Lambo hybrid keeps V-12 promise, Lordstown woes multiply, a DB5 from … 2009?


Lambo’s new hybrid supercar will keep V-12 promise

Intake: Props to the folks at Sant’Agata. As Lamborghini’s then-CEO Stefano Domenicali promised in March of 2019, the successor to the V-12 Aventador supercar (2011–22) will have a twelve-cylinder, naturally aspirated engine … that spins to 9500 rpm (!). Code-named L545, the V-12 has the same displacement as the Aventador’s (6.5 liters) but is 37 pounds lighter and has a higher compression ratio (12.6:1 compared to 11.8:1 for the final Aventador variant, the Ultimae). Its 814-hp maximum nearly tops that of the most powerful Aventador engines, which generally made less than 800, with the exception of the ram-air-induction-equipped, track-only Essenza SCV12 (819 hp). Factor in displacement, however, and this new mill does squeeze out a superlative: the highest specific output of any Lambo V-12: 125 hp per liter. The engine will be supplemented by no fewer than three 110kW electric motors, as the world learned this morning—one integrated into the double-clutch, eight-speed transmission, and one motor on each front wheel. Total system output is nearly 1000 hp. The car, code-named LB744, is not the first hybrid Lambo (that would be 2019’s super capacitor-equipped Sían) but it is the company’s first model with an all-electric, four-wheel-drive mode. Another first of the LB744: The transmission is mounted behind the engine. Lambo’s PR department is calling this a “brand-new” engine, but we’ll believe that when we hear an engineer say it.

Exhaust: If this plug-in Lambo excites you, you’re either a die-hard fan of the magnanimous sort, who’s thrilled that another V-12 exists even if you will never own it; or you’re independently wealthy, and relieved that the all-electric mode allows this new Lambo to crawl scot-free through London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone so you can shop at Gucci. —Grace Houghton

Chase Elliott undergoes successful surgery

Nascar Chase Elliott Daytona
Nascar Media/Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Intake: Past NASCAR Cup champion Chase Elliott, 27, underwent successful surgery after a snowboarding accident in Colorado broke his left tibia. Elliott, the 2020 champ, was replaced in Sunday’s race at Las Vegas by NASCAR Xfinity series driver Josh Berry. Hendrick Motorsports president and general manager Jeff Andrews said that Elliott is expected to miss multiple races while he recovers, and there is currently no timeline for his return. The #9 Chevrolet will continue to compete for the owner’s championship, and the organization can apply to NASCAR for a medical waiver that would keep Elliott eligible for the driver’s title.

Exhaust: Berry, 32, had just two Cup starts to his credit, both in 2021, and he has never driven NASCAR’s Next Gen car, introduced into the series last year. He finished 29th out of 36 cars Sunday. “Without a doubt, it’s going to be a great challenge for me,” Berry said, “but with great challenge comes great opportunity for me to learn and grow as a driver and work around a lot of really talented and smart people here at Hendrick Motorsports.” —Steven Cole Smith

Tough times at Lordstown Motors …

Lordstown Endurance front

Intake: Electric pickup manufacturer Lordstown Motors posted a net loss of $102.3 million, up from $81.2 million a year earlier. The results included an impairment charge of $36.5 million caused mainly by a decrease in its stock price. The company has been struggling with delivery of its $65,000, all-wheel-drive pickup designed for the fleet markets, says Automotive News. At the start of production more than six months ago, the Ohio-based plant had set a target to deliver 50 vehicles in 2022 and more in 2023 out of the planned first batch of 500 units. However, it stopped production last month due to performance and quality issues and reported sales of only six vehicles. The supply chain constraints, especially in motor components, are also expected to hurt production in the current quarter. “We will continue to execute a capital constrained business plan,” CFO Adam Kroll said, adding that Lordstown will need to raise “significantly more” capital.

Exhaust: We like the Endurance pickup, but with major manufacturers (especially Ford) also targeting the fleet market for electric trucks, Lordstown’s future does not look bright. —SCS

… and there are also issues at Rivian

Rivian R1S rear three-quarter off road action

Intake: Rivian Automotive plans to sell bonds worth $1.3 billion, “as weakening demand and lofty costs tighten a cash crunch around electrical vehicle makers,” said Reuters. Shares in Rivian fell nearly 7 percent in after-hours trading. The capital from this offering will help facilitate the launch of Rivian’s smaller R2 vehicle family, a Rivian spokesperson told Reuters, adding that convertible debt was “optimal cost of capital versus selling equity at today’s levels.”

Exhaust: Rivian is in far better shape than Lordstown Motors, with the Illinois plant actively manufacturing the R1T electric pickup truck and the R1S SUV. But Rivian has been burning through a lot of cash, and apparently needs this infusion. —SCS

Dodge’s second “Last Call” video a puzzler

Intake: Dodge has released its second “Last Call” teaser for the new presumed supercar it will debut on March 20, 2023. “Last Call” is the marketing tag for the last run of Dodge Challengers and Chargers, and previous Last Call models leading up to the debut of the final one have all been high-performance models. This last one is rumored to have at least 900 horsepower. Any less will be a disappointment.

Exhaust: This second video ends with a scale reading 7.1 pounds. Is it the extra boost the new car will get? Some sort of power-to-weight ratio? See what you think here. —SCS

One-of-a-kind DB5 wannabe is for sale

BAE Vantare
DD Classics

Intake: If an old car given a modern makeover is a restomod, what do you call a modern machine with classic looks? “Retromod” seems about right to describe this BAE Vantare, an Aston Martin DB9 that’s been rebodied to resemble a DB5. Launched in 2021 by startup British Automotive Engineering, it was fronted by comedian Bradley Walsh but was no joke. The company planned to build ten of them and charge over $330,000 for each one. The Vantare’s bodywork was created from “hybrid modern materials,” such as carbon fiber; wire-style alloys were fitted; and the Aston Martin interior was also revamped with a revised center console, new steering wheel, and vents sourced from Mercedes. It’s not clear what has happened to BAE since it announced the Vantare as the firm’s website is currently offline, and it hasn’t posted to social media for a year. In all likelihood chassis number one, based on a 2005 DB9, which is currently for sale at London dealer DD Classics, is the only example ever built. DD Classics describes it as “an Aston Martin collector’s dream,” but we’ll let you decide.

Exhaust: It’s not a completely crazy idea. After all, David Brown Automotive has seemingly made a success of its $700,000 Jaguar XKR–based Speedback GT, although that design does seem a little more complete and the level of craftsmanship significantly higher. Scale down your expectations and The Little Car Company might offer the most fun attempt to recreate the DB5. —Nik Berg


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    “as weakening demand and lofty costs tighten a cash crunch around electrical vehicle makers,” Should it be presumed that this phrase is in reference to “all” EV manufactures? If so, very interesting…

    Lordstown is in trouble but I do wonder for Rivian too. I have seen a couple Rivians near me but they are outgunned by Teslas in my area.

    Lordstown was doomed from the start. They banked on a Postal vehicle contract but lost it and just had no hope since then.

    With so many larger companies coming to market with EV products few start up MFGs will last.

    The larger companies have much more scale and deeper pockets to move these programs along. If not for Musks deep pockets Tesla would not have lasted.

    Once GM releases their EV as well VW, Toyota, Honda and even some of the others like from Sony and Apple. it could be the end of the start up.

    The early in ICE cars we had many companies but few survivors.

    At least these startups could have used cool names like Apperson Jackrabbit and Kissel Gold Bug! The Kissel plant (which looked like a dungeon) in Hartford WI later made Chrysler and Force Outboards, poor quality products that we made parts for out of worn out tooling–and a prototype build of Mercury PWC’s that never made it to market. The Kissel was a cool car–kind of a spiritual predecessor in the 20’s of the Auburn Speedster. None of these startups will last. I’m trying to talk a friend out of ordering a Rivian.

    The Lordstown plant, a former GM plant, is now owned by Foxconn, a Chinese company? Not good.

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