Chevrolet’s no-bid NFT flop, Renault’s catwalk-worthy restomod, Glickenhaus’ Hypercar dons blue
Not even a real-life Z06 could sell Chevrolet’s Corvette NFT
Intake: Given a contracting stock market and increasingly bearish economic forecasts, the booming worlds of cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have taken a pounding. Automakers who tried to ride the NFT wave have not been spared. Take Chevy, for example, who released a 1-of-1 NFT of the 2023 Corvette Z06 in Minted Green. (Think the Lime Green worn by the 2013–15 Spark, but more retina-searing.) The sale of the NFT opened on June 20 and ran through the 25, but proved fruitless—despite the inclusion a 1-of-1 2023 Z06 in said Minted Green. Not a single bid was placed. Chevrolet reopened the auction for one more day. Crickets. The NFT was auctioned off on SuperRare, a digital art marketplace where all bids are placed using Ethereum, one of the more popular cryptocurrencies. A few offers have rolled in after the auction’s end—the lead bid is 6.9 Ethereum, which equates to roughly $7500 in USD at current crypto prices (1 Ethereum is currently worth around $1097 as of this writing.)
Exhaust: Turns out, even if the accompanying real car is slathered in exclusive paint, backing your way into a sale using of-the-moment tech fads is not a sure-fire sales tactic. Not only did interested buyers need to own a digital wallet, that wallet had to be stocked with a specific currency: Ethereum. Those new to the crypto ecosystem, who were interested in Chevrolet’s offer but possessed either no digital wallet or a generous amount of Ethereum, had few options. There was absolutely a reserve that needed to be met on this auction, too; NFT or no, Chevy wasn’t going to let a uniquely painted version of its hotly anticipated flat-plane V-8 screamer go for anything less than sticker—whatever that may be. (Z06 pricing is expected to arrive in the coming weeks). The current “leading” bid—since this auction is closed, these are just low-ballers in search of a laugh—wouldn’t even cover the cost of the Z07 performance package on the outgoing C7 Z06 (you had to cough up $7999 for the gnarlier aero package, the Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes, and the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires). It’s all rather embarrassing, but if anything can put a flopped crypto stunt out of our heads, it’s the sound of that 5.5-liter 670-hp LT6. — Nathan Petroelje
Jeep honors U.S. military with Freedom package for Gladiator, Wrangler
Intake: In honor of those who have bravely devoted their lives to protect our country, Jeep has announced a limited-edition Freedom package for the 2023 Gladiator and Wrangler. Available for the Sport S trims on both models, the Freedom package adds a few visual tweaks to these familiar exteriors, including an Oscar Mike badge on the rear tailgate/swing gate, LED headlamps and fog lamps, body-color fender flares, a steel front bumper steel rock rails, black wheels, as well as an American flag decal along the side of your ride. In the cabin, you’ll get leather-trimmed cloth seats and black accent stitching. For every Freedom edition sold, Jeep will make a $250 donation to military charities. If you are an active or recently retired servicemember, and considering scooping a Freedom edition Gladiator or Wrangler, you’ll qualify for $500 bonus cash to deduct against the package’s standard $3295 price. Orders open later this month, and dealer lots will have the first examples in stock in time for Veterans Day, on November 11.
Exhaust: Jeep’s military ties are well-documented and easily celebrated. A cosmetic package on its most iconic nameplate (and pickup sibling) won’t exactly rival the Willys MB for historical significance, but it’s a nice gesture. That steel bumper is not otherwise offered on the Sport S trim for either model, but optioning the LEDs and the rock rails alone puts you within shouting distance ($2345) of the Freedom package’s $3295 asking price—and the value proposition of choosing the Freedom kit over a piecemeal build only increases once you add $500 cash for active and recently retired servicemembers. We’re especially glad to see Jeep stepping up to support military charities.
Renault marks 50 years of the R5 with haute couture restomod
Intake: Renault is celebrating five decades of Le Car in true style with an electrified Five designed with fashionista Pierre Gonalons. Pink and proud, the Diamant one-off has gem-like headlamps, side mirrors that look like a saucier’s pan, and dished, black-and-white wheels. Inside, things get even crazier, with a swirling recycled marble steering wheel dominating an otherwise simple cabin, adorned by circular gold door handle and an integrated phone-holder in lieu of the ubiquitous touchscreen. The Diamant has been converted to battery power, although Renault hasn’t revealed its specification.
Exhaust: The R5 was famous for its stylish limited editions, such as the luxurious, leather-lined Monaco and the denim-trimmed Blue Jeans, but this Diamant edition takes its catwalk cool even further. A retro-futuristic new 5 is due in 2024 to replace the Zoe electric city car and we do hope that the fashion collabs continue. — Nik Berg
Europe to assess e-fuels as part of zero-emission plan
Intake: With the European Union insisting all new vehicles from 2035 must be completely emissions-free, the assumption has long been that only electric cars and vans would comply with the new regulations. However, now there’s a possibility that e-fuels could be part of the solution. E.U. environment ministers have agreed to investigate whether carbon neutral e-fuels, created using waste or carbon captured from the atmosphere would help meet the bloc’s zero-emissions targets. Dutch politician Frans Timmermans, who leads the European Commission’s work on the European Green Deal saids that the Commission “will have an open mind,” as it looks into viability, although a deadline of 2026 has been given to prove the effectiveness of e-fuels.
Exhaust: Politicians talking sense about the future of driving? Are we dreaming? Being realistic, mainstream European manufacturers have already committed to a battery-electric business, but smaller, enthusiast-driven brands could reap the benefits. A move to e-fuels would also guarantee that older cars can be kept on the roads for many years to come without their drivers becoming pariahs. The biggest challenge will be producing e-fuels in sufficient volume and a reasonable cost, although given the current trends in gas prices, nine bucks per gallon doesn’t actually seem that far-fetched. — NB
Glickenhaus’ Hypercar heads to Monza in a new blue suit
Intake: Following a quote from Helen Keller (!) in the press release, Jim Glickenhaus announced a new livery for his #708 Hypercar, which finished fourth at the 24 Hours of Le Mans behind the #709 Glickenhaus which finished third, putting the American underdog on the podium, behind the two muscular Toyotas. “At the Goodwood Festival of Speed, we saw the new Porsche LMDh in its race livery. As both Porsche and Toyota are now red, white and black, we’ve decided to try something different. As bright as the sky, or bright as the future.” We’ll see about that future this weekend when New York team owner Glickenhaus will race the car at the Monza Six Hours in Italy. Drivers will be Olivier Pla, Romain Dumas, and Pipo Derani.
Exhaust: A bit lighter than Richard Petty’s famous “Petty blue” color, Glickenhaus went from mostly red and white to the Pettyish-blue with a red, white, and darker blue stripe down the middle. Glickenhaus reverts back to a one-car team for Monza, which he’ll run for the rest of the World Endurance Championship season. The new livery looks great, but it’s hard to take your eyes off those massive, 24-lamp headlights. — Steven Cole Smith