hooniverse

The News for May 14th, 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: Alpine makes another cool A110 that we can’t have in America, Mitsubishi is reviving Ralliart, Caterham is developing an electric Seven, BMW enlists the help of Hans Zimmer for electric driving sounds, and Aston Martin says manuals are officially dead.

2021 Alpine A110 Légende GT

Alpine_A110_Legende_GT_1600x900

Great news for all of our rich European readers! If you haven’t ordered yourself a delightful Alpine A110, as rich European car enthusiasts do, then there’s a new version you’ll want to check out. It’s a new edition that’s limited to 300 units and is the most “intense, sophisticated personality” of any A110 before it. From what I can tell, it’s a bit of a parts bin special but with some really good parts. For us yanks who aren’t intensely sophisticated enough to deserve the Alpine A110, this can best be described as a combination of two existing A110 specifications. The A110 Légende, a comfort-focused grand tourer specification, and the A110S, a sportier specification with more power and sharper handling. This Légende GT spec is like that little girl from the Old El Paso commercial who says “why don’t we have both?”

So it starts with the Légende’s elegant and distinctive GT-focused cabin, which includes six-way Sabelt Comfort leather seats in amber or black, matching leather door panels, and a Dinamica headliner which I guess is something fancy. Plenty of other bespoke cabin accents make it a comfortable and luxurious cabin to eat up some miles in. But by adding the A110S portion, it can eat up those miles a bit more quickly. Standard A110s have approximately 250 horsepower from their 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines. But the A110S powertrain increases that to 292 horsepower and that’s the engine the Légende GT gets to play with. The A110S high-performance brakes are standard equipment as well. So it’s good for daily use, European-sized road trips, and finding its way through the tightest and most technical roads in the Alps.

Our rich European readers will need to find €71,600 (that’s $86,900 for us non-intensely sophisticated folk) in their pockets to reserve one of the 300 Légende GTs they plan to make.

[Source: Alpine]

Mitsubishi is reviving Ralliart

ralliart

Once upon a time, Mitsubishi was an incredibly innovative and exciting company. One of the core components of their former glory was a little sub brand called Ralliart who saw great success in decades of off road racing. That had an influence in some of their most memorable road cars as well. They effectively shut their doors right around the time Mitsubishi as a whole fell from grace massively and became known as the company that makes a couple forgettable crossovers and still the Mirage for some reason.

Well in an investor call this week, they signaled intentions to bring it back. It made it into a PowerPoint slide so you know it’s official. It’s potentially exciting news but gets less so when you read that, in their own words, it’s part of an effort to “realize Mitsubishi Motors-ness”. Like, what the fuck does that even mean? Anyway, they say Ralliart will play a role in revitalizing their lineup by giving people something they actually want. Specifically, something that’s engaging, is ready for adventure, and embraces electrification, modern safety, and comfort. So…  things that car companies who actually sell cars have already been doing. I wish I could’ve been a fly on the wall in the committee meeting when Mitsubishi discovered that today’s car buyers like modern safety features.

As Ralliart once did in the good old days, they’ll soon develop parts and genuine accessories for all of Mitsubishi’s models. By relaunching Ralliart for customers, they can help those “who want to add to Mitsubishi Motors-ness even more” and I swear to dog I am not making that up as a bit. Perhaps the most interesting part is where they mentioned motorsport could be a thing again. Per Jalopnik, the company’s CEO said “we would like to take the opportunity to be involved in motorsports as well”. Most likely something off road and/or electric. If shitty Ralliart appearance packages for the Eclipse Cross helps get them back in rally or Dakar, so be it.

We could all use a little bit of Mitsubishi Motors-ness in our lives, so we’ll keep our eyes peeled on how Ralliart’s revival is coming along.

[Source: Jalopnik]

BLIPS

caterham

A report from Autocar suggests that an electric Caterham is due in 2023. It won’t be some radically new model that abandons the company’s ethos just to comply with emissions rules, it’ll be an honest to dog Caterham Seven. This comes not too long after Caterham was bought by VT Holdings, a Japanese retail group with lots of money and a real passion for the brand. The idea isn’t to redesign the Seven but rather to preserve it. By stuffing an electric powertrain into a Seven that’s otherwise just as bare bones, lightweight, and pure as a regular model, it can ensure that future generations can still enjoy the crazy experience that a Seven provides. Personally, I never would have thought an electric Seven would be possible or even desirable. When an existing crossover or sedan turns into an EV, I think it’s great. But when a sports car does, I can’t help but get a little sad. Engines are an integral part of any sports car driving experience, so losing that piece of the equation is heartbreaking. But I guess if anyone can make an EV fun, it’s Caterham. And if I could fit my fat beer-loving ass in one I’d love to give it a try.

[Source: Autocar via Jalopnik]

BMW has partnered with legendary composer Hans Zimmer to develop the driving sound for future BMW EVs. As a handful of automakers have already begun doing, BMW is adapting to a world of silent powertrains by finding creative ways to fill the void left by ICEs. Some have partnered with music producers and orchestras. Well BMW got freakin Hans Zimmer. His work will debut on the BMW i4, the M version of the i4, and the M version of the iX (I just let out an audible sigh as I wrote that last one). A preview is provided in the video above. Hopefully he’s found a way to fit the BWAAAH from Inception in the car’s sound pack somehow.

[Source: BMW]

Vantage_AMR

 

Aston Martin is abandoning the manual transmission after promising they’d be the last to do so. In a shocking move where Aston Martin just fuckin lied again, they unceremoniously announced that it’s leaving their lineup and won’t be coming back. The V8 Vantage is currently the only AM available with three pedals and a little wobbly stick thing where the cup holders should be. Speaking to Australia’s Motoring, Aston Martin CEO Tobias-Liar-Moers said “it was not a good journey” developing the manual for that one car. He then added that Porsche still has a manual for the 911 (bold of him to just tell buyers to go their competition) and that Aston Martin buyers overwhelmingly prefer an automatic.

This isn’t the first time in recent years that Aston Martin has walked back on a promise. When they were developing the Valkyrie they said they’d figure out how to get it to Le Mans. As automakers were working with the ACO and IMSA to develop a replacement for the top prototype class in endurance racing, Aston was perhaps the biggest voice in pressuring the industry to adopt Hypercar, the most expensive and slowest of the proposed formulas. Well once they committed and manufacturers began developing their stuff, Aston Martin used the introduction of a faster and cheaper LMDh formula to say “oh, well now our car doesn’t make any sense” and backed out right around the same time they announced an F1 program. So the next time you see “the pinnacle of endurance prototypes” struggling to pass a severely handicapped privateer LMP2 driven by a dentist from Brazil, you can thank Aston Martin for it.

Well I for one and furious and will be voting with my wallet (/s).

[Source: Motoring via 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.

22 Comments

  1. Intensely sophisticated, non-rich Urobean here. I have never even seen the new Alpine. They look great on paper and have a fantastic design. Yet, Renault is not exporting these to Norway, but a private import would be about 110k$. That’s about two zeros too many for this troll here.

    No news on the Centennial. Monday is the Norwegian national day and it’s like someone switched on a button: Roads are flowing over with mid-life-crisis vehicles, ready for parades. So many cool cars that are usually hidden away.

    Dumping the kids at some friends today, we saw a Clio V6 (with the wide arches and mid-exhausts – on a trailer, never spotted one before), a Rover P75, a Volvo S80 Nilsson stretch and a bunch of less interesting cars. Still waiting for parts to fix the baby Hyundai, so this 3 car family is entirely reliant on a shoddy Leaf.

      1. …it’s the one perk of this slightly dysfunctional comment system that is hard to read, has no edit function, no photo or video integration, no notification setup, will mark your happy upvotes as spam and requires a sort of login for every. single. comment. Thanks!

    1. I saw a new A110 parked next to an original one recently, and it was surprisingly close in size. Obviously wider and even more so taller, but length was pretty close. The owner loved it.

      1. I’ve only seen one original A110 and I was kind of surprised at how flimsy it seemed. All the internet pictures make them seem like solid, confident, road commanding machines. Up close, though, you can really see how much like a VW Karmann-Ghia or Porsche 912 they are. I don’t know what I expected a light weight, low powered sports machine of the 1960s to be like other than a big hollow shell with some foam and leather tacked to the insides for “creature comfort”.

  2. Ninety-five percent of that BMW video was worthless filler, and the 6 seconds of relevant sound was disappointing.

  3. Honestly, the new Outlander is probably what most buyers want, just ~3500lbs of crossover, and enough buyers seem to think the Nissan Rogue is adequate 3500lbs of crossover, so why not give it styling with 7% more flair and foist that onto the people that aren’t skeeved out by Mitsu dealers? Maybe do that with the Qashqai and Pathfinder as well, and they might stand a shot of survival. Although, an Eclipse Cross that’s boosted to the point of fragility would finally make the thing a worthy successor to the Eclipse name.

    I also saw someone from Caterham remark that the trend of downsizing engines represented a problem for them (and part of the push for electrification), which now has me confused as to just how big an engine they think they won’t be able to get any more.

    1. Probably less about engine size and more about the nature of these engines – turbocharged, designed to sit at as low RPM as possible. Not exactly the zingy linear stuff that suits a Caterham.

      Which brings me to the minus of electrification – it ain’t the motor – the instant responsiveness would actually be great and you can limit torque, it’s the boat anchor that’s batteries. Yes technology is supposedly moving on all the time, but chemistry is hard.

      1. Yeah, I am having a bit of a cognitive dissonance over trying to blend “Add lightness” and “batteries”. The whole thing about a Caterham is that it is not just tossable, it’s flingable and if there is a single fly’s-foot of traction it will go around any corner you can find…. Now add 500 pounds of battery and even if it’s down low, I think it is going to be a different experience.

        1. Following the local 1st gen Leaf forum, I see how common “shall I crush it?”-questions become, and many who don’t ask the brainhive first, give away fully functioning, but weakened Leaf to the crushers (who then get shiny dollar signs in their eyes).

          My ability to want 109hp of zip zap zoom power connected to 300 kilos of batteries in random old cars is inversely related to my skills to get this job done. Imagine a 600 kg Trabant with that setup; an amazing cotton-cardboard-cled deathtrap (cccd). For older cars which never were fast nor sporty, and who are parked in barns everywhere with seized engines, more weight and no liquid fuel could actually mean some form of resurrection.

          With coming solid state batteries that carry more energy in smaller, lighter packs, I am sure that Caterham and the likes will manage to adapt, too – without ICE engines. Especially since “normal” cars now are so heavy that the potential contrast remains huge.

          1. I wonder how compartmentalized (and therefore adaptable) the Leaf drivetrain is? I mean, without the need to pipe water and fuel around under the skin, it seems like a used Leaf would make for a great donor for some smaller classics. Can you imagine an old 2CV with that motor? Or if dropped into the trunk of an Amazon sedan?

          2. The engine itself with all the auxiliaries is like a small I4. From what I read, those who do conversions often bolt EV engines straight to the existing transmission, but my mechanical skills are just not good enough to say if a compact chassis or one with only 20-40 hp from the factory would benefit from a different solution in order to not blow up the existing mechanics.

            A bigger issue is probably the battery itself. In a purpose built EV, this is sandwiched in the middle of the car. If there’s space between the axles, building a new floor on a classic vehicle might be the “easiest” solution, also resulting in favourable weight distribution. Otherwise, these batteries consist of smaller units, pouch cells, that could be placed differently and cabled correctly by a competent person:
            https://qnovo.com/inside-the-battery-of-a-nissan-leaf/

            Here in Norway, the government agency allowing cars to be operated is even questioning replacing 24 kWh batteries with newer, more powerful ones. That is almost plug’n’play, but they’re still discussing to stop this sensible renewal of old cars. So those classic-car-to-EV-dreams face some serious legal issues, too.

          3. The Leaf’s set up is very much like an ICE powertrain, you have the transmission to the left of center and the motor to the right of center and they bolt together much like an ICE and transmission do. The electronics is in a big box on top of the motor and the cooling system is a single loop so pretty self contained.

      2. Oh, I’m sure that’s the actual issue, that the current crop of pseudo-diesel turbo fours aren’t the right character for the car, it was just weird to hear size as a sticking point for them.

        1. They’re small engines for big cars rather than small engines for small cars if that makes sense.

  4. They’ve been filming the latest iteration of ’90s buddy-cop show Nash Bridges all along the waterfront here in San Francisco, including renting the pier where I work. Back when the original show was filming here I was a scooter messenger and would run into their film crews all over town. First I would radio the rest of the fleet and warn them about road closures, then I would swear to be there when the show was cancelled to swoop up some leftover convertible Plymouth Barracudas (didn’t happen.) I can report that the ’71 Barracuda has been kept as an element in the show (Yay!) as well as Cheech Marin and Don Johnson (meh.)

    The Econoline is back in service! Three trips to the mechanic since late March (two on a tow truck), one ignition module, one something that made the idle all psychotic (since deleted) and ultimately a whole new distributor. Bad hall-effect sensor I think was the culprit. Bad distributor, anyway.

    The Africa Twin is in the garage for a little Time-Out after it viciously attacked and broke the big toe on my left foot. While it’s a DCT model and I don’t have to shift with that foot, I do ride with the ball of my foot on the peg, and it’s a tall enough bike (and 600 lbs) that I’m tippie-toe at the stop lights. Might be a few weeks.

    Even before the Colonial Pipeline shutdown national news broadcasts were shouting that “we might see $3/gallon gas again this summer”; which had us Californians jumping for joy, high fiving each other and then collapsing in disappointment when re realized it didn’t mean that our $4/gallon gas was going to become cheaper. Now we’re just waiting for the seasonal transition from COVID masks to Wildfire Smoke masks.

      1. Tip-over at a stop sign, didn’t get my foot out fast or far enough. I was able to right the bike and ride home before the foot became too tender.

  5. Left yesterday on a road trip through Colorado and then on the west coast. Was going to take the x3, but what started out as a prophylactic fuel pump replacement turned into a shit show when all the plastic bits to get into the tank pretty much disintegrated upon removal…and they’re not supposed to. The plastic plug that goes into the top of the tank that carries the connections through was the Achilles heal, as even the dealers in phx struggled to get it to me in any reasonable time. I think it arrived today, I left yesterday, and ordered it a week ago Thursday. So, we took the red wagon instead. Happily.

    Gray wagon is still for sale. Have had a couple good hits, and a couple of scams. I think patience will have to win this one. This one will take a bit.

    I put the m5 on a tender. It hadn’t moved in two weeks, and won’t for at least another two. I feel bad watching it sit there, but the wagon is such a better road trip car. And, the way those values are going, I’d be nuts to sell it…

  6. “Aston Martin is abandoning the manual transmission after promising they’d be the last to do so. Well I for one [am] furious and will be voting with my wallet (/s).”

    Haha, yeah. Me too, as if I had the option to purchase to begin with. But I’m there in spirit, dammit!

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