Japan-built Miura has a U.S. heart, F-150 could get carbon-fiber rims, G-Wagen for a German Master
Peek at the Ford guts of a Japan-built, widebody Miura
Intake: Founded in 2008, Japanese tuning shop Liberty Walk is well known for aggressive customizing of modern, high-performance metal. Back in 2018, Liberty Walk premiered what might be its most ambitious project ever, a Ford GT40 replica donor chassis with a custom body that replicates the legendary styling of the Lamborghini Miura. Called the Lamborghini Miura LB-Works, this one-off creation is powered by a small-block Ford topped with Weber carburetors and sports a full GT40 interior from the donor car. What makes this (now four-year-old) creation newsworthy in 2022 is the fact that Wataru Kato of Liberty Walk recently posted in-progress pictures of his Miura build, and the craftsmanship is beyond impressive.
Exhaust: Photos of a car build—any car build—are always worth seeing. But nothing prepares you for the act of creating a Lamborghini Miura from scratch on a wholly appropriate though entirely unorthodox chassis. And who wouldn’t want an icon of Italian design with the durable, reliable, and easily tunable powertrain of a legendary Ford small-block?
Watch Toyota’s nutty GR Corolla burn tires, fling dirt
Intake: Toyota pulled exactly zero punches with its GR Corolla, the purest-bred of the Gazoo Racing portfolio and the hottest hatch to land stateside since 2018, when Ford let the Focus RS go extinct. The 300-hp, all-wheel-drive, manual-only hatch debuted last Thursday and made the hearts of enthusiasts across the nation go thumpety-thump. Now, following the first official, camouflaged pictures and most of the technical specs (fuel economy, price, and exterior dimensions will trickle out at a later date), we get a video showing the little five-seater hot pocket in action … on the track and off-road. Listen to that WRC-derived 1618-cc three-cylinder shriek. Wish death to tires everywhere. Get hype.
Exhaust: We have three words: All hail Akio. Toyota’s president has long proven himself a gearhead’s gearhead, flinging a Gazoo Racing Supra around the Nürburgring under an alias and putting rally-bred machines into the hands of everyday enthusiasts, first with the Euro-only GR Yaris and now with the GR Corolla. Now that Subaru’s STI is out of the internal-combustion fight, and Ford’s hotted-up Focus banished to the U.K., only the Golf R stands in the sights of this wasabi-grade Corolla.
Manifest finally reveals the cars that sunk with the Felicity Ace
Intake: The Atlantic seabed now looks like an exotic car show after the transporter ship Felicity Ace sunk off the coast of Portugal in March. As you may recall, the ship caught fire, and although thankfully none of the crew was hurt, the ship and its cargo were lost. The full manifest for the vessel reveals scores of supercars, sedans, and SUVs, along with some second-hand oddities, a lot of tractors, and a few irreplaceable classics. Audi was the hardest-hit manufacturer, with 846 of its cars now rusting away under the ocean. Porsche lost 580 vehicles, VW 523, Bentley 190, and Lamborghini 85—including the 15 final-edition Aventadors, 20 Hurácans and 50 Urus SUVs. Among the more unexpected vehicular cargo were a 2015 Ford Mustang finding its way home, a 2007 BMW 750i, a 1977 Land Rover Santana, and, sadly, a rare 1996 Honda Prelude SiR.
Exhaust: The biggest loser in this awful accident is the environment, but we do feel sorry for those individuals who have watched their classic- and new-car dreams sink with the, erm, infelicitous, vessel. The carmakers will get their insurance payouts, and new car customers will get replacement vehicles—even Ultimae Series buyers, for whom Lamborghini restarted production—but several enthusiasts are left without cherished cars.
Ford considering about carbon-fiber wheels for F-150s, SUVs
Intake: Ford was an early adopter of carbon-fiber wheel technology for its GT350R, GT500, and GT models. Now the Blue Oval is considering introducing carbon-fiber wheels into its truck and SUV lines according, to Ali Jammoul, the program director for Ford Performance, who spoke with Australia’s CarExpert recently. While details are scarce, the basics of Jammoul’s though process are as follows: “It’s weight savings. It looks great. And customers love it. They’re willing to pay.”
Exhaust: The benefits of carbon fiber wheels are reductions in unsprung mass and in overall weight. This could align nicely with the performance-slanted SUVs like the Explorer ST and Mach E, but it is less likely that the F-150, Bronco, and Ranger Raptor models would gain woven rims. Carbon fiber is incredibly stiff, but the brittle material is vulnerable to sudden impacts, which are the norm off-road.
Next-gen Civic Type R smashes Suzuka lap record
Intake: It hasn’t launched yet, but the 2023 Honda Civic Type R has just set a new lap record at the Suzuka circuit in Japan during testing. The next-gen hot hatch from Honda lapped the 3.6-mile track in 2:23.210, which was almost a second faster than the previous record, held by the 2021 Civic Type R Limited Edition. Bear in mind that the Limited Edition was a lightweight special, and the 2023 model’s lap looks even more impressive.
Exhaust: Expect more records to tumble when the new Type R is unleashed to the public. Its predecessor set the fastest front-drive time at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, Italy’s Monza, Silverstone in the U.K., Estoril in Portugal, and the Hungaroring in Hungary in 2016. A year later, it retook its crown at the Nürburgring. Honda will, no doubt, be seeking to prove the new car’s superiority with more track domination.
Bronco Raptor adds animations and graphics to digital display
Intake: The apex of Ford’s reborn Bronco lineup will come with exclusive new graphics on its 12-inch digital dash to show drivers what each of the G.O.A.T. Modes (Goes Over Any Type of Terrain) is up to. Performance View is the main event on the Bronco Raptor’s digital instrument cluster and puts a dial tachometer front and center. “Performance View changes a driver’s impression of how to use the vehicle, with an intuitive layout that puts redline at the 12 o’clock position and uses a drivetrain avatar to really get the focus on optimizing the performance of the drive,” says Mark Sich, Ford’s digital design manager. “The entire focus is to provide the driver with important information as efficiently as possible.”
Exhaust: Having an easy visual reminder of tire pressure and the status of the lockers and sway bar can help drivers know they’re properly equipped for the terrain. The G.O.A.T. Mode graphics are just a nice touch, and all but one seem perfectly suited for the mode: That Rock Crawl mode is way too tame. Come on, Bronco team, inspire those Bronco Raptor owners to hit a challenging trail!
Bernhard Langer and the G-Wagen: Two champs that just keep tickin’
Intake: Forty years is a long time to remain at the top of any disciple, and Mercedes knows it. At the Masters this year, held at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, a specially decorated G-Wagen will pay tribute to legendary German golfer Bernhard Langer. Langer, 65, has donned Augusta’s coveted Green Jacket twice in his playing career (1984 and 1993) and has finished in the top five on the PGA Tour of Champions money list for the past nine years running—in eight of which he earned the top ranking. As a tribute to Langer’s remarkably steady and long-lived career, Mercedes tapped tape artist Leah Abucayan to decorate a G-Wagen in his honor. The bright and colorful tape job features a campaign phrase that describes both Langer and the fabled Geländewagen perfectly: Stronger than time.
Exhaust: For those who follow golf with any sort of regularity, Langer’s name is a familiar one. Langer is one of only five players to have won official tournaments on all six continents in which golf is played. He’s also a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame and one of the game’s most decorated players. Still sporting a remarkably lithe swing, the 65-year-old is a fitting personification of the same spirit that has been present in the G-Wagen since its 1979 introduction.