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2018 Chevy Tahoe going to SEMA as a K5 Blazer

We’ve seen a number of attempts to channel retro truck design on modern pickups, from dealer specials to even some factory efforts. But what Arkansas-based Flat Out Autos has done to a 2018 Chevy Tahoe is on another level. The custom shop grafted on parts from late-’60s Chevy trucks and SUVs to create a sort of modern K5 Blazer.

Facebook page Johngardnertv revealed the finished truck in a video on Facebook, and the attention to detail is seriously impressive. The shop didn’t just bolt on a new (old) front clip. The hood has been blended into the Tahoe’s factory cowl and A-pillars. The lower height of the front fenders is continued in a tumblehome along the sides. The crease in the body from the classic Chevy trucks has been extended from the front fender down the doors, and the Tahoe’s squared off rear wheel arches have been made round with the same type of flaring as those on the front.

At the back, the factory taillights have been replaced with the slender ’60s Chevy units, and old rectangular corner lights are the on rear fenders. The hatch has had a tailgate-style facade added with vintage Chevrolet block lettering. Large versions of old Chevy truck wheels, chrome door handles, a two-tone paint job, and some retro black-and-white houndstooth upholstery bring it all together.

The craftsmanship is unquestionable on this truck, as is its potential to grab attention. But we’re a little split in the office as to whether these two eras of truck work together on a stylistic level. Some of us think it’s a massive improvement over a normal Tahoe, while others feel the heavy shape of the Tahoe and the more svelte lines of early Chevy trucks are too different. Either way, it’s an impressive build that deserves the attention it gets.

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SEMA Jack Roush Edition Mustang celebrates the man with over 700 hp

Roush Performance is readying its own entry to the SEMA circus going up in Las Vegas next month. The Jack Roush Edition Mustang has been designed to commemorate Roush’s accomplishments in racing and tuning and the aftermarket, and Roush’s induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame this year. Having been given that burden and the owner’s full name — most pony cars are known as Roush and a number or a “Stage” tune number — the Michigan-based tuner planes to make this SEMA car special. The company says the JRE Mustang will be the most powerful Mustang it has produced, and it will build just 60 examples, all hand-assembled. 

That will mean more than 710 horsepower and perhaps more than 610 pound-feet of torque, seeing that the present Roush Stage 3 Mustang throws those numbers from a 5.0-liter V8 made much angrier by an Eaton TVS 2650 supercharger. A video teaser on the SEMA car doesn’t show much, but we do know there’ll be a huge front splitter, forged wheels, big Brembo brakes, an active rear wing made of carbon fiber, and Roush-calibrated magnetic ride suspension. According to the company’s Facebook page, we also know Roush himself has stopped by the shop to scribble his signature on the show car.

SEMA starts in just over two weeks. We’ll get to know this exclusive, Mustang-shaped celebration in detail when the Jack Roush Edition Mustang debuts November 5.

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Hummer EV could be part of GM’s plans to build electric trucks and SUVs

WASHINGTON/DETROIT — General Motors plans to build a new family of premium electric pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant beginning in late 2021, possibly reviving the imposing Hummer brand with some of them, several people familiar with the plans said.

The so-called BT1 electric truck/SUV program is the centerpiece of a planned $3 billion investment in the Detroit-Hamtramck plant to make electric trucks and vans, and part of a broader $7.7 billion investment in GM’s U.S. plants over the next four years, according to a proposed labor deal between the automaker and the United Auto Workers union.

The investments were made public by the UAW on Friday, but no details were provided.

The investment would move the automaker into a part of the EV market that is largely untested and where GM has a higher likelihood of turning a profit, analysts said.

“It makes perfect sense to hit the high end of the market in order to generate some revenue that might actually turn a profit,” Auto Forecast Solutions vice president of global vehicle forecasting Sam Fiorani said.

GM is mirroring the approach electric carmaker Tesla took by starting in the high end and then moving down the price ladder, he said.

That is important for a company who previously tried to sell the plug-in electric hybrid Chevrolet Volt and all-electric Bolt cars at lower prices and higher volumes, but failed to sell enough to make those efforts profitable, Fiorani said.

The UAW’s 48,000 GM hourly workers are scheduled to vote next week on the proposed contract that would end a monthlong strike that analysts say has cost the No. 1 U.S. automaker about $2 billion in lost profit.

GM’s BT1 program includes an electric pickup for the GMC brand and an electric SUV for Cadillac, both due in 2023, the sources said.

Before then, GM plans to begin low-volume production in late 2021 of the first BT1 model, a pickup, under a different brand, the source said. A performance variant of the pickup will be added to that brand in 2022, followed by an electric SUV in 2023.

One of the sources said the Hummer name is “under consideration,” but a decision has not been finalized. The pickup is codenamed “Project O.”

Bringing back the Hummer name would take advantage of a still strongly recognized brand name, Fiorani said. Hummers were rugged civilian utility vehicles with low gas mileage that were inspired by military vehicles and were popular with such celebrities as actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former basketball star Dennis Rodman.

“Putting a Hummer badge on anything is a great idea for General Motors, because half the marketing is already paid for,” he said. “Making it environmentally friendly is just icing on the cake.”

The pickups and SUVs in the BT1 family will use a new dedicated electric vehicle architecture, including a “skateboard” chassis that bundles electric motor and batteries, the sources said. Fiorani expects the GM electric truck to sell at around $90,000 or more, while the other vehicles will easily top $100,000.

GM President Mark Reuss said in June at a UBS conference that the new EV architecture will be highly flexible, enabling the Detroit automaker to build a variety of body types in different sizes, with the capability of providing front-, rear- or all-wheel drive models.

When the plant reaches full production in 2024, it is expected to build about 80,000 electric vehicles a year, the sources said. Fiorani called that figure realistic.

As part of its plans around EVs, GM plans to open a battery plant near its closed Lordstown, Ohio, factory that sources have said would be a joint venture and is part of plans to invest another $1.3 billion in non-GM plants in the United States over the next four years.

GM Chief Executive Mary Barra said in April the automaker would make an electric full-size pickup, but provided no further details. The company has said it plans to invest $8 billion to develop electric and self-driving vehicles, launching 20 new EVs globally by 2023.

Asked about the details provided to Reuters, GM spokeswoman Jordana Strosberg said GM doesn’t comment on speculation. But she added the company is committed to an electric future.

“GM believes in an all-electric future and we are making great progress in that area,” she said. “We have announced that a pickup truck will be part of our future portfolio, but have no additional information to provide.”

GM is aiming to be one of the first in what is soon to be a crowded market for electric trucks and SUVs.

Well-funded Michigan startup Rivian has announced plans to build an electric pickup — a premium version of which will top $90,000 — followed by an electric SUV, beginning in fall 2020. It also has a contract with investor Amazon to build up to 100,000 electric delivery vans for the e-commerce giant.

GM previously held discussions about investing in Rivian and using its electric vehicle platform, but sped up its internal EV program when the startup turned to rival Ford.

Ford invested $500 million in Rivian in April and said it planned to use Rivian’s skateboard to build a new Ford-branded electric vehicle.

Ford plans to unveil an electric version of its own F-series pickup in early to mid 2022, sources previously told Reuters. It also will begin selling a Mustang-inspired electric SUV next year as part of its plan to invest $11.5 billion electrifying its vehicles by 2022, including adding 16 fully electric models.

Electric pickups and SUVs — the bodystyles at the heart of the U.S. market — could help Ford and GM generate the significant sales of EVs they will need to meet tougher emission standards and electric vehicle mandates in California and other states. The Trump administration is moving to roll back those standards – and eliminate extra credits that automakers receive from EV sales -but the electric trucks are a hedge if California prevails.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said the company wants to add a pickup to its growing family of premium electric vehicles, but has not provided a specific timetable. Tesla is expected to unveil a prototype this year, with analysts predicting a 2022 debut.

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Electric Mini builder to offer crate electric motor kit next year

It seems the crate electric motor business is charging up. Earlier this week we learned about a company developing a motor package that will bolt up to existing drivetrains. Now we learn about an even more complete package from British company Swindon Powertrain, a company that in addition to building race car engines, also converts classic Minis to electric power under the Swind brand name.

The motor, previously reported on by Jalopnik, appears to be the same as what’s used in the company’s Minis. It’s an 80-kW motor, which is equivalent to about 107 horsepower. The company doesn’t say exactly how much torque, but it’s probably fairly high, as the first-generation Nissan Leaf used an 80-kW motor that produced a healthy 207 pound-feet of torque. The motor is fitted to a single-speed transmission in a transverse layout. It appears to also include the inverter and cooling system.

Besides being a fairly complete powertrain package, it’s designed to be easy to adapt to various vehicles. The company highlights a variety of mounting points and the ability to place the inverter and cooling equipment wherever is convenient. Swindon Powertrain also notes that it can add extra waterproofing for vehicles that will see more off-road conditions. It’s light and compact, too, weighing in at 154 pounds with everything it comes with.

While this crate motor will likely be a great solution for people looking to convert vehicles both recent and classic, there are some caveats. It appears that this powertrain will be best for front-engine, front-drive or rear-engine, rear-drive cars, since they’re already designed to have the entire powertrain, transmission and axles in one place. Converting a front-engine, rear-drive car would probably be easier with the Electric GT motor kit; at least unless there’s space in the back to fit all that. So far, there’s also no ready-to-go battery pack and charging and management system to go with the Swindon Powertrain motor, and the battery system is arguably the more difficult part to put together. It’s certainly the most expensive.

On the topic of price, Swindon Powertrain doesn’t have one yet. We’ll probably have a price closer to its planned production date of next June.

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2019 Lexus ES 350 F-Sport Drivers’ Notes | Handling, comfort, technology

The 2019 Lexus ES 350 is a big step in the right direction for the Camry-sized sedan. It looks eons better than the last ES, and it has the Lexus ride and luxury to back it up. Lexus redesigned the mid-size sedan for the 2019 model year, putting it on Toyota’s TNGA platform. It’s a good place to be, as every new Toyota that has come out on this architecture is more dynamic and comfortable than the last. Lexus even went so far as to add optional adaptive shocks to the equation, which stiffens up the ride in Sport mode.

Our tester was this gorgeous, blue F Sport model, which is comparable to the one West Coast Editor James Riswick drove last year. It came with the aforementioned adaptive suspension, but the F Sport also gains 19-inch wheels and trim-exclusive sport seats. A Sport+ driving mode is added with the adaptive suspension, as well, joining the existing Sport, Normal and Eco modes. Without options, the ES 350 F Sport is a $45,160 car. All our tester’s extras brought the final price to $54,450. The most expensive addition was the Mark Levinson audio system, combined with navigation for a hefty $2,900. Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert costs $1,065; triple-beam LED headlights are $1,515, and the adaptive suspension is $750. A swath of unnecessary accessories balloon the price even higher, but it’s still cheaper than many of the German sedans. A generously equipped car could come in right around $50,000 if you’re willing to compromise on a few amenities.

Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: I’m going to zero-in on the infotainment system’s touchpad, which sits to the right of the driver. It’s tricky to use, especially while driving. To be fair, I didn’t spend a ton of time in this otherwise enjoyable ES 350 F Sport, but tuning the radio and toggling through the different sources (FM, XM, etc.) shouldn’t require all that much education. There are redundant controls for some of the functionality, but this still isn’t great. You can do a lot of things with this touchpad — flick, zoom, scroll — it’s good in theory. But in practice, I find it annoying, and in traffic it can be distracting. There are simpler solutions that are better. Toyota has plenty of good tech hardware. The next day I drove an Avalon hybrid and had no issues with the touchscreen-operated infotainment. There was almost no adjustment period. That’s the way to go.

Assistant Editor Zac Palmer: Lexus knows how to make seats. I’ve never sat my bottom down in a Lexus cushion that didn’t make me happy, and the new ES 350 is more of the same. Not only are these “sport seats” plush and relaxing, but they also held me in well around corners. Somehow, Lexus has managed to hit the best of both worlds with these chairs, and I love it.

The rest of the interior makes for a luxurious place to spend time in, as it tries to sort out every last setting for you. The Lexus “Climate Concierge” does its best to be your personal temperature assistant, more than any other luxury car brand attempts to do. Automatic climate control for the temperature setting is a given, but this car also features automatic heated/cooled seats, an automatic heated steering wheel and automatic control of the air recirculation setting. For the most part, it works flawlessly. Set your temperature, and then the “Concierge” takes it from there. I had to intervene a couple times to keep my heated steering wheel on during a particularly chilly morning, but the seat control was spot on. Did Lexus need to do this? No. However, not having to mess with settings feels like luxury, so I think I’m going to side with Lexus on this one.

Production Manager Eddie Sabatini: I REALLY like this car, and not just because we share the same initials. The V6 sounds great, and even though 302 HP isn’t the most you can get at this price point, it’s more than enough power to have fun passing the confused Lyft driver doing 50 on the expressway. Until I looked at the window sticker, I assumed I was in a $60,000 car. My one gripe, and it’s a minor one, is I wish the heated steering wheel got a little warmer. But hey, if you’re at a place where you’re complaining about the intensity of your heated steering wheel, things must be pretty good.

Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale: I agree with Eddie, the V6 is excellent. It’s got a deep throaty intake growl, revs happily, and all 302 horses feel healthy. As a couple of us discovered, it’s very capable of roasting the front tires from a standstill.

It’s a little weird, then, that such an athletic engine is in such a comfort-oriented sedan. Even with the F Sport’s adjustable suspension and big wheels, it still had soft, squishy suspension. It was good for a comfy ride, but resulted in plenty of body roll in corners. It’s not particularly grippy, and the back end doesn’t feel as buttoned down as a “sporty” car should.

The transmission is a similar story. It’s seamless, if on the slow side. It does have a manual mode with some nice paddles to play with that liven things up.

Somewhat related, I love that the ES has a simple, mechanical-feeling shifter. It’s not quite as quick and solid-feeling as the company’s gated automatic shifters, but the push-button lever is plenty positive and makes it easy to pick the right gear. I know electronic monostable shifters are all the rage, but they just aren’t as user friendly, and they typically aren’t used to actually free up the space an electric shifter hypothetically could.

West Coast Editor James Riswick: I’m going to have to disagree with Mr. Stocksdale here … or at least my notes from 10 months do. Back in my review last year of pretty much the same car, I wrote “It really comes down to what you feel through the F Sport steering wheel, through your heels planted in the floor below, and the seat of your pants that’s now placed lower in a sportier driving position (than the previous generation). The ES 350 F Sport is one of those cars that manages to shrink around you as you hustle it along, feeling much smaller than its full-size sedan dimensions would indicate. It may be based on the Avalon, but that car never feels as lithe and responsive as its Lexus cousin. 

I also praised the steering, and actually thought potential owners might find the suspension too stiff. “One potential drawback to the F Sport and its superior handling capabilities is that even in Normal, you feel far more road imperfections than in ES models of the past. In Sport+ it can actually be unpleasant.” I definitely didn’t think it suffered from excess body roll. Of course, different drivers, different roads, different side of the country. 

I did agree that the transmission is a let-down and added that the ES in general would benefit from the torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system offered by its platform mate, the Toyota RAV4

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This gadget lets you stop a moving car like Spider-Man


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Spiderman-like net stops speeding cars. ArrestNet by Pacsci EMC is a vehicle arresting system. Designed for applications like high-speed pursuits. The non-lethal vehicle system deploys in 3 seconds via remote control. When a speeding vehicle runs over ArrestNet spikes penetrate the tires. This triggers the net to deploy and wrap around the tires and stopping a dangerous situation without the use of lethal force. Each strand of the net can hold up to 1,200 lbs of force.

ArrestNet by PacSci EMC

Continue reading This gadget lets you stop a moving car like Spider-Man

This gadget lets you stop a moving car like Spider-Man originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 19 Oct 2019 09:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Meet the women who provided the cars for ‘Stranger Things’

Based in Atlanta, Y’allywood Film Cars bills itself as the first woman-owned and -operated picture car company. It might not be a household name, but it has been helping to create some of the most popular television and film projects of the past few years. Most notably, Y’allywood provided many of the vintage rides seen in Netflix’s “Stranger Things.” Atlanta Magazine recently ran a profile on the company and its owner.

As the film business has grown in Georgia, and in Atlanta specifically, so too has the need for period-correct cars to place in movies and TV shows. Beth Aylward, the founder of Y’allywood, hopes to fill the gaps. With Aylward, the other two pillars of the company are Jeana Lopeman and Stacy Frasure.

As a member of the Screen Actors Guild, Aylward has worked in the business for several years and appeared as an extra in several TV shows such as “Seinfeld,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Married with Children.” Through her experiences, she saw room for improvement in the picture car industry, especially in the way cars’ owners are treated. This excerpt from the story lays out the main issues: 

At that time in L.A., she says, booking for picture cars almost always went through extras casting companies — folks were booked as “extras with cars” according to Aylward, and union drivers and extras typically received a good rate for the use of their vehicle — anywhere between $200 and $400 per day.

 

When she moved to Atlanta in 2005, however, it was a different story. The film industry hadn’t fully made its way east yet, and there wasn’t much work to be found. As the industry grew, she made connections with other picture car owners on various productions and learned many were going through extras casting for car calls — and weren’t getting booked for what Aylward considered a fair amount. Their “car bumps” were lower than the union rates Aylward had been used to in L.A. Aylward also said there weren’t generally extra pay bumps given for precision driving — a type of skilled driving that isn’t quite flying through the air or getting into a high-speed collision like a stunt driver, but that does require experience and training.

With Y’allywood, Aylward wants to ensure people are treated well and paid adequately. Now, production companies can directly link with car owners without going through the hoops for hiring extras. For more information about the company, which has booked cars for more than 40 productions so far, and a look at its stock of vehicles (it’s not just old cars) visit Atlanta Magazine and yallywoodfilmcars.com.

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GM adds labor costs with new UAW deal, but it’s a much healthier company today

DETROIT — A decade ago, high labor costs helped drag a bloated and debt-ridden General Motors into a government-funded bankruptcy.

Now, a contract deal reached this week with the United Auto Workers union will raise the company’s costs once again, at a time when the auto industry is facing the uncertainty of tariffs and trade wars, slowing global sales and rising capital expenses to develop autonomous and electric vehicles.

Analysts say the four-year deal, if approved next week by 49,000 striking workers, will hit GM’s bottom line, but not badly enough to send it back into financial trouble like 2009, when it ran out of cash and was cleansed of $54 billion in debt during a 40-day trip through bankruptcy protection.

“Across the board, it’s a company that is leaps-and-bounds healthier than it was during the Great Recession,” said Jeff Schuster, a senior vice president at the forecasting firm LMC Automotive.

Before contract talks opened with the union last summer, GM had hoped to cut labor costs to bring them closer to those at U.S. factories run by foreign automakers. That didn’t happen. Instead, the union went on strike, silencing GM’s U.S. factories and costing the company an estimated $2 billion due to lost vehicle production.

In a tentative deal reached between the two sides, GM agreed to provide longtime workers 3% pay raises in two of the years, with 4% lump sums in the other two. By itself, an $11,000 ratification bonus per worker will cost the company more than a half-billion dollars.

The deal did nothing to rein in the rising cost of health care; instead it will remain at a 3% premium cost per worker, or about 10% of what most workers in the nation pay. There also are annual profit-sharing checks, a faster path to full pay of more than $32 per hour for workers hired after 2007, and requirements that temporary workers get full-time jobs after three years.

But the GM of today that must shoulder these costs is in far better shape than the GM of 10 years ago, when the Great Recession caused the near-collapse of the U.S. auto industry. At that time, GM had about 235,000 employees worldwide, including 74,000 U.S. factory workers. Now it has 55,000 fewer employees across the globe, and 24,000 fewer people in U.S. factories.

A decade ago, the company was dealing with a worldwide financial meltdown that froze credit and auto sales. Gas prices also were high, chasing any remaining buyers away from GM’s main profit centers in the U.S., pickup trucks and SUVs. Fiat Chrysler also ended up getting bailed out by the government, and Ford survived only because its CEO borrowed billions.

Now, GM has about $17.5 billion in cash and liquid securities on its balance sheet, which exceeds debt by more than $2 billion. Although its sales fell slightly so far this year, it’s still making big money on pickup trucks and SUVs in an era of lower gas prices. Last year it announced a restructuring plan that will save that will save an estimated $6 billion per year by the end of 2020. That included closing five U.S. and Canadian factories and letting go of about 8,000 white-collar workers. It also has trimmed engineering and product development costs.

The company says it can now break even if U.S. sales fall to a range of 10 million to 11 million per year, a rate not seen since the Great Recession. Currently sales are running just under 17 million per year in GM’s most profitable market.

The new contract also delivered some wins for GM. Over the UAW’s objections, it will close three U.S. factories associated with slow-selling car production. The company had wanted to close a fourth, but kept an assembly plant in Detroit alive with a new electric truck.

The deal includes buyout and retirement incentives for older workers, and while that will be a big one-time cost, it will let the company replace them with lower-paid workers, trimming payroll for at least for a few years, said Kristin Dziczek, vice president of the Center for Automotive Research, an industry think tank.

Eventually, though, lower-paid workers and temporary hires will have to become full time, adding to costs, Dziczek said. And the company still is stuck with health care costs that are far higher than in other industries.

“Those will keep going up every year,” Morningstar analyst David Whiston said, adding that GM is close to paying $1 billion per year for employee health care. “It’s not sustainable how much they are paying for that.”

The UAW’s deal with GM is its first this year, and whatever costs GM winds up with likely will be passed on to Ford and Fiat Chrysler, which still have to go through bargaining.

And while GM and other automakers may be better position today than a decade ago, they still face significant headwinds. Global auto sales are slowing, including in the U.S., and some economists are predicting another recession as early as next year. President Donald Trump has imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, and he’s threatened duties on other imported goods including auto parts, all of which will drive up GM’s costs. A new version of the North American Free Trade Agreement is languishing in Congress, and Trump has threatened to scrap the existing treaty if the new one isn’t passed. That would mean havoc for the auto business with parts now flowing freely to and from Canada and Mexico.

“There’s a high degree of uncertainty,” says Schuster.

Although his company sees slightly slowing sales, he’s not forecasting a recession. He also doesn’t foresee a return to 2009, when U.S. consumers stopped buying SUVs and trucks. All three Detroit automakers would be in trouble if that happened, Schuster said.

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Subaru sells a ridiculous number of Outbacks, relatively speaking

Last year in the United States, Subaru dealers sold a new Outback wagon every 2.94 minutes. Sales were brisker the year before, when dealers sold a new Outback every 2.78 minutes. It cracked the 50,000-units-per-year barrier every year but one starting in 1997, and has shifted more than 100,000 units annually in the United States every year since 2011. From 2013-2015, Kelley Blue Book said the Outback sat on dealer lots for less time than any other car on sale. Here’s a starker set of numbers: J.D. Power, as quoted in a CNBC video, put the U.S. station wagon market at 1.4% of the total U.S. car market in 2018. However, the Outback alone was 1.2%, meaning the sales of every other wagon amounted to a minuscule 0.2% of the total car market. Or, as Road & Track put it, “Out of every 20 wagons sold here, 17 are Subaru Outbacks. Damn.”

Without taking anything away from Subaru, we need to thank Audi again for bringing the RS 6 Avant and A6 Allroad here, even if the best the Ingolstadt brand can do is bleed marketing dollars to scrap it out with every other automaker for, well, scraps.

 

 

The CNBC vid doesn’t get into how the Outback became the wagon heavyweight save for a mention about it being “part wagon, part crossover” and saying it has “evolved to incorporate more attributes of SUVs and crossovers” like all-wheel drive. That take overlooks the fact that Subaru debuted the jacked-up, bold-faced Legacy Outback at the end of 1994 as a 1995-model-year offering. Subaru designed the Legacy Outback to be a wagon/SUV tweener, well after Subaru was already known for its AWD chops, and before anyone had coined the word “crossover.” The Toyota RAV4, now credited as being the first crossover, didn’t show until early 1996. A Subaru exec said in 2014, “We could see the sales explode in SUVs and nobody else really produced a car-based SUV.” That quote, by the way, came in a nifty article about the death of the station wagon, shortly after the author wrote, “The real culprit behind the disappearance of the middle class wagon in America (besides the entire American car-buying public) is, in my opinion, the Subaru Outback.”   

It helped that Subaru knew its niche and built just the car its customers wanted, which is why Car and Driver named the Outback the best wagon for an active, outdoor lifestyle, why Autotrader calls it “the best of a few different worlds,” and why CarMax has averaged more than two used Outbacks sold every day for 13 years.

But the marketing campaigns sealed it. Practically picking up where Subaru left off with irreverent DL wagon marketing in the 1970s – that was the wagon that “climbed like a goat, worked like a horse and ate like a bird” – Subaru has put Crocodile Dundee, Lance Armstrong, shaming the Germans, animals who want Ricky, honeymooners, and the “Love” of oh so many dogs to work in the wild, mountainous, rainy outdoors flogging its wares. Any CMOs looking for a case study in ROI, the Outback is that, too. Anyone looking for another sad story about the dim future for wagons, check out the video above.

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Saleen GT4 Race Car Debuts With 450 HP and a $225K Price Tag


Saleen is no stranger to GT racing, and its latest offering aims to bring the competition experience to drivers of varying skill levels. The company on Thursday in Las Vegas revealed its GT4 concept race car, based on the Saleen 1 (a.k.a. the Saleen S1) and intended to compete in SRO Motorsport Group’s GT4 series. Saleen plans to build the cars in Corona, California, beginning in November, and will open them to customer orders once SRO homologates the model for competition.

Saleen revealed the turbocharged race car during a press conference and demonstration event held at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, and it said it designed its GT4 to compete in various series around the world as well as with SRO. The GT4 concept is based on the racing version of the Saleen 1, which debuted in the 2019 Saleen Cup single-make arrive-and-drive series. The GT4 boasts changes from the standard production Saleen 1, including updates designed to comply with GT4 series specifications.

The GT4 concept features updates to its front splitter and fenders, plus a new rear diffuser to improve aerodynamics. Per GT4 specifications, a large rear wing adds downforce. The concept car also offers front and rear ABS and other GT4-specific equipment.

With its turbocharged 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine producing 450 horsepower, plus carbon-fiber bodywork covering the mid-engine chassis, the GT4 version has plenty of potential to deliver one rip-roaring fun experience on racetracks. It won’t be cheap, but few race cars are: Each GT4 will start at $225,000.



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