Ecclestone faces £400M fraud charge, face-swapped Land Cruisers head to U.S., Leno rides a “Ducati”

bernie ecclestone putin fraud 400 charged f1

Former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone charged with fraud

Intake: Former Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has been charged with fraud by false representation of more than 400 million pounds by the HRMC, the U.K.’s taxation body, has reported. Ecclestone presided over F1 for decades before resigning with the sale of F1 to Liberty Media in 2017. Apparently Ecclestone’s charges stem from accusations that he did not report “the existence of assets held overseas believed to be worth in excess of 400 million pounds,” said the Crown Prosecution Service.

Exhaust: With, according to The Sunday Times, a net worth of 2.5 billion pounds, Bernie can write a check and make this go away, which is what he did when charged with bribery years ago in Germany. He needs to save some money to spend on public relations, though; his recent comment that he would “take a bullet” for his pal Vladimir Putin did not go over well in the F1 paddock. —Steven Cole Smith

Raptor R unmasked this Monday

Intake: “Scary fast,” says the tweet from Ford announcing the date—July 18–when we’ll finally get an unmasked look at the new Ford Raptor R, a faster version of the current Ford Raptor that should arrive later this year, probably as a 2023 model. The Raptor R is expected to share the 5.2-liter supercharged V-8 engine with the Ford Shelby GT500, which pumps out 760 horsepower, though the R may be a little less than the king-of-the-hill Mustang. The 2021 Ford Raptor R uses a 450-horsepower 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine. Both use a ten-speed automatic transmission, but it’s possible the Shelby’s Tremec seven-speed will be used in the R. Scary fast should also translate to a price somewhere north or south of $80,000, while the regular Raptor starts at about $70,000 before the $1,795 destination fee.

Exhaust: Ford needs the Raptor R to counter the excellent Ram 1500 TRX, which has a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 with 702 horsepower and is priced at around $79,000. As it is with the TRX, best of luck finding one of the early Rs at list price. Bottom line, though: Who thought in this early era of electrification we’d have two gas-powered (a lot of gas!) pickup trucks with more than 700 horsepower? –SCS

Mansory ups Ferrari SP2 to 830 hp

Intake: Do you feel your Ferrari SP2 is a little lacking? Do you need more power and more carbon fiber? A red exhaust, perhaps? All this and more can now be yours thanks to German tuner Mansory. To launch its new Bespoke program, which gives customers completely free rein to pick and choose from its array of styling and performance add-ons, the firm has revealed a one-off Monza SP2. The car gets an extended front lip and new rear diffuser in visible carbon, a set of YT.5 Air forged rims, upgraded suspension, and a power boost for its V-12 to 830 hp thanks to a modified intake system and new exhaust with a splash of red paint on the insides of the tailpipes.

Exhaust: Mansory has never been known for its subtlety, but this treatment is surprisingly staid by its standards. The net result is just slightly more aggressive rather than fully in-your-face, and a promising start for its Bespoke program. — Nik Berg

Japan shop that face-swaps Land Cruisers heads to San Diego

Intake: U.S. fans of JDM restomods can add something fresh to their Christmas wish list. This winter, Japanese company Flex Automotive is setting up a dealership in San Diego, from which it will sell 1990s and 2000s Land Cruisers “renovated” to resemble their ’80s predecessors. Technically, Flex’s vehicles are reverse restomods: newer vehicles aping older ones, not originals updated for the modern era. Flex’s “classical looking facelift” includes all sheetmetal forward of the A-pillar: On the “Wonder” build, reminiscent of the FJ80, you get your choice of dual or quad headlamps, nine deliciously retro wheel designs, and white or body-color side mirrors. Options include a lift kit and a roof rack, as well. Flex will also reupholster the seats of its Wonder Cruisers in 17 different materials, ranging from butterscotch-toned leather to two-tone brown cloth. The estimated price listed on the shop’s website as roughly $22,400 (converted from yen) and we’d assume that customers must provide their own donor 100-series Land Cruiser. The “106″ build wears the face of a 60 Series but is more posh, boasting curtain airbags, cruise control, electrically controlled suspension, and heated seats with electronic adjustments. To whet American appetites further, Flex is also promising to eventually give a Tacoma the same “classically retrofitted” treatment. Both the Wonder and the 60 are coming stateside, so go nuts on the configurator and show us your dream build.

Exhaust: Can vintage schtick be synthesized? We’re gonna bet the answer will fall along generational lines. Flex’s face-swaps are a bit eerie for those who grew up with the original article—“on the wrong side of the uncanny valley,” in the words of Hagerty valuation expert and Land Cruiser aficionado Adam Wilcox. For a younger audience, the subtle anachronisms aren’t as obvious. Largely priced out of the genuine thing, and without hope of updating an FJ60 to modern standards, millennials may swoon over a 100-series doused with vintage romance, albeit inauthentically. YouTuber PewDiePie is an owner and certainly a fan, though budget isn’t a concern for the multi-millionaire. — Grace Houghton

pewdiepie flex automotive FJ face-swap toyota land cruiser
Instagram | pewdiepie

Bugatti serves London’s most expensive espresso

Bugatti espresso bar London

Intake: London’s only Bugatti dealership has opened an espresso bar serving a $60 cup of coffee. Offered in a carbon-fiber cup, “The Ettore Shot” also grants buyers access to the showroom and lounge, which is furnished with unique carbon and leather chairs from the Bugatti Home Collection, and features art and sculpture that’s in harmony with the Bugatti brand. Caffeine-seekers in a hurry can also get a takeaway flat white or Americano at Ettore’s Espresso Bar, at H.R. Owen Bugatti in the heart of Mayfair.

Exhaust: We can already picture the line outside full of influencers snapping selfies and videos for Instagram and TikTok, so this is a canny piece of promotion. Of more interest to enthusiasts will be the opportunity to get a close look at a Chiron; the showroom is ordinarily invitation-only. — NB

Jay Leno drives a “Ducati”

Intake: Custom bikes owe much of their character to their source material. In the case of the Revival Cycles custom featured on this week’s episode of Jay Leno’s Garage, that wellspring was a Yamaha Virago. Well, it was supposed to be. Once the owner and shop got together and really started talking, the Virago was out and an eBay-sourced Ducati Monster engine was in. Then the whole bike was designed in CAD over the course of nearly two years before all the custom parts could be produced and assembled.

Exhaust: Custom motorcycles are a wild art form. The balance of function and form is up to the owner and designer. This “Ducati” seems to toe the line nicely—it is both very nice to look at and appreciate from a construction perspective and remains at least tolerable to ride. From the welds on the stainless exhaust to the custom billet triple clamp, the owner of this machine has a lot to look at and be proud of.

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