The News for February 1st, 2019

Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week we have a potential VW Dune Buggy comeback, a special yellow Lexus LC 500, Sublime making another comeback, and some truck news.

VW is Bringing the Dune Buggy Back

vw ebuggy concept

It’s getting to be that time of year again. The most hyped auto show in the global circuit with all the supercars and concepts is coming in just over a month. Yep, it’s time for some Geneva Motor Show teasers.

This one though may actually be of interest to most readers here. As VW brings back some of their most beloved cars throughout their history as EVs to make the world forget about that whole diesel scandal, the venerable dune buggy was chosen as the inspiration for their next concept built on the same modular electric drive matrix (MEB) platform as most of their recent concepts.

The concept that is being referred to internally as the e-buggy is based on the traditional dune buggies that were created in the 60s and 70s in California. Those were of course built upon the Beetle chassis… but since that’s dead now, the new MEB platform is proving to be just as flexible as engineers had hoped. With no fixed roof or doors, large wheel and tire package, and open side sills, it stays true to the dune buggy formula, just with an electric powertrain for the first time.

We’ll see more of it and probably have our dreams crushed over a production version on March 5th.

[Source: Volkswagen]

2019 Lexus LC 500 Inspiration Series

Lexus LC 500 Inspiration Edition

Lexus has apparently been doing a special “Inspiration Series” edition of the LC since it launched a few years back. I say apparently because they say the car we’re looking at now is the third one and I had no idea there were two others. Some news editor I am.

Anyway, Lexus is rolling out with a limited-edition Inspiration Series LC 500 that features a unique mix of colors and features that only 100 buyers can get. This year’s car stands out with Flare Yellow paint, a “rich, metallic shade of yellow that’s eye catching from a distance, yet subtly handsome up close where the deep layers of paint highlight every crease in the sheetmetal”. This is the first LC offered in the US with this paint.

2019_Lexus_LC_500_Inspiration_Edition

The main addition to the cabin is the yellow Alcantara door inserts and semi-aniline leather with yellow stitching. That stitching is also on the instrument panel, console, and glovebox.

The wonderful 5.0-liter V8 with 471 horsepower remains unchanged, but who cares about that when you get a matching leather Lexus garment bag that folds into a spacious travel bag instead? This package goes on sale in April for $106,210.

[Source: Lexus]

Sublime Returns to Charger/Challenger

It’s one of the most recognizable and beloved Mopar colors and it’s making another comeback. All 2019 Charger and Challenger models can once again be ordered with Sublime, their famous high-impact green paint that hails from the original muscle car era.

It hasn’t been available since 2015 on the Challenger and 2007 on the Charger and it’s the first time it’s been available on any Hellcat. You can start reliving those Friday night drags this February when the ordering books open for it. Those attending the Chicago Auto Show this month can be the first to see it in person.

[Source: Dodge]

Range Rover SV Coupe Cancelled

range rover sv coupe

In news that matters to absolutely nobody, the Range Rover SV Coupe has been cancelled less than a year after it was originally revealed. For those that already forgot about it like I did, this was that two-door, four-seat Range Rover that they decided to charge almost $300,000 for.

As Autoweek reports, it turns out that some corporate cost-cutting has deemed it to be too expensive to even produce with all the unique body panels and interior parts that would need to be created and installed alongside normal Range Rover parts – even with a limited run of 999 units.

range rover sv coupe

I’d like to think that the real reason they cancelled it is because the mismatched seat upholstery annoyed a Jaguar Land Rover executive as much as it annoyed me.

[Source: Autoweek]

Ford Already Planning Overtime for Ranger Demand

2019 Ford Ranger-27

We all knew the Ford Ranger’s return to the US market would be a popular one, but apparently even Ford is surprised at how many people they expect to be lining up to buy one. As the Ranger completes its first month of production in the US again, Ford is already expecting to be going into “massive overtime” to keep up with demand, according to Automotive News.

Kumar Galhotra, Ford’s president of North America, said the Ranger is exceeding their own already high expectations and they are anticipating 300,000 customers to be buying one when it comes available. First-month sales alone are expected to top 1,200.

So as expected, you’re going to be seeing these things everywhere.

[Source: Automotive News | Image © Hooniverse or Jalopnik idklol/Jeff Glucker 2019]

What’s your automotive news?

mustang gt pp2

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 © 2019 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]

44 Comments

  1. Sorry folks – back-end hosting issue today.

    The host thought we could downgrade to a more affordable plan. We did. And we discovered this was not a great idea. So we’re back to full strength now.

    1. Those Commodore 64’s are rock solid so long as you don’t try and run more than a couple KB/min through them.

      1. Eh, the C64 is overrated. I’ve got a C16 and a pair of 2001 Series PETs, but what I’d really like is an SP9000 SuperPET. Unfortunately people want money for those now.

          1. My high school had three 4016 Series PETs, each with its very own tape drive, along with one 2040 dual drive floppy and one 2022 tractor printer for everyone to share. We even upgraded (eventually) to a rotary switchbox so we wouldn’t have to keep moving the cables around. Good times.

  2. On Sunday, I finished a water pump installation that was more difficult than it could have been if it had better underhood layout. As I was tightening the last bolt, by Braille, I felt a small Torx screw fall out. That was unusual because I didn’t loosen anything that small, and everything else had a regular hex head. I wondered if perhaps the previous owner might have dropped it and couldn’t find it because t hadn’t hit the ground.

    Wednesday I was doing a repair on a different car. I attached a socket to my flex-head racket and tried to loosen a bolt that probably had not budged in 25 years. I applied a little torque and the ratchet came apart in my hands. It was missing the pivot that allowed the head of the ratchet to flex.

    Hey, wait a minute. Could that be the leftover screw? Yep. Mystery solved. Now I can sleep at night.

      1. Any chance your wrench is a Craftsman?

        When I was a kid, my dad was working on his SAAB and came to a nut that he simply could not turn without major disassembly to clear it. He took his Craftsman open end wrench and heated it with a torch until it had a roughly 45 degree angle behind the head. Job done, he heated it with the torch again and tried to straighten it. The wrench cracked, of course, The next time we were at Sears, he plopped the cracked wrench down on the counter in the hardware department, with the torch marks plain as day. The man at the counter said, “Sorry about that”, opened a set and gave my dad a replacement.

        1. My father never bent any of them back, which means now between my brothers and me we have a set of homemade specialty wrenches for nearly any US automotive application from the late 1940s to the early 1970s.

        2. It’s from Harbor Freight. My Craftsman one only spins in one direction and is less comfortable to grip. I put the screw back into the HF one and it worked fine.

          My friend worked in a shop that had two really large Snap On boxes full of tools, but for some reason, they couldn’t find any 5/8 sockets. When the Snap On guy came by, they asked if they could trade an extra 9/16 for a 5/8. “Only if it is broken.” So they asked him to wait a few minutes while they crushed it in the hydraulic press.

          The next time he came back, they found both the original 5/8 sockets, so they crushed one to exchange it back for another 9/16.

          1. Found several bent tools when cleaning out my grandfather’s shed. I don’t think many were deliberately modified either; there was a 6″ socket extension bar with a 45° twist in it!

  3. Carb tweakin!

    I replaced the muffler on the DRZ400. For some reason, a brand new pipe is louder than the old pipe, even though they’re the same make / model.
    I did a much better job of sealing up the slip-on joint than the last guy. This means that now my carburetor is ever so slightly out of tune. Just enough to annoy me.
    To get a good tune, I need to set the idle at about 1800 and dick around with the mixture screw. But there’s no tach on that bike. I could hook my timing light up, but how do I count the flashes? We have a tunable strobe at work, maybe I could set that at 900 and synch them? 2 strobe lights to tune a carb? Gotta be a Batshitbox adventure.
    Of course, just to hook up the strobe I need to remove the gas tank and hook up a fuel bottle.
    Then I gotta chop ‘n’ channel a screwdriver to fit in under the carb. And put it all together again.
    I’m so glad I bought a single cylinder bike to simplify maintenance!

    Carb tuning procedure…
    https://www.suzukicentral.com/forums/17-maintenance-repairs-tuning/61527-secret-world-fuel-screw.html

      1. That’s a method. I like customizing tools though. I might skip the whole RPM check and just ramp up the idle speed so it just doesn’t stall when I’m fiddling with the fuel screw. It only pops and farts a bit at low RPM with the throttle closed, I may just blindly back it off 1/8 turn and see what that does.

      2. EDIT: Oh, you mean the muffler joint. Some carb tuners will loosen the band clamp holding the carb and rotate it to get access to the fuel screw with a more normal screwdriver. I would then lean the bike over the opposite way to re-level the float bowl, because I like Rube Goldberg setups.

  4. That yellow Lexus looks like it’s crying because it just saw it’s ugly grille for the first time reflected in the dealership window.

    1. It’s not a great colour, but the LC does have presence in real life (and even that grille is probably the best application of the Predator face, even if that’s a low bar to clear).

  5. WELL ACKSHUALLY there were Sublime 2015 Challenger Hellcats.
    (I remember meeting one in a shopping center parking lot ring road with my 2015 R/T when I’d only had my 2015 about two weeks. The Hellcat was clean and they were just out & about enjoying a nice spring day in Fargo, my Challenger was utterly filthy from having gone over a hundred miles through heavy, wet, fresh snow in northern South Dakota that was between my point A in SD and my point B in Fargo. I remember thinking “sure, you’re faster, but would you have been able to do what I just did?”)

    PS based on that experience I’m actually thinking about having my Challenger re-shod with that same specification of tire 30-some thousand miles later. Even though it’s a Goodyear. And I never buy Goodyears.

    1. But…but…the 240 is very well-balanced car, intended to be driven daily on ice and gravel. Which is also where it excelled in racing, in addition to DTM and touring car racing in Australia, among other places. So, yeah, good point, poor illustration.

  6. My BMW succumbed to the sub zero temps 80 miles from home. It seems that the crankcase ventilation system froze up and created positive pressure pushing oil out of the valve cover and likely through the intake too. It went through about 2.5 quarts in about 200 miles. I noticed what I thought was quite a lot of salt dust being kicked up behind me on the way home. When I stopped for fuel, I smelled the oil burning off of the exhaust manifold. Not salt dust, smoke. I parked it and hitched a ride home. I went back the next day, topped it off and drove home without incident or noticeable oil consumption. I think it will be OK in more reasonable temperatures until I get the parts and can get them replaced.

    1. Had the wrong oil viscosity put in my Ford truck a few winters back , started it up at -20 and no oil pressure ! Knocking and clattering. Shut it off thinking the oil pump was out. Tried it again after the temperature rose above freezing and all was well.

    2. Had the wrong oil viscosity put in my Ford truck a few winters back , started it up at -20 and no oil pressure ! Knocking and clattering. Shut it off thinking the oil pump was out. Tried it again after the temperature rose above freezing and all was well.

  7. Vox is probably my favourite YouTube-channel overall. They just uploaded a video about the DeLorean. Nothing new here for us, but, hey, all DMC content is welcome content, right?

  8. Odd question for the Hoon-mind. I have an old Alfa Spider that goes to car shows occasionally. One of the problems for car shows is that “old fashioned” lead batteries with vented filler caps are no longer available, unless one wants to pay the absurd prices for a replica battery. There IS a poor-man’s alternative which is essentially a battery toupee which one puts atop the maintenance-free battery. It’s okaaaaay but the battery caps are unconvincing.

    Does anyone have a source for six old battery vent caps?

    I tried eBay and wasn’t enthralled with what I found, so I’d appreciate any suggestions.

    Thanks

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4a7276ffbd28649c7001b6d108d0dec81836521b4c57f95b562b601e1fb0f309.jpg

      1. Frankly, not so much any more. There was a huge debate for a while, but most concours judges have accepted that carrying an old dead authentic battery around and installing it only for judging was more ‘cheating’ than a toupee.

        Also being frank, my car has a few modifications which prevent it from being a serious contender. I removed the side marker lights because they’re ugly. Then, I am using the wrong style of snaps to to hold the convertible top cover because the plastic ones designed by Alfa are freakin’ horrible. However the fake vent caps on the battery toupee bother me for some reason, so what the hell. If I can find some real ones, that’d be cool.

        1. Removing the US marked sidemarkers should be rejoiced by everyone. Everytime I see an otherwise perfect 1800ES on BaT with those ugly square lights tacked on, I can’t help but shake my head.

      1. Any yard I’ve been to in the last 30 years has pulled the batteries before the carcasses are accessible to the great unwashed masses like myself.

  9. There is a date for the presentation of the production version of the Buggy next month? Somewhere in Wolfsburg, a product manager clutches his models of Bulli, Microbus, Budd-e, and idBuzz and suppresses bitter tears. “At least they will be loyal to me when I struggle and end up in prison for some hypothetical reason”, he sobs.

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