. “I thought that it would be a no-brainer to get done and just go,” the potential team principal told Autosport. “But obviously nothing’s that way in Formula 1.”

Exhaust: This isn’t the first fly in Andretti’s F1-curious ointment. Last year, a deal to purchase the Alfa Romeo racing team fell through at the 11th hour. With Renault recently announced as the potential engine supplier for the team and Mario assuring that all of the funding and strategy is set in place, all that’s left to do is get the green light from the FIA, a famously cantankerous organization—especially with regards to F1. We’re seriously hoping that stamp comes soon. It would technically make two American-based teams on the grid; Haas F1 has been at it since 2015, but with limited success. What’s the matter, Christian and Toto—afraid of a little upstart competition?

INEOS Grenadier will get its first major off-road test chasing BMWs

INEOS Grenadier Albania
INEOS

Intake: INEOS is sending 20 of its Grenadiers to Albania for an 800-mile off-road adventure, and they’ll be following BMWs all the way. That’s because the Grenadiers will be serving as support vehicles on the BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy, where 22 riders will compete in a series of navigational and riding tests as they journey across the rugged mountains of Albania. Six Grenadiers will go early to scout the route before being joined by the rest for the main event. “The BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy is one of the world’s toughest off-road challenges. A great test for the riders and their machines–and for their Grenadier support vehicles–it’s exactly the sort of thing we built the Grenadier for,” said INEOS Commercial Director Mark Tennant.

Exhaust: BMW is the Grenadier’s engine supplier so it makes sense for INEOS to lend a hand. More importantly, it’s a very public opportunity to demonstrate the Grenadier’s off-road prowess—the vehicle’s raison d’être. 

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