Posted: Tom Hanks’ Fiat, NASCAR’s double DQ, GM’s Lyriq NDA worries NHTSA
Will you fall for Tom Hanks’ Fiat?
Intake: A 1975 Fiat 128 driven by Tom Hanks in 2017’s The Post, and subsequently owned by the star, is now for sale in on Bring a Trailer. Hanks is auctioning the car to raise funds for Southern California Public Radio, and at the time of writing bidding is up to $24,375. In The Post Hanks played newspaper man Ben Bradlee, determined to release the Pentagon Papers which would expose the futility of the Vietnam War. He has to convince Washington Post owner Kay Graham (Meryl Streep) that the story is worth fighting for in the face of a Federal restraining order, and dashes around D.C. in the little green Fiat. The car is partially restored, powered by a 1.3-liter four-cylinder motor that drives the front wheels via a four-speed manual transmission. Originally yellow, the 128 was painted light green for its movie role and then resprayed in a darker hue. The interior certainly needs some work as it looks like a dog has eaten the front seats. On the plus side, it’s in sound running order after a good service in June 2022 and comes with a clean title in the name of Hanks’ trust.
Exhaust: Almost three million Fiat 128s were made between 1969 and 2003 in 11 countries (if you include those made by SEAT, Zastava, and Nasr) and tens of thousands were sold in the U.S.A. However, as the 128 was made with notoriously rust-prone steel, not many survived. It’s an important car that mobilized the masses and was even daily driven by Enzo Ferrari. With its Hollywood history, Hanks’ example is sure to be a hit. — Nik Berg
Diess out at VW, Porsche’s Blume in
Intake: After a rocky four-year tenure, Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess was booted from the role on Friday by a supervisory board and replaced by Porsche Chief Executive Oliver Blume. Reuters reported that the move came after: “A series of missteps over strategy and communication style. Sources with knowledge of the matter said the Porsche and Piëch families, who own over half the voting rights and a 31.4 percent equity stake in Volkswagen, pressed for a change at the helm.” Diess was “incorrigible. He significantly changed Volkswagen for the better. But his communication was miserable,” one source told Reuters. Blume will take over on September 1, and will keep his title of CEO at Porsche. Blume, 54, began as a trainee at Audi and quickly rose through the ranks.
Exhaust: VW has a solid product line and is doing well in Europe, leading electric car sales. But reportedly the automaker is considering an IPO, and needed a friendlier face than Diess’ at the helm. — Steven Cole Smith
NASCAR disqualifies first, second following Pocono’s post-race inspection
Intake: A couple hours after the checkered flag waved on yesterday’s Cup Series race in Pocono, NASCAR announced that winner Denny Hamlin and second-place-finishing Kyle Busch would be disqualified and stripped of their finishes as a result of their cars failing post-race inspection. The ruling handed third place driver Chase Elliott his fourth win of the season. Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Hamlin and Busch dominated Sunday’s 160-lap contest, leading a combined 84 circuits. After each car rolled through tech, it was all for naught. Underneath the stockers’ vinyl wrap, NASCAR officials reportedly found unapproved modifications to both front facias. This year, under the sanctioning body’s Next Gen rule set, teams are not permitted to modify most of the vehicles third party-provided parts, fascia included. The resulting penalties mark the first time NASCAR has stripped a winner of their victory since 1962, and the first time that the first two positions were disqualified from a race since 1955. Both Joe Gibbs cars were confiscated and taken to the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, NC for further inspection. Both teams have the opportunity to appeal the ruling by noon today. Fines, crew suspensions, and points penalties will likely be doled out in the next few days.
Exhaust: In 2017, after Joey Logano’s car failed inspection at Richmond, Logano and Team Penske weren’t awarded the winner’s points but were allowed to keep the win—and the trophy. This year, NASCAR isn’t messing around. Its move to strip yesterday’s top two finishers of all accolades is unprecedented in stock car racing’s modern era but follows the trend of NASCAR’s strict mandates and harsh penalties surrounding its Next Gen stocker. Since the new platform debuted this season, the firm has ruled with an iron fist when it came to unapproved modifications. Most notably, the group docked RFK Racing 100 driver—and owner—points, 10 playoff points, and $100,000 after one of their cars failed post-race inspection for modification to the rear facia. Expect the similar for Joe Gibbs Racing should they lose the appeal—or decide not to appeal. On a less serious note, Chase Elliott fell into Sunday’s win and took home the victory without even leading a lap. The Georgia driver has been on a roll over the past month and claiming a win without ever finding the front is an impressive feat for an equally impressive season. — Cameron Neveu
This is the best look we’ve had at the Ferrari Purosangue so far
Intake: The car that Ferrari once said it would never build has been spotted in light camouflage on the roads around Maranello, Italy. There’s still plenty of tape and a patterned black and white wrap to confuse cameras, but this is the first chance to really take in the proportions and stance of Ferrari’s first (production) SUV. The Purosangue looks promising: Long-nosed to house V-12 and V-8 engine options, and sitting lower to the ground than the likes of rivals from Lamborghini (the Urus) or Aston Martin (DBX). Watch closely and you’ll spot that two prototypes have completely different rear ends, one rather like the Maserati Levante’s, and the other rather more Gaydon-influenced. This second car appears to have even more pronounced front arches with hefty venting, suggesting a hotter engine and brakes. Perhaps the latter is the twelve-cylinder model? It’s not long now before the wraps will come off completely, with the Purosangue set for its global debut in September.
Exhaust: Ferrari really had no choice but to produce the Purosangue. The Urus and DBX make up more than half of sales for Lamborghini and Aston Martin and it’s hard to see this Ferrari failing to follow. Any Tifosi who are turned off by this four-seater should be reassured that the profits from the Purosangue will secure the future for the brand and its supercars. – Nik Berg
NHTSA wary of GM’s NDA with Lyriq buyers
Intake: The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has raised concerns of GM’s bold strategy to offer a $5500 rebate to a handful of early Cadillac Lyriq buyers on the condition that said customers sign an NDA with the automaker. In an email to the Detroit Free Press, NHTSA spokesperson Lucia Sanchez said that the group is “in communication with GM” regarding these agreements and whether they would inhibit an owner from reporting a safety concern to the agency.
“NHTSA relies on reports from consumers as an important source of information in evaluating potential safety defects,” Sanchez said in an email to the Free Press. “Any agreement that may prevent or dissuade consumers from reporting safety concerns to NHTSA is unacceptable.” For its part, GM does not intend for the NDA to be an impediment to any issue a customer may feel compelled to report to NHTSA. In a statement sent to the Free Press by GM spokesperson Dan Flores, the company made clear that such a conflict should not be an issue. “While the program agreement contains provisions designed to protect GM confidential and proprietary information, it is not intended to, and does not, prohibit or preclude participants from reporting any issue, safety or otherwise, to NHTSA or any other regulatory body.”
Exhaust: GM’s buyer NDA is the first of its kind within the industry. Traditionally, an automaker would dole out a handful of the early cars to employees and let them press the newcomer into their everyday driving rotations, taking inventory of any issues or defects, reporting them internally, and adjusting accordingly. Cadillac spokesperson Michael Albano told the Free Press that the company did use employees to trial-run the Lyriq as well, but that this new customer study is an opportunity to learn more about customers’ charging practices, driving behavior, and more. There’s a lot of pressure for GM to nail the market launch of the Lyriq; GMC’s Hummer EV was technically the first vehicle on sale using GM’s new Ultium battery platform, but the Lyriq has a much broader appeal than that 9000-pound brute and will be a better litmus test for the automaker’s EV future. GM’s insistence that this agreement wouldn’t prohibit a customer from reporting any safety concerns seems genuine; while this may all seem a bit concerning now, don’t expect much to change moving forward. — Nathan Petroelje