With the last incarnation of the Volkswagen Beetle officially dead and buried, VW is hoping to breathe new life into vintage models by retrofitting them with electric powertrains. While purists will no doubt frame this as the blatant ruination of a historic model, something tells us that plenty of Beetle fans are just quirky enough to dig the idea.
On Thursday, Volkswagen Group Components announced that its partnership with eClassics has birthed the “e-Beetle” (e-Käfer in German). Borrowing components from the company’s European e-Up, the model is supposed to be a proof of concept for the electric conversion of other historic models — with VW noting that an e-Porsche 356 and electrified Microbus are already in the works.
Sleeper enthusiasts have a space in their heart reserved for General Motors. While the company’s most famous performance vehicles have typically been difficult to ignore, there was an era where some of its meanest models flew below the radar. This peaked in 1991 with the GMC Syclone pickup and Typhoon SUV — both of which played host to a 4.3-liter LB4 turbo V6 that could give high-end exotics a run for their money in a drag race.
While each of GMC’s unassuming monsters had a tragically short lifespan, evaporating by 1993, Specialty Vehicle Engineering (SVE) announced it would be bringing back the Syclone as a limited-edition “modern classic” earlier this year. Now the company is saying it’ll happily do the same for the Typhoon if General Motors decides to hand over the Blazer to GMC.
Let’s face it: when it comes to modern cars, no model is as maligned as the diminutive two-seat Smart Fortwo. Well, maybe the Mitsubishi Mirage.
Measuring just 8-feet-10-inches in length, the rear-engined Smart looks less like a car than a rolling phone booth, or perhaps the bubble that would take Patrick McGoohan back to The Village in the TV show “ The Prisoner.”
Jokes and instances of car-tipping aside, the Smart harbors a secret ability that sets it apart from its larger peers — and it took an Ontario mechanic to find it.
In the ongoing battle in Green Valley below Truck Mountain, Chevrolet has unleashed a CNG conversion kit for both 2500 and 3500 variants of the 2015 Silverado HD.
Since 1998 Honda has been quietly producing one of the cleanest vehicles in America. In 2001 the EPA called its engine “the cleanest burning internal combustion engine in the world.” No, it’s not a hybrid, it’s Honda’s Civic Natural Gas (formerly known as the Civic GX). Until now, the Civic Natural Gas has only been available for retail sale in a handful of states like California and New York. For 2012, Honda expanded sales to 37 states and lent us one for a week.
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- SCE to AUX "a future in which V8-powered muscle cars duke it out with EVs for track superiority"That's been happening for years on drag strips, and now EVs are listed in the top Nurburgring lap times.I find EV racing very boring to watch, and the lack of sound kills the experience. I can't imagine ever watching a 500-mile EV race such as Daytona or Indy, even if the tech or the rules allow such a race to happen.As for owning an electric muscle car, they already exist... but I've never owned a muscle car, don't want one, and can't afford one anyway. For me, it's a moot question.
- MaintenanceCosts I don't and realistically won't drive on track, but I think the performance characteristics of EV powertrains are just plain superior on the street. You get quicker response, finer control over the throttle, no possibility of being out of the powerband and needing a time-consuming shift, more capability in the speed range where you actually drive, and less brake heat. The only "problem" (and there are many situations where it's a plus, not a problem) is the lack of noise.
- JMII After tracking two cars (a 350Z and a C7) I can't imagine tracking an EV because so much of your "feeling" of driving comes from sound. That said you might be able to detect grip levels better as tire sounds could be heard easier without the roar of the engine and exhaust. However I change gears based mostly on sound so even an automatic (like a C8) that would be a disappointment on track. Hearing an engine roar is too important to the overall experience: so tracking an EV? No thanks!I've driven an electric go-kart around a track as my only point of reference and its weird. It sort of works because a kart is so small and doesn't require shifting plus you still hear the "engine" whirring behind you. The sensation is like driving cordless drill, so there is some sense of torque being applied. You adapt pretty quickly but it just seems so wrong. With a standard ICE car, even a fast one, RPMs raise and fall with each shift so there is time to process the wonderful sounds and they give you a great sense of the mechanical engine bits working to propel you.I feel track toys will always be ICE powered, similar to how people still enjoy sailing or horseback riding as "sports" despite both forms of transportation being replaced by superior technology. I assume niche companies will continue to build and maintain ICE vehicles. In the future you'll have to take your grand-kids to the local track to explain that cars were once glorious, smoke spewing, noisy things. The smells and the sounds are unique to racing so they need to stay that way. Often a car goes by while your in the pits and you can identify it by sound alone... I would hate to lose that.
- Kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh "20 combined city/highway"...sigh
- MaintenanceCosts Not sure this is true for electrified products. The Pacifica Hybrid continues to have its share of issues and there have been some issues with the 4xe products as well.