Harley-Davidson’s electric future, GM ponders mini electric pickup, Ford will pay you to cancel your Bronco order
CEO declares Harley-Davidson on track to be “an all-electric brand”
Intake: In an interview with Dezeen, Harley-Davidson CEO Jochen Zeitz didn’t mince words as he laid out that the American brand is on a defined, long-term plan to phase out internal-combustion engines from its lineup in lieu of electric motors. While criticism is likely to come hard and fast, Zeitz looks at Harley-Davidson‘s history as an inspiration for the move. “If you look at the past 120 years, the company has always evolved, never stood still,” he said in the interview. “Now, like the founders did at the time by trying to reinvent or invent something unique, that’s obviously something that we as a company brand need to do as well.” All signs point to this shift taking a decade or more, but Zeitz says that it’s doable if the company focuses on targeting more than just its core customer.
Exhaust: This move is initially confusing to everyone and only gets more puzzling for those in the know. Harley-Davidson developed and produced an electric motorcycle—the LiveWire— in 2018 only to spin it off to its own brand. Was the consumer base just not ready yet, or has something significant in the boardroom changed in the last year since LVWR went public via SPAC acquisition? We don’t have an answer right now, but H-D is clearly looking to court new buyers and demographics. We expect this announcement to alienate some of the brand’s core buyers, though. — Kyle Smith
General Motors hints at a mini electric pickup
Intake: GM on Wednesday showed select members of the media a design for a small, electric pickup, smaller even than the Ford Maverick, says Automotive News. “The automaker is considering a two-door pickup with a 4- to 4.5-foot-long bed and low roofline. The vehicle would be part of GM’s lineup of affordable EVs priced under $30,000,” the publication said, calling it “futuristic and sporty,” adjectives which remind us of the original Subaru Brat.
Exhaust: No name or building plans were revealed, but the trucklet would presumably be part of the Chevrolet lineup. It would certainly have minimal competition in that market niche. — Steven Cole Smith
Megarexx Trucks shows off Super-Duty-based MegaRaptor 7
Intake: Megarexx Trucks, a North Carolina shop specializing in custom Super Duty trucks, is offering a monster off-road SUV built from a Ford F-250 that picks up where the Excursion left off. Although it starts with a pickup, Megarexx integrates the bed and cab and mounts a third row of seats in the back to accommodate up to seven passengers and produce the Megarexx. The third-row seats are flanked by a rectangular tube rollbar and are covered by a removable fiberglass shell. Its solid-axle suspension rides on King shocks and lift springs which provide clearance for 46-inch tires thanks to the custom flared bodywork.
Exhaust: We’re pretty sure a heavy, solid axle and 46-inch Michelins won’t handle high-speed desert running as well as a Raptor’s fully independent suspension and 37-inch rubber, although this will easily out-pull its F-150 namesake thanks to its 6.7-liter turbodiesel powerplant. The Megarexx’s length and width will limit its trail capability, which is a shame: Those 46-inch tires would make easy work out of all but the tallest ledges and rocks. The market for these huge SUV creations is likely pretty small, but now that niche appears to be filled. — Brandan Gillogly
Celebrity supercar sale: Toto’s F40 or Rod’s Countach?
Intake: Two red Italian thoroughbreds with famous owners are up for grabs. From the stable of the Prancing Horse is a 1990 Ferrari F40, fresh from the collection of Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff. The car has covered only 3440 miles from new, was originally delivered to a buyer in Spain, and was completely overhauled under Wolff’s care by Autofficina Bonini Carlo S.r.l. in Italy. It comes with Ferrari’s Red Book Classiche certification that confirms its originality and is being offered by British dealership Tom Hartley Junior.
Meanwhile, another seller is hoping to flip a 1977 Lamborghini Countach LP400 that was owned for many years by Sir Rod Stewart. The Scottish singer bought the rare Periscopio model new and had it delivered to Australia, where he was on tour at the time. When Stewart moved to Los Angeles, he took the car with him and decided to make some modifications. With the help of Albert Madikian Engineering, it received a widebody kit and a targa roof. Stewart returned to the U.K. in 1987 and the car stayed with him until 2002. Since then it has been converted to left-hand drive and its body returned to factory specification. A year ago, the car sold in Paris for a record $940,919, but with an estimate of €950,000 to €1,050,000 ($1.03M–$1.14M) it’s likely to set a new ceiling for an auctioned Countach when it hits the block at RM Sotheby’s in February.
Exhaust: The somewhat cynical sale of Stewart’s Countach is yet another example of classic cars as commodities. The current owner likely bought the one-of-157 Periscopio as an investment, and it looks like it will pay off. We wish owners of such exotica would be more like Toto, who kept his F40 for 15 years, or Rod, who cherished his Countach for a quarter of a century. — Nik Berg
Virginia governor turns away Ford battery plant
Intake: Glenn Youngkin, Virginia’s Republican governor, has nixed the possible construction of a battery plant in his state, a plant that may have employed 2500 people, because the Ford project would be in conjunction with CATL, the world’s largest EV battery producer, and CATL is a Chinese company. “Youngkin’s administration has previously characterized the project as a ‘front’ for the Chinese Communist Party that would raise national security concerns,” said the Associated Press. His Democratic opponents disagree. “Virginia House Democratic Leader Don Scott made the case Thursday that Youngkin should try to reverse course and salvage the project. ‘He wanted to make headlines by calling Ford—Ford—a front for China. And who’s paying the price? Twenty-five hundred hard-working Virginians,’” Scott said.
Exhaust: For Ford’s part, a spokesperson says the company continues to explore possibilities for the plant elsewhere. The rest pretty much speaks for itself. — SCS
Ford will pay you to cancel your Bronco order
Intake: Ford is experiencing such demand for the new Bronco that the company is offering a $2500 incentive for you to cancel your 2023 Bronco order and buy something else, such as an Escape, Bronco Sport, Edge, Explorer, Expedition, Ranger, or F-150. CarsDirect.com says the deal covers new orders for the replacement vehicles, not vehicles that are already in stock.
Exhaust: Ford, with the new Bronco and Maverick pickup, has a unique problem: It can’t fill all the orders. We doubt that a $2500 incentive will make many Bronco customers who are in line for the SUV to drop their order, but it’s a unique idea. — SCS