The News for October 27th, 2017

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. There’s also just a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:

  • Ford Mustang gets a new Performance Pack with better handling upgrades

  • Aston Martin shows us more of the Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake

  • Porsche reveals 911 Carrera T with less frills and more performance, kinda

  • Mazda’s two stunning concepts that may preview upcoming models

  • Subaru’s Viziv concept might preview the new WRX, maybe

  • Honda reveals new Sports EV concept that probably won’t get built

  • What’s your automotive news?

Ford Mustang GT Performance Pack Level 2

While Ford’s engineers were busy getting the refreshed 2018 Mustang out the door, some of them stayed after hours to create a special version that those reading this site can appreciate. Much in the same way we spend the evening hours in a garage, they engineered and tested this car in what would have been some of their free time. Looking at the final product, it’s easy to see why.

Launching next spring for the 2018+ Mustang GT is Performance Pack Level 2, an aggressive handling package that will once more prove that pony cars can dance on a track or up in the twisties. It builds on the handling improvements made in Performance Pack Level 1 and helps bridge the gap between that and the GT350.
Included in Performance Pack Level 2 is everything in Level 1, which includes unique chassis and ABS tuning, unique stability control and electric power-assisted steering, Brembo six-piston front brake calipers with larger rotors, a K-brace, larger radiator, silver-painted strut tower brace, and a TORSEN rear differential with 3.73 axle ratio.

Level 2 then adds custom tuned MagneRide dampers, a quicker steering calibration to provide better response, a 67% stiffer rear stabilizer bar, a 12% stiffer front stabilizer bar, 20% stiffer front springs, and rear springs that are 13% stiffer. Its bespoke 19″ aluminum wheels are wrapped in 305-mm-wide (front and rear) Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. It sits a half-inch lower than Level 1 and it also rocks a new front splitter and rear spoiler.

All of this makes for a Mustang that’s more responsive, more stable, and much faster. Jamie Cullen, Ford’s supervisor for vehicle dynamics development, summarized it best: “It will just beg you to go faster.” Sounds like the late hours were well worth it.
[Source: Ford]

Aston Martin V12 Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake

A few months ago,  Aston Martin and Zagato announced a few more versions of their stunning Vanquish collaboration that went beyond the normal coupe and soft-top variations. Joining the original Vanquish Zagato Coupe was a Volante, Speedster, and Shooting Brake version, the latter of which was only briefly shown in a single image. This week though we got a much better look at what a Vanquish Zagato is like as a short wagon.

As you can see, it’s very Shooting Brake-like. You can tell by the way it is. It has a lot more trunk space and the tailgate is power-assisted. It’s also the only Vanquish Zagato you can still place an order on. Each of the four versions are being built in very limited quantities and all but the Shooting Brake are sold out. Only 99 people will ever prove how right they are about their preference of body styles.
[Source: Aston Martin via MotorAuthority]

Porsche 911 Carrera T

Porsche is bringing back another old moniker to justify the existence of another more expensive 911. A new 911 revealed this week channels the puristic concept behind the 1968 911 T (Touring) with a greater focus on driving pleasure that enthusiasts will likely welcome.
The new 911 Carrera T starts out as a basic 911 Carrera (not the S) with a 370-horsepower twin-turbocharged flat six, rear-wheel drive, and your choice of manual of PDK gearboxes. From there, Porsche adds their active suspension management (PASM) as standard, drops ride height by 20mm, a “weight-optimized” Sport Chrono package, mechanical differential lock, a shortened gear lever, and rear-axle steering (which isn’t available on any 911 Carrera).

Helping to maximize the effectiveness of all the extra performance on tap, Porsche also focused on reducing weight over the standard car. The back seats that no one uses anyways and the infotainment system are removed but can be added back at no cost. Additionally, the rear windows are made from lighter glass, it has those super weight-saving door straps, and they’ve largely reduced sound-absorption material. This all went a long way in shaving a whole 44 pounds off a 3,200-pound car.

With prices starting at $102,100, about $10,000 over the standard 911 Carrera and only $3,000 less than the more powerful and better-equipped 911 Carrera S, this is the 911 for those who still care about the driving experience rather than comfort or numbers. But is that driving experience worth another $10,000 over what you can already get from the base 911 Carrera?
[Source: Porsche]


It’s Tokyo Motor Show time which means new concepts. Mazda brought two gorgeous design studies that may preview future production cars. The first one is the Mazda Kai Concept and it looks like it could easily pass for a new Mazda 3, after it’s reigned in a little bit for mainstream production of course. Whatever it ends up looking like, we at least know it’ll have that promising Skyactiv-X compression ignition engine. The other concept is a bit bigger and viciously attractive – the Mazda Vision Coupe Concept. It’s a coupe in the same way a BMW X6 is “coupe-like”… it isn’t. But it looks a lot like last year’s Mazda RX Vision concept with an extra set of doors and it looks like it could be a great performer at a more premium level. We can pretty much expect the Kai Concept to turn into a production car, but what about the Vision [not]Coupe? It looks too big and upscale to be a new Mazda 6… maybe we’re getting something totally new? One can hope.
[Source: Mazda]

Subaru revealed the Viziv Concept which may kinda sorta probably not preview the new WRX and it looks like this.
[Source: Subaru via Autoweek]

Honda revealed the Sports EV concept with retro looks and AI functions and it looks like this. Maybe it’ll get built.
[Source: Honda]

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 © 2017 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]

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29 responses to “The News for October 27th, 2017”

  1. Maymar Avatar

    Finally got my new front springs on yesterday (rear installation was easy, couldn’t get the front struts apart on my own, needed a shop to do it), it looks better, barely rides stiffer, we’ll see if it makes much different autocrossing next summer (although, my tires are looking pretty low, so I might be due for stickier rubber before long as well). Now I just need to wait for more stuff to break so I can try and find other upgrades to sell my wife on.
    Also, between the Sport EV, and the Urban EV earlier this year, apparently Honda has put all their good designers on concept duty.

    1. GTXcellent Avatar

      “Now I just need to wait for more stuff to break so I can try and find other upgrades to sell my wife on.”
      Truer words were never spoken

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        In my case, for “upgrades” read “vehicles.”

        1. GTXcellent Avatar

          Isn’t your fleet big enough now that you can invoke the -That old thing? Had it for years -clause?

          1. mdharrell Avatar

            I’m beginning to see there could be potential advantages in collecting vehicles that are similar to one another.

          2. Rover 1 Avatar
            Rover 1

            Both my Rover 800s are pale gold, partly for that reason.

    2. Fuhrman16 Avatar

      What kind of wheels are those? They really look good on that car.

      1. Maymar Avatar
        Thanks! They’re TR Motorsports C1’s (Tire Rack’s in-house brand).

    3. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      “apparently Honda has put all their good designers on concept duty.”
      And kept them off the hallucinogenic drugs?

  2. GTXcellent Avatar

    So you know that nagging feeling that it’s probably time to put the snow tires on? Yeah, I should have listened to that little voice as Old Man Winter just gave us a hard backhand right across the face.
    It’s a long story invoking every principal of Murphy’s Law, that I really don’t feel like rehashing. The abridged version is that I spent several hours last evening get the Saab pulled out of our driveway mess (not to mention my FIL’s stupid 2 wheel drive pickup) only to have to spend over an hour again this morning due to my laziness – I didn’t want to bother getting the plow out again and thought I could just blast my way through the snow drift. I could not. I hope this isn’t a precursor to a long, miserable winter

    1. nanoop Avatar

      It’s unusually warm here, but yes, that feeling is on indeed…

    2. Sjalabais Avatar

      I changed to spikes yesterday myself. It’s about two weeks early, but we’re getting frost here now and I like to have things done in time rather than being stressed about it. Unfortunately, I played the unpopular game of “the car goes up, the car comes down”. Damn!:

      1. Vairship Avatar


  3. Tiller188 Avatar

    Something about the way the round headlights are set low-ish into the bluff face of the “grille” on the Sports EV concept…is anyone else half-expecting someone from Toyota to come over to the Honda booth all angry and yelling about “hey, WE were supposed to make the modern EV version of the 2000GT!” Yeah, the proportions are off, but the sorta-resemblance was the first thing to jump out at me.
    It’s pretty/cute either way, though. Looks like a fun [electric] counterpart to a Miata RF.

    1. Maymar Avatar

      I dare say it’d be a little bold of Toyota to accuse anyone of ripping off styling, at least when it comes to the 2000GT.

  4. nanoop Avatar

    I started to prepare the garden for the winter (make snow shovels accessible, put the wheelbarrow somewhere else, stow away the summer bicycles, such stuff) but it started to rain heavily, so I went into the garage and started to play a tetris-like game:
    The garage is from 1963, and reasonably luxurious to do simple maintenance tasks, such as dropping the engine, on your Beetle. With a 944, the third row of the van, the winter tires for both cars, regular car tools, regular gardening tools, and a frustrating amount of carpenting equipment and wood leftovers from building that terrace I came to the conclusion that it would be easiest if I just changed the 944 to winter tires now. The van’s tires would drop out in a smooth, natural motion.
    While I listened to the C&T podcast episode where they mention “take one weekend, do nothing else but clean and tidy up your garage” (“Powered by NiQuil”) I cursed, tipped over plywood, tangled up my headphone cable in the jack, and couldn’t see the wheel bolts because there was no room for the light to pass. I gave up after three wheels, since I had to go in (body maintenance service) and didn’t want to go outside again.
    On the plus side, changing the van over to winter tires will work right out of the box, all I have to do is to change the fourth wheel kneeling between car and wooden boards under a suspended lawn mower, so I can take the jack out.

    1. nanoop Avatar

      Fulfillment: all tires changed, garage cleaned (within my limits), and 2mm of snow fell right after I was done. Looking forward to the winter!

  5. Alff Avatar

    I now am intimately familiar with the symptoms of a bad inner tie rod.

  6. salguod Avatar

    Both Honda and Toyota revealed electrified sports cars at Tokyo (Toyota’s was actually a hybrid). Honda’s manages to be both adorable and cool, while Toyota’s looks like a product of a GT86, a Sawzall, sheet plexiglass, Harbor Freight LEDs, a few gallons of bondo, spray on bedliner and way too much beer:

    1. nanoop Avatar

      And it’s named “Impossible”!

      1. salguod Avatar

        We can only hope that this thing is impossible.

    2. Sjalabais Avatar

      Three days before the show: “I heard Honda will present a sporty concept. Possibly electric.” – “Overtime again this week, Daichi!”

      1. Vairship Avatar

        That Daichi, he’s not from Fukushima is he? His workmanship leaves something to be desired from what I heard…

  7. wunno sev Avatar
    wunno sev

    welcome to the weekly update of my E320 coupe project, where i tell you what’s fucked this week! i discovered that the rough’n’rich engine troubles i was having were due to a spark plug wire that i nicked, so those are on order. in investigating this, i discovered that the wiring harness has been replaced with a harness made in ’98, which is not a guaranteed-failure part like the original. so each of the common failure points – head gasket, transmission, wiring harness – has been fixed, and the fundamentals are good to go.
    but – great news! that very same transmission has sprung a leak somewhere. i don’t know what i did to deserve this.
    if you’re thinking of picking up a W124 as a fix-n-flip project…..don’t. i’ve done maybe 2,000 miles in this thing, and it’s constantly breaking. this isn’t a basket-case car, either. it’s a one-owner, well-documented car that’s been maintained exclusively at the dealer and independent Mercedes specialists. my previous mini-project was a W123 240D and, while much less pleasant to drive, it was much easier to own. if you can commit to it, a W124 is a beautiful car to drive and look at, and probably worth the effort. if you’re a car-buying addict who thinks he sees an opportunity to own something neat and lose minimal dollars…well, i’ll keep you posted. i don’t regret it yet, but i’m not that far from what i budgeted to fix this thing up. we might head into regret territory soon.

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      Is the transmission the same as in a W123? Good break with the wiring harness though.

      1. wunno sev Avatar
        wunno sev

        i dunno. my W123 had the 4-speed manual, but the W124 is an automatic. shifts smoothly and doesn’t slip, and the fluid that’s leaking out looks clean, but like, it’s leaking, you know? one goddamn thing after another.

        1. outback_ute Avatar

          Leaking transmissions definitely suck, have had 2 of those, no actually 3, all manual so at least no witchcraft involved. Happily 2 were really just a weep so no action needed. The other one was a transaxle that would need to re-shim if opened, swapped in another.

  8. kogashiwa Avatar

    Vision concept = return of the 929?
    (pretty please?)
    Subaru’s concepts always look fantastic and then the production versions are desperately frumpy. Won’t fool me again.

    1. nanoop Avatar

      The power of marketing, my first connection was “929 as in Panamera Coupe”?

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