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: Nissan brings back the good colors with GT-R T-spec, Rivian begins producing customer cars for the first time, Lucid is the new king of EV driving range, and Chevy Bolts need to practice social distancing.
Nissan GT-R T-spec
When it comes to sports cars, Nissan used to be on top of the world. That was especially true up through the late 2000s. The then new Nissan 370Z was a hit and the R35 GT-R was a sensation. People couldn’t stop talking about the $70,000 car from Japan that was hanging with Porsches and Ferraris, especially in countries where Skylines had never been sold before. It became an instant legend. It was packed with the level of technology we hadn’t truly seen at that point, and it wasn’t gimmicky or cumbersome. It actually made the car faster. It was so forward-thinking and bold that we couldn’t imagine it ever getting old.
14 years later, it’s fucking old. The R35 has been around for nearly half of my life. Sure, it’s changed a good bit with Nismo versions and a pretty substantial refresh a few years back. But by and large, this is a 14-year-old car that keeps getting more expensive every year.
I should be dunking on this new special edition GT-R they unveiled this week… but I can’t. Because it’s actually made me want a GT-R for the first time in quite a while.
It’s called the GT-R “T-spec” and it’s a throwback to some of the most desirable Skylines throughout the model’s rich history. Even the name is a throwback as there were loads of V-Spec and N-Spec performance models, literally all of which ended up in Gran Turismo just to confuse the shit out of people.
The T-spec’s biggest draw is with its two exclusive paint colors inspired by two of the most beloved and rarest R34 Skyline GT-Rs. The first is Millennium Jade from the R34 GT-R V-Spec II Nür, which does get its name from that big German track. 718 of those models were produced and just 156 were painted in Millennium Jade. It’s the first time this color has ever been offered in the US.
The second choice is a modern interpretation of Midnight Purple III from the R34 V-Spec, which is the finest paint option ever offered on a car. The press release says this was limited to 132 units back in the day, so I take that as being the number of V-Specs in this color. There were way more V-Specs than that. This color was previously offered as Midnight Opal in a special edition R35 sold in the US, but only 100 of those exist worldwide. That “modern interpretation” bit might explain why there doesn’t appear to be as much purple as there used to be, or that could just be the way it photographs.
Regardless of which paint option you go for, you’ll effectively get a GT-R Premium with a special “Morin Green” interior, wider front fenders from the Track Edition, black or gold-painted Rays forged aluminum alloy wheels (which look absolutely perfect on Midnight Purple), and a carbon fiber rear spoiler. Power from the 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 is unchanged at 565 horsepower, but you do get the carbon ceramic brakes from the GT-R Nismo.
Nissan says these will be very limited but aren’t giving specifics. Pricing starts at $138,490 here in America. You’ll probably want to act fast if you want one. If you buy a GT-R this year, it basically has to be a T-spec. There’s really no other choice.
This Week in The FutureTM
The rest of this week’s newsworthy stuff is a series of smaller EV industry news. Most good, one very bad.
Starting with the good, Rivian took a huge step in proving their legitimacy in an industry segment filled with a whole lot of bullshit. The aspiring EV truck manufacturer became a real EV truck manufacturer when its first customer vehicle rolled off the production line. Up till this point, any truck they built had been pre-production pending regulatory approval and loads of internal testing. To that first point, Rivian also told Bloomberg that they had received full regulatory certifications and can start making deliveries. As Jalopnik points out, they’re not technically the first production EV pickups to ever hit the market, but it’s the first of the manufacturers to successfully launch an EV pickup in this new era where they’re here to stay.
More good news comes from Lucid, who seems to be another EV startup that isn’t full of it. I’ve not paid as much attention to them as I probably should have, especially considering that they’re now the king of EV range. The EPA has estimated a driving range of 520 miles for the Lucid Air Dream Edition, beating out the likes of the Chevy Malibu and non-hybrid Toyota Camry by about a dozen miles. I kid of course. Driving range has been an arms race in the EV space, and until we can figure out how to provide reliable, convenient, and fast charging for everyone, it will continue to be the most important metric for EVs. So for the time being, Lucid is the one to beat. Ranges will vary depending on the specification of course. The low end of the Lucid Air driving range is 451 miles. Meanwhile, Tesla’s longest range Model S has an estimated range of 405 miles. That’s a hell of a way to make an entrance.
Now for the bad… the Chevrolet Bolt has been the subject of a few recalls because spontaneous combustion is an undesirable characteristic for a car. As Bloomberg reports, the situation escalated a bit this week when GM began telling some owners to park their Bolt at least 50 feet away from other cars… and presumably other things you care about, like your house. That’s in addition to limiting the charge to 90% capacity and now letting the battery deplete to below 70 miles of range. Jalopnik reports that the number of fires related to this issue are in the low double digits. That’s a good chunk of the Bolts sold so far. If you’re one of hundreds of Bolt owners, be on the lookout for some communication from GM about what your next steps are.
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.