Final Ford GT special edition, GM loses $102.6M class-action trial, Tony Soprano’s Escalade for sale
Last call (really) for a special-edition Ford GT
Intake: It may seem a little late, since the Ford GT took first, second, and third in class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans six years ago, but Ford has announced that the tenth and final special edition of the 2022 Ford GT will honor that 2016 Le Mans win. It’s called the Ford GT LM, and Ford is only building 20 of them. Delivery starts this fall, with production wrapping up for the GT by year’s end. The exterior color of the Ford GT LM is Liquid Silver lacquer, with interior and exterior trim in red or blue, a tribute to the red and blue race livery of the Le Mans-winning #68 Ford GT. Unique to the Ford GT LM is a 3D titanium-printed dual exhaust that features a “cyclonic design inside the tips that hints at the twin-turbo 660-hp EcoBoost engine. Above the tips, a titanium GT LM badge is also 3D printed.” No word on price, but with the entry point for a Ford GT being about $500,000, you know it’ll be north of that.
Exhaust: This late in the production cycle, it isn’t really possible to do any meaningful design and engineering work for just 20 cars, but Ford has done a nice job of making the last special edition GT a genuine collectible. Particularly notable is the source of the individual instrument panel badges: The team located the third-place 2016 Ford GT race car’s engine that was disassembled and shelved after the race. They ground down the crankshaft into a powder and developed a “unique bespoke alloy” used to 3D-print the instrument panel badge for each car, so they’ll all have a little bit of Le Mans on the dashboard. —Steven Cole Smith
Electric 964 Cabriolet is the first Everrati made in America
Intake: Everrati, the British electro-resto specialist has built its first car in the United States. Made in California with Aria Group, it features the firm’s Wide Body and a 506-hp, rear-drive, electric powertrain. It’s also claimed to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in four seconds, while offering a driving range of 200 miles thanks to a 62-kWh battery. Since its creation has more than twice the grunt of an original 964 cabriolet, Everrati has wisely upgraded the suspension to a TracTive adaptive system and boosted the brakes. The Cabriolet is the latest addition to Everrati’s range of electric classics which includes the 964 Coupe and Targa, Land Rover Series IIA, Mercedes-Benz SL Pagoda, and the upcoming Superperformance GT40 replica.
Exhaust: Making cars in California has effectively doubled Everrati’s capacity and also reduced the carbon cost of shipping cars across the Atlantic to what will, doubtless, become the company’s biggest market. Our experience with its conversions (which are fully reversible) in the U.K. has been pretty positive. If Everrati and Aria can maintain the standards in the U.S.A., then the millennial multi-millionaires will be happy. —Nik Berg
You want respect? Drive Tony Soprano’s Escalade
Intake: “Sometimes it’s important to give people the illusion of being control,” said Tony Soprano. What better illusion of control could you give than by driving Tony’s own Escalade? The character bought the white 2003 Cadillac Escalade ESV in season five of The Sopranos to replace the black example that he wrecked in an earlier episode, and it has been used extensively both on and off-screen. The car comes with its TV New Jersey license plate and has been signed by the late James Gandolfini, who played Tony Soprano for six seasons of one of the greatest television shows ever made. The car is available now from Import1 Motorsport in Pennsylvania for $175,000.
Exhaust: With six previous owners, including the show’s production company, the Escalade’s six-liter V-8 has racked up almost 111,000 miles, and last sold in 2015 for $119,000. We’re in the wrong racket. —NB
GM hit with $102.6 million trial verdict
Intake: It’s unusual for a class action lawsuit to go to trial, much less result in a verdict, but that’s what happened Tuesday when a federal jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern California awarded $2700 to each of the 38,000 owners in three classes of consumers from California, Idaho, and North Carolina who had sued General Motors. According to Law360.com, the case involved an accusation of excessive oil consumption of the GM Generation IV Vortec 5300 LC9 engine. The vehicles in question are Chevrolet’s Avalanche, Silverado, Suburban, and Tahoe and GMC’s Sierra, Yukon, and Yukon XL with the 5.3-liter V-8, model years 2011 to 2014. According to Businesswire.com, the jury found that GM violated the implied warranty of merchantability to California and North Carolina plaintiffs and breached the provisions of the Idaho Consumer Protection Act. Businesswire.com said the lawsuit, filed in late 2016, claimed internal GM documents showed that the company was “quickly alerted to a defect in the engine’s piston rings that resulted in the vehicles consuming too much oil. The excess oil infiltrated parts of the engine where it didn’t belong, resulting in damage and, eventually, premature engine breakdown and failure.”
Exhaust: This verdict doesn’t end it for GM. Co-lead trial counsel for the plaintiffs, Clay Barnett of Beasley Allen Crow Methvin Portis & Miles PC, told Law360.com that the firm has filed suits in other states for the same issue. The California, Idaho, and North Carolina class cases were just the first to go to trial, Barnett said. “Our work is not done on this GM issue.” —SCS
Porsche most valuable luxury brand, Ferrari strongest
Intake: Brand Finance, a valuation research company, has released its annual report on the most valuable and strongest luxury and premium brands. And once again, Porsche is on top as the most valuable, worth, the study says, $33.7 billion. Second through 10th: Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel, Hermes, Cartier, Dior, Rolex, Ferrari in ninth valued at $8 billion, and in 10th, Estée Lauder, the only American company on the list. Brand Finance has a separate ranking of the “strongest” brands, as judged by “a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance.” Ferrari is ranked as the strongest brand with a score of 90.9, followed in the top 10 by Dior, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Estée Lauder, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, Rolex, Lancome, and in ninth and 10th, Porsche (score of 85.1) and Aston Martin (84.8).
Exhaust: The report makes special mention of how the valuation is positive for Porsche. “Porsche’s leadership of the luxury segment is good news for the brand, which has just been spun-off by its brand owner, the Volkswagen Group, in an initial public offering on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.” Said Alex Haigh, Brand Finance Director: “Porsche’s new stock exchange listing demonstrates the value of a brand in a very visceral way, very much like the spin-off of Ferrari lead by Sergio Marchionne years ago. It made great sense to extract value hidden within the Volkswagen group, especially when you have an iconic luxury brand like Porsche which is so valuable.” —SCS
A110 “R” is Alpine’s most extreme sports car yet
Intake: Alpine has announced a new, hard-core variant of its A110 sports car called the A110 R. The R is all about weight reduction and turning track attitude up to 11. Thanks to extensive use of carbon fiber in areas like the wheels, the hood, and even the rear window (which is hardly a window at all—but objects in rear window are losing, so … ) The A110 R is 34 kg (roughly 75 pounds) lighter than the A110 S, which is now the A110 model range’s second sportiest offering. Alpine went nuts working on downforce and drag reduction, redesigning the hood, the rear window, the diffuser, and adding a new rear wing with swan neck mounts. Power comes from a 300-hp 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and thanks to all that trimming on the scales the A110 R can sprint to 62 mph 3.9 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 177 mph. Alas, the A110—in any trim level—is not destined for the U.S. market, sadly. Still, we can dream. Alpine says that orders for the new A110 R begin this month, although it hasn’t released details on pricing yet. Expect this one to be a bit spendy.
Exhaust: Believe it or not, French cars and performance have conspired to create some pretty epic machines over the years. After all, Bugatti is a French brand, and Alpine’s parent company, Renault, has had its fair share of smash hits over the decades. We think the new A110 R looks fantastic and would love nothing more than to get a chance to attack Circuit de Paul Ricard (or maybe Circuit de La Sarthe!) in one. Instead, we’ll settle for lust across the ocean. —Nate Petroelje