Sadness at NASCAR finale, Public Citizen protests Toyota, electric conversion for classic Mini
NASCAR finale sends Ford driver to the winner’s circle
Intake: The NASCAR Cup race Sunday at Phoenix was won by Penske Ford driver Joey Logano, and Logano also won the season championship. Chevrolet was the Cup season manufacturer’s champion, while Toyota took manufacturer’s championships in the Camping World Truck and the Xfinity classes. Saturday evening’s Xfinity race and championship was won by Ty Gibbs, 20-year-old grandson of Coach Joe Gibbs, who owns the Toyota team. Gibbs’ son, and Ty’s father, Coy Gibbs, COO of the race team, was present at the race and was on NASCAR Sirius radio Saturday night talking about how proud he was of his son, and about how Coy himself was a “horrible” race car driver, convincing him to make the move to management. Hours later, Coy was gone, dying in his sleep Saturday night. He was 49 and leaves a wife and four children.
Exhaust: Coy Gibbs’ death was announced moments before the race, and it cast a pall over the proceedings. Coach Gibbs lost his other son, J.D., in 2019 to a neurological disease. He was also 49. He also left a wife and four children. Both men were highly regarded by their peers. –Steven Cole Smith
Public Citizen protests Toyota at the race
Intake: Also at the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Championship in Phoenix, Public Citizen, Ralph Nader’s group, protested Toyota’s “slow-walking of electric vehicles,” calling on the company to push toward selling “100 percent zero-emission vehicles by 2030. As the largest global auto manufacturer, Toyota has the ability to shift the worldwide market on EVs,” said East Peterson-Trujillo, clean vehicles campaigner with Public Citizen’s Climate Program. “Toyota is stuck in the past, betting the climate crisis, public health, and economic benefits won’t push consumers toward cleaner, cheaper EVs. Toyota must leave its boring, polluting vehicles in the rearview mirror.” At the event, a plane circled the crowd towing a banner with the words: “Want exciting? Drive electric. Want boring? Drive Toyota.” In addition, a billboard truck drove around the outside of Phoenix Raceway displaying a video calling on Toyota to fix its long-term strategy on EVs.
Exhaust: This is in response to comments by Toyota’s CEO, Akio Toyoda, in September that he was skeptical about the zero-emission mandate by California, New York and other states. “Realistically speaking, it seems rather difficult to achieve that,” he said. Electric vehicles are “Just going to take longer than the media would like us to believe.” –SCS
Orders open for $71,000 Mini Recharged
Intake: Britain’s Recharged Heritage is offering an electric conversion for the classic Mini, but there’s no small price to pay. Supply your own donor vehicle and it can be electrified for just shy of $50,000 or Recharged Heritage will provide a complete car for $71,170. The process is reversible with not a single new hole drilled to accommodate the powertrain, and no weight is added either. Providing the motive power is an 18 kWh battery, mated to a 72 kW (98 horsepower) electric motor which spins to 14,000 rpm. In energy-saving Pure mode it will match an original 1275 GT by accelerating to 62 mph in 11.5 seconds and reaching a top speed of 78 mph. Switch to Sport and it will cut three seconds off the 0-62 mph run and top out at 92 mph. Range is just north of 100 miles and there’s an on-board 6.6 kW charger which means it’ll take around three hours to charge on a 7kW supply.
Exhaust: Recharged Heritage is endorsed by BMW and run by former BMW man Tom Festa, but the cost of such involvement is high indeed, and there are more Mini-priced alternatives. Swindon Powertrain, for example, has a 128 kW conversion kit for $16,000 although batteries are not included, and you’ll have to assemble it yourself. –Nik Berg
(Incredibly) high-mileage Honda still looking good
Intake: The website tiremeetsroad.com found a 2022 Honda Civic for sale at a Dallas-area Honda dealer with an incredible 248,740 miles on the clock for $18,999. The site pulled the CarFax and learned it was a one-owner car, a personal vehicle with no accidents or damage reported. The car has the durable 1.5-liter turbo engine and an automatic transmission, and the Touring Sedan’s black leather upholstery. According to the story, the owner had the car for 386 days, averaging 613 miles a day.
Exhaust: Why so many miles? It turns out the owner delivered medical supplies daily from Dallas to Houston and back, at least a 500-mile round trip, which means there was a lot of driving on the side, too. Whoever this owner was, he or she can deliver our medical supplies anytime. –SCS
The first Flyin’ Miata ND V-8 is set to soar at auction
Intake: Colorado’s Flyin Miata has been juicing up the world’s most popular sports car since the first NA edition of 1990. When the fourth generation ND arrived in 2016 the Colorado crew even managed to shoehorn a GM 6.2-liter LS3 V-8 under the hood, while keeping an almost bone-stock look. A Tremec T56 Magnum six-speed manual transmission was fitted along with a Pontiac G8 differential to send 525 horsepower to the rear wheels, making it possibly the most powerful Miata on the planet. Custom-tuned Fox Racing coilovers were installed with uprated Flyin’ Miata sway bars and four-piston Wilwood brakes. The ABS was retained but the stability and traction control systems were removed so some deft footwork is required when driving. Nonetheless the car has covered 16,000 miles since construction in 2016 and is now for sale on Bring A Trailer, with bidding at $55,000 at the time of writing.
Exhaust: Emissions rules put a stop to Flyin’ Miata’s V-8 exploits in 2018, so these “Habu” cars are few and far between. Having never left factory hands this special provenance could see the price soaring to unseen heights. –NB
Subaru teases new Impreza ahead of LA show
Intake: In another teaser photo apparently lit by a single candle, this one from Subaru, we see the roof outline of the new Impreza, which is set to debut November 17 at the Los Angeles Auto Show. This photo is obviously a hatchback; we don’t know if there will be a sedan, as no candlelit photo of that has shown up yet.
Exhaust: This 2024 model shows that Subaru is one of the few manufacturers who hasn’t completely given up on the hatch in favor of little SUVs. We look forward to seeing the rest of the car. –SCS