Ford digitizes archives, Honda’s newest Civic Si race car stays cheap, ICE survives at Ferrari through 2030
Ford Heritage Vault goes online, breaks the internet
Intake: The gifted archivists at Ford’s Heritage Vault, the same folks who gave us access to their Bronco and Lincoln historical treasures, officially launched a website to share their internal database with everyone. Their work is so admirable that, at the time of writing, Ford fans overwhelmed it and made it crash! When the site has recovered its breath, fordheritagevault.com will offer a blizzard of official photos and roughly 3500 brochures ranging from the Model T to Ford’s modern-day product portfolio. Much more content is planned from every corner of the Blue Oval universe, and all brochures are scanned as high-resolution PDFs that are downloadable (be patient, they are big!) and searchable. Speaking of, the search feature lets you find content by year, make, model, and color. All this goodness is free for non-commercial use, so go ahead and dress up your personal Facebook page with your favorite Ford.
Exhaust: Breaking the Internet is a great honor in this case, proving that fordheritagevault.com gives the people precisely what they want. Ford Heritage even worked with Ford’s Accessibility/User Interface team to ensure its content accommodates the needs of the visually impaired. While big holes still need to be filled (i.e. it uploaded Edsel but not Mercury), it plan on digitizing everything they reasonably can, including copies of Ford Times magazine. Don’t hold your breath on seeing your favorite TV spot or magazine advertisement, however, as those contain actors and/or music that need royalty payments for the privilege. Which is fine, as we are thrilled to see Ford’s vault open up for more people to enjoy. (Side note: Did you know Bette Midler sued Ford for a Mercury Sable TV spot? Now you do!)
Got $55K and want to race touring cars? Scoop Honda’s Civic Si FE1
Intake: Honda Performance Development (HPD), the Big H’s skunkworks team, has announced more details on its new Civic Si FE1 race car. The new racer, which is eligible for SRO Motorsport’s TC America (TCA) touring car class, will be available this November to interested customer teams. For an all-in price of $55,000 plus tax, you’ll get a Civic Si chassis that comes with an installed roll cage and a swathe of HPD developed and homologated parts including the suspension setup, fuel cell, Motec electronics packages, and Honda’s L15CA 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. HPD also breathed on the car’s six-speed manual transmission to make it stronger for the rigors of race duty. The car does away with some of the road-going versions accoutrements, including the sunroof, sound proofing, underbody coating, and seam sealer—all in the name of weigh savings and performance. Interested in getting your hands on one? Pre-orders are open now—just have a $25,000 deposit ready, with the remainder due upon completion of the car.
Exhaust: TC America features cars from marques like Toyota (GR86), Nissan (370Z), Mini (JCW Cooper), and BMW (M2), all structured around keeping costs relatively low. This is the second time Honda’s done a factory-built Civic racer for the TCA class. The first one had some significant success against the Mazda Global MX-5 Cup—but it was dogged with allegations of cheating on the part of the fastest teams, allegations that were confirmed by technical inspections in 2018. So this new effort will be under the microscope. Why buy this instead of a Mazda Global MX-5 Cup car? It’s twenty-five grand cheaper.
Gran Turismo: The Movie to hit theaters in 2023
Intake: A live-action film based on the Playstation hit racing game Gran Turismo is due to be released in August 2023, reports Deadline. The motor movie is to be helmed by Neill Blomkamp, who directed science-fiction capers District 9, Elysium, and Chappie, and is to be based on the true story of a teen gamer who competed in the sim’s GT Academy to win a seat in a real race car. GT Academy was sponsored by Nissan, and after passing through qualifying events driving Nismo cars online, competitors then battled in real life for a place at an intensive driver development program, ultimately winning a drive in a Nismo race car for the 24 Hours of Dubai. The competition ran annually from 2008 to 2016, and produced a number of professional drivers still racing today.
Exhaust: Next year will be a hot one for race fans at the movies with Brad Pitt’s Formula 1 movie also headed to production, directed by Top Gun: Maverick‘s Joseph Kosinski. Who will win the race for ticket sales?
Developer of AMC Headquarters site seeks $32.6M in brownfield tax credits
Intake: NorthPoint Development is seeking $32.6 million in brownfield tax increment financing for its costs to redevelop the former AMC Headquarters site on Detroit’s west side. According to the Detroit News, the Missouri-based company will invest $71 million to redevelop the 50-acre site at 14250 Plymouth Road. The Detroit City Council will discuss the issue on Thursday, June 16, and the matter could be referred to the full council for a vote as early as Tuesday. Site work would include demolition of the AMC complex, abatement, and preparation of the property for construction. The former AMC Headquarters was abandoned in 2010. Redevelopment options include buildings for warehouse or light assembly industrial tenants.
Exhaust: Another historic automotive building is about to meet its doom, and while we make no apologies for our love of beautiful architecture—like the AMC Headquarters’ brick administration building—the project is expected to create 350 permanent jobs and 100 temporary construction jobs. That’s a win for Detroit.
This feisty fan car is gunning for a Goodwood record
Intake: McMurty Automotive has its sights on smashing the outright record at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Its Spéirling electric track car uses a fan to generate over 4000 pounds of downforce even at a standstill and will literally be sucked onto the asphalt of the British stately home’s driveway. The rear-driven racer has twin electric motors, a power-to-weight ratio of 1000 bhp/tonne (922 hp/ton) and is said to be able to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than 1.5 seconds. Top speed for the record run will be limited by gearing to 150 mph, but the production version will be faster. Built around a carbon-fiber monocoque, the single-seat closed cockpit car also features active ride height suspension and carbon ceramic brakes. Former F1 and IndyCar racer Max Chilton has been the development driver and will share driving duties with British hillclimb expert Alex Summers on the Goodwood hill between June 23 and 26.
Exhaust: The McMurty team will have to better 39.9 seconds up the 1.16-mile course to take the record away from the VW ID.R driven by Romain Dumas in 2019. With Ken Block also aiming to take the title at Pike’s Peak, VW and Dumas could lose out twice in just a matter of days.
Ferrari will still be making gas-only cars by 2030
Intake: Despite its Purosangue SUV, which is now due in September, a slew of hybrids, and its first electric models, Ferrari isn’t abandoning gas-only powertrains. The company just hosted its Capital Markets Day, in which it sketched out its product plans from 2022 through 2026, with a few gestures to 2030. As previously announced, the first all-electric Ferrari will debut in 2025. By 2023, Ferrari’s hoping that 40 percent of its sales will be EV; in the short term, through 2026, hybrid will carry the volume. The gas-only, V-12 Purosangue SUV is not supposed to dominate sales: Ferrari promises it will account for no more than 20 percent. As it continues to develop internal-combustion powertrains, the marque will also explore alternative fuels.
Exhaust: Investors—the target audience at a Capital Markets Day—have cast a skeptical eye on Ferrari’s slow embrace of electric-only powertrains, but from where we sit, the marque knows exactly which side its ciabatta is buttered. It’s not about to burn high-redline bridges for the sake of a greener brand image. While its “SUV” title is alarming, the Purosangue sounds like more of an FF or GTC4Lusso follow-up than an Italian Cayenne, in on-road orientation, silhouette, and target volume. Can Ferrari succeed in being all things to all customers, balancing the books while placating investors and keeping purists in the fold? We’re feeling bullish.