All posts in “Cars”

This 1970 Dodge Challenger Is Packing 2,500 Horsepower

Whether it’s at cruising nights, car shows or automotive events, we’ve seen our fair share of impressively powered old school muscle cars. Australia’s Rides by Kam makes cars that, comparatively, make even those impressive beasts…

1995 Ferrari F50 Berlinetta Prototipo heads to auction

We’ve seen our fair share of classic and exotic cars head to auction, but it’s rare to see something as special as this 1995 Ferrari F50 Berlinetta Prototipo on offer to the general public. 

Prototipo, of course, is Italian for “prototype,” indicating this example’s status as the very first example of the F40 successor ever built. It saw duty as a development vehicle, auto show star, and media evaluation tool. That’s right: if you ever read a “first drive” review of the 1995 Ferrari F50, chances are this is the car your favorite auto scribe was driving. 

Per the listing, it was also the model for Shin Yoshikawa’s cut-away illustration and several scale models (including those sold by Burago, Maisto and Tamiya) and its likeness was even depicted on postage stamps. 

After this world tour, the Prototipo returned to the Ferrari factory for a complete rebuild, after which it was sold (as promised ahead of time) to Jacques Swaters, a personal friend of Enzo Ferrari. It remained in the Swaters collection until 2007, when it was sold to a Ferrari collector in Burbank, California. It has since changed hands several times.

While it may have lacked the raw, angular aggression of its F40 predecessor, the F50 was no less stunning (or less special) as a result. Its ferocious 4.7L V12 made more than 510 horsepower and 345 lb-ft of torque, which is still plenty respectable even today, especially considering it weighed just a little over 2,700 pounds. That combination was good for a 0-60 run of just 3.7 seconds on the way to a 202-mph top speed. 

As CassicCars.com points out, fewer than 350 examples of the F50 Berlinetta were ever produced. 

The F50 Berlinetta Prototipo will cross the block Wednesday, Jan. 15th, 2020, at the Worldwide Auctioneers event in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Meet the Sub-$10,000 Used Cars We’re in Love With Right Now

You can find interesting used cars all up and down the price spectrum — searching Craigslist for sub-$1,000 diamonds in the rough is just as much fun as ogling the seven-figure exotica on DuPont Registry — but we’ve always found there to be a certain draw in poking around for vehicles that ride just below the $10,000 mark. Maybe it’s that mental leap between four digits and five; maybe it’s that it seems cheap enough to buy as something of a lark, but still enough to mean you’re buying a decent ride; maybe it’s just an inherent love of the the Hindu-Arabic numeral system.

Regardless of the why, however, the fact remains that we always find some really compelling vehicles out there that we could buy for less than $10,000. These seven cars and trucks are just the tip of the iceberg.

2012 Audi TTS 2.0T Premium Plus quattro

“With used Porsche prices trending upward on a daily basis, perhaps it’s time to look at its siblings to capture some of those autobahn vibes. Enter the Audi TT. Yes, to some it might be more of a squished Beetle than a baby 911 Carrera, but with the right specs, it’s an impressive automobile. This one has high miles, but all the correct extras: all-wheel drive, baseball glove leather seats, quad exhaust — and those big factory alloy rims.” —Kyle Snarr, Head of Marketing

Mileage: 168,736 miles
Original MSRP: $$38,300

1991 Mercedes-Benz 500SL

“Growing up, the R129-generation Mercedes-Benz SL was the most affordable car that earned a spot as a poster on my wall. In my eyes, the interior leather and wood grain from 90’s Mercs have developed the coziest, classiest patina. You could find this car for less than $5,000…but there’s nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes.” —Andrew Siceloff, Director of Video

Mileage: 67,000 miles
Original MSRP: $$89,300

2010 BMW 535i xDrive Wagon

“There are two kinds of BMW 5 Series wagons from the late Aughts and 2010s: ones with a well-documented history you can trust — and everything else. The only commonality? They’re used BMWs, so you’re going to need to be prepared to shell out a lot of cash for ongoing maintenance and repairs. (But you’re never a true enthusiast if you don’t secretly like the pain.) The BMW wagons on Bring a Trailer end up on the higher end of the price spectrum because of their curation and provenance, but you can still score a wagon elsewhere for around $10K or less. Do tread carefully — high speed fuel pumps are particularly bad on this model.

Okay now that I’ve talked you out of buying a used BMW wagon, what about the upside? Well, 1.) It’s a long roof 5 Series BMW that’s managed to age very well; 2.) it’s powered by the BMW N54, a twin-turbo, 300-horsepower inline-six engine that won every important engine award and nearly matched a V8’s performance; 3.) if you look hard enough, you can get it in a manual; and 4.) endless street cred from every automotive enthusiast and car lover across the country, despite paying less than a third of what it costs to buy a life-crushing Ford Edge.” —Eric Yang, Founder & CEO

Mileage: 102,899 miles
Original MSRP: $55,950

2007 Mercedes-Benz E320 BlueTEC

“Mercedes sedans have a timeless gravitas that lingers far longer than their premium price points. The E-Class is the Goldilocks version, with the right amount of space but lacking the excess of the full-size S-Class. This diesel is rated to net you 30-plus mpg on the highway. Just be sure to set aside an extra $1,100 for eventual repairs.” —Tyler Duffy, Motoring Staff Writer

Mileage: 71,325 miles
Original MSRP: $51,550

1999 Jaguar XJR

“Ever since an old colleague of mine bought one of these  XJRs, I’ve been kind of obsessed. 390 horsepower and 387 pound-feet of torque are just as compelling now as they were 21 years (!) ago, and the X300/X308-generation’s lines are truly timeless — every bit as alluring today as they were when they debuted. Granted, you can find XJRs even cheaper than this, but not only does this example look awfully clean…how do you say no to a British Racing Green Jaguar?” —Will Sabel Courtney, Motoring Editor

Mileage: 122,784 miles
Original MSRP: $68,450

1967 Fiat 500

“This ’67 Fiat 500 is NYC-friendly (read: compact) and cute as hell. The eggshell color complements the eggy shape…which is something I’m maybe reading into too much. I’m not necessarily a leather guy, but the combination of the old-school sunroof and leather interior does something to me that I like.” —Gerald Ortiz, Style Staff Writer

Mileage: <100,000 miles
Original MSRP: Cheap, even in lira

1988 Toyota Hilux DLX Standard Cab

“I want a truck, not an unaffordable spaceship with a tailgate. Unfortunately, in today’s market, there aren’t a whole lot of non-space-age options — so looking back to the late ’80s is just about my only option. Given that there are things like this 1988 Toyota Hilux available, I’m not that mad about it.” —JD DiGiovanni, Associate Editor, Editorial Operations

Mileage: 65,309 miles
Original MSRP: $10,348
[We told everyone to only choose vehicles whose prices were known, but JD picked this one anyway. —Ed.]
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Will Sabel Courtney is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Editor, formerly of The Drive and RIDES Magazine. You can often find him test-driving new cars in New York City, cursing the slow-moving traffic surrounding him.

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Aston Martin V12 Speedster will ditch roof and windshield

If your hunger for supercars with no windshields wasn’t satiated with the McLaren Elva, we have good news. Aston Martin has one of its own to be revealed later this year. It’s simply called the Aston Martin V12 Speedster, and sounds like it will be entertaining.

Though the car hasn’t been fully revealed, the teaser image gives us a good look at the profile. The nose is pointy with a huge grille like the Aston Martin Vantage. The short deck with tall rear spoiler is also Vantage-esque. Between the wheels appear to be some very aggressive air vents and character lines. And of course, there’s no roof or windshield. There are cowls behind the seats, which are fitting since Aston says this car is inspired by the Le Mans-winning 1959 DBR1 race car and the 2013 Aston Martin CC100 concept car, both open sports cars.

Powering the V12 Speedster is, obviously, a V12 engine. It’s a version of the twin-turbocharged 5.2-liter that’s been used in different versions of the DB11. In the Speedster it will produce 690 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, which is less than the 715 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque in the monster DBS Superleggera. The engine is matched to an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive.

Only 88 V12 Speedsters will be built, and Aston is taking orders now. Completed cars will be delivered in early 2021. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but we doubt that will be an issue for those ordering one.

Related Video:

Sony Unveils Vision S Full Electric Car in Surprise Move to EVs

Sony surprised the automotive industry earlier today with the debut of its Sony Vision S. It happened at the Consumer Electronics Show 2020 (CES) which began today in Las Vegas. The release is less about the fact that is a remarkably production-close car, more about the technology that is packaged within.

What really interests us is the car elements though. So we’re going to talk about those first! With the Vision S, Sony has been helped by Magna Steyr, Bosch, Nvidia and others. Magna Steyr, in case you weren’t aware, is the company that produces Mercedes-Benz’s G Class, the BMW 5 Series and the Toyota Supra.

Sony Vision-S Rear Seats

Sony says it is powered by a pair of 272 hp electric motors. These give it enough power to hit 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds, with a top speed of 240 km/h.

The Sony Vision S prototype incorporates the latest in Sony’s imaging and sensing technologies. It’s packed with sensors to start with, 33 sensors to be exact, including CMOS image sensors and ToF sensors. The sensors detect and recognise people and objects inside and outside the car.

Sony Vision-S Seats

On the audio side of things, “360 Reality Audio” provides a unique audio experience through speakers built into each seat. The front dash also features a massive panoramic screen that extends the entire length of the dashboard. It underlines Sony’s intentions in creating the ultimate mobile entertainment space.

Other than the above details, little is known about the Sony Vision S, least of all whether Sony has the intention to put it into mass production.

Sony Vision-S Front

GTSPIRIT NEWSLETTER

These Are the Fastest Cars of the Last Decade

The 2010s were a stellar decade for fast cars. As engineers found new ways to squeeze more and more power out of the traditional internal-combustion lumps we know and love, performance levels climbed to nearly absurd heights. Acceleration times dropped precipitously; by 2019, four-ton-plus sedans were regularly cracking off 0-60 runs of less than three seconds, and super sports cars were cracking into the nines in the quarter-mile.

But fun as acceleration times are to compare, no measure of automotive performance prompts nearly as much barstool banter as top speed. Even if 200-plus-mph speeds are utterly inaccessible to most of us, they summon up the sort of wonder and awe that no brutal launch ever could.

Now, there’s a lot of contention out there about what exactly signifies a “fast car.” For the purposes of this list, we’re keeping it neat and tidy: “fastest” refers to top speed (if this were about acceleration times, that would be the “quickest cars”), and there needs to be public, reputable documentation of the car’s top-speed run.* Plenty of automakers claim their cars can way faster than 200 mph, but if the proof of the pudding is in the eating, the proof of the speeding is in the GPS.

*With one exception we’ll explain at the end.

Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 304+ — 304 MPH

As the 2010s wound down, it started to seem like Bugatti — a mainstay of “fastest cars” lists ever since it came back to life with the 1,000-hp 16.4 Veyron in 2005 — might not be able to reclaim its title as the speediest ride. Then, a few months before the end of the decade, the carmaker announced that it had not only broken every other production car speed record, but it had also become the first car to break 300 miles per hour. Granted, the Guiness Records folks won’t certify it because they demand runs in both directions, but unless Bugatti had a secret 27-mph tailwind in just the right place, their claim is effectively unchallengable.

Koenigsegg Agera RS — 284 MPH

Swedish carmaker Koenigsegg may not have the budget or resources of Bugatti (which benefits from the largess of its parent, the VW Group), but it does have a ton of heart — and brilliant minds working for it. Led by founder Christian von Koenigsegg, those Swedish chefs have cooked up a series of high-tech, innovative hypercars that can humble the world’s best. And in 2017, that’s exactly what they did, taking the 1,360-hp Agera RS to a Guinness-certified 276 mph and a peak top speed of 284.

Hennessey Venom GT — 270 MPH

Best known for hot-rodding Dodge Vipers and Ford Raptors, Texas-based Hennessey Performance took a leap of faith into the unknown when it morphed, mutated and rebuilt some skeletal bits of a Lotus into the 1,244-hp Venom GT. The work paid off; the twin-turbo 7.0-liter pushed the car up to a stunning 270 miles per hour during a top-speed run at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (They had to use the same runway the space shuttle used to land on.)

Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport — 268 MPH

The regular Bugatti Veyron broke people’s brains when it showed up 15 years ago, but people grow used to such madness all too quickly. So to keep the luster on the brand, the carmaker rolled out an even faster version — the Super Sport, which used its 1,200 horsepower to nab the Guinness World Record for fastest production car in 2010. Later, a targa-top Gran Sport Vitesse version came along, but that one was limited to a mere 233 mph, so no one really cared.

Bugatti Chiron, Chiron Sport — 261 MPH

Okay, maybe it’s not all that surprising that there are so many Bugattis on this list. After all, the brand’s spare-no-expense credo and dedication to cracking speed barriers are exactly what it takes to achieve a spot on this sort of list. Now, we’re letting the Chiron and its slightly-lighter, more agile Chiron Sport sibling on here in spite of the fact that we have to take the company at its word about the electronically-governed 261-mph top speed. Yes, it’s a bit unfair to some other cars that claim such lofty speeds. Given the company’s history, however…unlike a lot of would-be contenders, we trust that Bugatti is good for it.

Will Sabel Courtney is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Editor, formerly of The Drive and RIDES Magazine. You can often find him test-driving new cars in New York City, cursing the slow-moving traffic surrounding him.

More by Will Sabel Courtney | Follow on Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

Official: Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR Concept Car unveiled at CES 2020

Avatar will be remembered in the hall of fame for movies, not only for its eye watering budget, Oscar haul or blockbuster earning, but also for its fresh and previously unseen take on sustainable mobility, the environment and the harmony between human, machine and nature.

Mercedes-Benz took notice of this and unveiled a concept car dedicated to a collaboration between the makers of the Avatar movie and the Germany automaker at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Dubbed the Mercedes-Benz VISION AVTR, the ‘car’ takes inspiration from a plethora of elements from the film. AVTR translates to stand for Advanced Vehicle Transformation and embodies the vision of Mercedes-Benz designers, engineers and trend researchers for mobility in the distant future.

It cannot be argued that the exterior is striking, particularly the huge illuminated spheric-shaped wheels. They do not just look snazzy, but also serve a purpose: The Mercedes-Benz VISION AVTR can move sideways by approximately 30 degrees given its ability to move the front and rear axels in the same or opposed directions. It is powered in a visionary way, too. Graphene-based organic cell chemistry has been used to build the batteries. This means they are totally recyclable.

Mercedes-Benz VISION AVTR Seats

As with recent Mercedes-Benz Vision Concepts, the interior is where the things get really funky. There is a ‘biometric connection’ between man and machine. Occupants do not use a conventional steering wheel; instead there is a multifunctional control element in the centre console that allows human and vehicle ‘to merge’. In addition gesture controls allow the driver to pick various modes that bring the outside world into the vehicle.

Aim is to increase awareness of the surroundings by showing beautiful animated visualisations of the surroundings you are travelling in. But this Fantasy-inspired concept car can do more than just bring the outside world in; lift your hand and pick Pandora-mode by closing the palm of your hand and you will be emerged in the world of Avatar.

Mercedes-Benz VISION AVTR Price

Regardless of the tech or the details, it cannot be denied that this is a concept car that captures the imagination and would look at home in a movie such as Avatar. Surprisingly for such a comprehensive collaboration the Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR will not feature in the 2021 Avatar 2 movie. But Avatar and Mercedes-Benz fans alike can see the Vison AVTR at this year’s CES followed by the Geneva Motor Show 2020 in March and the Beijing Motor Show 2020 in April.

GTSPIRIT NEWSLETTER

Zombie cars: 9 discontinued vehicles that aren’t dead yet

  • Image Credit: Dodge

Like zombies, these dead cars still sell among the living

Car models come and go, but as revealed by monthly sales data, once a car is discontinued, it doesn’t just disappear instantly. And in the case of some models, vanishing into obscurity can be a slow, tedious process.

That’s the case with the nine cars we have here. All of them have been discontinued, but car companies keep racking up “new” sales with them.

There are actually a lot more discontinued cars that are still registering new sales than what we included here. We kept this list to the oldest and most unlikely vehicles still being sold as new, including a couple of supercars. Every car on this list was discontinued at least two years ago. We’ve ordered the list in order of fewest vehicles sold. Click on the image above to get started.

Last updated January 2019

  • Image Credit: Dodge

2014 Dodge Avenger: 1 sale

Wow. We’re truly amazed. Someone actually bought a brand new 2014 Dodge Avenger in 2019. The Avenger was uncompetitive when it was new, and it’s woefully uncompetitive now. Here’s hoping the sole individual who parked a new Avenger in their driveway in 2019 got a smoking deal.

Dodge Avenger Information

Dodge Avenger

  • Image Credit: Lexus

2012 Lexus LFA: 3 sales

The first supercar on this list (which otherwise is full of highly lackluster automobiles) is the Lexus LFA. It’s an exhilarating car to drive, and is packed full of interesting technology. Lexus sold a total of 3 LFA coupes last year to what we have to guess are very satisfied customers. By our count, there ought to be 5 more unsold LFAs sitting somewhere on dealer lots in America.

It’s also worth noting that Lexus only sold the LFA for two model years, 2011 and 2012, which means it is by far the oldest new vehicle on this list.

Lexus LFA Information

Lexus LFA

  • Image Credit: Chrysler

2016 Chrysler Town & Country: 5 sales

The Chrysler Town & Country was already an old vehicle when it was officially killed off in 2016. The basic van was introduced for the 2008 model year, and saw only refreshes until its conclusion eight years later. Some of those updates were helpful and kept the car at least somewhat competitive.

Still, we’re thankful Chrysler replaced it with the Pacifica, a superb van that is arguably the best in the segment. And if you do happen to really like Chrysler’s older minivan offering, the Dodge Grand Caravan is still on the market.

In any case, Chrysler managed to sell five of these minivans so far this year. Here’s hoping the buyer scored a great deal.

Chrysler Town & Country Information

Chrysler Town & Country

  • Image Credit: Dodge

2017 Dodge Viper: 5 sales

The second supercar on our list out is one that we love. We don’t think there are a bunch of unsold Dodge Viper coupes sitting on dealer lots all across America. Nevertheless, five lucky individuals managed to bring new Vipers home in 2019.

At least we know those buyers are out there having fun!

Dodge Viper Information

Dodge Viper

  • Image Credit: Mercedes-Benz

2017 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive: 8 sales

Mercedes-Benz sold the B-Class Electric Drive in the United States from 2013 through 2017. Though the rest of the world gets other versions of the B, only the electrified variant was sold here in the States. And it was never a big seller — just over 3,500 were sold over its production run in America. Now that 2019 has come to a close, we can add eight more to the total.

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive Information

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive

  • Image Credit: Dodge

2016 Dodge Dart: 25 sales

Dodge discontinued the compact Dart back in 2016, just three years after its launch. The automaker just wasn’t able to compete with the segment leaders like the Honda Civic or the sales juggernaut that is the Toyota Corolla. Despite the fact that it’s been dead for several years, Dodge managed to sell 25 Darts in 2019.

Dodge Dart Information

Dodge Dart

  • Image Credit: Jeep

2017 Jeep Patriot: 27 sales

The Jeep Patriot initially launched back in 2007 alongside its more car-like Compass sibling, but while that vehicle got a redesign and is still on sale in Jeep dealerships, the boxier Patriot ended production in 2017.

Apparently there are a handful of Patriots still collecting dust on dealership lots in America, because the automaker tallied 27 total sales last year.

Jeep Patriot Information

Jeep Patriot

  • Image Credit: Chrysler

2017 Chrysler 200: 48 sales

The Chrysler 200 is actually a pretty nice sedan, with good looks and decent driving dynamics let down by a lack of roominess, particularly in the back seat. Chrysler never really found its footing in the ultra-competitive midsize sedan segment, but apparently has a bunch of leftover 200s floating around in America with a total of 48 sold in 2019.

  • Image Credit: Volkswagen

2017 Volkswagen CC: 58 sales

Volkswagen discontinued the CC in 2017, and the slinky coupe-shaped sedan recently got a replacement in the form of the 2019 Arteon. Here’s hoping last year’s 58 CC buyers managed to get a good deal on their new old sedans.

Volkswagen CC Information

Volkswagen CC

Lamborghini Huracan Evo gets Amazon Alexa tech at CES 2020

In-car technology is a must, Lamborghini development boss Maurizio Reggiani told Autoblog as he unveiled the Huracán Evo‘s touchscreen-based infotainment system in 2019. Amazon Alexa integration announced at CES 2020 is the next part of the march towards supercars that are as smart and connected as they are quick.

By programming the voice assistant directly into the native infotainment system, rather than adding it as a third-party app, Lamborghini claims it achieved seamless integration that lets drivers control an extensive list of functions in the car, and in their home. If your butt is cold, you can ask Alexa to turn on the heated seats. You can also make calls, turn the map lights on or off, get directions, check the weather at your destination, and set the A/C, among other things. And, because Alexa speaks to connected devices, you can raise the temperature in your living room while doing hot laps at Watkins Glen, or turn on the porch lights as you pass a Porsche. The catch is that Alexa goes on strike if the Huracán isn’t connected to the internet.

Lamborghini and Amazon plan to deepen their cooperation in the coming years, though they didn’t reveal precisely what they’re hoping to achieve. They could teach Alexa new functions, but don’t expect the Italian brand to release a car with an entirely button-free cabin in the near future. The driver still has to manually switch between the driving modes, for example, and the ignition button remains under a fighter jet-like red flap positioned on the slanted center console.

Amazon Alexa will be available across the entire Huracán Evo range — which will grow to include a rear-wheel drive model developed to replace the 580-2 — by the end of 2020. Lamborghini told Autoblog it hasn’t decided whether the feature will be standard or optional yet.

Related Video:

Aston Martin Vantage AMR Review: Snick, Snick, There’s a 7-Speed Stick

Aston Martin has delivered a gift for classically-minded driving enthusiasts: the new, manually-shifted Vantage AMR. Released at the sunset of a century’s worth of rowing gears and creeping clutches, the car is a thoughtful, precise swan song for the old-school supercar. It’s fast, fun and a little scary — and a rare bird among the dual clutches of today and the electric cars of tomorrow. For now, though, we have Aston’s triumph of old-school engineering modernized in the service of pure driver engagement to celebrate.

The Good: The gearbox, of course. This is a racing-derived seven-speed transmission that features a dog-leg first gear — that is, first gear is at the bottom left, reverse at the top left. (That’s designed to make it easier to shift between second and third, a far more common action on a race track than shifting from first to second.) It also deploys Aston’s AMSHIFT system, which blips the throttle while decelerating to mimic heel-and-toe shifting, smoothing out the gear shifts. Finally, there’s the aura and prestige that now comes with driving a manual transmission…which is just another way of saying you’re as much a dinosaur as this gearbox.

Who It’s For: Well, obviously, it’s for people who know how to drive a manual transmission. Within that fading group, it’s for those who actually want a manual transmission — and you do have to want it quite badly. This is, after all, a premium sports car that starts at $184,995, and isn’t precisely state of the art. If all that appeals to you, buckle up.


Watch Out For: You’ll likely get a brief, white-knuckle refresher course in clutch-induced wheelspin the first time you jump on the gas in low gear on a damp road. When that clutch comes all the way out and the full fury of 504 horsepower reaches the driveshaft, those wheels go. If you’re not careful, that little wriggle can propagate into full-on fishtailing. Make sure any driver who hasn’t commanded a performance clutch recently takes it easy at first. (Also, valet parking might be a problem, for obvious reasons.)

Alternatives: Anytime this conversation comes up, someone jumps in and says, “Hey, man, there’s no way manuals are dying!” Then they list the three cars they know still have sticks. Here, then, are some of your better performance alternatives available with a manual transmission: Subaru WRX STI, Mazda MX-5 Miata, Honda Civic Type R, Ford Mustang Shelby GT350. Notice anything? There’s not a supercar or exotic among them. And the closest grown-up performance cars you buy with manual transmissions are a few lower-tier BMW M models and Porsche 911s.

Review: Yes, we all know the manual transmission is fading from existence. Few young drivers are acquiring the skill; only two percent of cars sold in America in 2018 carried them, and even the gallant (if quixotic) Save the Manuals effort fizzled out about five years ago. Performance cars now overwhelmingly carry electronically shifted dual-clutch transmissions operated via paddles, absent a third pedal. It’s sad, but not exactly tragic; the world is moving on, and this satisfying, artful mechanism for managing the power must go with it.

They aren’t likely to come back either, even for old time’s sake. Economics being what they are — and the practical reality of so few drivers knowing how to operate the tricky buggers — there’s little motivation to invest in the technology. The fact that Aston Martin did so is honorable and appropriate, but equally limited. Only 200 AMRs will be produced, in a nod to either exclusivity or simply raw data. There just isn’t a huge market for them. (The company promises the stick shift will become available in the regular Vantage after the AMR run is done.)

For those who are in that crowd, however, the Vantage AMR is absolutely worth seeking out. If you relish the choreography of a user-managed powertrain, and if you enjoy the analog, mechanized feel of each transition between gears and each surge of thrust that results from your movements, you will adore this car.

Driving through the German countryside in the vicinity of the Nurburgring racetrack — featuring the same rolling hills and cresting apexes as the track, just with a few more road rules—was a sublime pleasure. Every revolution of the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 seems to enter your body through the clutch pedal and stir your consciousness, every flick of the ultra-short-throw gearshift is an eagerly anticipated move.

Yes, paddle-shift performance cars offer satisfying clicks between gears, but usually only when you’re hauling ass. Nobody paddle-shifts a car when driving around town — you leave it to auto mode. In a three-pedal manual, you don’t have that option, and you’re rewarded for it with fluid waves of power as you balance the clutch and play with the throttle. At high speeds achieved on the unrestricted autobahn, the transitions between fifth, sixth, and seventh gears were downright magical — surges of thrust as I released the clutch and matted the pedal to the floor. I’m as big a fan of dual-clutch supercars as anybody, but nothing can truly replicate the sensation of a manual gearbox.

The gearbox mechanisms Aston developed for the AMR feel beautiful. Most noticeable, of course, is the dog-leg first gear. As a result of that arrangement, your hand is close to your thigh at launch; you shift up and over into second, naturally extending your hand into a more comfortable position. It also makes it easier to transition from reverse to first; you just pull down to first, drop the clutch, and go. The scheme also eliminates the seventh gear dogleg, giving you a conventional H-pattern from second to seventh.

The transmission connects to a manual limited-slip differential, and its AMSHIFT feature creates smooth downshifts and upshifts, though it can be deactivated if you want to be a true purist’s purist. (Also, if you want to be a purist’s purist’s purist, opt for the AMR Vantage 59 specification, which comes in a two-tone green/lime exterior and a dark leather interior, as well as including all the sport upgrades — seats, steering wheel, etc.)

The Vantage AMR is otherwise generally similar to the paddle-shifted version, but there are a few notable distinctions beyond the manual itself. It’s 220 pounds lighter, thanks to the absence of the automatic-transmission hardware and the inclusion of lighter components like carbon-ceramic brakes, carbon fiber trim and carbon fiber body panels, including the roof. It’s also got custom drive modes and steering ratios compared to other models, for a more analog, more connected driving feel. This works out nicely, delivering a drive that’s at once a throwback and a gold standard of man/machine connection, regardless of model year.

Verdict: The Vantage AMR is an astoundingly satisfying ride, one that challenges drivers as much as it rewards them. If this appeals to you, it might be now or never for an exotic three-pedal supercar. The company — specifically its CEO, Andy Palmer — has promised to maintain manual transmissions in its lineup indefinitely, but it’s always possible that one day, that promise may become unsustainable. The company will yield with the rest to progress…leaving a bit of mechanical art in its wake.

2020 Aston Martin Vantage AMR: Key Specs

Powertrain: 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8; seven-speed manual transmission; rear-wheel-drive
Horsepower: 503
Torque: 460 pound-feet
0-60 MPH: 3.9 seconds
Top Speed: 195 mph

Aston Martin hosted us and provided this product for review.

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Maserati Should Make the Maserati MilleMiglia Concept

It’s clear that Maserati is working on something special. Its plans have been leaked several times in recent years. Maserati’s product road map includes an all-new sports car due to be released this year. In addition, Maserati is planning a replacement for the Gran Turismo next year. It should be a good two years for the Italian manufacturer.

The Maserati MilleMiglia Concept you see in the photos is not part of the company’s official plans. It has been produced by Luca Serafini as a render of something he believes Maserati should be interested in, and for good reason!

There has been a revival of interest in the open-cockpit Speedster in recent years. The Ferrari Monza SP1 and SP2, McLaren Elva and Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR Stirling Moss are three examples. Couple the recent revival with Maserati’s historic traditions and a Speedster doesn’t seem out of sorts.

Some of Maserati’s most valuable cars have been Speedster models. The Maserati 300S, Maserati A6GCS and the Maserati Tipo 61 are three examples. All three were born for the race track. With the Speedster design all but gone from the world of motorsport, the road is now where these cars belong.

Serafini’s design starts with a single halo seat concept, like the Maserati 250F and 6CM. Translated into something modern, the Maserati MilleMiglia Concept has a much wider track and bodywork. The lines flow aerodynamically, a short windscreen deflects air away from the driver.

Maserati MilleMiglia Concept

Behind the driver sits a ram air-intake which presumably doubles as a roll-over bar. The fine details include light bar headlights and taillights, together with intricate side mirror designs. The driver sits in a carbon fibre cockpit, upon a cut-out seat with leather padding.

The Maserati MilleMiglia Concept actually looks remarkably production-ready, yet we know that this is not part of Maserati’s product road map. The car we expect to see this year will be a Coupe, either front or mid-engined. All we know, in terms of details, is that it will feature a new powertrain entirely developed and built by Maserati.

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Liberty Walk Updates the Nissan GT-R With Silhouette Works Bodykit

The Tokyo Auto Salon 2020 is one of the first events on any petrolhead’s calender, particularly so if you are interested in the Japanese tuning scene. Liberty Walk has announced one of its contributions in the form of the Silhouette Works GT 35GT-RR.

Based upon the Nissan GT-R, featuring a carbon fibre body kit, the headline is not so much the changes which have been made to the Japanese supercar, but rather the price tag Liberty Walk has applied.

The cost for the conversion is a staggering $73,570. For reference, a brand new, 2020 Nissan GT-R will set you back only slightly more at $113,540. The cost includes the parts only, meaning customers will also be required to find the cost of a body shop to install the parts.

Of course, there are options to reduce that cost. The kit, constructed from Fibre Reinforced Plastic costs just $33,480, and you have the ability to mix and match carbon fibre parts or to buy components individually. Carbon fibre front and rear bumpers are priced at $7,020 individually for example.

The look of the kit doesn’t deviate much from the standard Liberty Walk look though. It is flashier than when we saw in the original bolt-on components. The panels now sit flush with the body, although the exposed carbon fibre hood, pumped-up wheel arches and massive rear wing are no different.

Liberty Walk Silhouette Works GT 35GT-RR

So what do you get for the complete kit? The full kit consists of a front bumper, front canard and diffuser set, rear bumper, rear diffuser, rear wing, wide fender kit, bonnet hood and trunk hood. If you are after an extreme conversion for your Nissan GT-R, you would be hard-pressed to do better than the Liberty Walk Silhouette Works GT 35GT-RR.

In terms of what Liberty Walk have planned for the Tokyo Auto Salon 2020, there are rumours of a new kit for the Ferrari 488 GTB and the original Honda NSX.

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Bugatti Builds One-Off Bugatti Chiron Hermès Edition for US Collector

Photos have been circulating the internet in recent weeks. They show a one-off Hermès Edition Bugatti Chiron, produced for US collector, Manny Khoshbin. The design has apparently taken 3 years to finalise and was delivered to the owner days before Christmas.

For those that aren’t up to date on their French high fashion luxury goods manufacturers, Hermès is one of the very best. Founded more than 182 years ago in the French capital, it specialises in leather and lifestyle accessories. It is one of the biggest names in luxury fashion. The third biggest, to be precise!

Bugatti and Hermès have a history together. Back in 2008, a limited edition run of Veyron’s was released. The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Fbg par Hermes was limited to 5 examples, 4 coupes and 1 Grand Sport. These vehicles featured much the same setup as the Chiron we see here. Hermes’ stamp is clear in the mesh grilles, the bespoke leather and the custom touches.

For the Bugatti Chiron Hermès Edition, Bugatti has applied a Hermès Craie paint job. The paint is applied across the entire car, including the wheels. Subtle exterior finishes include the stereotypical ‘H’ grille and the painted Hermès Courbettes horse pattern on the underside of the rear spoiler.

The Hermès Courbettes horse pattern continues inside with the cashmere fabric trim panels. The seat upholstery is also unique to the Hermès Edition. It dispenses with the quilted patterning in favour of a smooth leather finish.

The bespoke Bugatti Chiron is the latest edition to Khoshbin’s Hermes collection. He is also known to have commissioned Pagani to build a custom Pagani Huayra with Hermes modifications. Details on that car can be read in our earlier article!

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Ford Is Building the V8-Powered Ranger Raptor We Crave. We Just Can’t Buy It

Last year, Ford finally brought the Ranger back to the United States in order to meet growing demand in the midsize truck segment. There was one notable omission from the lineup, however: the high-performance Ford Ranger Raptor, which remains unavailable in the U.S. market. Now, it seems Ford’s controversial decision not to bring the badass little truck here is about to sting a bit more.

The Australian outlet Wheels reports that Ford is set to offer a new, more powerful version of the Ranger Raptor. It’s not getting just any upgraded plant. It will receive the 5.0-liter Coyote V8 from the Ford Mustang GT. The report says the V8 Ranger Raptor should make something close to the 460 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque it does in the Mustang, which would be a substantial upgrade from the current four-cylinder turbodiesel-powered Ranger Raptor’s 210 horsepower and 369 lb-ft.

Sadly, Americans won’t get to buy the V8 Ranger Raptor. It’s going to be an Australia-only special edition. Production is expected to be small, with the vehicles modified and engine-swapped post-production by a third-party firm. (Hennessey’s “VelociRaptor Ranger” modification, with an upgraded stock engine, could be the closest thing currently available to U.S. buyers.)

Ford is likely to offer some form of Raptor-ized Ranger in the U.S. for the next generation of the pickup truck. The issue with bringing over the current one was less about the potential market (which, presumably, would be ravenous) and more about the difficulty of getting that diesel engine approved for America. Don’t count on that new version scoring the Mustang GT’s V8, though; the F-150 Raptor uses a V6 (albeit twin-turboed), so if the Ranger Raptor were to materialize here, Ford would presumably want to make sure the bigger, pricier truck still has the bigger powerplant.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

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The Hybrid Jeep Wrangler Is Almost Here, and It Could Be the Cheapest Version

The times, they are a-changin’. The Jeep Wrangler, one of the automotive world’s most notorious gas guzzlers, is going green. Jeep has announced that it will debut plug-in hybrid versions of the Wrangler, Compass, and Renegade at CES 2020 in Las Vegas this month.

The three vehicles — all united under the brand’s new “4xe” hybrid branding — will spearhead a movement that will see every Jeep model offer a plug-in hybrid variant by 2022.

So far, Jeep has provided no 4xe-specific powertrain details. That said, the Wrangler already shares its 3.6-liter V6 with the Chrysler Pacifica minivan, so porting over the Pacifica’s 3.6-liter V6 plug-in hybrid powertrain — which gets 32 mpg combined and offers 33 mpg of pure electric range — seems like a natural move.

Pricing for the 4xe cars remains unclear as well. The Pacifica’s hybrid system bumps the starting price from $33,745 to $39,995 –though the Pacifica is also eligible for a $7,500 federal tax incentive, which makes the effective cost of the hybrid lower than the gas version. That federal tax rebate could be the Wrangler 4xe’s trump card; as in the minivan, it could offset the price of the plug-in hybrid hardware. Theoretically, it could even make the PHEV model the cheapest Wrangler.

Adding hybrids to the strong-selling Jeep lineup is a necessary step for FCA, which has been lagging behind other automakers when it comes to meeting increasingly-stringent fuel emissions standards. Bringing average fleet-wide emissions down was a major reason for FCA’s merger with PSA; prior to that, FCA paid Tesla to pool its fleet in Europe in a bid to avoid emissions fines in 2019.

The $64,000-when-fully-loaded question is: will Wrangler buyers accept a hybrid? Probably. The off-roading icon does have a strong enthusiast base that drives some corporate decision-making, like adding a diesel engine. But a base that may be skeptical of a hybrid has become less important as the Wrangler has become a more mass-market family vehicle. Nine out of 10 buyers opt for the four-door version that was once sacrilegious. A similar percentage choose the once-anathema automatic transmission. If anything, the increased fuel efficiency from the hybrid will probably increase the car’s appeal.

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

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One-off, 638-horsepower Bertone Mantide heads to auction in Arizona

When is a C6-generation Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 not actually a Corvette? When it’s a one-off, Bertone-pinned extravagance like the Mantide. This 638-horsepower monster may have a face only a mother could love, but we’re sure just about anybody could get behind its out-of-this-world performance. Besides, who doesn’t wish they could own a one-of-a-kind design from a world-famous design house like Stile Bertone?

Well, here’s your chance. When it debuted back in 2009, we called the Mantide’s design “striking,” and that’s probably still the best word for it. The concept, which toured the world and was validated at the Nardo test track in Italy, was meant to be the first of 10 examples. That production run never materialized, but the concept is a running, drive car that also happens to be a spectacular conversation piece. 

Let’s check the credentials. As we mentioned above, this sucker rides on the C6-generation Corvette ZR1 platform and running gear, but coach builder Bertone took the formula a step further with a healthy injection of carbon fiber body materials and a super lightweight interior. As a result, it can do 0-60 in just 3.2 seconds on the way to a top speed of 218 miles per hour. 

As Motor Authority points out, this uber-rare supercar concept has been eligible to change hands on multiple occasions. In fact, it was listed for sale by a dealership in New York back in October, and it’s unclear whether that resulted in a sale or if the dealership decided to consign it via Worldwide Auctioneers, which is responsible for its current listing and forthcoming auction. The October listing indicated approximately 10,000 miles on the Mantide’s odometer; the latest listing omitted its mileage, and there are no close-up pics of the cluster for verification.

If you want a chance at this weird one-off, you can bid at Worldwide’s Scottsdale auction, which kicks off Jan. 15.

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The Biggest Developments in SUVs, Trucks and Truck Gear We Saw in 2019

This roundup is part of This Year in Gear, a look back at the year’s most notable releases. To stay on top of all the latest product news, subscribe to our daily Dispatch newsletter.

ARB 4×4 Accessories Ford Ranger Winch Bumper

Price: $1495
From: ford.com

The first fruit from Ford’s partnership with ARB 4×4 Accessories: an off-road accessory that gives the Ranger a leg up on the Jeep Gladiator.

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Audi RS Q3

Price: $TBD
From: audiusa.com

Audi Sport created a 394-horsepower RS version of its compact crossover. The big question is, will it come to the U.S.?

Bollinger B1 and B2

Price: $125,000
From: bollingermotors.com

Bollinger is making rugged, boxy electric vehicles that look more like a Land Rover Defender than the new Defender. But they’ll cost you a pretty penny.

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2021 Chevrolet Silverado HD Carhartt Special Edition

Price: $TBD
From: chevrolet.com

Pickup trucks and work boots go together like peanut butter and jelly. So perhaps it’s not surprising that when it came time to whip up the first special edition of the all-new, giant-faced Silverado HD, Chevrolet decided to partner up with one of the biggest names in heavy-duty footwear: Carhartt.

Deus Ex Machina & Coolnvintage Yellow Land Marine Nr86

Price: N/A
From: deuscustoms.com

Australian motorcycle brand Deus Ex Machina and Portuguese Defender restorers Coolnvintage collaborated on this stunning custom motorcycle-hauling Defender.

Electric GT Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40

Price: NA
From: electricgt.com

Car modifiers Electric GT built a crate “engine” to convert a 1970 FJ40 Toyota Land Cruiser into an electric vehicle. It’s either a brilliant or bizarre move, depending on your perspective.

Ford Bronco R

Price: N/A
From: ford.com

The new Ford Bronco won’t debut until 2020. But Ford offered up the best preview to date by running a Bronco-based race truck in the Baja 1000.

2020 Ford Super Duty

Price: $37,345+
From: ford.com

Ford gave its Super Duty trucks a new 7.3-liter V8 that’s the biggest gasoline-powered engine you can buy in a new truck. It puts out 430 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque.

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Jay Leno’s Ford Bronco Resto Mod

Price: N/A
From: ford.com

Jay Leno has what may be the most beautiful vintage Ford Bronco on the road, and it has one heck of an engine: the supercharged V8 from the Shelby GT500.

2020 Jeep Wrangler Willys Edition

Price: $33,740+
From: jeep.com

Jeep announced that one of our favorite trims from the last-generation Wrangler was returning to the JL edition for the 2020 model year.

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2020 Land Rover Defender

Price: $49,900+
From: landroverusa.com

After much fanfare, Land Rover finally unveiled the new 2020 Defender in all its (customizable) glory. The initial launch models include the two-door Defender 90 and the four-door Defender 110.

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Legacy Overland FJ40 Land Cruiser

Price: Contact manufacturer
From: legacyoverland.com

While well-kept FJ40s are not uncommon, this example painted in Heath Gray is, simply put, exquisite.

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MG Extender

Price: ~$17,850+
From: mgcars.com

Legendary British sports car manufacturer MG still exists, and they’re selling full-sized pickup trucks in Thailand. Who knew?

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Ram 1500 with EcoDiesel Engine

Price: $37,235+
From: ramtrucks.com

Ram added a new diesel option for its 1500 full-sized pickup. Increased efficiency plus a large 33-gallon fuel tank equals mind-blowing range.

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Suzuki Jimny

Price: ~$20,366+
From: globalsuzuki.com

Suzuki launched a new version of the Jimny early in 2019. The small, capable and stylish off-roader undercuts the Wrangler on price; sadly, it won’t be sold in the U.S.

Todd Snyder & FJ Company FJ43 Land Cruiser

Price: $185,000
From: fj.com

New York menswear designer Todd Snyder teamed up with the FJ Company to create the ultimate summer ride: a customized 1978 FJ43 Land Cruiser.

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Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

More by Tyler Duffy | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

All the Most Notable Developments in Overlanding in 2019

This roundup is part of This Year in Gear, a look back at the year’s most notable releases. To stay on top of all the latest product news, subscribe to our daily Dispatch newsletter.

Audi AI: Trail Concept

Price: N/A
From: audi.com

Audi has made its fair share of cool concept cars over the years, but this alien-looking ride that uses a fleet of flying drones in lieu of headlights might be the most awesome look into overlanding’s future we’ve ever seen.

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CamperHus Land Rover Defender Camper

land rover defender camper overland gear patrolland rover defender camper overland gear patrol

Price: ~$15,228+ (plus the cost of a Land Rover, of course)
From: camperhus.co.uk

How do you make the iconic Land Rover Defender even more appealing? Turn it into its own all-terrain camper.

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EarthRoamer LTI

Price: $590,000+
From: earthroamer.com

There are plenty of ways to go about overlanding, but few are quite as luxurious — or expensive — as EarthRoamer’s Ford Super Duty-based off-road camper.

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FiftyTen Midsize Truck Camping System

Price: $32,880
From: goose-gear.com

This simple bed replacement system makes it easy to turn a Toyota Tacoma, Jeep Gladiator or other midsize pickup truck into the base of a great overlander.

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Ford Ranger Overlanding Concepts

Price: N/A
From: ford.com

With the overlanding and off-roading market blowing up like never before, Ford rolled out not one but several custom-made Rangers this year to show off just how flexible the company’s midsize truck can be.

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Lexus GXOR Concept

Price: N/A
From: Lexus.com

Perhaps the coolest OEM-made overlander of 2019 came from a very unexpected source: Lexus. (The GX is, for what it’s worth, one hell of a great off-roader in stock form.)

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Ram 1500 Rebel OTG Concept

Price: N/A
From: ramtrucks.com

Just like Ford, Ram also used 2019 to show off how its truck wares could be turned into a kickass overlander. Your move, Chevy.

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Rivian R1T Electric Kitchenette

Price: $TBD
From: rivian.com

Rivian’s R1T electric pickup truck may not even be on sale yet, but features like the extendable battery-powered kitchenette that’ll be available for it already have us excited to test it out.

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Sportsmobile Classic 4×4 Ford Adventure Van

Price: ~$90,000
From: sportsmobile.com

Sometimes, even the gnarliest SUV just isn’t big enough for your off-road adventures. When that happens, it’s time to check out one of these overlanding-ready Ford vans.

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Yakima LockNLoad Roof Rack

Price: $729+
From: yakima.com

A good roof rack is one of the cornerstones of any overlanding rig. Yakima’s newest model is tough enough to handle the Outback, yet easy to mount on your Outback.

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Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Will Sabel Courtney is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Editor, formerly of The Drive and RIDES Magazine. You can often find him test-driving new cars in New York City, cursing the slow-moving traffic surrounding him.

More by Will Sabel Courtney | Follow on Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email