World’s easiest ’69 Camaro project, modern Alfa dons $245K retro suit, experimental Bentley heads to its first car show
World’s easiest ’69 Camaro project could be yours
Intake: The 1969 Camaro Z/28 is joining the likes of the Ghostbusters ECTO-1, Porsche 911, and Fiat 500 among Lego’s Icon series of slightly larger vehicles rendered in the company’s trademark blocks. Builders will be able to select white, gray, or red stripes to adorn the black car, and can also choose a convertible or hardtop. The 1456-piece kit will hit store shelves on August 1 with an MSRP of $169.99.
Exhaust: As usual, Lego designers have managed to capture the essence of their subject despite the difficulty of rendering a well-known subject using plastic bricks. The customizable stripes are a nice touch, as are the options for license plates. One Michigan plate notes the make and year, and a California black plate reads “P4N T3R,” which is a nod to a name that Chevrolet considered for the car before selecting “Camaro.” For a Camaro owner or fan, it’s a great showpiece and we’re sure it will make for a fun day of building. — Brandan Gillogly
Drama as McLaren, Ganassi fight for IndyCar champ Alex Palou
Intake: Yesterday, Chip Ganassi Racing and McLaren Racing issued press releases announcing that defending IndyCar champion Alex Palou would drive for their respective teams in 2023. Unless the Spaniard found a way to clone himself, only one of these penned statements are true. The odd back-and-forth began Tuesday afternoon, when Ganassi’s team announced that they would exercise the contract option to retain the Palou in 2023, for his third year with the team.
Several hours later, Palou took to Twitter saying that the press release was false and that he would not be back with CGR in 2023 for “personal reasons.” In the three-part tweet, he also pointed out that he was misquoted in the press release.Five minutes after Palou’s tweet, McLaren Racing announced that Palou would race for the firm next season in an undisclosed capacity. This press release included quotes from Palou and Big Orange boss Zak Brown. According to IndyCar, a little over an hour after McLaren’s announcement, Ganassi Racing responded to a request for comment with a text reading, “We can confirm that Alex Palou is under contract with the team through 2023.” As of Wednesday morning, that’s where this confusing saga stands.
Exhaust: Never before have we witnessed such public tug-of-war over a driver. We can’t help but grab our popcorn bucket and enjoy a little bit of mid-week motorsports drama. Where—and what—will Palou race in 2023? Your guess is as good as ours. One thing we do know is that McLaren is amassing an impressive roster of winning open wheel drivers for next season—Alexander Rossi and Pato O’Ward will drive complete the IndyCar season slate for McLaren in 2023. The burgeoning team is also expected to add a third car to its full-time stable. Potential drivers include Felix Rosenqvist, who recently inked a renewal with McLaren in 2023 and beyond, or Alex Palou. However things shake out, look for Big Orange at the front of the pack.
“Retromod” Alfa Romeo Giulia QV recalls the 1960s
Intake: We’re all familiar with the idea of a restomod—an old car brought up to speed with modern performance and creature comforts—and now an Italian design firm has reverse-engineered the concept. Similar to Flex Automotive, which swaps 60- and 80-series fascias onto 100-series Land Cruisers, ErreErre Fuoriserie has attempted to turn a current Alfa Romeo QV into a classic Type 105 Giulia sedan. The Italian design house has squared off the car’s fenders and grafted on a new nose, complete with the OG Giulia’s trademark quad circular headlamps and a smaller grille. The rear gets small rectangular lights, and sculpted twin roof and trunk lid spoilers that ape the innovative wind-tunnel-honed shape of the 1960s’ sedan. ErreErre Fuoriserie charges $245,000 plus taxes for the transformation, and you’ll need to provide your own donor car, which costs another $80,000.
Exhaust: The 105 Giulia is a popular model for restomodding, since it will easily accomodate Alfa’s two-liter Twin Spark engine. You can vastly improve handling with a simple suspension swap for a lower, stiffer setup—just check out Alfaholics for inspiration. You could build a mighty 105 for a fraction of the cost of this weird Alfa, and as the former owner of a 1969 Giulia Super, I often wish I had. — Nik Berg
Triumph’s TE-1 electric prototype can outsprint a Speed Triple 1200
Intake: Triumph has been taking a relatively slow and transparent path in its creation of an electric model for its lineup, unlike other brands whose EV motorcycles seem to pop up out of nowhere or stem from a corporate acquisition. The TE-1 “electric development project” is no officially complete, says the OEM. A charge time (0 to 80 percent) of just 20 minutes and a 100-mile range make this bike worth taking seriously. That’s not all, either: The 130-kW motor can propel the TE-1 to 100-mph even faster than the Speed Triple 1200, which is no slouch.
Exhaust: Triumph knows that selling an electric motorcycle is an uphill battle for its clientele, and takes an interesting approach by specifying that this bike packs the power and performance of the Speed Triple 1200 while being the size of the Street Triple 765. (Yamaha’s original Yamaha R1 was praised for a similar approach back in 2000.) Range is still a bit tight, at 100 miles, but since it’s offset by a seriously quick charge time, the TE-1 should “Never Electric” folks at least look twice.
Vintage Bentley testbed to make show debut
Intake: The last surviving three-liter Bentley experimental car, known as EXP4, is set to make its first-ever appearance at a car show. Built in 1922 with a touring body, the car was key to Bentley’s development of four-wheel braking. Chief designer Frank Burgess believed that adding brakes to the front axles would have significant safety benefits—an attitude which, believe it or not, was contrary to public opinion and even the beliefs of W.O. Bentley himself. To prove the advantage of all-wheel brakes, Burgess devised a system that would paint the road when the brakes were applied and when the car drew to halt, clearly marking its significantly shorter stopping distance.
EXP4’s role as a testbed continued as it was later fitted with a 4 1/2-liter engine, then rebodied as a saloon (sedan, for you Americans) for a few years, and then again with a touring body by Park Ward. In this form, it had a glorious 20-year racing career at the hands of Margaret Allen, including winning the 1950 Circuit of Ireland Rally’s Ladies’ Cup. EXP4 was then part of the Schellenberg Collection until 2015, when it was bought by Jonathan Turner and painstakingly restored by specialists William Medcalf. The car has since raced at Goodwood and Silverstone, but its display at Salon Privé Concours d’Elégance at Blenheim Palace near Oxford, U.K., from August 31 to September 2 will be its first show outing.
Exhaust: Responsible for a revolution in safety and a key player in the development of the 4 1/2 liter engine that would famously win at Le Mans, followed by a racing career of its own with one of the fastest women of the day, EXP4 boasts an illustrious history that few Bentleys can rival. Worth even more celebration is the fact that its new owner puts the car to excellent use on track and shows it in public rather than keeping it hidden away in a private collection. — NB