Mustang 001 auctioned for charity, Acura on pole for Rolex 24, Porsche six-wheel 944 pickup


2024 Mustang GT VIN 001 to be auctioned for diabetes research

Intake: Ford has announced that it will auction off the first 2024 Mustang GT, VIN 001, this Saturday evening, January 28, at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale, Arizona sale. All proceeds from the sale will go to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), a global type 1 diabetes research and advocacy organization. The seventh-gen Mustang GT is hardly the first VIN 001 Mustang to be sold at public auction: the first Shelby GT500, the first Mustang Mach 1, and the first Mustang Bullitt each crossed Barrett-Jackson’s block. The 2024 Mustang GT features a mildly revised version of Ford’s 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 that can produce up to 486 hp and 418 lb-ft of torque when you option the Active Valve dual exhaust that is part of the performance pack. That upgrade also nets a Torsen limited-slip rear diff, a strut-tower brace, MagneRide active suspension, larger brake discs, wider rear wheels and tires, and a new electronic parking brake that will help make novices into better drifters. The choice of transmission—manual or automatic—is yours, as are paint color and alloy wheel design.  The winner of the auction will get to option their Mustang GT however they want, choosing from a host of other options (including the performance pack mentioned above).

Exhaust: Good on Ford for using the first of this hotly anticipated model as a force for good. If past VIN 001 sales are any indication, this auction will likely bring big money. — Nathan Petroelje

Acura on pole for Rolex 24 at Daytona

Acura GTP Meyer Shank Racing Pole Rolex 24 at Daytona
LAT Images

Intake: Defending Rolex 24 at Daytona and series champion Acura and Meyer Shank Racing got their 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season off to a strong start Sunday. Driver Tom Blomqvist put together a frantic last-lap “flyer” in qualifying aboard his Acura ARX-06 to claim the pole for next weekend’s 61st running of the 24-hour race at Florida’s Daytona International Speedway. The team had been the fastest all week in practice, but when a red flag came out to stop qualifying for Nick Tandy’s crash in his Porsche, Blomqvist was sitting in seventh. When qualifying resumed, there was only time for one lap, and on cold tires, Blomqvist wrestled the Acura to the lead position. The qualifying session capped a weekend of full-field IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship testing, known as “The Roar Before the 24,” and set the grid for the 61-car field that will be running next weekend. The other Porsche, driven by Felipe Nasr, was second, followed by Ricky Taylor in the Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport Acura.

Exhaust: It was an exciting qualifying session, held on a very windy day whose weather was blamed for a couple of crashes. This is the first formal outing anywhere for the new hybrid “GTP”-class car, with Acura, Porsche, Cadillac, and BMW fielding entries. Next weekend’s Rolex 24 should be a history-making event as the top eight GTP cars were separated by only 0.815 seconds. — Steven Cole Smith

Volkswagen design chief ousted over retro designs, replaced by Bentley design head

Jozef Kabaň Volkswagen ID. Buzz
Volkswagen AG

Intake: Volkswagen is replacing its design chief, Jozef Kabaň, with Bentley’s design head, Andreas Mindt, according to company sources, says Automotive News Europe. Mindt’s successor at Bentley will be Tobias Suehlmann, who currently heads exterior design at the VW Group’s ultraluxury brand. Suehlmann joined Bentley in October 2021, having previously worked at Bugatti, Aston Martin, McLaren, and VW brand. VW brand’s new CEO, Thomas Schaefer, reportedly, has been unimpressed with some of Kabaň’s designs.

Exhaust: Interesting. In our minds, VW design has been pretty good under Kabaň—look no further than the retro-tastic ID. Buzz electric van—but Mindt is certainly a talented man. Kabaň is being retained by Volkswagen brand and will take up another position within the company. — SCS

Six-wheeled Porsche 944 is just the pickup you need on a Monday morning

Porsche 944 pickup

Intake: A Porsche specialist in Germany spent 26 years building a unique workhorse out of a 944 and now the six-wheeled special could be yours. As its name suggests, 914-Boxergarage in Karlsbad, Germany, specializes in the 914, a model for which founder Deniz Kunze fell in the early 1980s. In 1995, however, he began work on a shop truck based on the front-engined 944. Over 2500 man-hours and more than two decades later, the world’s only six-wheeled 944 pickup was completed. This most peculiar Porsche is powered by an overhauled three-liter, four-cylinder engine from the later 968 model, and one of the rear axles is driven using the 968’s transaxle gearbox. The second axle, meanwhile, was lifted from an Audi 200 Turbo. KW coilover suspension is installed and it rolls on 17-inch BBS alloy wheels. The load bed is 80 inches in length and features oak floorboards, while the interior has been retrimmed in black leather with contrasting stitching to match the Continental Orange paintwork. The truck is road legal, having passed Germany’s tough TÜV standards, and is offered for sale at €175,000, or $190,700.

Exhaust: Who’d have thought that such a strange setup for a pickup would actually work? It’s a testament not only to Kunze’s imagination but also to his craftsmanship that the final result looks so awesome. Should you fancy something a little more conventional, Kunze also offers a”Black Forest Edition” of the 914, complete with a 2.4-liter, 160-hp motor, uprated suspension, and full interior do-over for around $80,000. — Nik Berg

Geely to turn London’s black cabs into electric car manufacturer

London Black Taxi Cab Big Ben Background

Intake: China’s Geely is planning a big investment to turn the maker of London’s iconic black taxis into a high-volume, all-electric brand with a range of commercial and passenger vehicles, executives at the unit told Reuters. London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) also aims to expand its suite of services, which include “cars arranging their own maintenance.” LEVC and Geely will seek to attract other investors to their zero-emission portfolio and would look to partner with other carmakers to develop new technology.

Exhaust: The U.K. seems to be a tad behind on electric-car adoption, and LEVC’s mission change will likely help bring some technology to the region. “We need to make sure the U.K. environment as a whole is competitive and has its position on the world stage,” said LEVC managing director Chris Allen. — SCS

Why are gas prices on the rise again? Blame China

Close up senior man hands refueling
Xavier Lorenzo/Getty Images

Intake: The price for a gallon of gasoline hit a national average of $3.415 on Sunday, compared to $3.300 a week ago. One year ago, it was $3.328. In a recent press release, AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins says that China: “… is having a direct impact on what we pay at the pump. During the past two weeks, oil prices have made strong gains on the belief that fuel demand will ramp up as China reopens its economy. China is the largest oil importer in the world, and since oil is a globally traded commodity, global fluctuations in supply and demand have a direct effect on local prices, just as they always have.”

Exhaust: The good news, if you can call it that: “Retail prices appear to have mostly adjusted to the recent oil price gains. Where gas prices go from here will be contingent on what happens in the oil market this week,” Jenkins says. — SCS

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    Funny how everything is “somebody else’s” fault. We only need to look at what WE (our government) did to oil production and most importantly to refinery facilities. I know the oil companies have all these permits, but they have to go through stringent regulations that allows them to drill. Drilling cost money, which needs investors, which also means banks. But if the investors/banks/fund managers are pushed to be “environmentally” friendly(?) they do not have the money to process something that WE (see WE above) want to shut down.

    I didn’t do it, it was his fault. <- Sounds like a 5 year old. Oh wait, that's who is in charge these days.

    A Porsche 944 pickup? Uggghhhh.

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