Ken Block Dies in Snowmobile Accident UPDATED
Professional rally driver Ken Block died in a snowmobile accident in Utah on Monday.
He was 55 years old.
RIP Toyota C-HR in USA
The Toyota C-HR appears dead in these United States, but will soldier on in Europe.
Sabine Schmitz Dies at 51
Sabine Schmitz, often referred to as the Queen of the Nurburgring, has passed away from cancer at the age of 51.
Ford Ending Production of Mustang Shelby GT350/R
Even the most capable of race horses eventually reach that day where they’re taken out behind the stables to be shot or stabbed — whatever happens to them after they’ve passed their prime. The same is true in the automotive realm, with the only difference being that the cars are not eventually turned into food for my cat.
Ford has decided to end production of the track-focused Mustang Shelby GT350/R this year. Introduced in 2015, the model uses a 5.2-liter “Voodoo” V8 with a flat-plane crankshaft for some of the nicest naturally aspirated action money can buy. On the current model year (which will also be the last) 526 horsepower is sent through a Tremec six-speed, with performance further aided by a transmission cooler, limited slip rear axle, track-worthy suspension, upgraded Brembo brakes and super-sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber.
If you’re one of the few individuals who needs a good track-day vehicle, you could certainly do worse. And now you’ll have to because dealer orders already ended.
Ford Keeps Upping the Cash on Leftover Flexes
Back before we had standards and practices barring tainted food from store shelves, there was a colossal stretch of history when you could buy discounted meat that was well past its best-buy date. The older the cheaper.
These days, those kinds of discounts really only apply to inedible items — like cars. But you don’t have to suffer any of the ramifications of eating thrice-cooked, spoiled meats when you get a car that the manufacturer decides is no longer fit for human consumption.
Super Piston Slap: Wish You Were Here, Herr Johnson!
Ford Taurus: Oedipus Wrecks (Part II)
My first installment centered around the neglected, beancounted “heart and soul of an American hero,” with a sense of pride in bespoke platforms and powertrains. But the re-killing of the Ford Taurus lacks nationalistic sorrow: the hometown hero was a name looking for a globally-engineered sedan, in a declining market, foolishly butted up against another Ford sedan with cooler stuff (a la hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and a SHO-worthy Sport with 325 turbocharged horses).
Ouch. RIP Ford Taurus.
Dead and Gone: These Are The New Vehicles We Lost In 2016 [Video]
Ah, fall. The leaves have changed and are dropping to the ground below. Football is in full swing. Your kids get free candy just by walking around the neighborhood (and you can eat it after they go to bed). And another new model year of vehicles is taking over parking lot space at the local car stores.
But it’s a bit chilly. The leaves are slippery when wet. Baseball season has almost ended. And you’re suffering from a bellyache because ten bags of Skittles was just one too many. All is not well, particularly for the new vehicle nameplates that head off into the Hallowe’en darkness to meet the automotive Grim Reaper. (Or is that just Lee Iacocca?)
These are all the vehicles we’re losing after the 2016 model year.
UPDATE 2: Will Toyota Kill Off the Scion Brand Today?
Update 2: Toyota has officially announced Scion’s “transition to Toyota.”
Update 1: Road&Track is reporting it has confirmed the rumor with an inside source and the death of Scion will be publicly announced later today.
A top-secret meeting took place Tuesday afternoon to announce the death of the Scion brand to employees, reports CarBuzzard (via Motor Trend). The company is rumored to make the announcement public today.
We at TTAC have openly wondered about the future of Scion, though recent sales performance of new products looked to have put the youth-oriented brand on the right track.
Super Piston Slap: RIP Tom Magliozzi
I don’t know what Tom Magliozzi thought of our little Piston Slap creation, sadly we never met. So I write to remember an inspirational person who did great things: Mr. Magliozzi made the undesirable job of fixing a car into an info-tainment legacy.
NPR wrote a wonderful article, and one point about this MIT graduate really hit home…
Vellum Venom: Uwe Bahnsen, Car Designer, RIP
Never forget: people make all the difference. This often overlooked fact in the glamorous world of automotive styling rings true for the life of Mr. Uwe Bahnsen. I froze in my tracks when I heard of his passing on Car Design News. His work at Ford and with the Industrial Design community influenced me, and every American who loved cars in the 1980s.
How ironic that Mr. Bahnsen’s passing was the week TTAC’s own Ford Sierra passed its citizenship test in Texas: so here’s a great Germanic-Texas Beer for you, Mr. Bahnsen.
Saab: The Eulogy
Brethren, we are once again gathered together to mourn the passing of another automobile company. Saab was of that rare breed of car that always had a band of devoted, aye, fanatical followers. In her prime, Saab could not fail to ignite the after-burners of anyone with a predilection to genuine character, speed, innovation, intelligence, and even sexy good looks (at times). Not bad for a company that never once designed a clean-sheet new engine and borrowed more platforms than Heidi Klum. But when you’re small and from Sweden, resourcefulness is essential: Saab finagled an existence in this brutal industry far longer than might have been expected. But now she joins an august group of other fallen automotive heroes in Valhalla: Borgward, Panhard, Tatra, Kaiser, Glas, TVR, Jowett, etc…better that then whoring herself to another rich benefactor. But Saab’s story is worth retelling.
Ford Kills Historic Assembly Plant, Ranger RIP
According to many news sources, the historic Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul, Minnesota is headed for a not-so-grand finale. Come December 19th, the 86-year-old facility that originally built Model Ts will be history. Ironically, Twin Cities is currently making the T’s spiritual successor: the (somewhat iconic) Ford Ranger compact truck. So shall we, the collective group of automotive journalists, lament the loss of this famous nameplate from Ford’s storied past?