USPS doubles EV percentage for new fleet, Aston finds new wings, NASCAR confirms Chicago street race
USPS doubles percent of EV trucks in replacement fleet
Intake: The U.S. Postal Service has announced that it will increase the percentage of electric vehicles included its new fleet from 20 percent to 40 percent. The USPS says at least 50 percent of the new trucks will be purchased from Oshkosh Corporation. The Wisconsin-based manufacturer was awarded the contract in February 2021, but how many of the planned 50,000 vehicles would be EVs has been a bone of contention ever since. In April, 16 states sued for a more thorough environmental review before the USPS could move forward with its $2.98 billion plan. Britt Carmon, a clean vehicles advocate at the Natural Resources Defense Council, applauded the EV increase, telling the Detroit News that “the U.S. Postal Service finally got the message that cleaner vehicles are a win all around.”
Exhaust: The USPS and environmental advocates have been squabbling over this issue for nearly 18 months, and while it may seem like the two sides have finally reached a compromise, we aren’t so sure. Neither is Carmon. “This change pushes the envelope in the right direction, but it’s also not nearly enough,” she says. “To save money and protect our health, the Postal Service should go much further and electrify most of its fleet.” Stay tuned. — Jeff Peek
R32 N1’s no-sale proves selling GT-Rs online can be tricky business
Intake: This is one lot that JDM fans watched very closely: a street-legal motorsports special that derives much of its of the R32-generation Skyline, whose NISMO varaint dominated Japanese Touring Car and Group A competition in the early ’90s. Nissan only made 64 of these “N1” V-Spec cars, each finished in a thin coat of Crystal White paint and shorn of air-conditioning system, radio, ABS, and rear wiper. The centerpiece: a twin-turbo, 2.6-liter inline six with hand assembled and balanced internals and upgraded turbos to improve longevity under hard track use. The example on Bring a Trailer (#63) is remarkably original (modifications are very common) but far from flawless.
Bidding rose quickly, but the top offer of $141,000 wasn’t nearly enough to entice the owner to let the car loose. Smart observers will note the high bidder is none other than the YouTuber tommyfyeah, who is known for his Connecticut-based shop and his affinity for GT-Rs of all vintages. Understandably there were plenty of dejected fans, but as the seller later commented, the car meant too much to him to let go at that price (despite some assertions that the offer was about right).
Exhaust: From a valuation perspective, we think the seller did the right thing. With pristine, standard R32 GT-Rs now well into the $100,000 range, an N1, which sits in an entirely different league, should realistically command a far higher price. At the end of the day, this sale goes to show how tricky selling a GT-R at auction can be, even for important models like the N1. Established auctions houses haven’t yet gained the experience to market these cars successfully, leading to mixed results; for now, a seller’s best strategy is to either list their car privately or go through a reputable JDM dealer. — Greg Ingold
Aston Martin gets new wings
Intake: For the first time in almost two decades, and only the eighth time in 109 years, Aston Martin has updated its logo. British graphic designer Peter Saville, perhaps best known for his New Order and Joy Division album covers, was recruited to gently finesse the sports car maker’s iconic wings. “The Aston Martin wings update is a classic example of the necessary evolution of logotypes of provenance. Subtle but necessary enhancements not only keep forms fresh, but allow for new technologies, situations and applications to be accommodated in the future. The process was one of clarifying and emphasising the key feature of the Aston Martin marque,” he explains.
In addition to the visual tweaks Aston Martin has adopted a new slogan. “Intensity. Driven.” replaces “Power, Beauty, Soul.” and “marks the next phase in our evolution of the Aston Martin brand, as we unleash its global potential and maximise our unique position at the cutting-edge of ultra-luxury and high performance,” says Renato Bisignani, Head of Global Marketing and Communications.
Exhaust: Aston Martin just announced a massive $776 million cash injection from the Saudi Public Investment Fund, which will pay off a bunch of debt and give it a “substantial liquidity cushion to underpin and accelerate future capital expenditure”. In other words, money to invest in future products and its Formula 1 team. The relationship between road and track is likely to become closer as Aston focuses on performance, adds Bisignani. “Building on our return to the pinnacle of motorsport in Formula One, the launch of Intensity. Driven. marks the next phase in our evolution of the Aston Martin brand, as we unleash its global potential and maximize our unique position at the cutting-edge of ultra-luxury and high performance.” – Nik Berg
Confirmed: NASCAR to invade Chicago streets next season
Intake: After much speculation, NASCAR confirmed earlier this week that its Cup Series will invade the streets of Chicago next season, marking the first time the premier stock car series has raced on a street course in the modern era. Chicago welcomes NASCAR back to area, as the series abandoned its annual race at the Chicagoland Speedway—a 1.5-mile oval in the Chi-town suburb—a few years back. The new, proposed 2.2-mile circuit, positioned in the heart of the Windy City, utilizes a portion of Lake Shore Drive and runs past Buckingham Fountain. Stock cars will race along Lake Michigan on the first weekend of July, supplanting the series’ stop at Road America, which has occupied that weekend the past two years. “We’ve seen some great racing there,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing development and strategy. “That said, it is unfortunate we’re not going back in 2023. Just because it’s a ‘no’ for 2023 doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a ‘no’ forever.” An unspecified IMSA road racing series will join Cup in Chicago next season as an undercard.
Exhaust: While we’re sad to see the Cup Series leave Wisconsin’s Road America next season, we understand the move. The four-mile road course produced great racing but remained a logistic nightmare during caution flags and stage breaks. Pace-car speed and mandatory laps under yellow made for excruciatingly long pauses in action. A shorter Chicago course should solve this problem. We also give credit to NASCAR for not resting on its laurels. First the group covered Bristol in dirt, then raced in the L.A. Coliseum, and now plans to tackle a street course. Like the dirt date and the stadium romp, NASCAR’s street course harkens back to the early days of the Cup Series, despite seeming like a novel idea. Remember, NASCAR’s Daytona Beach Course was a street course that used a portion of Florida’s Highway 1. And finally, we should take note on how this track was developed. Initially, iRacing built a concept track on its platform and invited NASCAR drivers to take part in an exhibition race. A similar tactic was taken was the newly reconfigured Atlanta Motor Speedway and the reborn North Wilkesboro. Could this be the new norm for NASCAR track development? Time will tell. Until then, we wait to see how NASCAR’s street soiree is received on July 1–2, 2023. — Cameron Neveu