F22 isn’t a jet but could be, Stellantis shutters Belvidere plant, Rivian has bugs

Donkervoort F22 Manifold News side profile

Donkervoort F22 is a jet fighter for the street

Intake: It shares its name with the U.S. Air Force’s Raptor, and Donkervoort’s all-new F22 isn’t much slower either. Its Audi-sourced five-cylinder turbo engine makes 500 horsepower, yet the whole car weighs just 1650 lbs, giving it a power-to-weight ratio better than a Bugatti. The chassis is a hybrid of thin-wall steel tube and Ex-Core carbon fiber, while the Hot Wheels bodywork is all carbon as well. A five-speed gearbox is fitted, there’s height-adjustable suspension, and AP Racing brakes. Although it’s longer than the outgoing Donkervoort D8 to give more room for passengers the F22 is still the lightest supercar out there, and it’s lighter still if you remove the twin targa roof panels and opt for carbon fiber wheels. “The key to everything we do is weight. The less weight you carry, the less weight you have to stop, turn and accelerate, and the less fuel you use and the more intimate the car can be,” says managing director Denis Donkervoort. Although Donkervoort hasn’t revealed the F22’s top speed or acceleration numbers the Dutch company has confirmed the car’s cornering capability, stating that it can pull 2.15 lateral g.

Exhaust: Want one? We’re afraid you’re too late. The planned run of 50 cars was sold as soon as Donkervoort shared sketches. Production was upped by 75 units and those were snapped up too—even at a price of €245,000 ($258,000). It’s a long way from the Lotus 7 which founder Joop Donkervoort bought the Dutch rights for in 1978. —Nik Berg

Maybach goes Haute Couture, again

Intake: The S-class (W223) based Maybach flagship has a new trim level of limited production (150), unique style and a flashy name: Mercedes-Maybach S-Class Haute Voiture. This range-topping range topper from Mercedes-Benz takes the French phrase for high fashion (Haute Couture) clothing and reimagines it for the automobile (Voiture). The Maybach Haute Voiture is finished in a charcoal black over rose gold exterior paint scheme, with matching black wheels. A host of interior trim upgrades are present, including “a bag collection” for the trunk, and interior accents of a black and gold mid-century, tweedy fabric worthy of a piece of high-end furniture in Roger Sterling’s office. Prices have yet to be released, but the Haute Voiture Maybach will sell alongside mere $200,000+ Maybachs in early 2023.

Exhaust: The Haute Voiture Maybach sure looks impressive inside, even compared to a regular example. And this brand is no stranger to special editions, as the Maybach Virgil Abloh Edition (of Louis Vitton fame) made a big splash in haute couture circles earlier this year. It’s a world most of us can’t even imagine, but perhaps the aforementioned Mr. Sterling said it best, “When a man gets to a point in his life when his name’s on the building, he can get an unnatural sense of entitlement.” Not that I’d know anything about that. —Sajeev Mehta

New Zealanders blow past 138 mph for a new land speed record

Intake: A team from New Zealand has just gone faster than all before them, using only the power of the wind. Emirates Team New Zealand and their Horonoku machine clocked 222.4 km/h (138.1 mph) on the dry salt bed of Lake Gairdner in South Australia. The unusual craft has three wheels: one at the front, one at the rear, and one on an outrigger that effectively acts as a keel. Instead of a sail it has a two-part solid vertical wing which is amazingly efficient at shifting a breeze into forward motion. The sleek land yacht need only 22 knots (25 mph) of wind to reach its top speed and smash the previous 202.9 km/h (126 mph) record which had stood since 2009.

Exhaust: The team is also responsible for New Zealand’s 2021 America’s Cup winner and has a long-standing sponsorship with  Toyota which provided support vehicles, including a GR Yaris chase car. All-wheel-drive and 268 hp would certainly have been handy in keeping up with Horonoku on the slippery desert surface. —NB

Belvidere plant shuttered, Cherokee to Mexico?

Stellantis Belvidere Illinois plant empty lot aerial
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Intake: It opened for business in 1965, and Chrysler’s Belvidere, Illinois started out building the Dodge Monaco and Polara, and later the Dodge and Plymouth Neons. Parent company Stellantis is closing the 5.3-million-square-foot plant, which builds the Jeep Cherokee, possibly sending Cherokee production to Toluca, Mexico, if the product survives. Belvidere goes into “indefinite closure” next February.

Exhaust: The plant has been tapering off its production for years, with the Jeep Compass and Patriot ceasing there in 2016. The writing has been on the wall, and we feel for the employees there about what that writing says. It was the first plant in the Chrysler system to go fully robotic in the body shop, and has its own stamping plant next door. So long, Belvidere. We still miss the Neon ACR. —Steven Cole Smith

Speed Sport News ceases print publication

Speed Sport Mag Cover Deborah Lynn Van Valin
Deborah Lynn Van Valin

Intake: The December issue of Speed Sports News, the successor to the 88-year-old National Speed Sport News, is the last, as the magazine and its sister publication, Sprint Car and Midget Magazine, will continue on only as digital publications. National Speed Sport News, once named National Auto Racing News, was published weekly under editor and broadcaster Chris Economaki for decades. He died in 2011. Then a consortium bought the title and continued to publish it in the same format it had used since 1934, with a mix of racing news and profiles.

Exhaust: Plenty of us watched the mailbox until the weekly edition of NSSN arrived. We’re sure the digital version will be solid, but we’ll miss holding the publication in our hands. —SCS

Rivian has a bedbug problem

Rivian manufacturing facility normal illinois interior

Intake: Rivian has called a pest control company into its Normal, Illinois plant to rid it of bedbugs, says Automotive News. It has quarantined forklifts in areas where the bedbugs were found. Additionally, transportation shuttles have been treated, and all warehouse spaces will be treated by the end of the week, although no bugs have been found in either location, a spokesman said.

Exhaust: No company wants bugs in its products, especially ones you can bring home. We are unaware of any reports of forklift drivers sleeping on the job. —SCS

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    Belvidere plant shuttered? Not a surprise. It and Illinois have have been in decline for a long time. Illinois is also not business friendly either. I feel sorry for those who had jobs there and the surrounding communities.

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