Porsche’s sleek Airstream, Mini’s last Clubman, design Ram’s next EV
Airstream and Porsche stoke affluent urbanites’ tamest dreams
Intake: An unlikely collaboration between Airstream and Porsche has resulted in one of the more modern camper-trailer concepts you’ll ever lay eyes on. The space nugget measures 16.4 feet in length on a single-axle setup and sleeps up to two people. Its headline achievement is garageability, playing to the romanticisms of urban dwellers who would love an edgy outdoor weekend vessel but are limited by tight storage space. An articulating axle in the suspension can lower the body to fit most urban garages; while in the wild, the trailer’s expandable pop-top roof easily achieves standing room comfort. Porsche’s designers reworked, by traditional Airstream convention, the rear of the camper to be more aerodynamic. It opens up fully with the help of a hatch and tailgate—similar to what homebrew commercial vanlifers achieve, but excessively more refined. Some components even utilize carbon fiber to help reduce weight and meet the towing capabilities of smaller ICEs and regular EVs.
Exhaust: Many companies are making hay while the sun shines and capitalizing on an uptick in outdoorsy sentiment. Airstream has every reason to do the same. Those who enjoy the outdoors often say that nature is the only true beauty, but you can’t fault the efforts of Airstream and Porsche for challenging that assertion with their design prowess. Would this Airstream inevitably cost an arm and a leg? Yes. But would it look good behind your Cayenne? More importantly, yes. — Bryan Gerould
Mini Clubman bows out with Final Edition
Intake: A last run of 1969 Final Edition Clubmans will mark the end of the line for “the exceptional gentleman” of the Mini range. That number is significant as it honors the year when the Clubman first went on sale. Today, as its designer Roy Haynes says, “The impression that only ugly things can be functional has disappeared.” The original Clubman, with its shooting-brake styling and split rear doors, remained on sale until 1981, and it wasn’t until 2007 that the name once more appeared on a Mini. The Final Edition is based on the third iteration, which launched in 2015 and is available in Cooper or Cooper S guises, the most punchy of which offers 178 hp from a two-liter turbo four-pot. These last cars will be offered in Nanuq White, Enigmatic Black, and Melting Silver exterior paint with detailing in Shimmer Copper. There are “1 of 1969” badges on the C-pillars and inside the leather-lined cabin. Exactly how many of the 1969 examples will make it to the U.S.A. has yet to be confirmed.
Exhaust: The Clubman is making way for the Aceman, a fully electric crossover that sits between the Hardtop and the chunky Countryman. It’s set to go on sale in 2025 and Mini expects it to rapidly charge to the top of its sales charts. — Nik Berg
Ford braces for $3 billion loss from EV unit
Intake: Ford’s electric vehicle business, Model e, is expected to post $3 billion in losses this year, according to a new report from Automotive News. That loss figure is up nearly 50 percent in 2023 over the previous year, and Ford says the main culprit is the division’s continued investment in boosting production and developing next-gen products on a dedicated EV platform. (The current Mustang Mach-E and the F-150 Lightning currently ride on revised versions of internal combustion platforms.) The automaker split its internal combustion business and its EV business into separate divisions in early 2022, calling them Ford Blue and Ford Model e, respectively. Ford said that it expects earnings from Ford Blue to exceed $7 billion, and about $6 billion in earnings from Ford Pro, its commercial unit. This is the first time that Ford has broken out the financial results for each division, following the restructuring.
Exhaust: As long suspected by analysts, it appears that the substantial profits from the internal combustion side of the business, Ford Blue, are being used to help fund EV development. $3 billion is no small sum, but developing vehicles—let alone ones of completely new and different chemistry—is vastly expensive. — Nathan Petroelje
High school designers will showcase their vision of future Ram EVs
Intake: Stellantis is hosting its “Drive for Design” contest for the 11th consecutive year. This year, high school students in grades 10 through 12 are invited to show their vision of a next-generation Ram EV. The winner will earn a spot as an intern at the Ram Truck Exterior Design Studio this summer. Mark Trostle, vice president of Ram Truck and Mopar Design, won a version of this program in 1987 and is helping keep the program alive. “Participating in this contest gave me the confidence to pursue the path to a career in automotive design. Now, I want to help students find the connection between their creativity and the automotive industry,” said Trostle. “It is incredible to see our past winners come up through the design school ranks. I even get to see some of them as interns or coworkers in our design studio.” Students participating in Drive for Design have until April 21, 2023, to submit their designs, and two finalists and a Grand Prize winner will be selected soon after. In addition to their internship, the grand prize winner will take home a Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16 tablet (~$2500). The second and third-place finishers will win an Apple iPad Pro (~$800–$1100) and Apple Pencil to help with their path in design as well as a scholarship to College for Creative Studies’ four-week summer program, VisCom 1. They’ll also get to meet with members of the Stellantis design team for a Virtual Day of Design portfolio review.
Exhaust: It’s not easy to get your foot in the door of a major OEM as an automotive designer, so we applaud Ram for giving students a look at what’s required. We’re looking forward to seeing what students will use as inspiration when dreaming up Ram’s electrified future. — Brandan Gillogly
Porsche F1 deal reportedly dies on the vine
Intake: Porsche is back on the outside of F1, looking in. Negotiations to join the Formula 1 grid have reportedly fallen flat between Red Bull and McLaren. According to The Race, the manufacturer has concluded its search for an inroad, and talks terminated once between the parties because Porsche wanted to buy a significant stake in Red Bull or McLaren. Meanwhile, across the aisle, sister company Audi still seems as motivated as ever to join the fray.
Exhaust: It’s the year 2030, and there’s a series designed specifically for teams vying to make the F1 grid. There is no racing for the title; rather the team who gets the closest to earning a grid entry wins the title. They make a Netflix series. Boom. In all seriousness, what’s not to love about the F1 rumor mill? It generates headlines daily, supplying F1 fanatics with something to talk about from Sunday to Sunday. We should note that this Porsche news hasn’t broken across some of the major F1 media outlets. Maybe it’s actual grist for the mill, maybe it’s just empty calories. — Cameron Neveu
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