Dodge salutes Detroit street-racing legend, 1 million Teslas recalled, Hyundai’s might-have-been supercar
Dodge salutes Detroit street-racing legend with 807-hp Challenger
Intake: Dodge has revealed the sixth of seven “Last Call” models celebrating the final year of Hemi V-8 production. The 2023 Dodge Challenger Black Ghost pays homage to the original Black Ghost, a black 1970 Dodge Challenger RT SE owned by Godfrey Qualls, who street-raced the Hemi-powered muscle car on Woodward Avenue in the 1970s. The car’s legendary status was cemented when it landed on the National Historic Vehicle Register. Just 300 of these special editions will be made and each will be based on the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody but with an additional 10 horsepower, bringing total output to 807. The Black Ghost will only be available in Pitch Black and each will feature black Brembo brake calipers, Black Ghost instrument panel badges, real carbon-fiber bezels, and a Dynamica suede headliner. Also, like the original Black Ghost, the 2023 model will feature a “gator skin” vinyl roof. “There are so many legendary muscle cars in Dodge brand history, it was hard to choose the seven vehicles we wanted to pay homage to with our Last Call lineup, but the Black Ghost was an easy pick,” said Tim Kuniskis, Dodge brand chief executive officer – Stellantis. “The 2023 Dodge Challenger Black Ghost is the prelude to what we’re going to unveil with our seventh and final special-edition model.”
Exhaust: This sixth “Last Call” model was a bit of a surprise. The Black Ghost, as awesome as it is, was not a classic option package like the Swinger or Superbee, names which Dodge has resurrected for modern-day riffs. However, last week’s King Daytona Charger should have reassured us that Dodge is not afraid to honor particular cars that made a name for themselves after they left the factory. The black-on-black look with its black vinyl roof will make this Black Ghost both subtle and instantly recognizable as something special. Customers will likely scoop up these 300 quicker than Godfrey Qualls spotting a holeshot. —Brandan Gillogly
Japan’s greatest ’90s hits headed to Bring a Trailer
Intake: JDM fans, this is “The Big One.” Sometime in the coming weeks, Bring a Trailer will play host to a cluster of top-shelf JDM cars that collectively represent the apogee of the Japanese automotive industry in the early 1990s. This super-sale is organized by Connecticut-based dealer The Cultivated Collector, who bills this group as its “vision of the ideal JDM collection” and “serves as our love letter to the JDM automotive world.” It’s an eclectic group, a conglomerate of Gran Turismo superstars and nerdy deep-cuts that spans the entire enthusiast spectrum. For outright icons, there’s a 1993 Honda NSX-R (1 of 483 built), a 1994 Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R Vspec II N1 (no. 35 of 63 made), 1994 Toyota Supra RZ, 1995 Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R Vspec, and Honda Integra Type R. The rallyists should clear garage space for a 1994 Subaru Impreza STI Wagon (no. 22 of 200 examples), a 1994 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo II GSR, a 1996 Lancer Evo IV GSR, and a wonderfully weird 1990 Nissan Pulsar GTI-R formerly owned by the CEO of Nismo (no. 13 of of 21). Not obscure enough for ya? There’s a 1992 Mazda Autozam AZ-1 kei car and 1995 Toyota Century LWB thrown in for good measure. We’re not sure when these cars are set to hit BaT, but you can be sure you’ll hear about some of the more spectacular results here.
Exhaust: While big-scale importers like Top Rank have flooded our shores with forbidden JDM fruit for over a decade, this is one of the first times we’ve seen someone capitalize on the JDM market swell with a high-profile group sale. As a few of these cars rarely—or in the case of the NSX-R, never—come up for sale Stateside, we expect to see some big numbers. This isn’t our first whiff of this sale, either. We visited The Cultivated Collector prior to this announcement and drove the NSX-R, R32 GT-R Vspec II N1, and the Mugen-ified Integra Type-R to see whether the cars of our Gran Turismo fantasies hold up to the mondo money they’re commanding.—Conner Golden
Catch Zenvo at the Petersen’s Hypercars show now
Intake: Denmark’s Zenvo TSR-RS may be the hypercar you’ve never heard of, but it’s been given the chance to sit alongside Ferrari and Bugatti at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles. The Zenvo has earned its place thanks to a 5.8-liter, 1193-hp twin-supercharged flat-plane V-8 which will send it to 62 mph in 2.8 seconds, and to 100 mph just four seconds later. The all-carbon car uses a motorsports gearbox which can switch from road mode to a “brutal mechanical direct power-shift” and the most extraordinary active aerodynamics. The multi-axis centripetal rear wing twists and tips to act as an air brake and provide extra downforce for inner tire grip in hard cornering. Unfortunately it’s on static display only so you’ll have to watch the video below to see what we mean.
Exhaust: Hypercars phase 2 at the Petersen Museum will be open until May 14, 2023 and is a rare chance to get up close with star cars such as the Koenigsegg One: 1, the Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport and Ferrari Monza, but also real rarities such as the Zenvo, the Hyperion XP-1, Apollo Intensa Emzozione, and Laraki Sahara. —Nik Berg
Tesla recalls over 1 million vehicles for potentially pinchy windows
Intake: Power-window motors that may roll up and trap an obstruction in its path are being recalled by NHTSA for a large swath of Tesla vehicles, as certain 2017–2022 Model 3, 2020–2021 Model Y, and 2021–2022 Model S and Model X vehicles fall into this recall. NHTSA states that “a closing window may exert excessive force by pinching a driver or passenger before retracting, increasing the risk of injury.” A fix is ready for implementation, and it’s an OTA (Over the Air) software update that Tesla will roll out for free. NHTSA will notify owners by mail on November 15.
Exhaust: Enjoy the irony of NHTSA sending a paper notification via snail mail, while Tesla sends the software fix to every affected vehicle in the same way you update apps on your smartphone. No matter what you think of Tesla and its sometimes-controversial CEO, can’t we all appreciate the pioneering spirit in avoiding a trip to the dealership when needing a mere software update? —Sajeev Mehta
Renault’s 5 Turbo drifts into electrification
Intake: Renault is continuing to celebrate five decades of the R5 (Le Car) by unveiling a tribute to its rally special Turbo and Turbo 2 models. The new version is, of course, fully electric, but has still been design for driving fun or “wilful exuberance”, according to VPO of Design Gilles Vidal. A development of the 5 EV concept that was displayed earlier this year the R5 Turbo 3E is a two-seater, rear-drive racer with a motor on each wheel providing a combined output of 380 hp from 42 kWh of batteries in the middle under the floor. It’s built on a tubular chassis, features an FIA-approved roll cage, Plexiglass windows to save weight, and has a 50-degrees of steering for creating alarming angles on a drift course. The cabin features Sabelt seats, race harnesses and steering wheel, a drift stick, and a grey/black/yellow tartan trim. Externally, just like Renault’s original rally cars the boxy 5 is heavy on the air intakes for cooling, but goes even bigger on the aero with a wild wing hanging off the rear end. The Turbo 3E has been built for a generation raised on video games and YouTube with mountings for ten GoPro cameras and driving modes including “Free play”, “Turbo”, “Track Invader, and “Donut”. The car makes its public debut at Chantilly Arts & Elegance in France on September 25.
Exhaust: Renault is really hammering its heritage in an effort to make electric cars more interesting, having already shown a cute 5 EV concept, and with a new 4 due to be revealed at the Paris Motor Show in October. Leaning on its motorsport history should gain the approval of nostalgic of old school enthusiasts as well as a younger audience of gamers and “content consumers” much like Hyundai’s N Vision 74. It’s just a shame that there’s little chance of either entering production. —NB
Hyundai axed a mid-engine N supercar, says Biermann
Intake: Speaking to Top Gear, the former head of Hyundai’s N performance arm confirmed that an NSX-like mid-engine supercar was once in the works. Albert Biermann, who left his role as head of R&D of BMW’s M division to work for Hyundai, said that this exotic project was internally dubbed “The Chairman’s Car.” A carbon-tub, mid-engine halo offering, the car would have supported an internal-combustion engine (with or without hybrid assist) or a hydrogen fuel cell. The high-end project was ultimately deemed too risky: “The problem was the car would have cost over $150,000,” Biermann told TG, “and at that time it was thought a Hyundai could not have this price.” After ushering the i30N into existence, as well as the Veloster N and the Elantra N, Biermann has stepped back into an advisory role—a position he can fulfill while based in Europe, rather than in South Korea.
Exhaust: Hyundai’s willingness to dream big has taken it to heights once thought impossible. That a brand once known, even mocked, for its cost-cut economy cars would recruit an BMW M exec to launching the N brand with six-figure supercar is truly ballsy. Ambition tempered self-awareness is a rare and powerful combination, and the two are reflected in Hyundai’s decision to prioritize more affordable—albeit still excellent—performance. Hyundai hasn’t given up on hydrogen, either, and the brand’s overall vision has turned interestingly retro-futuristic (check out the RN22e below). —Grace Houghton