Harley-Davidson in FTC’s sights over Right to Repair violation, Silverado EV IRL, V-12 Z3M that never was
Happy weekend! We will taking a break from The Manifold on Monday, July 4, to light backyard grills, inflate inner tubes, help pets cope with fireworks, and cruise in our classics before returning to our regularly scheduled programming on Tuesday.
FTC opens complaint against Harley-Davidson for Right to Repair violation
Intake: The FTC has put pressure on Harley-Davidson regarding its warranty language in regards to the use of independent dealers for parts or service. The concept of restricting service to authorized dealers to maintain full warranty coverage is not new, but 1975’s Magnuson Moss Warranty Act Section (110(c) (2) forbade manufacturers to write such “tie-in sales” into their warranties, along with “any other provisions that state or imply that a consumer must buy or use an item or service from a particular company to keep their warranty coverage.” Interestingly, the FTC also was vocal about Harley-Davidson failing to fully disclose all of the terms of its warranty in a single document, which required consumers to contact an authorized dealership for full details. The FTC is asking the Milwaukee brand to come clean with consumers, prohibit future offenses, and recognize the consumers’ right to repair their bikes. The FTC can also seek civil penalties of up to $46,517 per violation in federal court should another violation occur.
Exhaust: Right to Repair legislation has been hotly contested in recent years, with brands like John Deere taking very strong stances against consumers or independent dealers being able to access parts, tools, or software required to maintain their vehicles. The warranty language that put Harley-Davidson in violation of FTC regulations is an easy fix on paper, but it might take time for all consumers to understand exactly what is allowed per the warranty. — Kyle Smith
Sorry, you can’t buy Hot Wheels’ latest, raddest truck
Intake: Earlier this week, Hot Wheels debuted its 1990 Chevrolet 454 SS casting and it sold out in mere minutes. Sorry shoppers, this version of the muscle truck won’t be found on grocery store pegs, as it was only made available to Red Line Club members. Club cars are basically deluxe versions of regular edition releases, often featuring a metal body and chassis, rubber tires, and an opening hood. True to form, Mattel’s latest pickup has it all, and you can open the hood to reveal a miniature version of Chevy’s Mark IV 454 cubic-inch big block engine. The paint, which is also a cut above that of your typical dollar Hot Wheel, matches the Sport Equipment Package paint found on the real-life power pickup. Red-tipped axles and “BLK RAT” on the license plate—which alludes to the powerplant’s period nickname—complete the miniature marvel.
Exhaust: Much like the full-size Chevrolet 454 SS pickup, your opportunity to buy one from the dealer has come and gone. The 1/64th-scale truck’s rapid sellout was to be expected, though. Red Line Club offers always require a quick mouse finger. Over the past 10 years, die-cast collectors have swooned over Mattel’s Chevrolet pickup castings, including the 1967 C10 and the 1983 Silverado. Add in the fact that this particular mold has never been used before, and you have a recipe for scarcity. If you missed the boat on buying one from Mattel’s site, preorder confirmations are up for auction on eBay (since the truck hasn’t shipped yet), but be forewarned, the markup is insane. For those who wish to be a bit more patient—and maybe don’t need the luxe Red Line version—Hot Wheels has a history of using Red Line Club castings multiple times, in future club releases and/or regular editions. Happy hunting. — Cameron Neveu
Porsche, USAC to host Time Attack event in September at Indy
Intake: Porsche and the USAC sanctioning body have announced Porsche Time Attack North America, which will debut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway September 2-4. Says Porsche: “Time Attack is a timed motorsport event where a single car laps the track for the quickest time. The car which sets the fastest lap time wins the event. The sport has become a popular way for drivers to focus on precision driving, maximizing performance without the risk of contact with another car or the expenses associated with GT and sports car racing.” You can enter any Porsche-built race car, in factory specifications, with the exception of current model year Porsche 911 GT3 Cup and 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport machines. The initial Porsche Time Attack will be at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during Labor Day weekend’s Porsche Sports Car Together Fest. Competitors get two practice sessions on Saturday, followed by two timed events Sunday to determine the overall winner.
Exhaust: Time Attack has become popular in Sports Car Club of America events, as well as with other clubs, as a way to race against each other without the risk and liability of side-by-side racing. You’re competing against the clock, similar to autocross, but on a much larger, faster stage. We assume Porsche will announce future Time Attack events soon if Indianapolis goes well. — Steven Cole Smith
Chevy’s first Silverado EV prototype hits Michigan streets
Intake: Ford’s F-150 Lightning is already reaching customer driveways, and in downtown Detroit, Chevy is rushing to catch up. The bowtie’s first Silverado EV engineering prototype has begun testing on the roadways and first roads of GM’s Milford Proving Grounds. The Ultium-based pickup promises a Chevy-estimated 400 miles of range with its largest 24-module battery pack, as well as the ability to power smaller electronics that can plug into receptacles in the bed and the crew cab. Two configurations of the Silverado EV will be offered at launch—the stylish RST, and a modest WT (Work Truck) configuration. (Don’t expect that to be the commercial configuration, however; Chevrolet is promising a “fleet model” later on that can pull up to 20,000 pounds.) Chevy says that the Silverado WT will offer 8000 pounds of towing capacity (300 pounds more than the standard-range Lightning) and 1200 pounds of payload, while the RST will be able to tow 10,000 pounds and carry around 1300 on-board. The Silverado WT is scheduled to arrive to customers next spring, with the fully loaded RST version arriving fall of next year. Once those models are at dealer lots and customer driveways, Chevy plans to expand the Silverado EV line with a Trail Boss model and more.
Exhaust: GM Research recently conducted a survey of reservation holders—more than 140,000 as of this April—and found that 95 percent of those customers plan to use their Silverado EV for daily driver duties. The survey also revealed that most clients felt confident that the pickup would be sufficient for their “truck needs” such as towing/hauling (87 percent) and off-roading (72 percent). Between the neat Multi-Flex midgate folding wall at the front of the bed and the stout range estimates, we’re not surprised to learn that future Silverado EV owners aren’t just scooping this truck as driveway decoration. — Nate Petroelje
Ducati V21L bike revealed, time crunch begins to supply MotoE grid for ’23
Intake: Racing’s MotoE class is a spec affair that stocks its 18-bike grid with bikes supplied from a single manufacturer. For 2023, that OEM will be Ducati, an interesting candidate considering the MotoE racer is the first electric bike the Bologna-based brand has made. The prototype was finally revealed this week, packing 150 hp and 103 lb-ft of torque in a 496-pound package. That weight sounds porky, but it is 26.5 pounds lighter than the minimum weight imposed by MotoE organizers FIM and Dorna. Testing should begin very soon and Ducati claims this is just one more step towards a production electric motorcycle for consumers.
Exhaust: The timeline for creating this machine has been as aggressive as the riders preparing to pilot these new machines on track next year. To meet those deadlines, Ducati has had to tap into an outside knowledge base: Thankfully, it’s owned by Volkswagen Group and can utilize the experience and development the giant has invested in its “New Auto” 2030 strategy. Likely the biggest challenge Ducati faced was designing an adequate cooling system and battery management system. Right now Ducati claims that the battery can be charged immediately upon coming off track, and in just 45 minutes will be at 80 percent capacity. We like the sound of that. — KS
Drako’s 2000-hp Dragon is here to slay your Urus
Intake: Silicon Valley EV startup Drako Motors says its new Dragon electric hyper SUV will have 2000 horsepower, reach 60 mph from rest in 1.9 seconds, and max out beyond 200 mph. “Designed and built to redefine the way the world thinks about automotive performance, style, and luxury, the Dragon is an entirely new kind of hypercar—one that wasn’t possible until now,” announced the company, choosing to ignore the Lotus Eletre. “Drako needs no gimmicks for the Dragon,” say the makers of this giant SUV with gullwing doors. Powered by the firm’s DriveOS Quad Motor powertrain, which has already been proven in its $1.2M GTE coupe, the Dragon has been designed by former Ferrari and Maserati designer Lowie Vermeersch at his Italian GranStudio.
Exhaust: It might be very clever, from an engineering perspective, but does another gigantic, heavy, and ludicrously-powerful EV for a handful of billionaires really enrich the automotive world? If hyper-performance is truly the goal, then the lightweight McMurtry Speirling is proof that there’s another way forward. — Nik Berg
V-12 Z3M isn’t the only M project too crazy for production
Intake: In 2022 BMW’s M Division is celebrating 50 years of making the most sizzling sedans but some of its engineers’ ideas were simply too hot for production, as a new YouTube video reveals. Actually, the first car shown in the film was designed as a cooler version of the E34 M5—with two doors and a convertible top. Complete with clever integration of the seatbelts in the headrests to avoid spoiling the car’s lines, a cavernous trunk space, and a manual transmission, this fast four-seater would have been a credible rival for the Mercedes-AMG E-Class in its day. Next up is one of the most extreme engine swaps we’ve seen: The M guys somehow squeezed a V-12 into a Z3M Roadster. “Complete overkill” is how Hans Rahn, head of vehicle prototyping describes it. Rahn says it is rather nose-heavy and “brutal,” so it’s not so surprising that this one didn’t make it into production. For the last car on show Rahn says the M Division “really pushed the envelope” to create an M8 version of the E31 8 Series. With lightweight composite body panels and a 640-hp engine from the brand’s Le Mans racer, this one-off creation shows what happens when the M people are truly let loose. Enjoy the film.
Exhaust: It’s great that BMW is giving us a look behind the M curtain, but it just makes us yearn for what might have been. Adding salt to the wound is the fact that the latest cars to come out of this German skunkworks are completely inaccessible. The upcoming M3 Touring won’t be available in the U.S.A. at all, while the 3.0 CSL Hommage will be limited to just 50 units worldwide and priced beyond sense. — NB