Ford’s 1800-hp Super Cobra Jet, 100 years of Alfa Quadrifoglio, Kia recalls the Carnival
1800-hp Mustang Super Cobra Jet 1800 is coming for your quarter-mile records
Intake: The next chapter of Ford’s electric motorsports efforts has arrived in the form of the Mustang Super Cobra Jet 1800 drag car. The name harkens back 1969 when Ford Performance introduced the Super Cobra Jet name as an improvement to the standard Cobra Jet package. The new car is a heavily reworked version of the Cobra Jet 1400, which holds the NHRA world record quarter-mile pass (8.128 seconds @ 171.97 mph) for full-bodied electric vehicles. Ford Performance expects the Super Cobra Jet 1800 to best that pass, thanks to a host of chassis, powertrain, and control system upgrades. It uses the same four-inverter, twin double-stacked electric motor setup as before, but the 1800 has a new transmission from Liberty, as well as a new lightweight battery system designed by Ford Performance and MLe Racecars. A new rear end featuring improved suspension geometry and larger Mickey Thompson drag radials will help get that mountain of torque down for good launches.
Exhaust: They might lack the aural drama of the gas burners, but these electric drag cars are unbelievably quick. On top of the quarter-mile record attempt, the Super Cobra Jet 1800 will also attempt to claim the electric vehicle 0–60 mph record and the two-wheel-drive electric vehicle 0–60 mph record later this year at an NHRA event. The package looks mean enough to pull that off. — Nathan Petroelje
Car companies lacking “megasite” options
Intake: Volkswagen’s off-road brand Scout studied 74 different parcels of land across the U.S. last summer as it hunted for a place to build a $2 billion assembly plant, dismissing most quickly because of insufficient infrastructure. Companies, says Reuters, are having trouble finding suitable “megasites” for building new factories. As for the Scout plant, “In one case, they learned it would take six years to build a needed rail link. Others lacked access to clean power, crucial for a project for ‘green’ electric vehicles. Some did not offer enough nearby skilled labor,” Reuters said. “Fueled by a combination of hefty government incentives, a transition to new transportation and energy technologies, and national security concerns about relying on distant suppliers, especially in China, there’s a factory-building boom taking place across the U.S.” While the U.S. has plentiful land, “there are not that many places to quickly plunk a billion-dollar-plus factory.”
Exhaust: The factory renaissance “could soon hit a barrier because of the scarcity of ready-to-go megasites, according to 25 economic development groups, state and local officials, utilities, and companies interviewed by Reuters.” That would be a problem for the Biden administration, the story speculates, “which has pushed through legislation to fuel the developments. Corporations have announced dozens of projects since the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPS Act last year.” — Steven Cole Smith
Alfa celebrates 100 years of Quadrifoglio with Giulia and Stelvio specials
Intake: It’s April 15, 1923, and Ugo Sivocci is lining up at the start of the Targa Florio in his Alfa Romeo RL Super Sport. On the car’s nose is a large green four-leafed clover on a white diamond background—the first appearance of the now legendary quadrifoglio mark. A century later, Alfa Romeo is introducing two very limited special editions of the Giulia and Stelvio. Just 100 of each will be available worldwide, and they’ll be distinguished with a host of celebratory styling additions that include unique 100th Anniversario badges, gold brake calipers, a carbon fiber grille and mirror caps, plus gold stitching throughout the leather/Alcantara cabin, carbon accents, and additional badging. The order books open soon and deliveries will begin in the fall.
Exhaust: The lucky charm certainly worked; not only did Sivocci win the Targa Florio, but Alfa Romeos also placed second and fourth as well, and the quadrifoglio would dominate motorsports in the 1920s, with Alfa Romeo taking victories in the very first Grand Prix Championship of 1925, plus the Mille Miglia and Le Mans. Surprisingly, it took Alfa some 40 years to capitalize on the success of the quadrifoglio, however, with the Giulia Sprint GT Veloce of 1965 being the first series production car to wear it. —Nik Berg
KBB: Signs point to dropping prices in new car market
Intake: There’s a sign that the hot new-vehicle market may be settling down. The average transaction price of a new vehicle fell below the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the first time in 20 months, according to a study by Kelley Blue Book, says a Reuters story. The average transaction price of a new vehicle in the U.S. declined 1.1 percent in March to $48,008 from February’s $48,558. However, March prices rose 3.8 percent compared to a year ago. Except for Toyota, which is still suffering supply chain issues, the top global automakers reported a rise in first-quarter U.S. sales on improving shipments to dealers as vehicle inventories grow. “Right now, in-market consumers are finding more inventory, more choice, and dealers more willing to deal, at least with some brands,” said Rebecca Rydzewski, a researcher at Kelley Blue Book.
Exhaust: In March, the average price for a new non-luxury vehicle, which includes brands such as Chevrolet, Ford, Hyundai and Nissan, was $44,182, a decline of $505 compared with February, but buyers continued to pay above MSRP for luxury vehicles, said KBB. — SCS