’60s Toyota sedan on world stage, Lambo to Le Mans in 2024, a Moke for Bond fans
’66 Toyota proves no car is too humble for a world-class concours
Intake: Edgardo Lim has the distinct honor of being the first Filipino to show a car at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Lim was invited to join the 2019 Japanese Automotive Invitational with his 1966 Toyota Corona, a vehicle he lovingly restored over two years as part of a decades-long passion for restoring cars. (It’s the same make and model that his family used for daily transportation back in the Philippines, and which his father gave to him for a first car. Lim later converted that black Corona to a taxi to earn extra cash.) Lim was also recognized by the Filipino Consulate General for reaching this milestone as part of the honor. While it’s unfortunate we couldn’t celebrate this milestone as it was unfolding, we are thrilled to see the Peterson Museum highlighting Lim with this YouTube video.
Exhaust: Lim’s passion for cars is plain to see, and seeing how his childhood affection for the third-generation Toyota Corona—which played a vital role in Toyota’s stateside presence in the ’50s—followed him from the Philippines to the U.S.A. is beyond admirable. Mercedes and Bugattis may dominate the Pebble Beach Concours’ Best in Show, but Lim’s painstaking dedication to the humble Corona reminds us just how intimately the automobile has shaped human lives, and that even the mundane vehicles are worth cherishing.
2023 RS 5 gets louder, faster, stiffer with $16K Competition pack
Intake: The matte carbon-fiber accents bestowed upon the 2023 RS 5 (inside and out) by the $16,100 Competition pack aren’t just for show. Audi uncorks the speed limiter on this 444-hp midsizer, raising top speed from 155 to 180 mph. (The Dynamic plus package only raises the limit to 174.) Driver and passenger will be treated to more twin-turbo V-6 noise than ever, since Audi has not only added the RS sport exhaust from the Dynamic package but removed 18 pounds of noise insulation from the firewall. A Comp-pack RS 5 sits 10 mm lower than the standard model on a coilover suspension system with an addition 10 mm of adjustability. “Sport” sway bars front and rear round out the chassis upgrades and available only via the Competition pack. A retuned ECU increases the rear bias of the car’s all-wheel-drive system and increases the difference between the personalities of the drive modes. The gearbox gets a similar retune for faster, more aggressive shifts. Black-finished rims clad in Pirelli P Zero Corsas, a tire unique to the Comp pack and distinct from the summer performance rubber of the Black optic package, complete the upgrades. Orders should open this June, if all goes according to plan.
Exhaust: Unlike the 2022 RS 3, both the U.S.- and U.K.-market RS 5 Competition Pack models share most of their performance upgrades. Only difference is that U.K. cars don’t get an increased top speed. Hat tip to Audi for backing aesthetic edginess with meaningful upgrades. We’ll take one in green, thanks.
Lamborghini graduates to LMDh prototype racing in 2024
Intake: Lamborghini Squadra Corsa, the Italian automaker’s motorsports arm, announced today that it will campaign an LMDh prototype racer in the stateside IMSA Weathertech Championship and the FIA World Endurance Championship. Since 2016, the manufacturer has competed in IMSA’s GTD class, where it utilizes a heavily modified Huracán. Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America, a single-make series sanctioned by IMSA, has run even longer, dating back to 2013. The move to endurance racing’s highest class is the next logical step for the VW Group marque, which will join Acura, BMW, Cadillac, and Porsche at the top of the time charts come 2024. While the new Lambo’s specs are unconfirmed, the LMDh rules—shared between IMSA and the FIA—require a hybrid platform which will produce more than 670 horsepower. Expect Lambo to announce its chassis supplier (Dallara, Ligier, Multimatic, or Oreca) in the coming months.
Exhaust: To any motorsport fan watching their beloved prototype classes wilt on the vine in IMSA and WEC this year, the ever-growing grids for ’23 and 24 are cause for celebration. Stateside, IMSA’s outgoing prototype group featured only six cars total (from Cadillac and Acura) last weekend at Mid-Ohio, while WEC’s Hypercar count has dipped to as low as four. Lambo’s entry into the upper echelons of road racing also means that the manufacturer will now have a realistic shot at winning overall at Le Mans. A rather bullish play from Sant’Agata.
Cadillac’s first electric SUV priced just above Model Y
Intake: Orders for the Lyriq, Cadillac’s first battery-powered crossover, open this Thursday. For $66,990, without destination or any federal EV credits, you can get a rear-drive model with 340 hp and an EPA-estimated range of 312 miles. That MSRP matches that of the Long Range Model Y (EPA-estimated range of 330 miles). That electric SUV comes standard with all-wheel-drive, as of this writing, though many expect Tesla to make its single-motor Standard model (which starts about $60K) available to more than its employees. Cadillac will be more than happy to build you an all-wheel-drive Lyriq, however, for a $2K premium. Range on that 500-hp model is not yet available. You’ll get two years of unlimited charging credits at EVgo charging stations, no matter which Lyriq you order, or $1500 toward the installation of a home charger (as long as it’s from Qmerit). The charging company estimates installation costs between $800 and $2000, not including the $500 to $800 you’ll spend on the charger itself; assuming you aren’t planning a Panamerican rally, the latter option probably makes more sense.
Exhaust: When we walked around and sat in a pre-production Lyriq, we found it a strikingly handsome luxury vehicle, especially compared to the futuristic pod-thing that is the Model Y. The interior even has buttons complementing its 33-inch touchscreen. (Then again, maybe that’s what you prefer.) Cadillac has made the most of GM’s Ultium platform to reinterpret Cadillac design language for its EV future, from a LED-festooned front to an exceptionally airy cabin (yay no transmission tunnel). Will the drive experience live up to that first impression? Stay tuned.
Ken Block to prove pigs can fly … up Pikes Peak
Intake: Meet Hoonipigasus, the car that Ken Block is planning to pilot above the clouds of Pikes Peak. The 1400-hp, all-wheel-drive Porsche SVRSR pays homage to the Porsche 1971 917/20 known as the “Pink Pig.” Street artist Trouble Andrew, or Guccighost, provided the paintwork for the car, which been built by Pikes Peak winners BBi Autosport. Block has his sights set on the outright record with a car designed to suit his driving style, featuring an unusual “Chorizo transmission tunnel” that runs from shoulder height to the front axle for a lower center of gravity. The stripped-out racer weighs just 2000 pounds and boasts GPS-adjustable suspension that adapts to the road based on recorded telemetry of the 12.42-mile course.
Exhaust: It won’t be Block’s first run up the mountain, but it will be his first chance for a victory. In 2005 he hooned up in a Group N rally car with just 200 hp, while in 2017 he drifted the Peak in a 1400-hp 1965 Ford Mustang for the short film Climbkhana (below), in which going sideways was more important than speed. Will he be able to take Open Class honors? We’ll find out on June 26.
Maserati to let in the blue skies with MC20 Cielo
Intake: The two-seat, mid-engined, twin-turbocharged-V-6 sports car known as the Maserati MC20 will soon appear in a topless variant, called Cielo (earlier spy shots shown above). Derived from the Italian word for sky, the MC20 Cielo is touted as being “100 percent made in Italy” to ensure detractors don’t assume this performance vehicle from an iconic Italian brand doesn’t share parts with lesser vehicles in the Stellantis’ line-up (or even from Ferrari). Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but you can expect it to sell for more than the $210,000 asking price of MC20 hardtop.
Exhaust: It’s wonderful to see Maserati add a roofless variant to its purebred sports car, though we won’t see or know all until May 25. Its carbon-fiber intensive body (which weighs 3306 pounds, a modest figure by today’s standards) and 621 horsepower were just begging for open-air motoring. Now if only we could do something about the lack of a manual transmission …
Moke America celebrates 0060 years of James Bond movies
Intake: To commemorate its role as trusted transport for evil henchmen, Moke has just announced a special 60 Years of Bond edition. The original, Mini-based Moke appeared in You Only Live Twice, Live and Let Die, The Spy Who Loved Me, and Moonraker, most often used inside the lairs of Bond’s nemesis of the day. This special edition comes in Midnight Blue, with a host of 007 details officially licensed by EON productions. There’s a 007 gun logo on the rear fenders, a special spare-tire cover that evokes early movie titles, and inside there’s a “mango tree” dashboard, along with a wooden gearshift and steering wheel. The 60 Years of Bond edition follows a 007 San Monique model that evoked the car featured in Live and Let Die, which was released last year. If you want one for your own hidden HQ, it’ll set you back $28,975.
Exhaust: The modern Moke is electric, sold as a Low-Speed Vehicle with a top speed of just 25 mph and a range of around 40 miles, so its performance will hardly scare The Living Daylights out of you.