All posts in “Cars”

6 Things You Need to Know About Bollinger Motors

Electric trucks and off-roaders are about to storm the new car market. Last year, Tesla debuted its avant-garde Cybertruck; Rivian is set to start producing its R1T and R1S in the later months of 2020; GMC will soon revive the Hummer as an electric super-truck; and Ford will forge ahead with an electric F-150.

One company doing things a bit differently — and almost entirely in black and white — is Bollinger Motors. Bollinger plans to push its B1 SUV and B2 pickup truck into production later this year.

A little while ago, we spoke to company founder and CEO Robert Bollinger about what you can expect when his rigs hit the road. But in case you need a quick refresher course, here’s what you can expect.

Bollinger trucks look boxy and distinctive

Other manufacturers target a market and build a vehicle toward it. Robert Bollinger, however, is building the truck he  — and hopefully, enough other people — want. The B1 and B2 are stripped-down, boxy off-roaders — and they take “boxy” quite literally. The B1 and B2 bear a strong resemblance to a classic Land Rover Defender, even more than the new version does. Bollinger believes the appearance will give the brand a unique appeal.

“Even though it harkens back to classic design, we’re bringing that back knowing that no one else will probably do that,” Bollinger said. “We are comfortable being the opposite of what other people are doing, and that’s kind of our thing.”

Designing a truck that’s so boxy was also a product of the hand-building process. “We wanted to make it ourselves by hand and not stamp pieces,” Bollinger said. “So, once you have flat sheets that you’re bending, you’re in that camp. It limits you, but in a good way, I think.”

Besides the inveterate boxiness, other notable features for the B1 and B2  include a glass roof and an FJ Cruiser-esque third windshield wiper.

These trucks will be badass off-roaders

They may look old-school, but the B1 and B2 will be absolute performance beasts. The trucks’ dual-motor system produces 614 horsepower and 668 lb-ft of instant-on torque. The B1 and B2 will accelerate to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and have a range of 200 miles.

Want capability? The B1 and B2 can tow up to 7,500 pounds and accommodate a 5,201-pound payload. The trucks have better approach, break over and departure angles than a Jeep Wrangler.

Bollingers will be expensive

Bollinger revealed the pricing for the B1 and B2 last October; they’re going to be expensive, starting at $125,000. That’s more than $50,000 more than the base versions of the Rivian R1T and R1S will cost.

Indeed, it may be better to think of Bollinger as a limited-run high-end vehicle. It’s not competing with Rivian or Tesla so much as providing an electric option for the person who might otherwise spend six figures on a stunning resto-modded Defender.

You’ll have to wait a long time for a two-door

Bollinger’s first B1 prototype reveal was a two-door version. We all loved it because it looked like a classic off-roader, but don’t expect it to arrive anytime soon; the two-door was too small to accommodate the battery packs needed for decent range. Until battery tech improves or there’s enough demand for a low-range runabout, Bollinger will stick with four doors. Fortunately, as the Jeep Wrangler proved, that’s what most buyers really want, anyway.

“It worked out perfectly,” Bollinger said. “We didn’t have to give up something. This is probably what people are going to choose anyway, and we need the space. So, this is a great way to start.”

The B1 and B2 won’t be family vehicles

The B1 and B2 are classified as Class 3 trucks, like the Ford F-350 or the Ram 3500. That classification means Bollinger did not have to include airbags. That shouldn’t bother the vintage Defender buyer, though it may limit Bollinger’s penetration of the family hauler market.

When asked about the lack of airbags, Bollinger was unapologetic. “If someone really, really wants airbags,” Bollinger said. “They don’t need to buy our truck.”

Bollinger trucks also have a pass-through cargo tunnel spanning the length of the vehicle. Having that tunnel sacrifices a middle seat in the second row, so the B1 and B2 won’t be able to accommodate a fifth passenger.

Bollinger Motors is scheduled to begin production this summer — at least, that’s the plan

Bollinger has been targeting summer 2020 as the timeline for the first B1 to leave the production line. “It all works out on Excel and calendars,” Bollinger said. “We just have to stick to it.”

Though that timeline — along with just about every other one in the automotive industry — is likely up in the air at present.

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

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

Some of the Upcoming GM Cars and Trucks We’re Most Excited to See Have Been Delayed

<!–GM Delayed Some of Its Most Anticipated Cars and Trucks • Gear Patrol<!– –>

hold tight, CTS-V fans


The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a massive disruption in the car industry, creating cash flow problems and shutting down virtually all domestic automotive production in the U.S. The tumult is bound to affect product planning at almost every company; now, we’re starting to see proof of that. Recent reporting has revealed GM plans to delay refreshes and launches for numerous vehicles across its lineup — including some of the ones we were most excited to see.

The Detroit News reports that GM will push back mid-cycle refreshes for the Silverado 1500 and Sierra 1500 pickups, which presumably would have included better-designed, more upscale interiors. Other upgrades that have been delayed include updates to the GMC Terrain, Chevy Equinox, and Chevy Traverse SUVs, as well as the Chevy Bolt and Chevy Camaro. GM will also hold up a new version of the C8 Corvette — likely a new Z06 — that had been slated for to be revealed after 2020.

According to Muscle Cars & Trucks, Cadillac’s launches for the upcoming CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing performance sedans — the latter using the legendary CTS V’s famed supercharged 6.2-liter V8 — will also be delayed by six months, until the end of 2020 or later. That’s doubly disappointing, because those sedans are also expected to bring back manual transmissions to Cadillac’s V-Series lineup.

One thing that won’t be affected as of right now, per The Detroit News, is GM’s massive push toward electric vehicles. That includes the Ultium battery program, the Hummer EV, and the two (oddly named) new Cadillac EVs.

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

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

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Airstream Basecamp X Review: Mastering the Essentials a Weekend Trailer Needs

As I snaked 313 miles north from Los Angeles through the Sierra National Forest to the floor of Yosemite Valley with the Basecamp X hanging from the back of my test car, I had plenty of time to think about my ideal camping trailer. I passed 33-foot Jayco fifth-wheels with big-screen TVs, homey Winnebago Minnies with porcelain toilets, and 19-foot Lances with slide-out sides — and even all the ones I saw represent just a fraction of the options in the segment.

Yet after all that driving, my take is almost stupidly simple: I’d want the trailer that gets me off the highway and into the outdoors as efficiently as possible. Maybe it’s confirmation bias, but for a quick weekend dash to the wilderness, I’d want the Airstream Basecamp X.

Airstream, and especially the Basecamp X, represents outdoor product design at its smoothest. Like an Eames chair or a Neutra house, it’s welcoming to all — easy and approachable, but built with a level of intention that rewards even the most discerning user. The Basecamp is the smallest, lightest towable made by Airstream, but it still felt fully equipped for my 48 hours of off-grid camping in below-freezing temperatures in Yosemite. The 16-feet-3-inch trailer packs an astonishing amount into its riveted aluminum shell. There’s a convertible bench seating area that makes way for two twin beds, a telephone-booth sized bathroom/shower combo, a two-burner stove and sink (each with a tempered glass cover) and a bevy of other clever storage nooks both on the floor and overhead.

The downside of this, of course, means that it can feel tight inside. But, if you’re willing to put up with less elbow room and you prefer spending most of your camping experience outside, the benefits of the Basecamp X are plentiful.

Everything Has Its Place in This Airstream

Unpacking and unwinding into the Basecamp X after the long drive was borderline euphoric. I arrived into my Yosemite Valley campsite around 2pm, hoping to squeeze in a six-mile hike in the waning daylight. While those at neighboring sites fiddled with tent poles and bear bins, I quickly and gracefully made my home in the trailer.

Cooking supplies found a convenient spot in the cargo net above the stove, while snack items lived in the opposite one above the sink. Day packs and dirty boots could lay flat in a plastic tray, situated smartly under the lower kitchen cabinets near the door. My stock of water was easily housed under the bench cushions, while the mini-fridge chilled the post-hike beer. And I’m not sure if this was Airstream’s intent, but there was even a tiny nook by the back door where the adjacent heater piped through fresh, warm air, perfect for keeping my camp shoes toasty.

Within about 10 minutes of unhitching, I was walking out of my campsite and off towards Mirror Lake.

The Basecamp X Has the Juice

During 48 hours of boondocking at my campsite, I never ran into issues with power, despite liberally running the fridge, water pump and heater (including at night). The standard Basecamp X uses the slow-drip fuel of two 9.4-gallon propane tanks, along with two deep-cycle batteries, to fuel the electronics and appliances. My tester included the optional (but much recommended) solar panels, which re-charged the batteries even in spotty, cloudy weather underneath a tree canopy. The microwave is the only device that requires shore power to run, but that wasn’t a factor on this quick expedition.

For reference, I tested the Airstream Nest off-grid for 48 hours two years ago and barely lasted the weekend on a 4.7-gallon tank of propane even without using the heat. It was a relief to have more than quadruple that capacity in the Basecamp. This extensive amount of onboard power — plus a three-inch lift kit and all-terrain Goodyear tires — make the Basecamp X an ideal trailer for a remote, rugged campground.

Towing Expertise Not Required

At 2,635 pounds — roughly the weight of a pair of hitched-up Ski-Doos — it’s remarkably light to tow. Plus, its compact proportions make navigation through tight spaces easy; it was a relief to have no superfluous length behind my car while angling for parking at a roadside stop or maneuvering in reverse to my campsite. Conversely, the short length means the trailer is extremely responsive to inputs while reversing; the rig is so manageable, however, that it shouldn’t be a problem for any driver with a bit of practice.

The drive to Yosemite took me through wind advisories and icy conditions, not to mention camping in freezing temperatures, but I never once felt underprepared. I was glad to have such a slim, willing trailer behind me while I watched other towing drivers struggle through the road conditions.

The ideal audience for the Basecamp X likely splits into two main categories:  crossover-driving, weekend warrior with deep pockets, or an off-grid camping fiend with little tolerance for the overbearing, cluttered design that seems to have infiltrated the trailer industry. Either way, they’ll be making a good choice.

Price as Tested: $37,900
Exterior Length: 16 feet, 3 inches
Exterior Width: 7.0 feet
Fresh Water Tank: 22 gallons
Maximum Trailer Capacity: 3,500 pounds

Toyota’s Toughest Pickup Could Turn Into a Ford Raptor Rival, Thanks to the Next Land Cruiser

The Tundra may be a capable beast and the Tacoma renowned for its durability, but when it comes to Toyota’s toughest pickup, there’s no disputing which truck gets the honor: the HiLux. The midsized rig has been kicking ass and taking names all around the world for more than 50 years; while it was replaced by the Taco here in the U.S. back in 1995, elsewhere on Earth, its rugged, simple nature and nigh-on indestructible build quality means it serves as the de facto default vehicle for people in tough trades and lands with rough roads — or no roads at all.

And thanks to the next-generation Land Cruiser, it could even turn into a rival for the Ford Ranger Raptor.

That’s the word from Australia’s CarsGuide, at least. (And the Aussies know their HiLuxes and Land Cruisers.) According to CarsGuide, Toyota has at least kicked around the idea of a GR HiLux — a high-performance off-road version of the truck — even going so far as to trademark the name Down Under.

“we are not ruling truly out any model from GR modification,” a Toyota spokesperson said, according to CarsGuide. “We race the HiLux in Dakar, so it’s definitely not out of the question that we could see a vehicle like that some time in the future.”

Toyota, though, has also said such a truck would require a powerful diesel engine that could fit under the truck’s hood. Right now, no such engine exists.

But the upcoming 300-Series Land Cruiser is expected to ditch its existing gas and turbodiesel V8s for turbocharged V6, and according to CarsGuide‘s sources, that SUV’s new six-pot turbodiesel is expected to make its way into the HiLux. Assuming it cranks out at least as much power as the existing Land Cruiser‘s oil-burning V8 (which spits out 268 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque), it should be grunty enough to blow away the Ranger Raptor; that truck only comes with a turbodiesel inline-four, after all, and makes 210 hp and 370 lb-ft.

Of course, even if the Toyota GR HiLux does come to pass, will we ever see this badass Toyota here in the United States? With the HiLux gone from our shoresfor a quarter-century, the odds would be slim even if Toyota knew there was a niche for a diesel-powered high-performance midsize pickup here. Ford doesn’t even bother bringing the Ranger Raptor here, after all. Still, never say never; at the very least, maybe we’ll get lucky and see Toyota slot some go-fast off-road bits onto the next Tacoma.

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

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

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Review: The Supercar for Everyone

Brand: Chevrolet
Product: Corvette Stingray
Release Date: February 2020
Price: $58,900+
From: chevrolet

There’s never been a new Corvette like this one.

Actually, there’s never really been an automotive transition like this one. The Corvette is, undoubtably, among the most iconic brands in the car world, right up there with 911 and Jeep and Bronco and Mustang. Yet while all these icons have shifted and changed over time, none have every made a change so drastic as to move the engine from in front of the driver and passenger to behind them.

Yet it’s a change that’s been a long time coming for the ‘Vette. The car’s first chief engineer, Zora Arkus-Duntov, dreamed of shoving the engine between seats and rear axle from the early days of the car 60 years ago; since then, it’s been somewhere between a pipe dream and just-around-the-corner goal, subject of endless Area 51-esque rumors and top-secret discussions. General Motors actually considered making the switch for the seventh-generation car, but the financial crisis of 2008 and GM’s subsequent bankruptcy and bailout torpedoed those pricey plans, forcing the company to stick with the front-engined, rear-drive layout that’d defined the Corvette since 1953.

Still, the dream never died. In fact, the C7 ‘Vette had only been on sale for a year when its maker commissioned the first mid-engined C8 test mule — an amalgam of parts (including a repurposed Porsche dual-clutch gearbox) wrapped up in crude bodywork with the front end of a Holden Commodore, in order to make it look a little like one of the Australian brand’s El Camino-like utes. It was so secret, only one — dubbed “Blackjack” — was ever made, and only a handful of people within GM knew what it was. The engineers whipped up a special cover for it that could be tossed on in seconds, should, say, a passing helicopter try and catch a glimpse of it. (Which, in fact, happened.)

Yet even in spite of more than half a century of precedent for the idea of a mid-engined Corvette, it still came as something of a shock when it became clear in 2018 that GM was pulling the trigger on the idea.  Some people assumed that it would be a Cadillac halo car, not a Chevy; some people assumed it would be a terrible idea, because it would certainly be priced to compete against similarly-powerful mid-engined sports cars like the Audi R8 and McLaren 570S; still others assumed the C7 would continue being sold as a base model alongside an exotic-baiting mid-engined range topper. (Admittedly, your humble author fell into that camp.)

But as it turned out, the all-new, eighth-generation Corvette…is an awful lot like the one that came before. The engine is still a 6.2-liter, naturally-aspirated smallblock; it still fits two people and a pair of golf bags; it’s still all sharp angles and wide flanks; and, most importantly, it still starts around $60,000. Even the name’s the same: Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. The engine just happens to be behind you.

What We Like

Well, obviously, that’s not the only change Chevy made. The rearranged architecture meant all sorts of other details had to change as a result, but perhaps none was quite as shocking as the decision to ditch the venerable manual gearbox (and, for that matter, the torque-converter automatic) for a dual-clutch transmission. (It wasn’t just packaging concerns that mandated the move; sadly, the low take rate for stick shift C7s made the decision an obvious one.) Like Porsche’s newest PDK, it offers eight forward speeds to choose from

A few minutes behind the wheel, though, is enough to leave any nostalgia for the stick shift fluttering in the ‘Vette slipstream. The eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox was made for this car, and it’s the first thing you notice when setting off in it. The shifts click off seamlessly and practically instantaneously, whether left to its own clever programming or commanded through the metal paddles jutting from the squared-off steering wheel (which, for the record, isn’t weird at all once you’re driving).

It, not the engine’s change of address, is what defines the car’s straight-line acceleration; it’s a seamless, rising torrent of thrust, the gear changes notable more for the moves of the digital tachometer and the sound of the engine than any interruption in thrust. Like the new Shelby GT500 (whose seven-speed dual clutch is also made by Tremec), it’s every bit as good as the dual-clutches from Germany.

Sooner or later, though, you hit a turn — ideally while carrying some speed — and the new layout makes its changes instantly known. Like the best mid-engined cars, the 2020 Corvette feels like it’s pivoting around you — the front axle unencumbered by weight, the nose darty without so much mass to move. Partially as a result (and likely partially because Chevy dialed the suspension in that way), it’s far, far less prone to oversteer than its predecessor, which could drift with the best of them.

Instead, it handles neutrally — though with a dash of understeer that’s more noticeable on the track. It’s a move that makes the car reward skilled driving more in a different way than its predecessors; you steer it with the throttle a little less before, depend on the steering a little more, and have to find your line and commit to corners with more aggression than you might expect. It’s a big enough difference that those upgrading from past ‘Vettes might benefit from some expert guidance behind the wheel before taking their new C8s to the track.

Stil, once I started opening it up and pushing the car — both on the Spring Mountain Motorsports road course and, admittedly, on some of the deserted desert roads outside Las Vegas — the biggest issue I had with the car was that the engine didn’t feel powerful enough. The driving experience feels so much like a mid-engined supercar — a Ferrari 488, a McLaren 720S — that, having become acclimated to those, the comparatively-wimpy Corvette feels wimpy when you floor it from a roll. That 2.8-second 0-60 mph time Chevy brags so much about is more about launch control wizardry than brute force; in the real world, it feels much more like the 500-horsepower car it is.

Apart from whatever understeer-y adjustments made to make sure the Corvette’s many senescent drivers don’t wind up over their heads, the suspension, as in the past generation of Corvette, is a delightful balance of handling and impact absorption — far from flinty, but never loose or floppy. (Granted, the fresh, smooth pavement of our Nevada drive route didn’t offer much in the way of bumps.) Most of my time was spent in a Z51 performance pack-equipped car with the adaptive magnetorheological suspension, but a brief autocross dally in a Z51 with passive dampers revealed it to be ever-so-slightly less capable, though you’d be hard-pressed to notice without repeated back-to-back comparison.

Relaxed stretches of open road proved a prime time to check out the new car’s interior, which is driver-oriented in a way few cars can match at any price. If a Porsche 911 is a 2+2, this is practically a 1+1 — a car for the driver, with the passenger’s needs second. Every control lies within a matter of inches from the steering wheel, from the shift lever buttons and drive mode selector (which sits beneath a leather hand rest in a place most cars would put the infotainment controller) to the touchscreen display and volume knob. It’s very handy for everything the driver needs…once you lock the purpose and location of the dozen-and-a-half buttons on the ridge between the seats into your muscle memory.

The Corvette may have once suffered from a lack of good seats, but these days, there’s almost too many choices. Lying between the comfort-minded GT1 seat and the sportier the GT3 lies the GT2, the Goldilocks-approved middle ground that combines the racy look of the latter with the long-haul comfort of the former. It’s just one part of an interior that benefits from an extensive redesign, bringing better materials to bear across the board. Gone are the days when you’d spy a shared steering wheel with a Malibu or the same radio controls as a Park Avenue in your GM sports car; just about everything you see and touch is, if not bespoke to the ‘Vette, at least tweaked for duty here.

Likewise, the materials are far, far better than in the Plastic Fantastic Corvettes of Old GM — or even the far better That Bailout Was Money Well Spent New GM guts of the C7. Opting for the top-shelf 3LT trim Corvette used to seem like a waste of money; with the C8, though, the extra $4,650 over the 2LT for supple Napa leather everywhere, carbon fiber accents and standard GT2 seats seems like money well spent. Plus, as in days of yore, you can order the Corvette with a dizzying array of stand-alone options, in a crazy variety of colors and accents both inside and out.

And it’s not so much a C8-specific note, but the new generation of car hammered it home once again: people love Corvettes. They love them with a genuine enthusiasm that makes other cars’ fanbases seem phony by comparison. (Before there was The Jeep Wave, there was The Corvette Wave —  a two-fingered salute ‘Vette drivers give one another from behind the wheel.) Our sole stop while driving was at a remote rest stop on the far side of Valley of Fire State Park, yet even there, Corvette fans began finding their way to the car, curious to know all about it.

Watch Out For

In spite of GM’s best efforts, the C8 isn’t quite as usable as the C7. It’s an issue that pops up most noticeable in terms of the trunk space. The eighth-gen car has a total of 12.6 cubic feet of cargo capacity, 2.4 cubes less than its predecessor — but unlike the C7’s broad cargo bay, which could easily take both its occupants’ checked and carry-on bags, the 2020 Corvette splits that space up between a front trunk the size of a Yeti cooler (“That’s where I’d put the ice and beer if I was your age,” an passing septuagenarian said half-jokingly as I poked around the frunk at a rest stop) and a short-but-wide-and-deep bay behind the engine.

Chevy went out of their way to show us that two golf bags will, indeed, fit into that trunk, but it requires surgical precision compared with the ease of tossing your clubs into most car. More unfortunately for those who might want to use the ‘Vettes as grocery getters, that stern cargo bay gets hot, thanks to the engine next to it. When I fished my backpack out of it after a couple hours of driving, I was briefly worried that my MacBook Pro had been fatally cooked.

The interior is roughly the same size as the previous car, but it feels subjectively smaller, thanks to the seating position. The car’s project manager swore to me that they added an inch of length to the cabin, but between the bulkhead behind you separating cabin from engine, the tall sills on the side and the high-rise center console, you feel ensconced in a way you don’t in most cars. I can’t remember the last time I drove a car that felt quite so driver-focused — which is great for when you’re hustling, but not as much for those times you wanna sit back and cruise.

In addition, while the angled starfighter cockpit is extremely useful for drivers — though figuring out what buttons do what in the long control strip takes a little more time than in the average car — the driver-focused orientation makes it awfully difficult for the passenger to change the radio or fiddle with their climate controls. The C7 was smart enough to give the passenger a redundant temperature and fan control; the C8 doesn’t even offer that, forcing shotgun riders to awkwardly contort their arms to adjust anything but seat position and the window.

Admittedly, this penultimate con is subjective: while it’s still a sexy car, the C8 doesn’t look quite as good as the seventh-gen ‘Vette. It’s undoubtably more exotic, especially in bright colors that make the lines and creases of its centered-mass shape pop, but the mid-engined shape is simply less classically attractive than a front-engined, cab-backwards sports car. (If you feel differently, feel free to shoot me an email at wcourtney@gearpatrol.com.)

And rather surprisingly for a sports car with 500 horsepower that accelerate and can rip around corners at 1 g …there’s no “oh, shit” handle for the passenger to grab.

Other Options

The Porsche 911 Carrera S ($113,300+) comes closest to matching the ‘Vette in both performance and timeless appeal — but at a significantly higher price. Porsche’s 718 Cayman ($57,500+) and 718 Boxster ($59,600+) start around the same price, and while they’re far less powerful, they’re still a blast to drive. And Ford’s Shelby GT500 ($72,900+) may still keep its engine in front, but its 760-hp V8 and track-tuned suspension mean it’s capable of sticking close to the ‘Vette in turns and catching up on the straights.

Verdict

The eighth-generation Corvette isn’t better in every way than its predecessor. Those who use their Corvettes for long road trips more than back-road ripping will miss the last-gen’s cabin and cargo space, and drivers who’d rather glory in lurid drifts than slice and dice apexes will probably find the new car frustrating. Luckily, Chevy dealers can direct those buyers a few feet down the showroom to the Camaro, where they can grab all the V8 roar and easy-access power oversteer they want for as little as $34,995. (Or, alternately, to the used car section of the lot, where you can probably find a lightly-used C7 for similar money.)

For everyone else — the people who buy Corvettes for their incredible all-around performance, the folks who grab them just for stoplight drag races and high-speed highway tears, and the ones who get it just to show off — the eighth-generation Corvette is nothing short of revolutionary. Moving the motor hasn’t just improved the performance and made it look more exotic; it, along with the other changes Chevy made, have elevated the Corvette from sports car bargain to the world’s first affordable supercar.

We can’t wait to see what comes next for the Corvette: a high-revving flat-plane crank V8, a turbocharged engine, an all-wheel-drive hybrid making 1,000 horsepower? They’re all in the cards. But for now, we’re happy to just reflect on our first time with America’s best new sports car…and wait for the next chance to drive it.

Chevrolet hosted us and provided this product for review.

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

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

Gordon Murray’s T.50 gets a soundcheck and a website

Gordon Murray Automotive isn’t slated to begin building the T.50 supercar until late next year, with deliveries scheduled for early 2022. Thankfully for us, the next step on the march to that goal is a website and a soundcheck of a portion of the 3.9-liter V12 which will power the three-seater coupe (watch that video here). We say “a portion” because Cosworth — the engineering firm developing the mill — put just three of the 12 cylinders on the dyno to verify emissions output and ensure the components can handle 12,100 rpm, said to be 300 rpm short of a 12,400-rpm “hard limit” redline. That figure is 1,400 rpm beyond the north wall of the 6.5-liter V12 Cosworth built to propel the Aston Martin Valkyrie. Murray told TopGear that the air pulses sucked into the ram-air intake above the cabin will result in magnificent sound. The English engineering legend tuned the thickness of the roof panel on the McLaren F1 to enhance the engine sound, and he’s done the same thing on the T.50. Based on the short snippet of the dyno run, the free-breathing V12 will excite blood and bone.

Output checks in at 650 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, meaning ten hoses more than the 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S but 184 lb-ft less. Unlike just about every other supercar out there today, the T.50 will weigh no more than 2,161 pounds, a stunning spec that’s 1,475 pounds less than the Turbo S, 899 pounds less than the Lotus Evora 400 Lightweight, 180 pounds less than an entry-level Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport. The V12 will utilize two engine maps, one that loads up torque at the bottom of the rev range for potting about town, dropping the redline to about 9,500 rpm and horsepower to roughly 600, the other unlocking every rev and joule. A 48-volt mild hybrid system powers the 15.7-inch rear fan and active aero panels, and employs a small electric motor to add 30 ponies in certain aero configurations. Power in the 100 units of the T.50 road car is sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual with an exposed linkage; the 25 units of the T.50 track-only car will use paddle shifters. 

The coupe serves up five aerodynamic maps, two automatic and three driver selectable. Auto mode moves the under-floor and diffuser panels and active rear spoilers automatically as needed. Braking mode — as on a Bugatti Chiron or any McLaren — stands up the rear spoilers and powers the fan to suck air from under the car, improving downforce and therefore traction. Selectable High Downforce mode is made for the track and wet roads, boosting downforce by 30% over Auto mode. Streamline goes the opposite direction, closing aero inlets to reduce drag by 10% compared to Auto mode, and it “activates the fan at high speeds to extend the trailing wake of air behind the car, in effect creating a virtual long-tail.” VMAX mode starts with Streamline and kicks in extra boost from the 48-volt system to get to about 680 hp. Murray said the T.50 tops out somewhere around 220 miles per hour.  

The carbon-intense supercar has moved into wind tunnel testing in Silverstone, using the Racing Point F1 team facility. At the same time, Gordon Murray Automotive is finishing its customer experience and service center in Dunsfold, England next to the factory that will build the T.50. Have a listen to the engine and imagine what’s to come for what it’s designer calls the “last and the greatest analog supercar ever built.” We also recommend checking out TG‘s piece on the car, where Murray admits that driving dynamics have been benchmarked against the Alpine A110, power steering will only work at low speed and in parking lots, the V12 flips from idle to 12,000 rpm in 0.3 seconds, and the rear tires are just 295-section (911 Turbo S rubber is 315-section out back). 

Related Video:

Which of Our Favorite Cheap Sports Cars Would You Buy for $20,000: Fiat 124 Spider or Ford Fiesta ST?

It’s a chaotic time for carmakers — and not just because of 2020’s wild ride. With SUV and truck sales booming and conventional sedan, coupe and hatchback sales falling, Ford is phasing out all regular cars (except the  Mustang) from its U.S. lineup. Italian automaker Fiat, which returned to the States roughly a decade ago, has struggled to sell cars to Americans.

As a result, two super fun driver’s cars with manual transmissions — the Ford Fiesta ST hatchback and the Fiat 124 Spider convertible — are leaving America’s showrooms. But there’s an upshot to this: brand-new copies of both cars are available at dealers, right now, at incredible discounts. Fiesta STs are going for a couple grand off sticker; Fiat 124s are going for as much as $10,000 off. As a result, you can now buy either one brand-new for roughly $20,000.

The only question — beyond whether your lifestyle can accommodate a tiny sports car — is which one you should buy.

2019 Fiat 124 Spider

The Fiat 124 Spider is a solid, affordable sports car. It’s effectively a Mazda MX-5 Miata that has been restyled by Italians and outfitted with a punchy turbocharged engine. But for whatever reason — possibly practicality-related — Americans haven’t been buying it, leading to a massive dealer backlog. As a result, Fiat dealers are offering absurd discounts to try to move them.

Here’s a 2019 124 Spider from a dealer in Spokane, Washington. It’s a black Lusso (Luxury) trim edition. It has a six-speed manual transmission. A $4,590 dealer discount and a $3,000 Fiat 124 Spider discount bring the price down from a $30,585 MSRP to $22,995 — and that’s before you start haggling.

Wanna see more? Check out other Fiat 124 Spiders listed across the land on Cars.com.

2019 Ford Fiesta ST

The Fiesta ST is a dated model; we reviewed it allllll the way back in 2013. But it packs a lot of punch for its size; it weighs well south of 3,000 pounds, packs nearly 200 horsepower and a six-speed manual, and is as agile as a go-kart. Bets of all, you can find new ones for well below MSRP.

This white 2019 Fiesta ST is for sale in Fargo, North Dakota. Options include a moonroof and red brake calipers that aren’t Brembos but sorta look like them. The dealer is selling it for $20,885, $3,295 below MSRP. (If you want to see more, check out other Fiesta STs on sale across America here.)

In addition, Ford, as part of its COVID-19 response, is also offering 0% APR financing on all 2019 models for up to 84 months, which means you should be able to buy this Fiesta for less than the cost of most cars’ lease payments.

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

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

This Corvette-Powered Defender Is the Vintage Land Rover You Really Want

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beautiful, but not too fussy


We post a lot of exquisite Land Rover Defender restomods on this site. Some are hand-restored works of art; others are heavily-customized ultimate expressions of what a Defender can be. They’re fantastic…but maybe a bit too fancy to bring to the beach and cart your wet dogs around in. For that, this excellent Defender 90 that’s popped up on Bring a Trailer may be more your speed.

This fetching green Defender 90 is a left-hand drive 1991 model. It had a 6.2-liter LS3 V8 engine swap, which — combined with a Hooker exhaust system — puts out about 500 horsepower, according to the seller. That power is routed through a six-speed automatic transmission. It has Fox racing shocks and several other mechanical upgrades. The odometer shows about 4,000 miles since the powertrain was swapped.

Granted, it’s not entirely perfect. The current owner hasn’t installed air conditioning; the center console is loose; the fuel pump makes intermittent noises; and it only has one set of jump seats, crammed into a rear cargo area that looks as though it’s seen plenty of cargo. But the imperfections add to the charm of a nearly 30-year-old vehicle that was never meant to be a meticulous, show-quality specimen.

So, you have a Defender that looks great on the exterior, doesn’t make you deal with 30-year-old British mechanical components, and is nice-but-not-fussy inside. It sounds like exactly what most people would want…except for the lack of air conditioning.

Only Nostradamus knows where the bidding will head for this 1991 Defender 90, but it’s already above $20,000 just day into the week-long auction, so we doubt it’ll sell cheap.

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

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

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The 2020 Mazda CX-30 Makes the Best Case Yet for Crossovers

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of the Mazda 3. Mazda’s compact car offers a delightful combination of style, versatility and fun for the money, making it a go-to suggestion when people are looking for a characterful, inexpensive ride. (Case in point: my mother drives a past-gen Mazda 3 hatch.) The latest version is the best-looking one yet, proudly showing off some of the best of the brand’s kodo design language, and can be paired with either all-wheel-drive or a six-speed manual transmission (though sadly, not both at the same time).

Yet as good as it is…people aren’t really looking for sleek hatchbacks these days. No, the people have spoken, and they want trucks and SUVs. But that doesn’t mean they just want boxy body-on-frame brutes. A couple inches of added height and a little massaged body work are all that effectively distinguish many modern crossovers from sedans, station wagons and hatchbacks.

So when it came time to supplement its lineup, Mazda took the 3 hatchback and lifted it a little to create the CX-30.

You gain far more than you lose when you go CX-30 instead of Mazda 3

Traditionally, SUVs always gave away as many good traits as they added; for every bit of off-road capability or cargo space you picked up over a family sedan, you lost some straight-line performance or fuel efficiency. Over the years, though, carmakers have been shaving down those compromises — and the CX-30 is the closest thing yet to the perfect bridge between car and SUV.

Consider, for example, my CX-30 Premium Package test car versus the Mazda 3 hatchback with its Premium Package. The CX-30 costs $29,600 — only $700 more than the Mazda3. Its 3,408-pound curb weight is just 153 pounds more than the hatchback, and fuel economy is remarkably similar between the two; the EPA rates the AWD Mazda at 32 mpg on the highway, same as the CX-30.

But the crossover stands 1.4 inches taller, serving up more ground clearance for hopping over obstacles and making entry and exit easier. Plus, once you’re inside, there’s a dash more headroom and legroom in back, making it an ever-so-slightly roomier choice. Given that the $700 difference works out to an extra $15 a month over a 48-month loan, it’s hard not to consider the CX-30 the better buy, all things considered.

Zoom-zoom is still a Mazda trait, but it needs more oomph-oomph

The 2,5-liter inline-four beneath the CX-30’s hood is a tried-and-true engine that serves up decent power and fuel economy numbers. Still, in the real world, it feels less potent than the current spat of turbocharged motors commonly found in cars in this price range. It’ll get the Mazda moving, but it takes a heavy foot on the gas to do it; the engine needs to be wrung out more so than many turbo motors to make the most of its power and torque, and doing so results in a coarse, agricultural sound from under the hood.

The rest of the driving experience is quite pleasant, though. Mazda has intentionally chosen to stick with a six-speed automatic long after other carmakers have moved to ones with seven, eight, nine or 10 gears (or even no gears at all, in the case of CVTs), and it pays dividends in terms of greater involvement, whether it’s making its own well-informed shift choices or you’re taking control using the manual shift gate, which requires a yank backwards for upshifts and a nudge forward for downshifts, the way God intended.

The steering is as good as electrically-boosted racks come, let alone in terms of how involving an SUV’s helm can be; it’s practically Porsche Macan-like in its directness and feedback. The suspension can’t quite make such an impressive claim, but it still holds the CX-30 taut and controlled through turns to be actually fun, without excessive body roll. And while I blessedly didn’t have a chance to test the brakes at full lock, I can say the pedal was firm and reassuring in everyday driving.

Packs the same Mazda quality (and quirks) as the rest of the lineup

Some vehicles feel like outliers in their families. Not the CX-30. It looks and feels every bit the Mazda it is, from its sleek, flowing two-box shape to the clean lines of the interior. The craftsmanship inside feels a half-step above what you’d expect in a car of this class and price; everywhere your fingers land feels smooth and refined, every button, switch and other control operating with the well-oiled precision of a luxury car. (More Acura than Bentley, but still.)

And, like other Mazdas, the infotainment system is just shy of terrible. The Mazda Connect setup, as it’s called, is counterintuitive in many, many ways; changing the radio station, for example, take two more steps than it should, as does switching from the regular screen to Apple CarPlay. Granted, I’m sure it’s the sort of feature many people get used to in time — my mom certainly did — but when every other carmaker has found a way to make a less frustrating infotainment system with a shallower learning curve, maybe it’s time to rethink the layout.

Still, annoying as it may be, that’s not enough to knock the CX-30 off its high rung on the crossover ladder. Other cute ‘utes may be roomier, more off-road capable or more luxurious…but you won’t find one that leaves you happier that you left sedan life beyond.

Price as Tested: $29,600
Drivetrain: 2.5-liter inline-four, six-speed automatic, all-wheel-drive
Power: 186 hp, 186 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: 25 mpg city, 32 mpg highway
Seats: 5

Mazda provided this product for review.

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

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

More Americans Really Want to Buy a Jeep Right Now, Study Finds

<!–Americans Are Really Interested in Jeeps Right Now, Study Says • Gear Patrol<!– –>

go anywhere, do anything


Americans are uncertain about many, many things right now — but the appeal of a Jeep doesn’t appear to be one of them. Survey data gathered over the past 30 days by YouGov BrandIndex shows that a little more than 16 percent of American buyers are considering a Jeep right now — a 2.6 percent increase over the period. That, for the record, was the biggest jump of any automotive brand over that time.

While the current crisis certainly may have doomsday preppers increasingly interested in a capable, all-terrain vehicle, YouGov cites several other more likely factors that could be at play. SUVs have been continuously becoming more popular with buyers, and the perception that foreign cars are better made has been declining. (Ford, Ram and GM also showed increased interest in the data.) Gas prices are way down, which presumably should benefit Jeep — a brand not known for its fuel efficiency.

If Jeep does see an increase in buyers in the coming months, the company should have the inventory to accommodate them. There were concerns about the backlog of both Gladiators and Wranglers on dealer lots before the health crisis began affecting American life. That excess inventory one reason we’ve seen so many crazy deals on the Gladiator, despite it being perhaps the most game-changing new vehicle of 2019.

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

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

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2020 Toyota 4Runner Venture Special Edition: The SUV We Want the Land Cruiser to Be

The 4Runner is Toyota’s badass body-on-frame mid-size off-roader. While another vehicle may wear the Land Cruiser badge, this SUV is the closest spiritual successor to the iconic FJ40 Land Cruiser — and is, at least for now, the closest thing the Jeep Wrangler has to a direct competitor. The 4Runner is venerated for its impressive build quality and trail-bashing prowess.

It’s also among the most venerable SUVs on the market. Toyota last overhauled the 4Runner for the 2010 model year, which means this off-roader’s bones date back more than a decade — making it ancient in car years.

Still, that doesn’t mean Toyota has given up on keeping this aging SUV fresh. Recently, I drove the new-for-2020 Toyota 4Runner Venture Special Edition, a trim designed for venturing out into the world…and, yes, looking cool and trendy while doing so.

The 4Runner is well-built, capable, and exceptionally cool-looking. Like the Land Cruiser, it delivers the off-roader feels the way few modern crossovers do. It also is incredibly old, consumes fuel inefficiently, and doesn’t offer much car for an initial outlay of cash that’s close to $50,000 in this spec.

All that said, my wife and I still kind of wanted a 4Runner after living with it for a while.

The Venture Special Edition is on-trend.

The Venture Special Edition is an extension of the 4Runner’s TRD Premium Off-Road trim, which rests in the mid-range on the luxury between the standard TRD Off-Road and the top-level TRD Pro and packs the model’s most advanced off-road tech.  For a $1,815 price over the TRD Premium, the Venture hits two of the automotive industry’s biggest trends: blacked-out detailing and overlanding.

The Venture Special Edition blacks out the Toyota and 4Runner badging on the exterior, and deletes the TRD Off-Road badge from the C-pillar for a cleaner look. It gives the 4Runner black mirrors, black door handles and a black rear spoiler. It also includes some cargo accessories; there’s a Yakima MegaWarrior roof rack — pro tip: don’t forget that it’s on the roof before you enter a parking garage — and an available sliding cargo deck.

The 4Runner is what we want the Land Cruiser to be.

This generation of the iconic Land Cruiser has been around a while, and the flaws are apparent. It’s not hard to look at the portly, pricey Land Cruiser and think it should be about 1,000 pounds lighter, $40,000 less expensive and place more emphasis on off-road ability than luxury — ideally while retaining its cool appearance and the sense of security offered by its capability and reliability. That car exists; it’s the 4Runner.

Indeed, it’s easy to get sucked in by this Toyota’s off-road-ready charm. There’s a comfort in being prepared for anything (barring a gasoline shortage), and this rig leaves you feeling ready to take on whatever hell the world throws at you. In fact, my wife and I found the 4Runner endearing enough to half-heartedly run the numbers on a purchase…and to try to rationalize the fuel consumption.

But the 4Runner is still ancient.

2009 was a long time ago in car terms. Trucks and SUVs have evolved by great leaps since then…yet the 4Runner hasn’t. The SUV still uses a big 4.0-liter V6, connected to an automatic transmission with just five gears. It handles like a boat. It’s slow. It’s loud. It achieves an unpleasant 19 mpg on the highway, and suffers from other annoying, old-school SUV issues as well, like taking an inordinate amount of time to warm up.

Want more proof? I drove a Jeep Gladiator right after the 4Runner, and that Toyota glow melted away very quickly. The difference between the two cars felt like I entered a time machine (and, it should be noted, the Gladiator uses a similarly-aged V6 yet does much more with it).

Few cars can match the 4Runner’s emotive appeal. But it’s hard making a value case for it when competitors offer so much more at this price point.

Price as Tested: $48,877
Drivetrain: 4.0-liter V6, 5-speed automatic, 4-wheel-drive
Power: 270 hp, 278 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: 16 city, 19 highway
Seats: 5

Toyota provided this product for review.

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

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

McLaren F1 GTR Longtail No. 1 is road-ready and listed for sale

The chassis number on this 1996 McLaren F1 GTR Longtail is 19R, but in the order of production, this car is No. 1. It’s the first longtail version of the GTR version of what many consider the greatest car ever made. Despite its track-intended build, it’s road-legal, and it’s currently up for sale in the United Kingdom. 

The special nature of 19R goes beyond the fact of its birth order. This car was reportedly used as a development prototype for the entire run of GTR Longtails and participated in numerous Japanese races, including the Suzuka 1000km. According to the listing, it’s also only one of two GTR Longtails in private ownership (Nick Mason owns the other), so this is likely one of few occasions in a lifetime when one will be available for purchase.

19R has another first under its belt, too. It was the first GTR Longtail to be converted to a road-legal specification. Gordon Murray, the designer of the F1, worked with Lanzante to turn the racecar version of the road car back into a road car. The unique F1 comes with a Gordon Murray Design book that documents the conversion, as well as the history of the car. All of the parts that were changed were also kept and come as part of a large spare parts package.

Although some might not see the value of the color scheme, McLaren painted it this way to draw attention to the differences between the GTR and the GTR Longtail. The vibrant markings exaggerate the changes and earned this car the nickname “Squiggles,” according to Tom Hartley Jr. 

If the paint scheme looks familiar, it might be because this car has been seen flexing its BMW Motorsport-sourced V12 at the Goodwood hillclimb (seen below). Via Road & Track, the 19R is listed without a price by Tom Hartley Jr.

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Ford Is Using Parts from the F-150 to Build Respirators and Fight the Coronavirus

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help in a time of need


Ford engineers come up with a ton of ideas. Some are cool and potentially game-changing. Others are just downright weird. But this idea, using a component from America’s best-selling vehicle, could aid in fast-tracking the production of much-needed respirators to help with the covid-19 pandemic.

Ford announced that it is partnering with 3M to ramp up production of powered air-purifying respirators (also known as PAPRs) used by healthcare workers and first responders. Ford plans to help ramp up production of 3M’s current design — and produce a version using the fan from the F-150’s seat cooling system to blow air through 3M filters.

As Road and Track noted in their analysis, the seat blower motors are a good fit for a PAPR device. They can blow more than enough air for the task, they’re relatively compact, and energy-efficient enough that a portable power tool battery could power them for the eight hours required. Plus, Ford sold nearly 75,000 F-150 pickups per month in 2019, so they presumably could source a large number of those fans.

Ford believes it can help produce the new PAPR units at one of its Michigan facilities and increase 3M’s production tenfold. The company also plans to help GE Healthcare increase the production of its ventilators and to design a new, transparent face shield design to pair with N95 respirators.

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

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

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McLaren Elva gets another retro paint scheme from McLaren Special Operations

You may have noticed that McLaren’s official brand color is a bright shade of orange. That dates back to Bruce McLaren’s M6A Can-Am race car of 1967, the first to feature the all-orange paint scheme and the car that helped him win his first Can-Am championship that year. So what better way to honor a wild open-top race car than by painting the wild open-top McLaren Elva supercar in the same color?

The McLaren Elva M6A Theme is the second race car-themed Elva to come from McLaren Special Operations (MSO). The group offers customization services to McLaren customers, particularly unique paint and carbon fiber finishes. The special was revealed on Twitter, and it is quite faithful to the 1967 car. It’s finished in a unique orange that looks a little less bold with more of a pearl finish than the glowing solid orange of the race car. It’s paired with big simple number circles featuring the number “4” like one of the race cars. On the sides, a metallic stripe is added to mimic the chrome divider between the top and bottom sections of the Can-Am car. It also gets the same “McLaren Cars” logo and Bruce McLaren’s signature down the side. As cool as this is from a historical standpoint, the orange really shows off how the body blends right into the interior, something McLaren did to evoke the feeling of being outside and exposed to the world, rather than hidden inside the car’s cabin. The dark launch color was far less effective at conveying that feeling.

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As previously mentioned, MSO did another race car-themed Elva, a black and white car inspired by an older 1964 McLaren M1A race car. Clearly there will be one of each, but McLaren hasn’t put any limits on the designs, so it’s possible there may be multiple examples in the car’s 399-unit run. We also wouldn’t be surprised if McLaren rolls out some other motorsports-inspired liveries in the future, as it has many famous racecars to pull from. The reddish-orange and white Honda-powered Marlboro F1 cars of the late 1980s and the black and silver Mercedes-powered F1 cars of the early 2000s both seem like strong choices. Or if McLaren doesn’t do it themselves, maybe a rich reader could commission one painted as such. Though we wouldn’t want to tell that person how to spend their $1.69 million (or more) on their car.

Related Video:

The Cheapest Off-Road-Ready SUV to Own Is Also One of Our Favorites

<!–The Purist’s Jeep Wrangler Is the Most Affordable to Own • Gear Patrol<!– –>

practicality be damned


The traditional two-door Jeep Wrangler is an automotive icon, but the more family-friendly four-door version — originally known as the Wrangler Unlimited — has made it a threatened species. The take rate for the two-door Wrangler is only around 10 percent — about the same as the manual transmission. It’s fallen so far from grace, Jeep didn’t even think there was a business case for pairing its best off-roading engine with anything but a four-door body style.

There may be a compelling argument for sticking with tradition, however. Kelley Blue Book recently ran the five-year cost-to-own figures for America’s off-road SUVs, and the two-door Wrangler came out as the most affordable, with a predicted five-year ownership cost of $39,045. The cheapest Wrangler option is the V6 with a manual transmission — which is to say, the most economical Wrangler to own is also the purest example of the breed.

That said, the four-door version was estimated to cost $40,020 over five years. In real life, saving $975 in predicted ownership costs over half a decade is unlikely to preclude anyone from getting the more practical four-door version of the Wrangler.

Both Wrangler versions are more affordable than the third-place Toyota 4Runner, which is estimated to cost $46,254 over five years. Though, if you’re buying the legendarily durable Toyota SUV, you may be thinking about ownership on a 10-15-year timescale.

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

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

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Enter to Win This Sexy BMW M8 and Help a Hospital in Its Time of Need

<!–Enter to Win a BMW M8 and Help a Hospital in Need • Gear Patrol<!– –>

The BMW M8 Competition may not sit at the top of the average gearhead’s dream car list, but there’s no denying that it’d be one of the best cars to live with. This two-door sibling of the M5 Competition combines the performance of a supercar with the comfort and luxury of a grand tourer — all wrapped up in an eye-catching body. Of course, a well-rounded car like that doesn’t come cheap — especially if it’s from Germany. If you’re looking to buy one, you’ll need to fork over at least $146,000 before you even take a look at the options list.

Alternately, you could just spend a few bucks and enter to win an M8 Competition — and help out a good cause in the process.

Now, normally, we wouldn’t look twice at a car raffle, but this one is a little different. It’s run by Omaze, which serves as a broker to help charitable organizations raise much-needed funds by auctioning off cool cars and interesting experiences. In this case, the money is going to the UCLA Medical Center. As you might expect, this Los Angeles-area hospital is currently bracing for an onslaught of patients due to the covid-19 pandemic; the funds raised in this raffle will be used to support the medical center’s lifesaving initiatives, such as a new ambulance, which are sure to be needed during this time of need.

Plus, if you win, you won’t just get the M8 Competition; you’ll be getting all the taxes and shipping costs taken care of, too, plus $20,000 in cash to spend as you like. (Pro tip: use a little of it to buy a good radar detector.) If you’re feeling lucky and generous, it’s worth dropping a couple dollars. Even if you don’t win the car, you’ll still be coming out better for it.

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

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

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VW Says It’ll Keep Building Cars With Stick Shifts As Long as We Keep Buying Them

<!–VW Will Still Build Manual Cars If We Keep Buying Them • Gear Patrol<!– –>

keep on rowing


Here in the year 2020, the manual transmission is an endangered species. There are still some great cars out there that offer stick shifts, but once-stalwart brands like Audi, BMW, and Subaru have all but abandoned them. Jeep didn’t bother pairing one with its best Wrangler; even the new Corvette has taken the dual-clutch automatic route. Many of those decisions, ominously, were dictated not by technological requirements, but by demand; buyers simply haven’t been choosing to row-their-own in the numbers they once did.

Volkswagen, however, has been a notable exception to this abandon-stick trend. You won’t find a six-speed manual on an Atlas, but budget cars like the Golf and Jetta and performance cars like the new GTI and Golf R still have them.

And it seems we can expect that situation to continue for some time to come. In a recent interview, Volkswagen technical chief Matthias Rabe told Autocar that “as long as there is a demand, we will continue to offer [manual gearboxes].”

How that sentiment meshes with Volkswagen’s commitment to an electric future…well, that’s a little unclear. (Electric cars rarely use transmissions; the sole new passenger EV to do so today is the Porsche Taycan, and it uses a simple two-speed automatic for improved acceleration.) But VW is one of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers; the company has the bandwidth to be an SUV manufacturer in America, a small car manufacturer in Europe, a truck manufacturer on other continents and a major EV player in all locales. Keeping around stick shifts should be pretty easy.

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

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 Best Used Porsches You Can Buy for Less Than $10,000

A Note on Pricing: The going prices for these cars are accurate at the time of publishing but may change the longer the classified ads are live.

Almost all cars diminish in value over time — with almost being the key word. Certain Porsches, for example, defy those market forces. Most 911s, for example, lose far less value than your average cars, and that causes ripple effects across the lineup; buyers priced out of 911s are driving up values for other well-regarded Porsches, like the 944 Turbo. Even the VW-powered Porsche 914 is becoming a collector’s item.

It’s hard to find a truly cheap Porsche that’s still running and not embarrassing to drive up to your in-laws’ house…but it’s not impossible. Here are four that we found for less than $10,000.

2003 Porsche Boxster – $9,900

The thoroughly-underrated 986-generation Boxster is the car that saved Porsche financially in the 1990s. This 2003 model is a fun-to-drive, mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive convertible. It has a naturally-aspirated flat-six with a five speed-speed manual transmission. And this one has only 57,000 miles on the clock.

2005 Porsche Boxster – $8,500

Boxsters are so great that we’ll include a second one. This Boxster is a 987-generation model from 2005 — essentially a first-gen Cayman without a roof. It has a five-speed manual and naturally aspirated flat-six. The one issue here is mileage: this Boxster has 138,000 miles…but the price reflects that.

2009 Porsche Cayenne – $9,995

The Cayenne midsize SUV is another Porsche that does, in fact, drop quite a bit in value. This Cayenne is a first-gen base model from 2009. The modern Cayenne is a Porsche that happens to be an SUV; this car was more of a luxury SUV that happened to have a Porsche badge. That badge is important, however…and this SUV only has 80,000 miles.

1987 Porsche 944 – $9,995

The 944 was the Cayman of its day. Its front-engine setup was an affront Porsche purists, but it may have actually handled better than the 911 of that era. This 944 isn’t the Turbo version — which is why it costs less than $10,000. Still, it’s hard to beat a Guards Red exterior, a blacked-out interior and a five-speed manual transmission.

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

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

6 Incredible Classic Formula 1 Races You Can Stream Right Now

Thanks to the threat of the covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, live sports have been shut down across the planet for an indefinite period of time. The 2020 Formula 1 season is among the casualties; as of now, it’s tentatively set to begin in June.

But F1 fans can still get their racing fix by subscribing to F1TV.

An F1TV Pro membership (which runs you $80 for an entire year) offers many compelling features, including live onboard camera streams and team radio during races.

Right now, though, there’s an even better deal for these times. For as low as $3 per month, you can get an F1TV Access membership, which allows you to stream full races from F1’s extensive historic race archive.

Here are six of our favorite F1 races included in that archive. Keep in mind, though, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

2019 German Grand Prix

Mercedes looked set to exert their dominance in their home race — and they wore some goofy 1950s-themed outfits to celebrate. Things did not quite work out that way, in what turned out to be a wet and wild affair. Seven of the 20 drivers failed to finish the race, and three of the top four finishers came from below 14th place on the grid.

2019 Brazilian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes already had the driver’s and constructor’s championships clinched, but this was still a fun race: a series of duels between the two best current F1 drivers; two collisions among the leaders over the final three laps eliminated three cars; and two drivers scored their first podium finishes.

2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

“Baku” is an F1 synonym for “batshit.” This second Baku street race cemented that reputation. The race had a red flag and seven retirements; a multiple-time world champion had a monumental meltdown under a safety car; the eventual winner fought back after crashing in qualifying; and one of the grid’s most maligned drivers somehow ended up on the podium.

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso of Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel dueled for the title in the epic 2012 season’s final race. This was an instant classic, with wet and dry conditions, a dramatic first-lap plot twist, and 147 successful overtakes across the field — a record.

2011 Canadian Grand Prix

The 2011 Canadian Grand Prix ended up being the longest race in F1 history, thanks in part because of a stoppage due to a torrential downpour. The winner of this grueling race pitted six times, collided twice, served a drive-through penalty and overtook the leader on the final lap.

2005 Japanese Grand Prix

Suzuka is one of F1’s iconic tracks. A wet qualifying round saw the usual contenders begin at the back of the field. A Schumacher started on pole — but it was Ralf, not Michael. The race features one of F1’s legendary overtakes around the outside at the 130R corner, and one of the F1 fans’ favorite drivers overtook the leader on the final lap for the win.

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

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