CA approves 2035 ICE sales ban and WA follows, Vintage Air for G-bodies, Audi to F1
CA approves ban on sale of new gasoline cars by 2035, WA to follow
Intake: The California Air Resources Board unanimously voted in favor of a sweeping plan to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars in the state beginning in 2035, a move that could accelerate the EV movement in the United States. (Especially if automakers such as Buick, Audi, Stellantis, and Honda successfully eliminate internal-combustion from their catalogs in 2030, 2033, 2038, and 2040, respectively.) California, which sells more cars and trucks than any other state, was given authority by the EPA (through a Clean Air Act waiver) to set and enforce more stringent standards than the federal government. Under Section 177 of the CAA, other states can legally follow and enforce California’s standards, as well. Seventeen states—Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington—have previously done so and will likely again. Washington, in fact, has already confirmed as much. The CARB-approved plan does not take fossil fuel-powered vehicles off the road and allows for the sale of used ICE cars and trucks. With that said, California Governor Gavin Newsom has called the legislation “one of the most significant steps to the elimination of the tailpipe as we know it.”
Exhaust: While the California plan has received both applause and criticism, the question is, is it feasible—and by 2035? The plan requires a significant increase in public charging stations, and additional power stations will place further stress on an outdated California power grid that already utilizes rolling blackouts. What about the availability of materials? Potential supply chain issues? And how will California make up the billions of dollars it will lose in oil and gasoline taxes (assuming the petroleum industry goes down without a fight—which it won’t)? “These are complex, intertwined, and global issues well beyond the control of either [the California Air Resources Board] or the auto industry,” says John Bozella, president of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, whose membership includes Honda, GM, Ford, BMW, Hyundai, Kia, Subaru, VW, Volvo, and Toyota. For all the cheers and fears, this issue is far from being settled. —Jeff Peek
Rest in peace, Nicola Materazzi, father of the F40
Intake: “When we launched the F40, it was like a bomb exploding,” said Nicola Materazzi, the father of the Ferrari F40, in a 2019 interview with Whichcar.com. “The following morning the commercial director stormed my office, showing a pile of paper. ‘Look at this,’ he stated, pointing to the pile with a serious voice. ‘What a mess you have created. In less than 24 hours we have 900 confirmed orders.’” They were planning on an entire model run of no more than 400. Materazzi, who left large fingerprints all over Ferrari, from the 288 to the F1 program, died earlier this week at 83. After working for Lancia, Materazzi was hired personally by Enzo Ferrari and was given multiple responsibilities before he was tasked to be the chief engineer of the revolutionary, barely street-legal F40. He left Ferrari during a dark period in 1987 and worked on other projects, including the Edonis supercar, before retiring near Naples, Italy, not far from where he was born, in a house filled with over 12,000 books. He will be fondly remembered.
Exhaust: The car that marked the 40th anniversary of the company was just sold by Gooding & Company at Pebble Beach for the record sum of $3,965,000. It’s a one-owner car with 1832 miles. Looks like the F40 itself is fondly remembered, too. —Steven Cole Smith
Jeff Gordon to race Porsche 911 GT3 with former crew chief Ray Evernham
Intake: Next weekend, during Porsche Sports Car Together Fest, four-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jeff Gordon will strap into a race car once again. Wonder Boy will temporarily step out of retirement to race a Porsche 911 GT3 in the IMSA-sanctioned Porsche Carrera Cup. The kicker: Gordon will be joined by fellow NASCAR Hall of Famer—and crew chief responsible for three of his four championship seasons—Ray Evernham for three days of curb-hopping (September 2-4) at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. There, Gordon will go wheel-to-wheel with over 30 other competitors, in a #24 entry. “I’m looking forward to getting back in a race car and competing against a talented field of teams and drivers,” says Gordon. “Ray [Evernham] and I have always talked about running another race together, and we felt like Indy was the perfect place. It’ll be a fun way to spend the holiday weekend and make some new memories.” Gordon, a 93-time winner in NASCAR’s top division, won the Brickyard 400 a record five times, but never raced on the road course, as he retired from driving duties before NASCAR started to run the Speedway’s highly technical 2.4-mile, 14-turn infield circuit. The ex-Rainbow Warriors will look to change that stat next weekend.
Exhaust: Reunited and it feels so good. Something tells me that this might be more than a friendly reunion between Gordon and Evernham. Recall that Hendrick Motorsports—where Gordon currently serves as vice chairman—plans to campaign a Next-Gen stocker under the experimental Garage 56 banner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2023. Also consider that Tyler Reddick, a two-time road course winner this year in NASCAR, became an overnight left-right sensation after spending ample seat time in a GT3 racer. Could the parallels between the Porsche’s white-collar 911 and a NASCAR Next-Gen stocker be stronger than each side would care to admit? Perhaps. This news suggests the possibility thar Gordon could be one of the drivers to compete in the French endurance race. Regardless, it will be a welcome sight for all motorsports fans to see one of NASCAR’s most successful drivers take a green flag once again. —Cameron Neveu
Vintage Air adds popular GM G-body models to its air-conditioning catalog
Intake: Vintage Air now offers its Gen IV SureFit Kit air-conditioning system for 1982–88 Oldsmobile Cutlass and 1986–87 Buick Grand National and Regal models. This new climate-control system eliminates cables and vacuum connections and includes a new bolt-in LED backlit control panel that looks right at home in the ’80s G-body interior. The kits are available for both factory A/C cars and non-A/C cars and are manufactured in the United States.
Exhaust: Vintage Air has a good reputation for delivering air-conditioning retrofits that fit and, most importantly, perform. It’s always nice to see the aftermarket come to the aid of hobbyists, and this kit should be a big hit with ’80s GM fans. Beyond their high-performance turbocharged models that are quite collectible, the GM G-body is a great platform for pro-touring and drag-race builds, so this kit will hopefully mean more of these ’80s staples are seen as viable project cars. —Brandan Gillogly
Rimac swims against the tide, won’t build an SUV
Intake: Porsche started it, Bentley, Lotus, Lamborghini, Maserati, Aston Martin, and even Ferrari jumped on the horse, but Rimac will not build a sport utility vehicle. That’s according to chief program engineer Matija Renić who told The Drive: “Never, ever. That’s what Mate [Rimac] says. We want to stay on the high-performance side. High performance, exclusive, low volumes.” If true, it would mean that Rimac maintains its position as a niche pioneer, not a follower of fashion, and continues to command the highest possible prices.
Exhaust: It’s worth noting that Renić speaks only for Rimac, not Bugatti-Rimac. With the W-16 engine bowing out in the Mistral roadster (below), which debuted last week at Pebble Beach, Molsheim’s next machines will certainly make use of Rimac’s electrification expertise, and an über-lux, more family-friendly Bugatti has been under discussion for some time. —Nik Berg
Chevy’s answer to the Maverick leaked in Brazil
Intake: The third generation of car-based, compact Chevrolet trucks was teased in a video series by GM Brazil, and GM Authority found a shot of the interior that’s bound to impress truck-loving Brazilians (if not depress fans of small trucks that used to roam American roads). The 2022 Chevrolet Montana is no longer based on a two-door subcompact coupe and is rather a legitimate crew-cab pickup based on GM’s GEM platform. Zoom in on the video, and you’ll notice how the dashboard sports a shiny panel that integrates the gauge cluster with the touch screen infotainment system, complete with a chrome-trimmed power (?) button reminiscent of the same real estate in a C8 Corvette. That feature alone suggests the Montana has a unique interior, one not shared with any of its GEM counterparts.
Exhaust: Let’s see, GM is going to sell a crossover-based, compact crew-cab truck with upscale touches and a unique design from other GM products sharing its hardware? Bring this rig to America, post haste! Let’s go, globalization! —Sajeev Mehta
Audi will join the Formula 1 grid in 2026
Intake: After many months of whispers in the paddock, Audi has confirmed that it will compete in Formula 1 when the sport switches to new engine regulations in 2026. The updated rules will see a move to sustainable fuel and an increase in electrification to 50 percent power and were crucial to onboarding Audi and stablemate Porsche. Audi Sport will build its own power unit in Germany, but exactly which chassis it will marry hasn’t been announced yet.
Exhaust: Audi’s announcement mentions only the powertrain, leaving the question of which team will run Audi power still open. There have been talks with McLaren, but the most likely partner now seems to be Sauber, which currently runs as Alfa Romeo. Audi reportedly wants to take full control of its F1 entry, which would mean buying a majority stake in the Swiss team. Alfa has just said it will end its sponsorship of Sauber in 2023 so it’s not difficult to join the dots. —NB