GMC’s off-road Sierra gets AEV kit, Chicago wants to host NASCAR, Gold Wing Road Riders Association shuts down
Thanks to AEV, GMC’s off-road-tuned Sierra 1500 gets even gnarlier
Intake: GMC’s been getting into the off-road game with its trucks. First there was the Sierra AT4X, an upgraded version of the regular Sierra 1500 AT4 that featured the near-magical DSSV spool-valve dampers that GM sources from Canada’s Multimatic. Then news of a Canyon AT4X arrived as The General armed its midsizer for battle against Ford’s forthcoming Ranger Raptor. Now, GMC has taken the Sierra AT4X a step further with the 2023 Sierra AT4X AEV Edition. With the help of American Expedition Vehicles (AEV), the new Sierra scores similar equipment to past GM/AEV collaborations such as the Colorado ZR2 Bison—that means skid plates, new bumpers front and rear, some new wheels, and more. The new bumpers and chunky 33-inch Goodyear rubber help bolster off-road stats like approach, departure, and breakover angles (32.5, 23.4, and 23.0 degrees, respectively), as well as ground clearance (11.2 inches vs. 10.8 on standard AT4X. GMC says the new AEV Edition will become available later in the 2023 model year, which loosely translates to the end of 2022—maybe Q4.
Exhaust: No pricing information has been announced, but we can do a little napkin math: The AEV Bison package costs an additional $5750 to tack on to the Colorado ZR2. We’d expect this package to cost a bit more on the Sierra—maybe somewhere around$6500–$6800 all told. Bigger trucks mean more material costs, but the Sierra AT4X is not cheap (it starts just shy of $80,000), and its buyers aren’t short on cash. A few thousand more for a package that makes their already badass truck even gnarlier? Probably an easy sell. —Nathan Petroelje
Al Capone’s bulletproof 1928 Cadillac for sale again for $1M
Intake: Legendary Chicago mobster and bootlegger Al Capone’s bulletproof 1928 Cadillac Town Sedan is up for sale again. After Capone was convicted of tax evasion in 1931, the FBI confiscated his cars, but the Caddy slipped away. The car later became a sideshow attraction. It sold for $347,000 at RM Sotheby’s St. John’s auction in 2012 and was offered for $1 million by Celebrity Cars Las Vegas in 2020. Two years later, it’s still available for the same price. According to RM’s 2012 description, as a young boy Richard “Cappy” Capstran helped his father “install some of the armor plating on Al Capone’s Cadillac,” and he recalled the details In a recorded interview years later. It seems Ernest Capstran’s auto body shop had already performed a high-quality repair on another vehicle owned by the Capone syndicate, which prompted delivery of a brand new 1928 Cadillac to the shop. The Cadillac, among the earliest surviving bulletproof vehicles, is lined with nearly 3000 pounds of armor plating, and the rear window was rigged to drop quickly, allowing occupants to fire upon would-be pursuers.
Exhaust: Is the Capone Caddy worth $1 million? We asked that question two years ago, and so far the answer appears to be no. As Hagerty valuation editor Andrew Newton suggested in 2020, “The history is certainly fascinating, but Al Capone is a controversial figure, and the market spoke in 2012 with its last auction appearance.” If at first you don’t succeed … — Jeff Peek
Chicago wants to host NASCAR’s return to public streets
Intake: It appears NASCAR’s plan to hold a street race in downtown Chicago is growing closer to a thing, and soon: The Athletic obtained, through a public records request, a copy of a letter from the city of Chicago that makes it sound like the event is a done deal. Says the letter: “Chicago is incredibly enthusiastic about the opportunity to serve as host of the 2023, 2024 and 2025 NASCAR Chicago Street Course events, and we stand ready to welcome NASCAR fans to our world class city.” The letter is to Ben Kennedy, NASCAR’s senior vice president of racing development and strategy, and signed by Erin Harkey, commissioner, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, City of Chicago.
Exhaust: Ben Kennedy, the 30-year-old son of NASCAR executive vice-chairman Lesa France Kennedy and great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France, has been aggressive in bringing the NASCAR Cup series into the 20th century with moves that include the Bristol dirt race, plus races at Circuit of the Americas, Nashville, St. Louis, and the exhibition season opener at the Los Angeles Coliseum. What’s remarkable about this is that the Chicago area would have two races within a 150-mile radius, with the just-run race at Road America in Wisconsin, 147 miles north of Chicago, when NASCAR couldn’t find enough fans to keep a race at the $130 million Chicagoland Speedway oval after 2019. The best line from the letter: That NASCAR would apparently enrich Chicago’s “artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy.” — Steven Cole Smith
Mandatory speed limiters now slow Europe’s new cars
Intake: All new vehicles sold in mainland Europe now have to be fitted with electronic speed limiters after an EU rule change came into force. So-called Intelligent Speed Assistance technology warns drivers to slow down if they exceed posted speed limits, through audible and visual alerts, and haptic feedback via the accelerator. It is possible to over-ride the warnings, either by pushing harder on the go pedal or by manually switching the system off through the car’s settings, however, every time a car is switched off the system defaults to the on position. The ruling only applies to cars launched into the market after July 6 with current models having until July 2024 to have ISA fitted. The EU claims the technology will result in 30 percent fewer road deaths in Europe. Brexit Britain hasn’t adopted the rule, but is inevitably expected to follow.
Exhaust: Policing Europe’s road appears to be no longer the job of the police. Ever since the introduction of speed cameras, the automation and fund-raising potential of electronic enforcement has been progressively taking over until it has reached the point where now your own car is judge and executioner of your driving behavior. Improving safety isn’t to be argued with, but taking responsibility away from the driver isn’t the answer. As drivers rely more and more on their vehicles they become less and less engaged in the act of driving and more easily distracted. These systems are not faultless either. The speed limit warning system on my own Kia EV6, for example, often misses temporary speed limit zones and has even advised me that I could drive at 80 mph on one occasion, when the limit was, in fact, 30 mph. If my car was set to follow its own interpretation of the road rules rather than mine this could have been a disaster. —Nik Berg
Gold Wing Road Rider Association motors into the sunset this fall
Intake: Formed in 1977, the Gold Wing Road Riders Association spanned 53 countries with nearly 80,000 members at its peak, but sadly the group will dissolve this fall. Operating under the motto “Friends for Fun, Safety and Knowledge,” it was a huge group of riders dedicated to the famous (infamous?) Honda touring bike. The official last day for the club will be July 31 and current members are able to get a prorated refund for any prepaid memberships.
Exhaust: Groups like GWRRA are an amazing resource for new and seasoned riders alike. Running a large club like this takes a big effort from those who take on the mantle, though, and that means the closing of the group may come as no surprise to some. With any luck a similar group will form, or many small clubs will spin off. Even if that doesn’t happen, those who connected and rode together as part of GWRRA will always have the miles spent on the road to remember. — Kyle Smith