The News for July 22nd, 2022

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: Ford answers prayers with Raptor R, Chevrolet debuts Blazer EV along with impressive SS model, Cadillac shows off the Celestiq for like the 8th time, Aston Martin rebrands, Honda debuts the new Civic Type-R, and your news for the week.

Ford Raptor R

Ever since the 2nd-generation Raptor ditched the V8 for an EcoBoost V6, it’s become a footnote in every conversation about the Raptor. “If only it still had a V8”. “The EcoBoost sounds awful”. “I want a Raptor, but…”. You get the idea. Well some Ford engineers had enough of our whinging and have responded with the Raptor R, a powerful offroader that brings V8 goodness back to the Raptor for the first time since 2014.

And it’s not just any V8, it’s the supercharged 5.2-liter “Predator” from the GT500. It’s been retuned and optimized for off-road performance and durability, so its power output is limited to “only” 700 horsepower and 640 lb.-ft. of torque. That makes it very competitive against its closest rival, the Ram TRX. It’s short by two whole horsepower and ten lb.-ft. of torque. But weight is on the Raptor R’s side by about 400 pounds.

The lightweight aluminum block means the Raptor R is only a hundred pounds heavier than the standard version with its EcoBoost V6. Refitting the engine, which is normally a high-revving rocket of an engine in the GT500, for off road use meant recalibrating the supercharger and installing a new pulley. The results are increased torque delivery at the low-end and mid-range. While it lacks 60 horsepower and some of its high-rev performance, it gains 25 lb.-ft. of torque and a more usable power band.

The rest of the truck only needs minor modifications to handle the extra power. Each of its drive modes for handling different terrain has been recalibrated and it’s had a 5% increase in its front spring rate. The 37″ tires that were optional equipment on the base Raptor are standard on the Raptor R. Glancing through the spec sheet, all clearances, suspension travel, and off road stats are identical between both models with 37″ tires.

And you could argue that the looks are identical too. The visual changes are minor. The Raptor R has a larger and more aggressively-styled power dome on the hood (for functional reasons). Code Orange accents on the Raptor R badge are placed on the grille, power dome, and tailgate to let everyone know. There’s also a new graphics package on the rear fenders unique to the Raptor R.

Everything else about the truck, as far as we can tell, is the same. The Raptor has already been a gold standard of off-road-oriented pickups. Whether you’re in a Silverado ZR2, a Ram TRX, or a Toyota TRD Pro model, it’s been influenced in some way by the success of the Raptor. Ford believes that slapping in a V8 is all they really need to do on this Raptor R to make it perform well and for it to be desirable. I think they’re right. There’s a last call going on for oversized trucks with big hilarious engines, and Ford is running to the bar with a fist full of cash. “Just one more I promise“.

Pricing hasn’t been revealed yet. Not that it matters much when dealers are going to charge whatever they want for it.

[Source: Ford]

Chevrolet Blazer EV

Meanwhile at Chevrolet, the crossover that’s still called the Blazer even though I’m sure they regret not saving the name for a Jeep and Bronco competitor has been debuted in EV form with a load of specs to run through. The Blazer EV will be available in a wide variety of trims and configurations. It’s even available in every drive configuration available – FWD, RWD, and AWD.

Available trim levels include the base 1LT, 2LT, RS, an SS performance model, and even a Police Pursuit Vehicle model for law enforcement. It’s based on GM’s Ultium Platform and takes styling queues from the other Blazer, the Camaro, and Corvette. Overall I think it looks rather good. But most importantly you can tell it’s an EV because of the light bar in front.

The technical highlights are as such: up to 320 miles of range depending on the trim, 11.5 kW level 2 (AC) charging and standard DC public fast-charging capability of up to 190 kW, and available Super Cruise hands-free driving tech for compatible roads. They don’t go into specifics on the electric motors in use or battery pack sizes. But there’s clearly some variety as the standard 1LT has a 247-mile range while the 2LT has a 293-mile range. You have to step up to the RS for that full 320 miles. And on said RS model, it’s unclear which drivetrain has what range as it’s available in FWD or RWD as standard or AWD as an optional extra. There’s a lot of variety here and it can be assumed that each option impacts the range. So that’ll be fun for them to figure out.

Meanwhile, the Blazer SS (pictured) promises to be a good time. It will be the first electric SS model in company history and has some impressive stats already. It will ship with an exclusive performance AWD setup which can produce up to 557 horsepower and 648 lb.-ft. of torque in WOW (Wide Open Watts) mode. Expect a sub-4-second 0-60 time, a 290-mile driving range, and Brembo front brakes.

The Blazer EV begins its rollout next summer. The 2LT and RS launch first with pricing set at $47,595 and $51,995. The SS follows later in 2023 with pricing at $65,995. The cheaper 1LT will launch in Q1 2024 because GM believes rich people are more important.

[Source: Chevrolet]

Cadillac Celestiq

GM has a thing where they like to roll out with stunning concept cars so they can be like “hey, look at this!” before they turn around and give us something far more boring. All brands do this to an extent but I think GM does it more than anyone. I have a feeling this is what’s happening here with the Cadillac Celestiq.

This will eventually be a production car, their flagship in fact. But how close it will look to this show car is anyone’s guess. “The show car previews some of the materials, innovative technologies and hand-crafted attention to detail harnessed to express Cadillac’s vision for the future”, the release states. It certainly looks stunning and very unique. But we’ll have to wait till later this year before we get what might actually be the final version of the car they’ve been teasing for years now.

[Source: Cadillac]

Aston Martin updates logo, world peace is achieved

Someone in a management level position within Aston Martin had the “we need to appeal to new buyers” talk. One thing leads to another and Aston Martin is now rebranding with a simplified badge and a new brand expression. And just like that, new buyers who had held off on their $300,000 order because the brand just wasn’t exciting enough are returning calls to dealers. You did it, Aston Martin. The business has been businessed.

The new logo (right) features small adjustments to the famous wing badge. There’s a line that’s removed and the remaining lines and text have been made thicker. That’s it. And the new brand expression/slogan/tagline is “Intensity. Driven.” This “strategic repositioning” is the largest investment in Aston Martin’s brand for more than a decade and the first new logo since 2003 as well as only the 8th logo in the company’s history. As for why, well they wanted to build on their “growing appeal for a wider, affluent global audience strategically targeted by the brand” – which is how someone who spent too much on their masters degree says “we want more of you rich fucks to buy our shit”. This winning strategy surely had a nifty Power Point to go along with it, so the people in charge couldn’t possibly say no.

Anyways, look for Aston Martin’s updated #branding and logo to appear on new cars bought by CEOs who cut employee benefits for higher bonuses and crypto bros who pump and dumped their way into a new Valkyrie.

[Source: Aston Martin]

ICYMI: Civic Type R

2023 Honda Civic Type R

One of the best enthusiast cars on the market just got brought into a new generation. The Civic Type R is all-new and quite a bit different than the outgoing model. We have the full story here as well as some in-person impressions here.

What’s your automotive news?

hooniverse news whats your naws

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.

I'm the guy that spoiled the site with all the new car stuff. Hooniverse News Editor since 2011, amateur motorsport photographer, sim racer, and mountain road enthusiast.

20 Comments

  1. Having grown tired of waiting 10 minutes for the ol’ 428 to warm up and not knowing which nursing home the last Quadrajet guru is living in, I’m putting a Holley Sniper EFI on the Trans Am this weekend. Or at least I’m starting it and will try to get as much of the big stuff done as possible to then curse the idea for the next couple of months while I piecemeal it to a finish. I went whole hog and got the kit with a distributor to control the timing as well. Looks like the worst of it will be running new fuel lines, but I’ve stocked up on options to give myself multiple fighting chances. There’s a manual 5 speed in its future too. After that, I’m just a set of upsized brakes and modern tires away from pretending that it’s daily-able.

      1. My brother came over and the second set of hands and mental calibration around what needs to be passable, good enough, or closer to perfect helped out immensely. We managed to get the new tank (with internal pump) and the lines set up. I need to finalize the vent line, but otherwise the fuel delivery part is set up. A hundred things could go wrong, of course, but the most difficult thing left to do is to get the O2 sensor mounted in the exhaust, but Holley made that fairly easy so long as I can get my drill in at the right angle.

        1. Definitely nice to have an extra set of hands when installing a tank, no matter what the reason. For tight spaces I highly recommend the Milwaukee M12 Installation tool. You can get in some really tight spaces with that. The other tip is to check out McMaster they have short length drill bits that also help in tight spaces, don’t know if they have the big enough for an O2 sensor though. Yet another option is the step bit and many of those actually have the hex bit still drive that works really good with that install tool.

  2. I was busy getting my Black Marauder back on the road (and spending a lot of money). It has been sitting for a long time because it is from the short period where they got a bunch of axle shafts that weren’t properly hardened on the bearing surface. The one side had started making noise, prompting it getting parked. That was quite a pain as the axle actually had a groove ~1/8″ deep and of course that metal had to go somewhere. The tube was filled with shrapnel as was the area for stuff like that to settle in the pumpkin. The other side had some in it too. I spent 5-6 hours with a cleaning those tubes so that the rag only came out with a little glitter. I rigged up a chunk of angle aluminum with a piece of 3/4 copper pipe and sponge zipped tied to the end. around that I would wrap one of those disposable shop towels. Then spray down the tube with brake clean slide the massive Q tip down the top of the tube drop it down and pull it out. Then fold back a layer of towel and repeat. I went through 6 cans of brake fluid and over 1/2 a box of the shop towels and still was getting a bit of “glitter” on the towel. I finally gave up put it back together and ordered some strong magnets and 3 more bags of 75-140. They would stick on the aluminum diff cover if they were anywhere near the ring gear, they are that strong. I did double stick tape two in the hump for the ring gear and one on a flat spot down low. The plan is to run it for a 100-150 miles, pull the cover off, check for any glitter near the magnets and refill.

    The bearing on the other side looked good but there was some galling on the axle shaft itself. Not sure if that was a bad axle too or if that was caused by the metal floating around in the lube. The kit which I purchased years ago came with both axles, bearing and seals so it got replaced too.

    It is quiet now, and the ring, pinion and diff gears all looked good, so fingers crossed that the diff and pinion bearings are in decent shape. I do only drive it a couple of thousand miles per year so hopefully I’ll get several years out of it either way.

    One of the calipers had seized and as expected the parking brake shoes on the one side had been oiled down by the leaking seal. The rotors were also pretty crusty from the long time it sat. So 4 new calipers and rotors Front and rear pads, parking brake shoes and hardware.

    One of the idler pulleys is making some noise so the next project on it is to replace those, the tensioner and belt. Then I need to figure out why the power mirrors aren’t working and either clean or replace the master power window switch because I can’t roll down the passenger side window from it. Oh and one of the rear speakers is rattling too so that is on the list as well.

    1. And then there is the truck, or should I say the door for the truck’s canopy. The bottom latch has been problematic since I bought it thanks to some previous repairs. The 1/16″ wall tubing doesn’t hold rivets that well so someone put in a couple of bolts. But they had caused the tube to crack and the latch to flop around. The other day it swung shut and did in the tube. My solution was to get a length of 5/8″ aluminum bar stock. I had to sand it down a bit to get it to slide into the mangled tube but was able to make it a slight friction fit. Drilled and tapped it for the latch and to attach to the tube above and below the chunk that broke out. I was even able to wedge the broken chunk under the bracket. The problem is that it really wants to be connected too close to the edge of the bar stock to have enough meat around the hole. That has pushed the bracket a little too far out so the latch rubs as it closes. Tomorrow I’ll do a little more filing, grinding and sanding to get enough adjustment room to get everything lined right. The top is still attached with rivets, but is floppy, so I’m eventually going to put an insert for the top latch to bolt too.

  3. Finally coming down the home stretch for my Maverick to come in. According to the Ford vehicle tracker , it has been built and being shipped (via rail) right now. If all goes well, early August at the dealership. My daughter’s old Vibe has been my faithful stand in for now. That car did yet another move this past weekend, moving my other child to college for her graduate program. I also have an offer from someone to purchase the Vibe when my truck arrives. There is some incidental stuff I want to do to the Vibe (change Power steering fluid and a trans fluid change but will wait until the weather breaks.

  4. Another first in my life:
    Whenever I am in Germany I buy a couple of magazines for veteran cars/oldtimers. This time, nothing struck my interest: another “three quirky French cars you are already familiar with”, “this Mercedes was expensive in the 60ies and still is today”, and “driving a shoddy one-off from an Italian blacksmith from the 50ies”. I have read it all, and younger cars are too familiar to me to be worth reading about.
    Getting old enough not to care any longer?

    1. I recently stopped my Car & Driver subscription I’ve had since the late 1980’s. I’ve come to the realization at my age that I would rather research any new car that interests me. It really isn’t against C&D, R&T, etc. It is more with me being comfortable with not caring about some impossible hyper car that graces the pages but will sit on a battery tender in some rich person’s garage. I also have become more concerned with fuel mileage and less about arbitrary performance metrics. And to be fair, a concise video review(hat tip to Jeff) will much more easily hold my interest. I can also pull up any review instantly on a car of interest and find several different reviewers giving their take on the vehicle.

      That being said, I also agree that a proper coffee table book or magazine with excellent photography, great writing and great paper is still a joy to read.

  5. Glass for the M3 is on the slow boat from Germany, which means I am getting OEM glass, without a fight. In related news, since my auto insurance renewal is up the middle of August, I received the bill for it, and my insurance company already raised the rate on the M3 by 25%. Thanks, insurance company! I hope this windshield replacement costs you at least a couple of grand. You deserve it!

  6. i found a set of 17” AMG wheels on fb marketplace for my W124 with partially-worn tires, which ended up costing about the same as getting cheap 15” tires for the current wheels. so i bought them. they’re unbelievably heavy, so today i’m going to replace the front ball joints before installing them. hopefully my car makes me look like a baller now.

    i’ve also been in the process of tearing out the old stucco ceiling in my garage. about a year after buying my house, i’ve finally finished up the other projects enough to start sprucing up the garage. once the ceiling is out i’ll pull out a non-structural wall making my 2-car garage into a 1-car, run some lights and sockets, and coat the floor in something oil resistant.

    this is my favorite kind of project – labor intensive but cheap, immediately gratifying, low consequences if i give up. entertainment for weeks. the biggest cost is going to be removing the debris. the junk haulers from behind home depot are going to charge me an arm and a leg for this shit.

    1. update: the late W124 uses control arms with ball joints permanently pressed in. so i now have $400 worth of control arm headed my way, and $100 worth of useless ball joint i ordered too long ago to return. expensive lesson.

  7. Currently, one of Volvos is in K-Jetronic hell. I attempted to rebuild its buggy fuel distributor myself… FAIL. Despite many careful hours of attention, sweating the details as best I could… the damn thing leaks like a sieve. I think I may have converted it into a paperweight.

    Options?

    1) Pro fuel distributor rebuild at $300, with no assurance that the system will work any better than it did before I messed with it.

    2) Convert to LH-Jetronic, which I just happen to have the parts for, except for the crank sensor arrangement that would necessitate removing the transmission and flywheel and modifying the engine block. Or, trying to graft a custom trigger wheel setup to the crank pulley, which would be a -massive- pain in the ass. Not looking promising.

    3) Push the whole mess out of the garage and light it on fire.

    Contemplating number 3 at the moment. (grumble)

      1. Yeah, I’m actually leaning toward the K-Jet repair at the moment. Option 4 might be to build a Megasquirt system, although that would be a can of worms when it comes to being emissions legal. Option 5 would be a side draft Weber, but that just seems almost too silly to contemplate.

        The thing is, the drivetrain on this car only has about 98K miles, which is just broken in for a red block Volvo. It feels like a waste to not revive it. But, the repairtime-to-drivetime ratio has really gotten out of balance.

        1. it’s all pre-OBD2 right? hide the ecu somewhere, keep the stock connectors. i doubt an inspector will notice. (i assume you’re in california or somewhere else where they check for stock equipment.)

  8. I’m preparing for next week’s Lemons Rally (San Luis Obispo to San Luis Obispo) by repainting the faded and/or peeled-away car numbers on my 96. This is clearly a high priority inasmuch as car numbers are in no way required for the rally.

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