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. I just throw in a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:
Ford reveals one-off tribute to the “Ole Yeller” P-51D and its famous pilot
Hyundai gives the Elantra a proper sport model
Aston Martin Q and a dealer celebrate 80 years of the Spitfire
Mazda enhances driving dynamics for the 2017 Mazda3
Ford GT plus wind tunnel equals eye candy
Leaked documents show dealers need $30k+ investment to service GTs
What’s your automotive news?
Ford “Ole Yeller” Mustang
It’s that time of year again. EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is a few weeks away and Ford has prepped a very special Mustang for an annual charity auction which benefits various EAA youth programs centered around getting children into aviation. This is the ninth straight year Ford has come up with something like this, a one-off Mustang with a unique aviation theme. Prior themes include the Blue Angels, Thunderbirds, F-35 JSF, the Red Tails, and even the Apollo space program. This year the theme is a little more back down to earth with an “Ole Yeller” theme based on one of the most recognizable P-51D Mustangs in the world.
Ole Yeller is, among other things, famous for holding the prop plane record for coast-to-coast travel at 5 hours and 20 minutes set in 1985 by “Bob” Hoover. The plane is recognizable by its bright-yellow paint scheme and Hoover is recognizable by his bewildering aerobatics. Hoover, known as the father of modern aerobatics and the guy who can pour iced tea while rolling a plane filled with generals, performed with Ole Yeller for 20 years before selling it to a friend who still flies it regularly from the Legacy Flight Museum in Rexburg, Idaho. The plane and the pilot are honored with the Ole Yeller Mustang.
This one-off Ole Yeller Mustang is based on the Shelby GT350 because it pretty much had to be. It’s the perfect platform for a P-51 tribute with its high-revving 5.2-liter “Voodoo” V8 with 526 horsepower, its track-ready chassis, enhanced aerodynamics, and its earth-shattering sound. That all seems to have been left untouched.
All this GT350 needs to look the part is custom yellow paint with Ole Yeller accents and badging, a larger rear wing, custom wheels, unique carbon fiber components, and side mirrors projecting images of the P-51D it’s inspired by. Inside, it features specially-designed Recaro seats, sill plates, floor mats with unique logos, and aviation inspired gauges. The plane doesn’t have neon lights though…
The Ole Yeller Mustang will be donated to EAA and sold at the Gathering of Eagles charity event on July 28th. Proceeds go to EAA’s youth education programs, including the Young Eagles who inspire new generations of aviators. It’s an interesting car for a great cause.
2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport
The Hyundai Elantra is finally getting a proper sport model which goes beyond flashy badges and plastic spoilers. The recently redesigned compact benefits from a good variety of powertrain updates, chassis tweaks, and visual enhancements that make it an actual Sport model. Details haven’t fully emerged yet, but there’s enough info to know it just may be the next car the automotive mediaverse unanimously falls in love with.
It’ll be visually recognizable by model-specific exterior accents such as the revised air intakes which flank the grille (most of that doesn’t look functional, but there does seem to be a small opening in there), revised accents which house the LED running lights, and a new rear bumper. It all rides on new wheels which are 12″ in diameter for maximum weight reduction… that’s my way of saying they actually didn’t talk much about the wheels or anything else with the exterior.
Its interior features other model-specific features like a flat-bottomed steering wheel, sports seats, and red contrast stitching. Otherwise, it all pretty much looks as good as it does on the standard car.
Its sporty looks are backed up by a 1.6-liter Turbo GDI four-cylinder engine which produces “more than” 200 horsepower and 190 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s substantially more than any Elantra has ever had; the standard Elantra SE and Limited have 147 horsepower, for reference. Drivers are given a choice of a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with paddle shifters. Yes, a Hyundai Elantra has a DCT now.
Hyundai promises that the most powerful Elantra ever will also be the most fun to drive thanks to an independent multi-link rear suspension designed to elevate driving dynamics and feel. They may have touched some other suspension components as well and lowered it a bit, but that’s all that was mentioned.
The Hyundai Elantra Sport will be available in American showrooms by Q4 2016. Pricing, full specs, and other details will be announced closer to its launch date.
Aston Martin V12 Vantage S “Spitfire 80”
Few things a more British than a V12-powered Aston Martin wearing a dark green paint scheme. One of those things is the Supermarine Spitfire, one of the most beautiful and most fierce fighters of WWII. With its elliptical wing design (on the early models), its available Rolls-Royce Merlin V12 power, and as many as eight Browning machine guns, it was a triumph of aerospace engineering and it proved itself to be an effective weapon as it helped save the UK from invasion.
That marvelous piece of defense history is what an Aston Martin dealer in Cambridge is paying homage to with a limited-run special edition model of the V12 Vantage S built in collaboration with Aston Martin’s Q division. It’s called the “Spitfire 80” and only eight are ever being produced 80 years after the Spitfire first flew.
The Brownings are not available, but the Spitfire 80 does feature a bespoke paint scheme. The color is called Duxford Green, named after the RAF airbase which was home to the first Spitfire squadron. Adding some contrast are yellow pin stripes like the ones which highlighted those elliptical wings back in the day.
Most of the remaining exterior is untouched, but one neat exception is the finish chosen for the tail pipes, which Aston describes as a “rainbow bloom” effect to match the Spitfire’s exhaust stacks – the same ones with which the Merlin V12 would spit massive flames from, like so.
Inside, a tasteful choice of materials and upholstery colors goes along great with the exterior paint colors. There’s special embroidery in the headrest and an RAF roundel to remind occupants that they’re well-equipped to deal with German rivals… from Porsche and Mercedes-AMG, not Messerschmitt and Focke-Wulf.
Pricing for each of the eight examples is around £180,000 which is lord knows how many US dollars by now. Buyers will pick up their pretend Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford (which is an incredible museum that I can’t recommend enough) and includes a private aerial display from a Mk 1 Spitfire.
[Sources: TopGear via Autoblog]
The Mazda3 will receive a couple of updates for the new model year, including Mazda’s new G-Vectoring Control. We’ll see the new models by year’s end, but visually they won’t look much different if at all. The big update here is its new driving dynamics designed to promote Jinba Ittai, or a feeling of horse/rider-like connectivity. It’ll have an ideal driving position as all Mazdas do and it’s been developed based on a “human-centered development philosophy supported with research into human traits and sensations in order to ensure a pleasing driving feel”. Sounds neat. In English, it means the new GVC unit provides integrated control of the engine, transmission, chassis, and body to enhance vehicle control and driving pleasure in every way possible.
The Ford GT went through some final stages of wind tunnel testing recently. It’s a cool chance to see some of their advanced aero and active aero elements at work. It’s just… glorious.
And speaking of the Ford GT, dealers who want to service the new supercar will need to dish out some cash to become an authorized service center. All Ford Mustangs acquired an internal document which covers everything a dealership needs to do just to service the thing. It’s a $30,000+ investment to get everything set up. Ford requires a special clean room for all GT services which is restricted to one GT and one GT technician whenever a car is in the bay. And if a GT requires any kind of service besides a fluid change, the dealer needs to phone in a Multimatic technician as they’re the ones who build the thing. Finally, getting the car to the service center is the dealer’s responsibility. A special lift system needs to be fitted to a trailer, because rich Ford buyers can’t be bothered to just drive it over themselves. If you’re interested, the full documentation is posted at All Ford Mustangs.
[Source: All Ford Mustangs via Autoweek]
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 © 2016 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]