The News for June 24th, 2016

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:

  • I made a Volvo S90 as the lead image again because R-Design

  • Dodge prepares to say goodbye to the Viper after 25 years

  • Aston Martin confirms the Vanquish Zagato for limited production

  • This week in crazy: Lanzante is making a road legal McLaren P1 GTR

  • Update: Mercedes reveals hardcore AMG GT R

  • What’s your automotive news?

Volvo S90 and V90 R-Design

Too much Volvo S90/V90 is never a bad thing. It was only two weeks ago that Polestar, Volvo’s in-house performance specialists, revealed a performance package for Scandinavia’s flagship sedan and wagon. Now it’s time for the parent company to take a knivhugg at making one.
The new S90 and V90 now officially have their very own R-Design versions and ordering books are open now. Volvo has a few R-Designs out now and each one is an edgier, sportier appearance package that also brings a few improvements to the driving dynamics. It’s not like what the M5 is to the 535i and it isn’t supposed to be. The R-Design doesn’t make it any better or worse at being a Volvo that can do things Volvo owners love; it just makes it a Volvo that drivers can have a bit of fun with when no one is looking. It also makes it insanely gorgeous.
This package on the 90 Series follows the same winning formula with a new front-end design incorporating a unique grille and spoiler-integrated fog lights. Other R-Design exclusives include piano black trim at both ends and five-spoke matte black diamond-cut wheels. Inside, R-Design adds unique deco trim, special pedals and mats, sporty contour seats, special steering wheel, and a high level interior illumination package.
There’s some extra chassis development involved with the R-Design but they didn’t go into specifics. It was summarized as being an “energetic, road-hugging” drive, so it must have been enough. No word on if anything in the powertrain was changed – if anything, throttle and transmission response will be recalibrated with performance figures remaining about the same.
If this doesn’t make you want a 90 Series, nothing will.
[Source: Volvo]

Dodge Viper 25th Anniversary Models

With the launch of five limited-edition Vipers for the 2017 model year, Dodge is both honoring 25 years of their famous beast and saying goodbye. Next year marks the final year of Viper production and Dodge hopes that five models commemorating some of the most famous Vipers of the past will finally be enough to sell some more. The last remaining Vipers will still be available as standard cars with near limitless configuration possibilities through its “1 of 1” program, but those looking for something rare to stick in their collection can start ordering one (or more) of the five special edition Vipers starting today.
The first one available is the Viper 1:28 Edition ACR, which as the number suggests, pays tribute to the production car single lap record of 1:28.65 set by Randy Pobst in a 2016 Viper ACR at Laguna Seca. To match that particular car’s specifications, the 1:28 edition features a black exterior and painted rear wing with red ACR stripes, Extreme Aero Package, carbon ceramic brakes, badging, and a matching car cover which was totally included with the original car as well. As many as 28 of these models can be ordered, but no more.
My personal favorite is the Viper GTS-R Commemorative Edition ACR, the white one with the blue stripes. That same iconic color combination was originally worn by the 1998 Viper GTS-R GT2 Championship Edition which was built to celebrate the 1997 FIA GT2 Championship win they clenched. 100 of those were built, so up to 100 of these Commemorative Editions will be built. Pearl white paint with blue pearl GTS stripes, Extreme Aero Package, carbon ceramic brakes, exterior carbon package, USA flag decals on the B-pillars, and more bespoke touches top it all off.
Then there’s the Viper VooDoo II Edition ACR, a rebirth of the original VooDoo Viper ACR built in 2010. Black paint, a graphite metallic ACR stripe with red outlines, and every performance option available make this a sinister ACR that no more than 31 buyers can enjoy.
The last edition based on the Viper ACR is the Dodge Dealer Edition ACR and is only available through the two Dodge dealers with the highest Viper sales volume. Tomball Dodge of Tomball, Texas and Roanoke Dodge of Roanoke, Illinois will have the chance to sell up to 33 of these cars as a reward for not being part of the reason why the Viper is going away. This ACR has a white exterior with a competition blue center stripe, adrenaline red driver stripe, and other bespoke touches. It’s also not pictured in the one image of the new cars Dodge released, for some reason.
The last special edition Viper is also the only one that isn’t based on the ACR. It’s called the Snakeskin Edition GTC and it features new Snakeskin Green paint with a custom snakeskin patterned SRT stripe, advanced aerodynamics package, GT black interior, and special badging and stuff. No more than 25 of these will ever exist.
To briefly recap, why is the Viper going away? Super long story short, it just isn’t selling and it’s not hard to see why. Since the beginning it’s been a hard core machine designed for a very specific kind of buyer. It ended up being bought by people who wanted raw power and a batshit driving experience over things like driving comfort and sanity.
When the new Viper launched, it was an especially hard sell because it was priced above so many other cars that were just as fast but could do everything else better. About a year ago, the Viper’s production line was shut down for weeks because demand was so low, then Dodge announced huge incentives to move existing inventory which was backing up on dealer lots.
It’s apparently still bad because the press release writer at Dodge had to say “as many as # units of this new special edition configuration will be produced for 2017” for each of the five cars I just discussed. Normally, a press release will say something like “only X number of units are being produced”, which shows some confidence that every one of those limited edition cars will sell. I sense no confidence in Dodge’s wording here. It sucks that such a uniquely American car is being killed and labeled as a sales failure, but at least it goes out as the fastest production car in company history, holds dozens of production car lap records, and has won the hearts of many.
[Source: Dodge]

Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato production confirmed

Vanquish Zagato_03
Remember this? It’s hard not to, but for those that need a refresher, it’s the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato, a design study that was produced in collaboration with Aston Martin’s top designers and Zagato. When British elegance meets Italian passion, good things tend to happen. This good thing was just made even better by the announcement we were all kind of expecting – they’re going to build it.
It debuted as a one-off concept a few short weeks ago, but our love for it convinced Aston Martin and Zagato to move forward with a limited production run. Only 99 examples are being built to customer specifications (see how that works, Dodge?) with assembly still occurring at their main production facility in Gaydon, England. The concept car is still pictured, but they’ve said that the car looks will not changed very much if at all between that initial one-off and the production-ready car. I won’t go into the design details again but it’s all available here if you’re interested. How refreshing is it to have words written on the concept remain true for the production car?
Vanquish Zagato_06
Well it seems identical for the most part, but one key difference I’ve spotted in the press release for the production car is a 16 horsepower loss out of its still glorious 6.0-liter naturally-aspirated V12. I’m sure the world’s elite will find a way to make due with 576 horsepower though. A projected 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds and a unique GT driving experience await those fortunate enough.
Deliveries are scheduled to commence in early 2017. No word on pricing or how much of a discount you’ll get from buying with US dollars. Is it relevant to any of us? No. Is it gorgeous? I think so. Am I taking advantage of this being in the news again so I can post more pictures of it?
Vanquish Zagato_07
[Source: Aston Martin]

This week in crazy: McLaren P1 GTR LM

Have you ever wanted a road legal version of a racing version of a road legal super car? Clearly some owners of the McLaren P1 GTR did because a fully road legal version of the insane track-day special is actually happening thanks to Lanzante. The British marque specialist are renowned for their work on customer F1s and F1 GTRs over the last twenty years. That experience and positive relationship with McLaren is what has led to this, the P1 GTR LM. A road. Legal. P1. GTR.
As Autocar reports, this conversion focuses on retaining as much of the lunacy as possible. The 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 and electric motors remain, but additional boost and more hybrid power keep its system power up to 986 horsepower despite the [presumably] added emissions equipment. The engine bay also receives gold-plated heat shielding and tweaks to the charge coolers for more efficiency at higher temps.
Surprisingly, the car is actually a full 130 pounds lighter than the normal P1 GTR through the expanded use of Inconel on the exhaust system, removal of race track-specific items like the integrated air jacks, and the same lightweight seats found in the F1 GTR. The body features more exposed carbon fiber and reworked aero which actually increases downforce by 40% over the P1 GTR, because that’s exactly what a road car conversion needs. But it does have standard air conditioning now, which is exactly what it needs.
McLaren and MSO themselves were not involved in this conversion and Lanzante are only doing this because of customer demand… and because it’s kind of cool.
[Source: Autocar]

Update: 2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT R

Just in time for this post to have already gone live, Mercedes-AMG has confirmed the existence of the most hardcore AMG GT yet, the AMG GT R. It’s fast, it’s green, and it’s running up the hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend. Power still comes from a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 but bespoke engine tuning means it now produces 577 horsepower, can accelerate to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, and will run up to 198 mph. It’s also packed with hardware designed to make it the perfect AMG for track work.
Since I don’t have time to do a full rundown, check out the details on Motor Authority.
[Source: Mercedes-AMG via Motor Authority]

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]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

  1. GTXcellent Avatar

    Oooooh those new Volvos – serious drool. They are really, really sharp. Now, if only Polestar could figure out a way to put a clutch and 6 speed in there.
    I think those Vipers need moar wing
    On the personal front – we’re as close as we’ve ever been. Dealer called the transport company in Dilworth. They are showing a train car arriving on Sunday with an SS marked retail sold! With that designation, it prioritizes shipping, so maybe by 4th of July? It’s now sooooooo close. After the hold debacle in Kansas from a few weeks back, I seriously lost all enthusiasm for this car. The process has been just a really poor, draining experience. I’m sure (at least hoping) that once we finally take delivery, it will all have been worth it.

    1. njhoon Avatar

      It has been almost 6 months since you put in the order hasn’t it?

      1. GTXcellent Avatar

        Our order was accepted by GM on December 9th so it’s been over 6 months.
        We were told when we ordered it, to expect 6 months. Which was fine. We knew that. What’s made things aggravating is these false arrival notifications now that we’ve gotten close. We had the May 8th notice, then the wait in K.C., now this. I know for a fact it would have been better to just stay in the dark not knowing anything, and next week (maybe) when the car shows up at the dealer get a phone call.

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          Is the potential hail damage issue off the table?

          1. GTXcellent Avatar

            as far as we know. The dealer got notification that the hold was lifted, so we’re assuming no damage.

        2. 0A5599 Avatar

          You should have just flown out to Australia and driven it home. That would have been a lot quicker.

          1. Sjalabais Avatar

            …and so worthwhile to read about. Detour through the -stans in an American car with an SS badge? Extreme entertainment potential.

    2. onrails Avatar

      I can’t wait to see what you think of it! What you’ve had to go through had to have been heart wrenching, but no good story ever came from something that went right. It’ll be that much sweeter every time you hear it bark to life each morning now. (Guess the way it’s gone so far I shouldn’t say anything yet!)
      Break her in gently and once that’s overwiith, wring it out every chance you get! 99 days until I head to the Chevy dealer in town to order mine.

  2. CraigSu Avatar

    Volvo S90/V90 R-Edition: All black interior? Seriously? How about some contrasting wood trim?
    Viper Special Editions: All of them look like scale models in their photos. Is anyone at Dodge seeing this opportunity? There could be more scale models in existence than actual cars.
    M-B AMG GT R: That green is more appropriate for the Snakeskin Viper.

    1. Maymar Avatar

      Absolute Plus One on wanting more than an all black interior. Why can’t a serious driving oriented car sill have a welcoming interior?

  3. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    Hey there, Zagato. Call me. I’d totally have your baby, but the clock is ticking.

  4. ptschett Avatar

    I somehow managed to get almost 23 MPG [10.2 L/100 km] out of the Challenger on a 250 mile [400 km] trip to the family farm last weekend, where I averaged 78 MPH [125 km/h] per the trip computer thanks to South Dakota’s 80 MPH Interstate speed limit; I didn’t expect it to do quite that well. (And I seem to be in a unit-converty mood today.)

    1. nanoop Avatar

      Kiloyards per dry pint!

  5. Frank T. Cat Avatar
    Frank T. Cat

    So I found this receipt in the glove box of my new turd of a 1997 SAAB 900SE 2.0T; apparently the car was ‘submerged in water’ in 2005.
    This came on the heels of the realization that the reason the rear brakes don’t work isn’t from seized calipers; it’s from the car getting high-sided on some rocks in a ditch, pushing the floor up and smashing the rear brake lines flat.
    I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me if I wanna make Swedish Car Day this year. ;-;

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      Your ability to…eh…stand right in front of the fan is pretty unique. Are you really going to go through with this? There are other fish in the sea, drier ones, too.

      1. Frank T. Cat Avatar
        Frank T. Cat

        Yeah, I’m going through with it. The car has no rust, and I basically have almost all the parts to rebuild it from scratch piled up in my garage. There aren’t many 900SE 2.0T’s left around here anymore, let alone a rust-free three door example. I’m not too worried about the car getting flooded, since the electrics all work properly, and the car has done almost 50,000 miles since. More worried about the previous owner’s sister taking the car into a ditch.
        Basically I’m just paying out in labor this time.

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          I admire the attitude, really – good luck! Looking forward to the updates.

      2. wunno sev Avatar
        wunno sev

        if you’re really committed to it, I’ve found that, if you’ve got a European luxury car, one useful tool to keep in your garage is another car that isn’t European.

  6. salguod Avatar

    The Mazda3 gets new plugs, a new thermostat and cleaned up engine ground (if I can find it) to hopefully clear a couple of the 7 codes it’s throwing. I suspect an O2 sensor is next.

  7. Alff Avatar

    Amazing how replacing CVs, ball joints, tie rod ends, tires, shocks and brakes can make an old truck feel new. You’d never guess the Dodge has 135K.

  8. nanoop Avatar

    In LeMans, it took Porsche 1h56 to change a waterpump – they didn’t have my handicap called “customs procedure handled by the postal service”: two state-owned authorities, pointing at each other when something went awry.
    I’m at 1 month 25 days now.
    Shipping from anywhere in the world to Oslo: 5 days max. Shipping with the country: 3 days min. Customs inbetween: nobody knows. To be fair: one week of delay is totally my fault.

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      That shows you how buried the water pump is in the Porsche! For a road car (disclaimer: not a fwd road car!) I would rate that as slow. I changed the radiator in my Imp, which requires removal of the water pump to get access to, in about 45 minutes.

      1. nanoop Avatar

        I don’t know about the 919, but the 944 surely is designed with assembly in mind, not repair.
        Edit: The Imp was on my shortlist, but everything within reach required welding, which I can’t do. Please report anything in the Friday News comments!