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The News for June 1st, 2018

Greg Kachadurian June 1, 2018 The News! 52 Comments

Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. There’s also just a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:

  • Nissan unveils 2018 GT-R Nismo GT3 for customer racing teams

  • Acura confirms all-new RDX keeps the same price as before

  • The Viper is rumored to return by 2021 sans V10

  • Matt LeBlanc is leaving Top Gear after this season

  • Recaro offers gorgeous new limited edition houndstooth seat

  • What’s your automotive news?

2018 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3

I’ve got good news for the Hooniverse readers who also happen to own a sports car racing team in Japan, Europe, America, China, or Australia. You can finally trade in the ancient 2015-spec Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 to the new and improved 2018-spec GT3 car! It’s fully compliant with FIA GT3 regulations and is made fresh to order (and never frozen) starting January 2019.

The GT3 car is meant to reflect the many changes the road car has seen the last few years and was further developed using race data they’ve accumulated since the 2015 model hit the track. They claim to have made a GT-R GT3 that can fully exploit all of the platform’s strengths on any circuit and with any brand of tire.

Here are the key areas that have seen improvement (which they’re willing to talk about):

  • Lowered center of gravity and optimized weight distribution by mounting the engine 150mm further back and down
  • Improved dynamics through newly designed front and rear independent double wishbone suspension
  • Optimized balance between stable downforce characteristics and drag
  • Front and rear rigidity (flexural, torsional) improvements and enhanced linearity by utilizing advanced analysis technology
  • Dry sump system implementation for lowered center of gravity and lubrication reliability
  • Extended maintenance cycle through a newly designed transmission
  • Strengthened brakes with increased durability and reliability
  • An exclusively designed air conditioning system to reduce driver stress and ensure comfort during endurance races, etc. available as an option.

Per GT3 regulations, the road car’s 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V6 is beefed up as much as is allowed and can produce up to 542 horsepower (before BOP). That power is sent through a six-speed sequential and channeled to the back wheels only.

The car has been in development since April of last year and the car has already competed with official partner teams. It has logged over 18,000 competition miles. They say it offers significant reliability and is easier to handle for both professionals and gentleman drivers.

Pricing for 2018-spec GT-R GT3 starts at $550,000. Privateers wishing to race the latest and greatest GT-R have to wait until next season.

[Source: Nissan]

2019 Acura RDX Priced at $37,300

Acura’s all-new RDX goes on sale at dealerships today at a starting price which undercuts its main European competitors. $37,300 plus destination gets you an RDX that has gone through the “most extensive Acura product redesign in a decade”. Basically, it sports a redesign that will set the trend going forward for the rest of their lineup, gains some interior space, comes with more available and standard features, a new infotainment system, and a new A-Spec sport appearance package.

The new RDX is powered by a direct injected and turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with VTEC (yo) producing 272 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s mated with the segment’s only ten-speed automatic transmission which sends power to the front wheels by default or through the new-to-the-RDX Super Handling All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) as a $2,000 option. EPA fuel economy ratings vary by options and how many wheels are driven, but at its most efficient it gets 22 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.

Fun fact: the RDX has been built in Ohio for a while now, but this is the first RDX to be designed and engineered in America as well. Go us.

[Source: Acura]

Dodge Viper Rumored to Return by 2021

Hey guys remember the Dodge SRT Dodge Viper? According to Car and Driver it’s coming back by 2021 but with a V8 instead of the thunderous V10 we’re used to. They couldn’t list sources, but they said “trust us: a new Viper is happening” and I can’t argue with that.

[Source: Car and Driver]

Matt LeBlanc to leave Top Gear

In not purely automotive but still relevant to the industry news, Yesterday the BBC announced that Matt LeBlanc (the one from Friends) is leaving his role as lead presenter for Top Gear after this upcoming season is finished. There’s no juicy drama or infighting to speak of, but it’s more of a retirement than anything it seems.

LeBlanc said that despite Top Gear being “great fun”, the “time commitment and extensive travel… takes me away from my family and friends more than I’m comfortable with. It’s unfortunate, but for these reasons I will not be continuing my involvement with the show. I will forever be a Top Gear fan and I wish the team continued success. Thanks for a great drive.”

Presumably, co-presenters Chris Harris and Rory Reid will stick with the program. The show has become exceptional with these three and it will certainly lose something great when he leaves. Of course the question on everyone’s mind is who – if anyone – will replace him as lead presenter. I nominate our very own Kamil just because it’d be really funny.

[Source: BBC]

Recaro offering limited Expert Houndstooth seat

Recaro has announced a limited-edition sports bucket seat that is just begging to be put in something old and German. It sports retro houndstooth upholstery and classic looks but is a fully modernized seat which provides proper ergonomics and comfort. It features an adjustable headrest, adjustable side bolsters at the backrest, and dual manual backrest releases for optimal body support plus a flat seat cushion for easy access. Only 100 of these are being made and they’re only sold in pairs. So if you see one of these at the next Porsche meet, make friends with the guy.

[Source: Recaro]

What’s your automotive news?

That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.

Have a good weekend.

[Image © 2018 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]

  • Jofes2

    Even if you don’t speak a word of French, I hope you’re all following Boitier Rouge for some excellent obscure-car-posting:

    http://boitierrouge.com/

    Right now, I recommend the ZAZ Tavria Apelsin-1 NAMI 0290.

    http://boitierrouge.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/103168776.jpg

    http://boitierrouge.com/2018/05/31/zaz-tavria-apelsin-1-nami-0290-lorange-pressee/

    To keep up easily, follow their Twitter: https://twitter.com/BoitierRouge

    • danleym

      Thanks for that! Looks like a great site, and it will help me keep up on my French.

    • No need to “keep up easily”, the vast archive is enough to lose my job already.

  • tonyola

    A note to Recaro: That’s wimpy houndstooth. The AMC Ambassador DPL in 1966 showed how to do serious houndstooth. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9ea5bd84c76c0862ffb2b79e7ae9658578751f9a1fff3e2f8c1658e9b64c4f7e.jpg

  • GTXcellent

    http://www.fakepigskin.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/its-here-meme.jpg
    Dealer just called! They “forced” it into the shop for PDI. Sign papers tomorrow. Too excited to type complete and proper sentences.

  • Fred

    Dealer sent me a email about the new RDX. With only 50,000 miles I’m not ready to trade in the TSX Sportwagon for it.

    • Jeff Glucker

      Oooh don’t! I am sure the new RDX is great (Brad drove it for us last week) but TSX Sportwagon WOO!

      • Zentropy

        Agreed. TSX Sportwagon > RDX. Wagons trump crossovers any day.

    • 1slowvw

      Replacing that car will be very challenging.

      • Fred

        I get the new car bug every year or two. After 10 years or 100,000 miles I succumb to the temptation.

  • Monkey10is

    “Of course the question on everyone’s mind is who – if anyone – will replace him as lead presenter. I nominate our very own Kamil just because it’d be really funny.”

    I nominate our very own M.D.Harrell just because it would;

    (a) be even funnier,

    or

    (b) damn the show into oblivion for evermore.

  • Zentropy

    Maybe I’m getting old, but does the Nissan GT-R R35 not qualify as a “classic car” yet? Seems I’ve been looking at that same mug for a quarter-century now.

    In all seriousness, when should we expect a new one? Compared to the (IMO) handsome R32-34s, the 2008 model was a disappointment, looks-wise. Given my negative feelings towards current Nissan/Infiniti styling, I honestly don’t expect much, but a new GT-R would be welcome just for conversation’s sake.

  • Sjalabais

    The Crap Car Gods are testing my resolve. With the Honda being in the non-decided area between scrap it/keep it, the windshield cracked last week. We are experiencing the hottest spring ever, and a tiny, two year old crack suddenly decided it was enough. Turns out, my insurance pays 3/4 of a windshield replacement, so that’s golden.

    In driving news, my quest to find every gravel road that points upwards yielded a big surprise after work today. Ok, two hours of paid work are more than enough. Anyway, I “found” a whole ‘nother valley just 40 minutes from here, and was extremely surprised. I work with maps, among other things, so stuff like that is not supposed to happen. The drive was awesome though, the hike even more so. We also got the last of the firewood to the house, which I guess is “abused Honda” news 3/3.

    https://i.imgur.com/sr2p1mj.jpg
    https://i.imgur.com/arbZCHO.jpg

  • JayP

    Update 1: I can’t stop driving the Mustang with the quad exhaust. It’s like driving a another car. 2 weeks and the Vic hasn’t moved.

    Update 2: Lambo event.
    Premise is that current and prospective Lambo owners were invited to bring their cars for a few laps and while there, try the 2018 Huracan in a lead-follow. Drivers in their own cars had instructors – or more like in-car corner stations.

    I get paired up, I get a guy with a BMW. Crap.
    It’s an M235i World Challenge TC. Holy hell, that was a fast car. Loud too…

    At the end of the day, my pal said we could try the Huracans out. Lead follow but the Lambo rep was fast as hell in a standard Huracan. The other pal who was instructing got in the Performante and I was in the 580-2. I get to drive some cool cars. Usually GT350, Viper, some Japanese cars in the 400hp range. But these cars weren’t in the same league. Just instantaneous. I wasn’t anywhere at the car’s limits. I noticed my hands were a bit shaky…

    We’re all standing around, patting backs when the coordinator walked by and I was able to ask when the next event was to happen, not even thinking there was another to occur.
    “In the fall”
    Sign me up.

  • Fuhrman16

    This has not been a good week for me, automotiveally speaking. Had a freak hailstorm roll through Tuesday afternoon, and my Mazda got a good pounding. Hopefully insurance will cover it.

    • Golf balls are faster with their pits, if of any condolence.

  • 0A5599

    Full-sized, body-on-frame station wagons are invading my driveway. A well-preserved one last Saturday, a cheap beater Thursday, and possibly a free one in the next couple days.

  • outback_ute

    Not surprising MLB is leaving Top Gear for the reasons stated, but he did a decent job. They should have Sabine Schmitz on more instead.

    • Zentropy

      I used to really like Sabine, but she acts half crazy these days.

      • outback_ute

        I nearly wrote, and get her to tone it down a bit!

  • MattC

    Did a spark plug change in my DD Insight (8 plugs on the 1.3L series engine). It was pretty straightforward minus removing the wipers, wiper cowl and metal backing plate to get to the back 4 plugs. After 110K, the old plugs looked great with only one slightly off spec. I reckon I could have gone another 50K on them.

  • Zentropy

    Despite my best efforts, I can’t break loose the bolts on my E28’s upper control arms. Maybe if I had a lift, but there’s just not enough room on the ramps for the leverage I need. It pains me to think I have to take it to a shop.

    • 0A5599

      For the money the shop would charge, what happens if you spend an equivalent amount on a powerful impact wrench? Or on a tighter budget, a longer breaker bar? https://www.harborfreight.com/12-in-drive-25-in-breaker-bar-67933.html

      • Zentropy

        I have a good pneumatic driver, and it won’t budge the bolts even after an overnight soak in PB Blaster. I also have a long breaker bar with a pipe cheater, but with the car only on ramps, I simply don’t have the room for leverage. I considered trying a torch on the nuts, but with the oily pan nearby and me pinned under the car, I was thinking that might be risky. I’ve talked to a local shop and they think they can do it for less than $150, considering I already have the parts.

  • 1slowvw

    So I put together a turbo kit for a 4.8 last winter. Built it to fit in an S-10…which my wife hated. So when she walked into the garage and said take a couple hundred bucks and find something else I went and found a little slice of America (might even be made in the USA instead of up here in Canada).

    So the 4.8 turbo has a new home.

    https://i.imgur.com/SeiJ4ut.jpg

    • Maymar

      Does the VIN start with 1 (US) or 2 (Canada)?

      • 1slowvw

        It’s a 1, as I saw it on the door I thought I could faintly hear the heartbeat of America. Is that normal?

  • Did an oil change on the Tbird in preparation for the summer season and discovered that it has some kind of replacement drain plug with a tapered end and split. Evidently someone (I’ve had oil changes done at various places in the past) had installed an oversized self tapping plug at some point. Well, it has a plastic washer under it and when I reinstalled it it just won’t get tight and is dripping rather quickly. I should have replaced the washer but I didn’t have one on hand, but the bigger concern is that it doesn’t want to get tight.

    I’ve got to work on my 20 year old Scag mower first (battery not charging), I’ve got a catch pan under it for now.

    • 0A5599

      Someone replaced the drain plug without your knowledge. What makes you think they used the RIGHT oversized part? Maybe it’s leaking because it’s the wrong fit.

      What happens if you back it off a few turns, wrap it with a bunch of Teflon tape, then tighten again?

      • I have no idea who replaced the drain plug, it could have been done when my grandfather owned it or even before that. I haven’t had time to dig into it, but I plan to pull it out and investigate the condition of the threads, try without the washer, try a new washer, etc. The Teflon tape is an interesting idea.

    • Wayward David

      The trouble with those ‘one size fits all’ replacement drain plugs is that they don’t really fit anything correctly and eventually leak or worse. I had the ‘or worse’ experience with my old PT Cruiser when the oil plug worked its way loose enough to pop out completely. On the freeway. The oil light came on, so I conscientiously pulled off at the next exit to pop the hood and see what the problem might be. Unfortunately, that next exit was just a bit further away than it was possible to drive that overworked 4 banger with 150k miles on the clock with no oil. But at least the story had a happy ending when I replaced the Chrysler with a MINI.

  • For the first time in 10 years of owning vehicles, I bought one that’s not FWD with a Honda or Acura badge on it.

    Still a manual transmission though!
    https://i.imgur.com/xLL58Qs.jpg

    • 1slowvw

      There you go!

      Here I thought I would be making the only GMT400 post this weekend!

      • *fist bump* Yours looks clean. I like the idea of a turbo 4.8.

    • Sjalabais

      Great view, perfectly fitting vehicle. Did it come with a lumberjack shirt?

      • Unfortunately not, but it did come with a camo seat cover!

        • Sjalabais

          Haha, close enough. Why the truck after so many years at the opposite end of automobile pleasures?

          • Changing work situation. I’ve had a desk job for most of my adult life, but now I’m doing stonemasonry (sort of, it’s just fascias) and need to be able to haul stone and mortar. A 3/4 ton diesel was what I set out to find, but ended up settling on a lighter gas truck because diesels hold their value too well and the 3/4 ton gassers are overly thirsty.

            • Sjalabais

              That’s awesome. I have a friend who said farewell to a well-paying, leisurely teacher job in order to become a carpenter. Ever since he has been so happy, he is glowing.

  • SlowJoeCrow

    Although having Joey from Friends on Top Gear took some getting used to , Matt LeBlanc will be missed.

    As his replacement, I will once again nominate either Henry Rollins or Robert Llewellyn to fill the gap.

  • SlowJoeCrow

    Is it just me or are all these mid size crossovers starting to look the same? The new RDX has the same greenhouse and massing as a Mazda CX-5 or Hyundai Tucson. They just changed the grille and made it a bit more angular ala Toyota’s Kill-O-Zap design language.