The News for September 17th, 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: 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.

[Source: Nissan]

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.

lucid air

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.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV

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.

[Sources: Jalopnik, Bloomberg, Lucid]

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.

10 Comments

  1. So, the Vivaro came back from the workshop.

    Every fall, three years in a row, the Airbag Warning idiot light turned
    on. First time it was on warranty, then we paid a lot for what basically
    was a reset, and now it came back on.
    My hardly educated guess: a contact problem, promoted by condensation in
    the cooling season.
    Also, the AC was toast, so two tasks for the workshop.

    Workshop session 1: They fixed the AC, which I paid. They started the
    failure diagnosis but didn’t come through – nonetheless, the text
    message was “Your car is done, come and get it”. They knew it’s
    something around the seatbelt tensioner in the rear right. New time
    scheduled, and I asked if I needed to remove the bedframe in the rear.
    No.

    In the meanwhile, during a road trip the AC blew cool at first, then
    less so. Customer complaint!

    Workshop session 2: They couldn’t find the car key in the night box, so
    they called me, ah right there it is. I got the message again, and they
    told me they needed me to remove the bed frame (something I have asked
    about beforehand). And they didn’t fix the AC.

    Workshop session 3: I didn’t get the message, and when I showed up in
    the afternoon, they were like: did you even deliver the car? They didn’t
    even re-check the night box, or call me! After exploding a little bit I
    got a rental car: “just use this until we turn back to you”. Oh, and
    they stored my bicycle, because it didn’t really fit into the Astra
    rental.

    Workshop session 4 (extended from #3): I got the message, _we_ went
    there because A) I didn’t trust them to be really done but needed the
    bycicle and B) my wife, having been in the business of customer
    treatment for a while, is so much better at exploding and pointing out
    where THEY went wrong. They told us into our face that they tried the AC
    and it was fine, a straight lie. Facing two exploding customers they
    took back the key and hushed us out again, this time with the rental and
    the bycicle.

    Workshop session 5 (extended from #4): they called me, yes indeed, there
    was some gasket askew, so the super-eco-friendly AC gas has left the
    tubing. They don’t have the gasket, and being in provincial Norway it
    won’t show up this week. Scheduled workshop session 6 for later this
    month (I have plans, too!), and got the assurance that that will be a
    free fix. On the phone, the airbag lamp was announced to be parts only,
    at USD400 – which is reasonable, the belt tensioner is like 350 alone
    (pyro stuff, no aftermarket copies available).

    Today, one of the apprentices delivered our Vivaro and took back the
    rental. He showed an invoice with a lot of handwriting on it and said
    “I’m not sure you’re supposed to have this” and took it back. My wife
    told him _to tell_ the customer handlers that he took it back, you never
    know.

    The airbag lamp is off for now. One more workshop session to go.

    So, what car should I buy to replace the Vivaro? Aside from a better
    dealer/workshop experience (I’m asking around locally; Mitsubishi, Fiat
    is to avoid, VW Audi Skoda so so/expensive, Tesla and Lexus are
    producing happy people (again))…
    I’d like 80+ kg roof load, station wagon > SUV, maybe not a diesel (gas,
    hybrid or EV are fine).
    (Hard to give a budget, 250kNOK might buy you something else than me: A
    new base Golf 1.4 is 350k, an ID3 is 290k, but a 2017 Mercedes C350e
    hybrid wagon is between those two…)

    1. Suzuki Vitara (LY). Bought one new late 2019 and have driven it without any trouble since then (ca. 30.000km). Had a BMW before that and a lot of trouble, would have not imagined that Suzuki has a better build quality apparently.

      1. That’s actually a viable option, thank you – and thanks for making it through my rant all the way down!

        It is available only as hybrid here, which is a good thing in the local tax and fee structure; need to figure out the max. roof load with/without rails – they’re offering roof accessories though, so I have hopes that it’s not zero lbs.

  2. Sir Clive Sinclair passed away yesterday. Although many of his better-known achievements are more Atomic-Toasters-esque, on the EV front he gave us the Sinclair C5, the Zeta, the Zeta II, the Zeta III, the Zike, and the A-Bike Electric, just to name those which achieved serial production.

  3. The Nissan Skyline naming department clearly snacks a lot on alphabet cookies. Some of those “names” reach trolling levels.

    As mentioned in another post, we have started looking at all new cars here now. We’ll probably figure out that we can get the same value for less by going used, as we usually do, but the choice for long range EVs has become quite good and we’ll be test driving a few of them soon. It is interesting how Tesla is still very competitive with its cars, both the 3 and Y are on par with the competition and priced well. The two Kias are among my favourites, too. Some of these cars are really big and heavy, so I’m excited to see how well they drive. Unfortunately, the Chinese cars like Xpeng (Tesla copy!), Nio (Swappable batteries!), Hongqi (Communist swag!) have no local representation or are too expensive. We had the MG ZS for a weekend last fall and it was too SUV-y in its driving characteristics; not something I could accept. There surely are some cars that I haven’t considered yet, but we are thinking of ordering in early december, if we go that far, trying to get a good price.

    1. No Hyundai on your list, too SUVy? Also, to my feeling hybrids have come down quite a bit, a dying tribe probably.

      I personally try to avoid any recent VW product, for political reasons, and the workshop here (one company for VW Audi Skoda and Seat…) is so/so but still expensive. But this is some dude on the internet slinging opinions.

      1. Yes, Volkswagen is only on the list because people on the EV forum said I couldn’t ignore it. Most certainly not coming out on top. The Škoda Enyaq is a decent deal, but I haven’t heard much about it yet. The Ioniq 5 is on the list, but I’m surprised by how expensive it is – and the 800V infrastructure can only be used to its fullest on a handful of charging stations yet. A Kona would be just a bit too small.

  4. I love the GTR. it really set the standard for sports cars since it came out. sure, the others have caught up, but it took them this long. sure, it’s not a “pure” driver’s car, but it’s an engineering marvel. but the main thing I love about it is how it’s become the default mega power platform. want to build a car that’ll rip your face off? the GTR is the default. it is the most correct canvas upon which to paint wretched excess. it’s really a generational icon. also, it’s really fuckin fast, and I like that.

    1. I really like it too. I didn’t buy into the whole “it’s like a video game, it’s too disconnected” thing back in the day because it was obvious that it’s what made the car as good as it was. Maybe it’s because I grew up on video games. But I haven’t been this excited about the car in quite a while. All it took was some nice paint lol

      1. the paint is cool! the video game stuff is what they said about the old Skylines too, and all the other Japanese sports cars of the time. no soul, the turbos are cheating, the computers are driving, etc. now a clean Supra will run you 75k. the GTR is special, even if it’s old and overpriced now.

        I don’t want one, because like many here, I like my cars slow and simple. but I acknowledge its purpose. I love the B-52, a legend and a workhorse, even if it’s old and represents a threat to our collective survival. the need for the machine was clear, and it rose to the occasion. its purpose is existentially horrific, yet it’s a fixture in our culture. the GTR is the B-52 of modern sports cars. maybe it’s not what I long for, but it must be, and if it must be then it might as well be excellent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

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