Corvette could take hybrid fight to Ferrari, 3.0-liter Duramax gains power, FAA clears flying car
GM eying 986-hp hybrid Ferrari as electrified Corvette rival
Intake: GM was caught redhanded testing a Ferrari SF90 Stradale at their famous proving grounds in Milford, Michigan. While GM (and every automaker) is both assumed and expected to benchmark other vehicles, we rarely see them testing a vehicle that sells for more than half a million dollars. The SF90’s claim to fame is a hybrid powertrain ideally suited to Europe’s increasingly stringent urban restrictions, while providing unheard of thrust for roads worthy of Modena’s engineering efforts. The only logical reason GM engineers need to study this vehicle is for influencing future Corvettes.
Exhaust: Upcoming C8 Corvettes could benefit from GM taking a closer look at this Ferrari—namely the hybrid E-Ray and Zora models. While the E-Ray’s powertrain will combine two front-mounted electric motors with the naturally aspirated LT2, the Zora will pair that front-end EV power with a twin-turbo version of the Z06’s LT6 to produce nearly 1000 hp—placing it squarely in the SF-90’s sights. After spending a few days with both the SF-90 Stradale and a C8 Corvette Z51, I can see how and why GM engineers can turn both vehicles into something that would do Zora proud, at a price that undercuts the Ferrari by a hefty margin. Avoid the SF-90’s haptic feedback start/stop button and I’ll be a huge fan. —Sajeev Mehta
Trademark all but confirms Porsche F1 entry
Intake: Porsche has applied to trademark the word “F1nally” through Germany’s patent and trademark office, suggesting that the rumors swirling around the sports car maker’s decision to enter F1 could soon be put to rest. It has been widely reported that Porsche’s F1 entry will most likely be in partnership with Red Bull, with the Stuttgart firm seeking to acquire a 50 percent stake in the four-time world championship–winning team as part of a ten-year deal.
Exhaust: At the recent Hungarian Grand Prix, Red Bull team principle Christian Horner said, “There’s some major caveats that we need to get past first,” but, judging from this filing, Porsche seems pretty confident that any hurdles can be cleared. If all goes to plan then Porsche power will be on the grid from 2026, marking a gap of almost 40 years since McLaren used a TAG-branded, but Porsche-made, engine in its MP4/3. –Nik Berg
GM’s 3.0-liter Duramax diesel gains power for 2023
Intake: Chevrolet revealed that its popular 3.0-liter inline-six turbodiesel will be getting a 10-percent power boost for 2023 thanks to new injectors, a revised turbo compressor, improvements to engine cooling, and new steel pistons (replacing silicon/aluminum ones on the previous version). These improvements allowed Chevrolet to increase output from 277 hp to 305. Likewise, torque is up from 35 lb-ft, from 460 to 495. The upgraded 3.0-liter Duramax will be paired exclusively with GM’s 10-speed automatic and will be available on Custom Trail Boss, LT, RST, LT Trail Boss, LTZ, and High Country Silverados by the end of 2022.
Exhaust: It seems that the 3.0-liter diesel already had a lot of fans, with owners reporting solid fuel economy from the smooth 3.0-liter since its debut in 2020 Silverado models. Its 305 hp and 495 lb-ft output are quite impressive. To put it into perspective, when the 6.6-liter Duramax V-8 debuted in Chevy heavy-duty trucks in 2001, it generated 300 hp and 520 lb-ft. We’ll always welcome incremental improvements to powertrains and this boost in power and torque will help close the performance gap with the 355-hp, 5.3-liter gasoline V-8. Buyers who were already leaning toward the diesel may be swayed, but we feel that the 6.2-liter lovers won’t be leaving Team Small-Block just yet. —Brandan Gillogly
Dodge licenses 1970 Charger carbon-fiber body from Finale Speed; Roadrunner and ’Cuda to follow
Intake: Through Direct Connection, Dodge’s recently resurrected catalog of performance parts, Mopar is now encouraging you to build your own carbon-fiber restomod. The full-send options start with this 1970 Charger rolling chassis, a prepreg shell licensed from Oklahoma-based Finale Speed that begins at $199,000. The shop has, in turn, licensed replacement metal from Mopar for the inner structure and driveshaft safety loop of the roller. Buy directly from Finale Speed, and you’ll receive a flat-finish body that you can clear-coat or paint as your heart desires. Some parts will be available individually, like the hood and trunk lid. The Charger will soon be joined by a Plymouth Roadrunner and a ’Cuda. (Dodge didn’t specify which model years, though each will be pre-1979.) If you’d prefer a more mild serving of carbon-fiber goodness, Direct Connection also sees you. All of the following are sourced from renowned restomod firm SpeedKore and available in Mopar’s catalog: rear spoiler, front splitter, rocker panels, and rear diffuser. The SpeedKore bits aren’t yet listed on the online DC catalog, so we don’t yet know the pricing.
Exhaust: Why not source the rolling bodies from SpeedKore, too? The Wisconsin shop has worked alongside Dodge before, building a $170K Carbon Fiber Edition Demon for the factory in 2020. Despite the existing relationship, SpeedKore may be protecting the exclusivity of its trademark restomods— including a heavily modified, Demon-powered ’70 Charger dubbed Evolution that made a huge splash at SEMA in 2018 and has since appeared on Jay Leno’s Garage and even Monterey’s high-zoot Car Week. Or maybe Kevin Hart raised hell at the idea of copycats? —Grace Houghton
IMG acquires Barrett-Jackson
Intake: Just a couple of days after the announcement that Hagerty had acquired Broad Arrow Group, news broke that Barrett-Jackson had been acquired by the events, media, sports, and fashion company IMG. IMG operates high-profile events like Frieze art fairs, the Madrid and Miami Open tennis tournaments, New York Fashion Week: The Shows, and Formula Drift, and will serve as Barrett-Jackson’s strategic partner with CEO Craig Jackson and President Steve Davis. It reportedly purchased 55 percent of Barrett-Jackson for $261M in a cash and stock deal. Founded in 1971, Barrett-Jackson became the first major classic car auction to hit living room TV screens in the ’90s, and its mega-sales billed as “the world’s greatest collector car auctions” have hit Florida, Nevada, Connecticut and Texas. The company’s flagship sale in Scottsdale, Arizona, is one of the world’s oldest and largest. There’s apparently still room to grow, however, as Craig Jackson hopes the partnership will “amplify and accelerate the growth of Barrett-Jackson as a global lifestyle brand,” while Steve Davis echoes that he looks forward “to elevating our offering and attracting a whole new generation of fans.”
Exhaust: Two major auction acquisitions in a week is big news for market-watchers, but consolidation in this business certainly isn’t unheard of. Back in 2015 RM Auctions, which itself had acquired Auctions America in 2010, entered into a strategic partnership with Sotheby’s and rebranded as “RM Sotheby’s.” In 2018, Leake Auction Company was acquired by the industrial asset disposition & management company Ritchie Bros. And two years ago, online auction juggernaut Bring a Trailer was acquired by media company Hearst Autos. What sort of change this acquisition means for the company isn’t clear yet, but Barrett-Jackson’s next live auction will be in Houston, Texas on October 20–22. —Andrew Newton
This flying car is approved for takeoff
Intake: The American-made Samson Switchblade flying car has received Federal Aviation Authority clearance, clearing the path to flight testing and, ultimately, sales. In road configuration it’s a 125 mph three-wheeler that uses a “Skybrid” 190-hp three-cylinder engine with electric assistance. Press a button and in less than three minutes the Switchblade’s wings and tailplane deploy to make it flight ready. Taking off from a short runway the Switchblade can fly at up to 200 mph at an altitude of 13,000 feet and has a range of 450 miles. Samson says that the price of freedom will be start at $170,000 and the first of its flying cars will go on sale 18 months after flight tests.
Exhaust: As well as being a trained pilot, you’ll need to be a decent mechanic to own a Switchblade as it will only be sold in kit form and classed as an Experimental Aircraft. Owners will need to assemble 51 percent of the vehicle, but Samson says its highly automated build assist program means you could be on the road, and in the air, in just one week. Has the future we’ve been promised for so long finally arrived? —NB