Rare Rides: A 1971 Monteverdi High Speed 375/L, Where L Means Luxurious

Rare Rides featured a Monteverdi once before, the large and luxurious 375/4 sedan. While that limited-run model marked the culmination of the High Speed series of cars from the brand, today’s 2+2 coupe represents the brand’s mainstream product offering.

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Rare Rides: The Incredibly Rare 1981 BMW 735i Touring

Today’s Rare Ride is one of just a handful of custom-built 7 Series wagons, created by a coachbuilder who wanted flagship BMW luxury with additional cargo carrying capabilities.

Come along as we check out this large BMW wagon.

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European Truck Manufacturers Ending ICE Production in 2040

An alliance of European truck manufacturers have pledged to stop selling vehicles that produce any emissions by 2040 — pushing up its previous target date by a full decade.

The group, which includes Daimler, Scania, Man, Volvo, Daf, Iveco, and Ford, have all signed a pledge to focus on developing hydrogen and battery technologies so that petroleum-derived propulsion can be phased out of the trucking industry.

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Rare Rides: The Absolutely Epic 2002 Renault Avantime, a Big Sales Flop

Today’s Rare Ride is one of those that’s always been on the to-do list, but never floated to top of mind. That changed the other day, when this very tidy example was posted on Twitter.

Let’s talk about Privilege.

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Rare Rides: A 1968 Glas 1304, One Last Glas Before BMW

This isn’t the first time Rare Rides has featured a car from long-deceased automaker Glas. That honor goes to this luxurious 2600 V8 coupe from 1967. But while the 2600 was the most expensive car Glas made, today’s 1304 is one of the least expensive.

Let’s check out a compact wagon built just as Glas was being consumed by BMW.

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Rare Rides: The 1984 Renault Rodeo, a Plastic Truck for Fun Times

Today’s Rare Ride was a unique offering in Europe in its day, though not an original idea. Simple as pie, it’s plastic, low-powered, and meant for adventure!

It’s a Renault Rodeo, and someone’s taken the trouble of importing this one to California.

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European Car Sales Plummet as Continent Revisits Lockdown Protocols

If you hadn’t already heard, Europe began taking actions to prepare itself for another pandemic-related lockdown. Last month, leadership in Germany and France noted that existing restrictions were “not enough anymore” and began issuing specific citizens “certificates” allowing them to move freely within the country. As you might have imagined, this didn’t exactly bolster automotive sales.

While most of the new restrictions were implemented at the tail end of October, they’ve foreshadowed additional measures introduced as more countries climbed aboard ( like the UK’s second banning of sex with people from outside of the household) and began signaling that automotive sales were about to be routed. Gains made in September look to be completely undone, with Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority stating new-car registrations fell by 3.6 percent in October (vs 2019) on Wednesday. But that’s only the beginning of the bad news.

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Rare Rides: The 1997 Renault Sport Spider, Track Car for the Road

Today’s Rare Ride is equally at home on a track or on a road. Lightweight and minimalistic in its approach, the Renault Sport Spider has only the things you need to drive, and nothing else.

Let’s check out this bashful looking sports car.

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Jaguar Land Rover Prepares to Pay $118 Million in Emissions Fines

Jaguar Land Rover is putting 90 million pounds ($118 million) into its rainy day fund in case it’s fined by the European Union for failing to meet CO2 emission-reduction targets. Delays in launching plug-in hybrid models, stalled by WLTP efficiency estimates that didn’t quite reach a best-case scenario, have left the automaker above the allotted EU fleet average of 95 grams per kilometer.

“We are not happy that we will not be compliant in 2020, but a lot of that has been taken out of our hands,” JLR CFO Adrian Mardell said during Tuesday’s quarterly earnings call with investors.

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Rare Rides: The 1990 Audi V8 Quattro, First Time Full-size Failure

In our last Rare Rides, we discussed how the W126 S-Class established the model as a default for the large German sedan shopper. I also referenced the failed attempt at S-Class competition which was the Audi V8 Quattro.

So today let’s expound upon that failure a bit.

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Rare Rides: A 1991 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC, End of an Era

Today’s Rare Ride was the ultimate display of Germanic automotive wealth in the early Nineties. Always rarer than its sedan brother, the SEC was the S-Class with two doors and no pillars.

Let’s check out a hardtop from the arguable height of modern Mercedes-Benz engineering.

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European Regulators Finally Approve PSA/FCA Becoming Stellantis

Fiat Chrysler and PSA Group are reportedly in the homestretch of their $38 billion merger deal and on the cusp of becoming Stellantis — the planet’s fourth largest automaker by volume. The plan is to join forces to help absorb the monumental cost of developing alternative energy vehicles (like EVs) without losing any brands or shuttering any facilities that weren’t previously marked for death. We’re inclined to believe it when we see it, however, as the duo are also targeting an annual cost reduction of 5 billion euros (about $5.91 billion USD).

It also hasn’t been a smoothest of regulatory rides. After spending years hunting for the perfect partner, FCA and PSA had to adjust the terms of their existing deal to contend with losses incurred as a result of the pandemic response. But it all seems to be fine now and the European Commission has given approval and that’s what matters in finally getting this deal done.

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Facing Emission Fines, Ford Becomes Ravenous for Carbon Credits

Ford is joining the lengthening list of automakers that cannot adhere to European emissions mandates this year and is pursuing the popular option of simply buying carbon credits from rivals who managed to sell more than a few electrified vehicles.

Under the EU rules, manufacturers can “earn” carbon credits by selling more EVs. But legacy automakers were hamstrung all year by the pandemic and Ford is on the hook for a recall of its Kuga (Escape) PHEV. The Blue Oval recalled almost 21,000 examples of the plug-in hybrid in August, asking owners not to drive the crossover in its electric-only mode and to avoid charging the battery. While alarming in its own right, Ford said the recall effectively makes it impossible for it to meet 2020 EU emission quotas. It is now seeking partners for an “open emissions pool” and is hardly the only manufacturer doing this.

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EU Bans Rolls-Royce's Illuminated Spirit of Ecstasy for 'Light Pollution'

Those of you familiar with vintage motorcars will recall that there was once a period in history where hood ornaments weren’t the classy exception but the rule. Automakers have been affixing their corporate iconography to the top of vehicles since before there were seat belts, tapping members of the animal kingdom, indigenous leaders who opposed the British (back when such things were acceptable), winged letters of the alphabet, rocket ships, and just about everything else one could imagine wanting to stick atop an automobile. But most of those have been modified to suit the times and/or relocated onto the grille in an effort to avoid impaling pedestrians (Ed. note: And perhaps theft. I think my grandparents had the hood ornament stolen off their mid-’90s era Buick once. — TH).

While a few companies attempted to get around government safety regulations by implementing flexibly mounted hood ornaments designed to avoid stabbing the person you’ve already done the disservice of hitting with your car, just about all of them have given up the ghost by 2020. The only notable exception is Rolls-Royce, which has spent a fortune designing a spring-loaded device that snaps its famous Spirit of Ecstasy (aka the Flying Lady) down inside the engine bay whenever a moderate amount of force is applied.

The company has since decided to update its ornament to allow drivers to retract it on demand. It has also started offering a £3,500 option that makes Spirit of Ecstasy an illuminated crystal bauble that has suddenly run afoul of the European Union’s new light pollution regulations. Rolls-Royce will need to remove it from its brochures and customers will be forced to neuter their vehicles if they want to be compliant with the law.

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Rare Rides: The 1993 Cizeta V16T, It's Not a Diablo

Today’s Rare Ride is one of those stand-out vehicles which had little (if any) real competition. Ten lamps up front, two seats in the middle, and 16 cylinders at the back. It’s a wonder it doesn’t take off in flight.

Cizeta time.

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  • Jwee I think it is short sighted and detrimental to the brand. The company should be generous to its locked-in user base, treating them as a resource, not a revenue stream.This is what builds any good relationship, generosity to the other partner. Apple does with their products. My iPhone is 5 years old, but I keep getting the latest and greatest updates for free, which makes me feel valued as a customer and adds actual value. When it is time for a new phone, Apple past treatment towards me certainly plays into my decisions (as did BMW's - so long subscription extracting pigs, its been a great 20 years). Imagine how much good will and love (and good press) Polestar would get from their user base if they gave them all a "68 fresh horses" update overnight, for free. Brand loyalty would soar (provided their car is capable).
  • ToolGuy If I had some space I would offer $800 and let the vehicle sit at my place as is. Then when anyone ever asked me, "Have you ever considered owning a VW?" I would say "Yes."
  • ToolGuy In the example in the linked article an automated parking spot costs roughly 3% of the purchase price of the property. If I were buying such a property, I would likely purchase two parking spots to go with it, and I'm being completely serious.(Speaking of ownership vs. subscription, the $150 monthly maintenance fee would torque me off a lot more than the initial acquisition cost.)
  • ToolGuy "which will be returned as refunds to citizens of the state" - kind of like the Alaska Permanent Fund? Make the amount high enough and I will gladly move to California to take advantage (my family came close to moving there when I was a teen, and oodles of people have moved from CA to my state, so I'm happy to return the favor).Note to California: You probably do not want me as a citizen.
  • ToolGuy Nice torque figure.