Defender soft top, Ferrari fine with e-fuels, 10 vehicles good for 250K miles

Heritage Customs

Dutch build soft-top Defender that Land Rover won’t

Intake: The Netherlands’ Heritage Customs shop has removed the roof of Land Rover’s Defender 90. The Valiance Convertible is the brainchild of designer Niels van Roij, who also does a fine line in shooting brakes. (a.k.a. wagons), from a Ferrari Breadvan Hommage to a Rolls-Royce Silver Spectre and even a Tesla Model S. In the case of the Defender, van Roij has subtracted rather than added: Its fixed metal roof is gone, replaced by a new canvas top which operates electrically. There’s an FIA-standard rollcage to maintain the car’s body stiffness and add accident protection, and a choice of Heritage Customs’ own wheels in 20- or 22-inch sizes. The cabin gets a full-leather makeover and buyers have a virtually unlimited choice of paint colors. The conversion costs around $93,000 plus taxes, and you’ll need to supply your own Defender 90. It will be a rare sight on (and off) the roads, however. “We will build a maximum of five Heritage Customs Valiance Convertibles per year, to keep the conversion highly exclusive for our clients,” says van Roij.

Exhaust: Did Land Rover miss a trick by not offering the new Defender as a convertible? Given that van Roij has already sold out the first two years of his shop’s production, it certainly looks like there’s demand. Will the factory follow suit? —Nik Berg

Ranked: Longest-lasting vehicles of the last 10 years


Intake: The website has ranked cars and trucks as to which has the best chance of making it 250,000 miles or more—with proper maintenance, of course. This 10th anniversary study analyzed over 260 million cars sold between 2012 and 2022 to determine which cars were most likely to survive to high mileage. Trucks dominate the list, taking up 10 spots. Toyota is the most prominent brand, with 8 models on the list. The most durable model, the Ford F-350 Super Duty, has a 49.1 percent chance of reaching 250,000-plus miles. Here’s the top 10:

  1. Ford F-350 Super Duty has a 49 percent chance of making 250,000 miles. Nine more in order:
  2. Toyota Land Cruiser
  3. Toyota Tundra
  4. Toyota Sequoia
  5. Ford F-250 Super Duty
  6. Honda Pilot
  7. Toyota Tacoma
  8. GMC Sierra 2500HD
  9. Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD
  10. Toyota 4Runner, which has a 41 percent chance of making 250,000 miles.

Exhaust: “Vehicle lifespans continue to grow, with more than 20 [models] now having a 20 percent or better chance of lasting at least a quarter million miles,” said executive analyst Karl Brauer. “For most of the automobile’s history, 100,000 miles was considered the maximum usable lifespan. Over the past 30 years we’ve watched an increasing number of cars reach 200,000-plus miles, and for our tenth Longest-Lasting Cars Study we’ve expanded our analysis to predict which vehicles have the greatest likelihood of reaching 250,000 miles or more.” See the whole list here. —SCS

Ferrari: E-fuels will power future ICE engines

Hagerty Media

Intake: Ferrari’s plans to continue building internal-combustion engine cars powered by e-fuels does not conflict with its target to become carbon neutral by 2030, its chief executive said today. “The two (targets) are very much compatible,” CEO Benedetto Vigna told the Financial Times’ “Future of the Car” conference, said Reuters. Vigna had previously welcomed a European Union decision to exempt cars that run on e-fuels from its planned 2035 phase-out of combustion engine vehicles; 2036, for so-called small volume manufacturers like Ferrari. “We thought this [EU decision] was happening in 2025 or 2026, it has happened two years before and this is very good for us, because you can run [an ICE] car with a fuel that is [carbon] neutral,” Vigna said.

Exhaust: E-fuels are made by synthesizing captured CO2 emissions and hydrogen produced using renewable or CO2-free electricity. Ferrari is already producing plug-in hybrid cars and has promised its first full-electric vehicle for 2025. However it has never provided a roadmap for going all-electric. –SCS

Larson takes first steps toward Indy 500 run

Kyle Larson autographs NASCAR Cup Series Championship indycar nascar double 2024
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

Intake: Kyle Larson took his first step toward running the 2024 Memorial Day weekend “double”—the Indianapolis 500 and the Coke 600 NASCAR race at Charlotte. This week, the Hendrick Motorsports driver spent time at Arrow McLaren’s race shop in Indianapolis to get fitted for his seat. It was his first time sitting in an Indy car. “I know we will have a shot to win,” he said. “This is definitely winning equipment. It’s going to be a fun experience. Want to soak it all in and try to do the best job we can come a year from now.” In announcing his Indy 500 ride earlier this year, Larson, a former Cup champ, acknowledged that he wanted plenty of time to prepare given the newness of this experience for him. “It’s way different than anything I have ever done,” Larson said. “I feel like if I was to do it this year, honestly, it would be like a rush. I wouldn’t feel prepared. Getting to spend a whole year taking my time getting to learn things and talking to different people will be beneficial.”

Exhaust: Larson will be the fifth driver to run the double: John Andretti, Tony Stewart, Robby Gordon, and Kurt Busch are the others. Busch is the most recent to do in 2014, while Stewart (in 2001) is the only driver to complete all 1100 miles of The Double. No driver to attempt it has won either leg, and no driver is attempting it in 2023. —Steven Cole Smith

Tony Stewart wins in NHRA again

Tony Stewart drag racing
YouTube/Tony Stewart

Intake: Speaking of Stewart, he continues to make NHRA racing look easy, taking his second win in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, topping Jackie Fricke in the finals of a North Central Division Race at Indianapolis. The win came from the number one qualifying position and came in Stewart’s third consecutive trip to a final round, reports Autoweek. In addition to the win, Stewart set career marks in qualifying. His 5.183-second run in the first round of qualifying was his best in NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing competition, and his 282.07-mph run in the second qualifying run was the fastest he’s gone in a Top Alcohol Dragster.

Exhaust: “The last three races have been amazing,” said the three-time NASCAR Cup champion. Stewart is a rookie making his first full-season run in a dragster. “To win at Vegas and runner-up at Charlotte two weeks ago, then come here to the regional event in Indy and win is awesome. I’m really proud of this team and how much they have progressed.” —SCS

Report: Fisker crippled by software glitches

Fisker Ocean Big Sur Blue Matte in Leo Carrilo Beach; California Mode; Dog

Intake: Another electric-car startup is having problems getting its products to the people. Los Angeles–based Fisker is facing delays delivering its debut SUV to customers because of problems integrating software into the vehicles, according to people familiar with the matter, says Automotive News. The firm, which began production in November at contract manufacturer Magna Steyr’s plant in Austria, has software that is currently prone to glitches, the people said, estimating the issues could take months to iron out. As a result, they said some vehicles are only using a more basic software that limits the vehicles’ speed.

Exhaust: Fisker said in an emailed statement that the vehicle’s “software will be updated over-the-air during the year” after launching with a basic advanced driver-assistance system. “We categorically deny that the Fisker Ocean can be driven at only low speeds,” it said. The first of Fisker’s Ocean SUVs was delivered last week to a customer in Denmark. —SCS



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