Fourth time’s electric for 1972-hp SuperVan, R.I.P Bruton Smith, Polestar 5 due in 2024


Fourth time’s electric for 1972-hp Ford SuperVan

Intake: Folks, it’s van time—SuperVan time, to be exact. Ford has revived its iconic SuperVan premise for duty at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, which takes place this weekend. This new vehicle marks the first electrified take on the SuperVan formula, but in case you thought that meant tame, rest assured—this thing is bananas. Four electric motors draw juice from a bespoke, liquid-cooled 50-kWh battery pack mounted super low in the chassis. Power output rings in somewhere around 1973 horsepower. Ford says 0-62 mph clicks off in less than two seconds. The only thing wilder than its performance may be the way the SuperVan looks. Massive wheel arches, a huge front splitter, rear diffuser, and those massive cutaways in the sides of the van’s rear all purport a radical machine with a penchant for short bursts of ridiculous speed—like that needed to climb Lord March’s driveway this weekend.

Exhaust: For more than 50 years, the SuperVan has been one of Ford’s greatest skunkworks projects. It began in the ‘70s with the original Transit SuperVan, which was essentially a Ford GT40 draped in boxy sheetmetal. The next iteration featured a Cosworth V-8 from the Ford C100 group C race car—the one after that featured an F1 V-8. With Ford making a heavy push to publicize its E-Transit family of all-electric work vans, it’s no surprise that the Blue Oval would seek to revive such a universally celebrated recipe. The fourth iteration, though, like the third, is more about promoting van than motorsports tech or an unprecedented powertrain swap—exactly what made the ’71 and ’84 breadboxes so magical. 

NASCAR legend O. Bruton Smith dies at 95

Intake: O. Bruton Smith, who arose from humble beginnings to become one of the biggest track owners and most successful NASCAR promoters in the history of auto racing, passed away on June 22. He was 95. Born in North Carolina in 1927 as the youngest of nine children, Smith watched his first race as an 8-year-old during the Depression and bought his first race car at 17 for $700. His racing career didn’t last long, however, as he turned to promoting races at 18. It was clearly a wise choice, as Smith ultimately became one of the giants in stock car racing. Speedway Motorsports, the company he founded, was the first motorsports company to trade on the New York Stock Exchange and it currently owns 11 facilities across the United States.

Exhaust: Beyond Smith’s entrepreneurial skills and love of racing, his personality left a lasting impression on all who met him, and he served as a role model—both on and off the track—for those who followed in his footsteps. As Eddie Gossage, one of Smith’s former employees, so aptly put it: “I’ve met American presidents and scholars. Astronauts and artists. World famous musicians and athletes. But the greatest man I ever met was Bruton Smith.” That’s high praise, and well deserved.

Norton is back with this $54,000 V-4 superbike

Norton VS4V

Intake: Rescued by Indian motorcycle giant TVS in 2020, British legend Norton is returning to the road with its new VS4V. Featuring a TIG-welded aluminum frame, which is polished to a mirror-like finish and carbon-fiber bodywork, the VS4V is powered by a 188-hp, liquid-cooled 1200cc V-4 engine. A quick-shift and auto-blipper system makes for speedy and seamless gear changes, and a lean-angle sensitive traction control system is fitted to help put the power down. “Norton has always been and will always remain a design lead brand, which is why this bike is undoubtedly the most beautiful on the market,” says a confident CEO, Dr. Robert Hentschel. “It’s more than just looks, though. It is the ultimate British superbike, a bike that will excite riders from the moment they get on, to the moment they get off.”

Exhaust: Norton has 124 years of motorcycle-making history under its wheels and Hentschel says the new VS4V “is just the beginning for us when it comes to taking this iconic brand forward.” In its new facility Norton has the capacity to build 8000 bikes a year and it will soon shift focus to zero-emissions motorcycling, aided by recent funding by Advanced Propulsion Center.

Polestar’s 5 will arrive in 2024 with 884 hp

Polestar 5 at Goodwood

Intake: Polestar’s upcoming four-door GT has made its first public appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The Polestar 5 is near-enough a production version of the Chinese-Swedish company’s Precept concept which wowed the world in 2020. The 884-horsepower, all-wheel-drive, electric super sedan is due to be launched in 2024, and, as visitors to the speediest stately home in the world will discover, development appears to be advancing well. “The new powertrain we are working on will set a new brand benchmark in our high-performing cars. Combining strong electric motor engineering ability with advances in light-weight platform technology is leading to truly stunning driver’s car,” claims Jörg Brandscheid, Polestar’s  head of R&D.

Exhaust: Could this be the car to finally knock Tesla Model S off its pedestal? It’s certainly a lot prettier than Musk’s decade-old sedan, and it offers 800-volt high-speed charging and packs serious performance. If the Polestar 2 is anything to go by, the 5 will be competitively priced as well. 

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