The News for June 18th, 2021

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: Porsche gives enthusiasts what they want, Mazda announces plans for EV expansion, GM seeks to make their problems go away with money, Koenigsegg laughs at your alternative fuels from their volcano lair, and Ford begins Bronco production.

Porsche 911 GT3 Touring

One of the most beloved flavors of 911 is returning. The Porsche 911 GT3 Touring is the wingless 992-generation hero car that enthusiasts will go crazy over. It’s a car that amplifies the driving pleasure you can only get from a GT3, but perhaps at a slightly different pace.

The GT3 Touring first began life – sort of – as the 991-generation 911 R which was a limited-run, outrageously expensive, but gorgeous enthusiast-spec car. It took everything that made the 991 era GT3 wonderful but ditched the big wing and added a manual, a first of that generation GT3. It quickly became the most sought after car Porsche was making at the time and the resale values were more inflated than crypto. Porsche realized that there was an opportunity and that they like printing money, so the GT3 Touring package was introduced shortly thereafter. It was a manual-only wingless GT3 for people who wanted all of the same performance (minus downforce) but in a more understated shell and with a bit more luxury. It sold well enough to warrant a second go at it.

This 992-generation 911 GT3 Touring follows a similar formula. This time though, both the six-speed manual and seven-speed PDK are available. Regardless of how you row gears, the 4.0-liter flat six will scream to 9,000 RPM and generate the same 502 horsepower all the same. It’s not been detuned at all compared to the regular GT3. Perched above the engine is an active spoiler, not unlike what’s on regular 911s, so there’s still some level of rear downforce available when the conditions call for it. Otherwise it’s tucked away for a smooth and beautiful look.

Other styling differences include high-gloss anodized aluminum trim strips on the side windows and a body color-matched front fascia (parts of it are painted black on the GT3). The interior is a bit more luxurious compared to the race car atmosphere of the regular GT3. This features extended leather upholstery and special surface embossing on the dashboard panels and upper door trim. What’s noticeably missing inside is all of the alcantara that dominated the GT3’s cabin. The steering wheel, shifter, arm rests, door inserts, and more are all leather now.

It’s yours for only $162,450 including destination. The manual is available as a no cost option unless you live in California because of dumb laws that haven’t been updated (yet) for the modern era of performance cars. The first models will arrive sometime in early 2022.

[Source: Porsche]

Mazda details planned EV expansion

We haven’t heard much from Mazda about their plans for EVs, because… well, they haven’t really told us about it. At all. A few years ago though Mazda announced a technical partnership with Toyota right around the same time Mazda revealed a breakthrough in HCCI engine technology that promised to greatly improve internal combustion engine efficiency. It seemed, at the time, that Mazda would benefit hugely from that partnership when it inevitably became time for them to start making EVs. Well, new details this week have essentially confirmed that.

Mazda is planning a total of 13 electrified cars by 2025, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and full electric models. The rollout begins next year and will culminate in the electrification of all models by 2030. Toyota’s hybrid technology is expected to be used anywhere it can, though they say their own EV platform is in the works.

[Source: Mazda]

GM commits even more money to EV development

Cadillac LYRIQ’

One of the things the industry has been watching carefully is how GM was going to respond to Ford’s recent advances in the EV space. With the not-a-Mustang Mach E proving popular and the Lightning disrupting the pickup market in a big way, GM needs to fire back with more than the $60k Lyriq and the outrageously expensive Hummer EV.

This week, GM fired back. With money. They’ve increased their planned investments in the EV and AV space to a massive $35 billion through 2025. The most recent figure they had thrown out was $27 billion from last fall and $20 billion from March 2020. In total, GM says this new figure is a 75% increase from pre-pandemic figures they had originally announced.

The funds will go towards accelerating development and production of their Ultium battery cell and Hydrotec fuel cell. The end goal of course is to put EVs in the hands of retail and fleet customers more quickly as Ford has gotten a bit of a head start with the Lightning which has well over 100,000 reservations.

The horsepower war we’ve enjoyed over the last decade is being replaced by an EV war. It was fun while it lasted.

[Source: GM via Jalopnik]

Koenigsegg looks to volcanoes for alternative fuel

Koenigsegg Jesko

Koenigsegg has earned a reputation for being an innovative and exciting company that builds hypercars for the world’s elite and insufferable. With how small of a company they are, they’re free to experiment with transmission-less cars and camless engines and push their performance to unreal levels. Their latest experiment is sourcing fuel from volcanoes.

Christian von Koenigsegg explains to Bloomberg:

So there is this technology from Iceland, it was invented there, where they cap the CO2 emittance from semi-active volcanoes and convert that into methanol. And if you take that methanol and you power the plants that do the conversion of other fuels and then power the ship that transports the those fuels to Europe or the U.S. or Asia, wherever it goes, you put the fuel completely CO2-neutral into the vehicle.

Koenigsegg went on to explain that given their size and agility, they aren’t married to any particular type of powertrain, whether it be ICE or electric or powered by a damn volcano. But they do hope to increase their influence a bit with mobility solutions that can be exported in greater numbers than their limited-run hypercars.

[Source: Jalopnik, Bloomberg]

Ford begins Bronco production

At long last, the big boy Bronco is returning. After what seemed like an eternity since reservations were opened up, the Bronco has begun to roll off the assembly line. David Tracy with Jalopnik was there to witness some of the first examples put weight on their wheels for the first time. It’s a great moment for off road enthusiasts and those who have “NOT OJ” vanity plates secured already. I highly recommend checking out the Jalopnik piece for all of the glorious details and images.

[Source: Jalopnik]

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.

18 Comments

  1. The Slingshot driving experience:

    So when we last conversed, the MiSSus was bringing home a Slingshot for a few days of fun. The ride she got was a base – and I mean BASE model. No radio, plain white paint, no nuthin’. Still looks like a spaceship. I’ve never even sat in one, let alone drive one so I was pretty excited. The seating position is actually pretty comfy. You are really laid down – like riding a recumbent bike – but it feels good and natural. The seats suck (at least on the base car. I think they get nicer when you spend more money). They are very hard, and have a weird bolstering to them. My back started to get stiff and uncomfortable feeling after awhile.
    The important parts though – oooh boy. The clutch is perfect. Might be the best feeling clutch I’ve ever driven. Not too soft, nor too firm, just Goldilocks. Easy take up point and man, if a person was just learning how to drive a stick – this is the perfect choice to learn. The shifter too is really good. Short throws, can’t miss engagement, just really nice. Power – well, I could easily catch rubber in the first four gears. It really wants to rev. There’s plenty of torque, so a guy doesn’t have to pull the higher revs….but yeah, it’s a lot more fun to crank it up to redline. 0 to the speedlimit (oh who am I kidding, I mean 0 to about 80) is a hoot. I really didn’t push it much higher – there really wasn’t a reason too, plus deer. Handling – well, duh. It’s a 1700lb vehicle with 180 hp, designed to truly corner on rails. And it does – almost scary how sharp that thing carves.

    So the final verdict for the GTXcellent household? Not really the ride for us. It actually got kind of boring to drive. I think that’s more of a result of where we live – it’s flat here. Most of our roads are gravel, and the paved ones are arrow straight. If we lived in hills and curves – totally different. The other drawback in my mind is that it just doesn’t have that “good time vibe” of a convertible, because we had to wear helmets. I’m not advocating riding/driving without brain buckets (sadly, I’ve seen the fatal results up close when you ride without one), but the experience is different wearing one. For us, we decided that a Miata would provide more smiles per miles. (and funny, the other night the MiSSus was hinting that maybe we should look for another NB Miata. Sorry dear, not gonna happen for awhile). But don’t let me lack of enthusiasm affect you guys – everyone go out and buy 3 of them. Right now!

  2. “Other automobile news”: With my knack for breaking gas powered devices, it was time to buy a new lawnmower again. We intended to switch to battery-powered, but the story here is much the same as with boat engines: Reasonably priced machines have only a fraction of 1 hp, no mulching function, no proper wheels, and the battery will last for 300-400 square meters only before needing a recharge. Ridiculous.

    Better stuff is available, but compared to cheap, 3 hp gas mowers, we’re talking three to four times the price – at least. With splash lubricated mowers lasting about 6-7 years on our slope, having minimal service and usage cost, that’s just not a competitive proposition, yet, despite that sentence making my inner ecologist cringe.

    So we went for [random Chinese factory] model [numbers resembling displacement and power rating, but apparently random, too]. It’s the loudest thing I’ve ever owned at a heartshaking 93 dB. Ferrari red. Central height adjustment. Wheels that did not come off a Fisher Price toy.

    Work on the Centennial was delayed, again. My mechanic always has good reasons, and I am sympathetic to the challenges he faces. But I’d really love to get my car back. As Norwegians say, this year’s summer was on a tuesday, and I’d like to catch a few of the good days on the road, too.

  3. I learned about an interesting side effect of subsidized EVs in a country with high VAT (25%) and funny fees on cars: the “totaled” threshold of 60% for a replacement is reached very soon because the new cars get a number of tax and fee breaks, whereas spare parts and labor are fully taxed. Consequently, rather moderately damaged cars are declared totaled; the effective threshold is more like 35%.
    Always amazed by how simple and complex the world is, at the same time.

    1. I suppose you don’t own a TV either, but this was discussed around new year’s a bit. Nissan Leaf get wrecked at 8-9 years old a lot for this reason, and it’s crazy. Especially since labour and parts rates for this car are unreasonable – it seems like Nissan dealers equate fewer visits, as EVs don’t need much servicing, with much higher prices.

      Btw, I tried to get my charger-changing odyssey posted here, but it wasn’t doable. The estimate was at 70% of the car’s value, too. Found an EV forum instead:

      https://www.speakev.com/posts/3034845/

      1. Your social engineering is spot on, no TV. I can tell the relevant soccer from the screaming in the neighborhood, both national and international matches.

  4. Twenty-four weeks later…

    45 Years Later, The Christmas Gift That Got Me Into Cars

    When Tanshanomi posted that just before New Years I went on a search for a copy and found one listed in the inventory of Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon. Lucky for me I have a close friend who had just moved back to PDX after 25 years and was itchin’ to get into Powell’s. But, you know, pandemic & shit.

    Just this week a copy of Fixing Cars, A Peoples Primer showed up in the mail. It had been secreted away in the mysterious “Pearl Room” of Powell’s Burnside location. A clerk had to go in and get it for my friend, since the Pearl Room and Rare Book Room are both still off limits.

    This book is great! Definitely an artifact of the post-war D.I.Y. movement, and definitely a San Francisco Weirdo Culture product. Lotsa words, not all about cars. Also cartoons, some about Norton motorcycles.

    I’m still on the hunt for a second copy to send to Sjalabais, unless Norway has raised it’s postage rates again.

  5. Well, the 71 Spider has had the busiest week in the fleet: a State Safety Inspection and an Italian car club meeting. The Spider is 50 years old this year and is obviously a candidate for Antique Car license plates and consequently no state inspection. However I deliberately and consciously do not have her registered as an antique vehicle. This doesn’t stem from vanity but from self-knowledge: the requirement to pass the examination makes me stay on top of the little stuff which I would otherwise let slide.Decline starts with bad wiper blades, spreads to a burned out turn signal bulb, and creeps like cancer from there. No problem here though; she passed easily for a cost of $7 (no emissions test) and all the young mechanics at the inspection station ooohed and awed over her, and asked questions. She got all the attention and of course is now running much more smoothly, like the Italian girl she is. I left with a great hope and happiness about the future of classic cars among the youth.

    Now the car club meeting. We had a great turnout with some twenty plus cars. However, only two were ‘classics’: my Spider, and an Alfa 164. The rest were comprised of a newish Maserati, a couple of newish Ferraris, a couple of Abarth Fiat 500’s, and the remainder were split roughly evenly among new Fiat Spiders, and various variants of the new Alfa Giulia. The crowd was mostly in their 30’s and 40’s, and they really were not about old cars at all. My car sat relatively unnoticed and unloved in the middle of a long string of new Fiat Spiders, and she looked small and underpowered amidst those fat and sleek turbo Spiders. If the cars were shoes the new Fiat Spiders would be side 9 or 9.5 (42 or 43) running shoes, and my Spider a size 6.5 or 7 (39 or 40) sprinter’s track shoe. Most vehicles these days are hiking boots, of course, but never mind: back to the cars at the meeting.

    The Alfa 164 was making its farewell appearance; she dropped a valve on the rear bank of that Busso V-6 and fixing that would require pulling the engine. Our local Alfa Guru/mechanic has declared the cost of repair unjustifiable even by hobby car standards. The 164 will not be junked but will sold to become resident in the garage of a naive optimist who believes that he will be able to do that which the professional mechanic disdained. We shall (most likely never) see. I am predicting a partially disassembled ‘barn-find’ in 10 years. In the meantime one of the Giulias had just finished an 11,000 mile drive across America

    https://giuliaacrossamerica2021.now.site/home?fbclid=IwAR1KAlgvKUji9VycETuCR574cCQ0Wy01LfC–UCTOPc4GKxVVQcTMCAP2vQ

    The whole meeting was a bit unsettling to me. Clearly we have a changing of the guard occurring. None of the old guys with their classics showed up and none who showed up cared about classics. I was was the lone old guy in a sports car cap; thank God I left the string back driving glove at the house. I think I shall have to see other old car guys. Perhaps one of the British car clubs will take me in like a war-orphan…..

    All this must mean something; in my case, I think it means I should pour another drink.

    1. Give it time, the old guard is not gone, after all. And youngsters are easily persuaded by old, pretty cars, too. I was surprised by how our last two national day celebrations brought out a lot of cool old cars in my village alone. They’re usually not part of the show, but corona called for a different way to celebrate, and I believe it really lifted the local car collectors. It’s not a prestigious hobby here, but just that little bit of positive light on the cars might have planted a few seeds in the kids around here.

    2. You need a tire dealer like I have: he did the wheels on the 944 and thanked me for keeping it on the road: “We have new Porsches in every single day, nothing special for us. When your car rolled up everyone in the shop strolled by and took a look. Thanks for using it!” (Then he mentioned he owned a 928, so I guess the employees there don’t take a second look for that anymore…)

      Thank you for keeping it on the road!

  6. I’m dividing my wrenching time between a couple of cars right now, but opted to farm out the malfunctioning taillight problem to an electrical specialist a few blocks away.

    The consensus on the forums is that there’s a 90% chance the headlight switch went bad. Well, it turned out the switch is indeed bad, but a prior owner had attempted a fix that bungled the wiring, too. The switch will arrive Monday, but a source for the pigtail is still TBD.

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