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:
Porsche surprises with new 935 tribute
Cadillac is moving their headquarters back to Detroit after just three years in NYC
Audi expected to debut E-tron GT sports “coupe” at LA Auto Show
BMW is revealing the all-new 3 Series next week in Paris
SEC formally sues Elon Musk over “plans” to take Tesla private
What’s your automotive news?
Porsche kicked off this weekend’s Rennsport Reunion VI at
Mazda WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in a very big way. Porsche has been known to kick it old school several times before with concepts and tributes, but this faithful recreation of the famous 935/78 known as “Moby Dick”.
Decades before McLaren came up with the F1 GTR ‘Longtail’, Porsche did it first with their line of 935 endurance racers during the last Group 5 era, perhaps most famously with the 935/78. There were plenty of amazing 935s running around, but the 935/78 is remembered better for a reason. Engineers took full advantage of FIA rules to create a uniquely streamlined car that was super light at around 2,260 pounds and incredibly powerful with 845 horsepower being the upper limit. It only ran under factory support for one season but managed to win the 6 hours of Silverstone and finish eighth overall at Le Mans, where it clocked a top speed of 227 mph.
The 935/78 is a legendary and outright beautiful racecar whose place in history is honored by a new limited-edition, non-homologated Porsche like no other. It starts as a basic 911 but gets power and technology from the new 911 GT2 RS and gets a slew of upgrades inspired by the historic racer. It’s a real car that Porsche is selling in very limited numbers with clubsport events and private training on race tracks in mind. Just 77 are being built and each goes for about $818,000.
With a car that’s already broken records as its basis, most of the body panels have been replaced or supplemented by carbon-fiber composite parts. It has wider wheel arches, an elongated tail, a big carbon fiber wing, and even the aerodynamically capped wheels. All in all, it’s nearly a foot longer and 200 pounds lighter than the 911 GT2 RS.
With all of that real estate to work with, Porsche also threw in extra styling details to pay tribute to other race cars from past and present. It features LED rear lights on the rear wing endplates as found on the 919 Hybrid, side mirrors from the current 911 RSR, and exposed titanium tailpipes modeled on the Porsche 908’s. And yes, it can be ordered with that Martini livery.
It takes its track day role seriously with a carbon steering wheel and digital gauge cluster borrowed from the new 911 GT3 R, a full roll cage, and a Recaro racing seat with a six-point harness, an air jack system, 30-gallon fuel cell, and even an escape hatch in the roof . The passenger seat is optional and it retains factory AC.
The 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged flat six is largely similar to what’s found in the 911 GT2 RS but with new engine management optimized for the track. It has 700 horsepower to play with and that’s transmitted to the rear wheels through a seven-speed PDK. Helping to control all of that fury is a new LSD that’s more optimized for heavy track use, larger brakes with anti-knock-back springs and a brake balance controller, and three-way adjustable racing dampers.
It may not be the 227-mph-fire-spitting-kill-you-if-you-hit-boost-too-early race car that the real Moby Dick was – and it’s certainly not quite as pretty – but it’s still one of the coolest and most surprising cars revealed this year. I thought it was something rendered up by an aftermarket tuner at first glance, but it’s actually Porsche doing this. And Porsche is actually selling this to people. What a world we live in.
Cadillac is moving back to Detroit
One of the more controversial moves by former Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen was moving Cadillac’s headquarters from Detroit – where, you know, all the cars are – to the trendy SoHo district in New York City – an area synonymous with personal car ownership. By distancing themselves from the rest of GM in this way, the move was supposed to help to strengthen their appeal to high end markets and customers outside North America.
Well apparently it didn’t help because Cadillac has confirmed that they’re coming back to Detroit. They’ve been in New York for three years. Autoweek reports that they’ll most likely be moving to a location near their technical center just north of Detroit in order to bring the head honchos closer to the people actually designing and building their cars. That’s crucial when Cadillac’s plan is to launch a new or redesigned vehicle every six months through 2020.
Cadillac isn’t completely gone from New York though as they’ll continue to operate whatever Cadillac House is supposed to be for the foreseeable future, or until they’re tired of paying SoHo rent.
[Source: Autoweek | Image © 2018 Hooniverse/Keiron Berndt]
Audi E-tron GT is debuting soon
Following the recent debut of the E-tron all-electric SUV, Audi is preparing to reveal a new pre-production coupe bearing the same family name according to Autoweek. It’s being referred to as the E-tron GT and is expected to be a “highly dynamic coupe”, which normal people would just call a fucking sports car. The reveal is set for the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.
Preliminary details call for it to be built on the same platform and 800-volt architecture as the upcoming Porsche Taycan (formerly known as Mission E). If the teaser shot is to be believed, it looks like it’ll be another one of those sedans that they try to call a coupe but it should have some proper sports sedan credentials to its name. The Taycan is shaping up to be a great performer with around 600 horsepower on tap making it capable of a sub-3.5-second 0-60 mph sprint, a sprint Porsche says it can do repeatedly without issue.
Audi has a great foundation to work with so it’ll be interesting to see how they take advantage of it. Autoweek believes production could start as early as 2020, but more on this as we get it.
New BMW 3 Series debuts next week
When the Paris Motor Show kicks off next Monday, BMW will be presenting the all-new 3 Series. Soon to be in its seventh generation, the segment-defining luxury sports sedan is BMW’s most successful model range worldwide, so there’s maybe slightly less of a chance of it sucking.
One thing you can certainly count on is it being predicable. The teaser shot of it under wraps is enough for us to know it’ll carry many of the same design cues as its bigger siblings and will probably be a little bigger than the current F30. And because BMW is as predictable as the tide, it should be available as a 330i, 340i, and M340i in both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive. The manual option will probably be gone for good. The 30i will probably have latest turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 255 horsepower and the 40is will work with the turbocharged 3.0-liter straight sixes making between 335 and 382 horsepower. The 340i with the M in front of it will be sharper and sportier and more expensive.
Expect to see more coverage of this next week as we learn how close I was… whether you like it or not.
SEC sues Elon Musk over “funding secured” tweet
We don’t have any good pictures of Elon Musk on file so I picked this image depicting my high quality rendering of Tesla’s semi truck. I think I got it pretty close in hindsight.
The Securities and Exchanges Commission has formally announced a lawsuit against Tesla CEO Elon Musk over a tweet sent last month about possibly taking the company private – an idea the company abandoned pretty quickly. “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.” is the tweet that started yet another bizarre story in this company’s history and gave the aspiring mini-sub inventor yet another headache.
With that tweet and the antics that followed, the SEC alleges that Musk intentionally misled investors as he “had not even discussed, much less confirmed, key deal terms, including price, with any potential funding source”. With this lawsuit, the SEC also seeks to bar Elon Musk from serving as an executive director for any publicly traded company and recover any ill-gotten gains from this announcement. Because Tesla’s stock price is so deeply tied to whatever Elon Musk is thinking, doing, or having for breakfast, the price shot up following the tweet in question.
So the SEC believes Musk was lying about the funding being secured and they also confirmed that the buy back price was definitely a weed joke. This is an actual quote from an official SEC filing:
According to Musk, he calculated the $420 price per share based on a 20% premium over that day’s closing share price because he thought 20% was a “standard premium” in going-private transactions. This calculation resulted in a price of $419, and Musk stated that he rounded the price up to $420 because he had recently learned about the number’s significance in marijuana culture and thought his girlfriend ‘would find it funny, which admittedly is not a great reason to pick a price.’
We live in the weirdest timeline. But of all the headaches and alleged short-selling conspiracies that Tesla has run into over the years, this one is by far the most serious. Well, this one and the Department of Justice investigation into the same matter that’s been reported too.
[Sources: SEC via Jalopnik]
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 © 2018 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]