Dodge shakes down first of 7 Hemi send-offs, CA’s 2035 ICE ban looms, GMC’s off-roadier 3/4 ton
Scat-Pack-based “Shakedown” first of 7 Hemi send-off models
Intake: Muscle car fans may not be reconciled to it yet, but 2023 will be the final year for the brutish Hemi V-8. To soothe the sting, Dodge is giving the Challenger and Charger several “Last Call” special-edition models as a sendoff. Inspired by a 2016 SEMA show concept, Dodge has created the Scat-Pack-based 2023 Challenger Shakedown, whose run will be limited to 1000 units: 500 in Destroyer Gray and 500 in Pitch Black. The Shakedown will feature red “392” fender graphics, “Shakedown” spoiler graphic and stripe with red accent, red six-piston Brembo brakes, “Shakedown” instrument panel badge, Alcantara seats with red stitching and Demonic Red seatbelts, and of course, a shaker hood scoop and intake. Dodge plans to spread out the reveals of the Last Call special editions. The next unveil will come on August 31 and the final model will be revealed at the 2022 SEMA Show in November.
Exhaust: Nobody does special-edition muscle better than Dodge, and the Shakedown is very much in line with Mopar’s ethos. Though the inspiration is a very clean, mildly customized classic Challenger, the modern production version wears the stripes that highlight the shaker hood just as well. The black version in particular is very understated, but Challenger fans will be glad to see that Destroyer Gray made a comeback for the Challenger’s final year. We have no doubt that some of the other special editions won’t be quite so subtle. —Brandan Gillogly
New McLaren boss wants to build an SUV
Intake: Fresh from bringing the almost sacrilegious Ferrari Purosangue to fruition, McLaren Automotive’s new CEO Michael Leiters has confirmed that he is investigating expanding the British brand’s portfolio to include an SUV. “I developed an SUV at Ferrari,” he told Autocar. “I developed an SUV at Porsche, so I love SUVs. But we won’t do it for me. Yet I think it’s a really important market. It’s very attractive as a market segment.” Autocar predicts the future McLaren will be a four-door, all-electric vehicle that would give the Lotus Eletre a run for its money.
Exhaust: Leiters was program manager of the Porsche Cayenne and Chief Technology Officer at Ferrari so McLaren could hardly have picked a better man to move it into the highly profitable SUV space. Like them or loathe, them high-riding, high-performance models from traditional sports car brands have now become their best sellers. At Lamborghini the Urus makes up three-quarters of sales, for Porsche the Cayenne and Macan account for half of all output, the DBX now accounts for 50 percent of Aston Martin sales, and at Bentley the Bentayga is sales king.—Nik Berg
California voting on plan to ban sale of new gasoline cars by 2035
Intake: The California Air Resources Board will vote today whether to enact a sweeping plan to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars in the state beginning in 2035. According to The New York Times, the new policy is widely expected to accelerate the global transition toward electric vehicles, as more than a dozen other states typically follow California’s lead when setting their own auto emissions standards. The governments of Canada, Britain, and at least nine other European countries—including France, Spain and Denmark—have set goals of phasing out the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles between 2030 and 2040, but none have concrete mandates or regulations like the proposed California rule.
Exhaust: Some argue that such top-down policies will be a moot point since many automakers are already moving towards an electric future, regardless of regulation. Buick will be all-electric by 2030, Audi by 2033, Stellantis by 2038, and Honda by 2040. General Motors as a whole has said it will sell only electric vehicles by 2035. Lincoln will “electrify” (meaning some of its vehicles will be hybrid) by 2030, and Ford expects 40–50 percent of its global vehicle volume to be fully electric by 2030. While nothing in the California proposal actually bans ICE vehicles, meaning used cars will remain on the road, others fear what might follow. California governor Gavin Newsom has done little to ally those worries; he calls the legislation “one of the most significant steps to the elimination of the tailpipe as we know it.”
Gordon Murray spent $33 million to get the T.33 on to U.S. roads
Intake: American buyers of Gordon Murray Automotive’s $2.5 million T.50 will have to bring their cars in under show-or-display restrictions, but those who have opted for the follow-up T.33 will be able to drive as much as they dare as the car will be fully road-legal. Unlike the T.50 with its central driving position and ground-effect fan, the more conventional T.33 two-seater meets all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, although jumping through the Fed’s hoops cost GMA a whopping $33 million. Given only 100 T.33s will be built at $1.9 million each, that’s a big dent in the bottom line.
Exhaust: GMA’s investment in the U.S. market doesn’t stop here. A new headquarters is due to open in Florida in 2024, the Cosworth V-12 engine meets emissions rules, and two further cars are already planned, so Murray will more than make his money back in the long run. —NB
Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren to part ways at the end of 2023 F1 season
Intake: Instead of drinking from a boot, Ricciardo is receiving one, courtesy of his current employer McLaren. It was announced yesterday that Big Orange would be parting ways with the Australian driver following the conclusion of the 2022 season. The split is “mutual,” according to Ricciardo, who captured his sole victory with the team at last year’s Italian Grand Prix. “It’s no secret that we hoped we could achieve more together but seeing him stand on the top step of the podium as a McLaren driver was a highlight,” says CEO Zak Brown. “We wish him well for the future and let’s go enjoy the rest of the season together.” The group will compete in the first of their nine remaining races, this weekend, at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Exhaust: At this point, it seems like the people behind Drive to Survive are calling the shots in the Formula 1 paddock, as an intense swirl of contract negotiation drama has sprung up months before the offseason. Though this timeframe is not out of the norm, the particulars behind the deals are, in a word, unusual. Let’s start across the pond. At the end of 2022, Formula 1’s darling Daniel is out and expected to be replaced by reigning Formula 2 champ Oscar Piastri, who we once thought was going to Alpine—because the French team made a false announcement—but is, in fact, a free agent. If Piastri doesn’t make the leap, that leaves McLaren without a top candidate and two—potentially three—stateside suitors vying for the open seat. Colton Herta and Pato O’Ward will drive for McLaren in 2023, and both have tested an F1 car for Big Orange. Then, add into the mix reigning IndyCar champ Alex Palou, who may or may not be racing for the firm in 2023. As for Ricciardo, the driver’s future is uncertain, though many point at Alpine’s F1 team as a viable landing pad. Even better, Ricciardo should consider booking a one-way ticket to the US and competing in IndyCar. The cowboy-boot-wearing, stock-car-driving hunk would inject some much-needed personality into the Indy garage. Imagine, drinking warm milk from a boot.
If GMC is readying a Sierra HD AT4X, it is not going easy
Intake: Spy photographers have captured what appears to be a development mule for a forthcoming ultra-rugged version of GMC’s Sierra 2500 HD. If we’re going by what the most dirt-focused trims of the mid-size and light-duty pickups are called, this is likely a Sierra HD AT4X. Despite the front and rear-end camo, we can see a tucked lower bumper that would help with approach angle for the brute, as well as a slew of underbody armor and skid plating to protect the vital driveline bits over harsh terrain. And this one certainly appears to have seen some of that terrain—check out those dents in the doors, the battered rocker panels, and the crunched bed corners just ahead of the rear wheels. Knobby Goodyear Wrangler M/T tires—the same ones found on the Canyon AT4X and the Sierra 1500 AT4X—can be seen in these photos.
Exhaust: The AT4X sub-brand is proving wildly popular for GMC’s pickups, so it’s no surprise to see such a package being tested on the heavy-duty Sierra. That said GMC is playing relative to the competition: Ram has the Power Wagon, a heavy-duty-based behemoth with twin solid axles and the commensurate tires/lift/armor kits, and Ford has the Tremor package for its Super Duty trucks, which nets similar crawling armor and rubber but doesn’t present as hardcore as the Ram. We expect the Sierra HD AT4X to be positioned high in GMC’s off-road battalion, more as a Power Wagon Competitor rather than a Tremor fighter, since GMC already has the slightly broader-appeal Sierra AT4 HD to take on the latter. Your dirt-bruising battles may vary.