By on October 13, 2021

If anybody has a soft spot for wedge designs and the automotive future envisioned during the 1970s, it’s yours truly. While mainstream vehicles being manufactured during the Malaise Era often left a lot to be desired, the concepts were sublime and led to some of the most unique-looking production cars in automotive history. I’m talking about cars like the Lancia Stratos, Lamborghini Countach, Lotus Esprit, BMW M1, De Tomaso Pantera, and DeLorean DMC-12. Toss in the digital dashboards that were gradually appearing in standard passenger cars during the 1980s and you’ve reached the point where I would probably claim automotive styling reached its zenith after a few stiff drinks. But I’ve been told by those who can distinguish fetishization from appreciation that those designs weren’t perfect and kind of look the same when there’s enough squinting is deployed.

Apparently, someone took that premise and used it as a template for a modern prototype intended to help sell shoes. Though the company focused entirely on the basic shape of wedge cars, settling on a vehicle that resembles what a Countach might have looked like in a video game from two decades ago should the assets fail to load. Known as the United Nude Lo-Res Concept Vehicle, it’s probably one of the more-unique automobiles ever built and it’s yours for the taking now that the Petersen Automotive Museum doesn’t want it.  (Read More…)

By on August 16, 2021

Lamborghini introduced the Countach LPI 800-4 over the weekend, undoubtedly hoping to rake in some of the wealth that’s been amassing in the upper echelons of society. Supposedly retailing somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 million, the vehicle is effectively an Aventador with some retro-inspired bodywork with the powertrain of the new Sián.

While a 6.5-liter V12 and electric motor providing a combined maximum output of 802 horsepower is nothing to sneeze at, there was some level of expectation that the Countach design might even outdo the truly wild Sián FKP 37 Lamborghini previewed in 2019. But producing something striking is difficult when you’re simultaneously attempting to marry the concept with a 50-year-old design everyone has been fetishizing since before they were old enough to learn what that meant.  (Read More…)

By on April 20, 2021

Ford debuted a new concept in Shanghai today, one that might hint at the vehicle that will be filling in for the Fusion (Mondeo in Europe) as the automaker continues removing all traces of the sedan from its lineup. While the Evos is intended to become the manufacturer’s default midsize for the Chinese market, it seems to possess many of the aspects promised on the long-awaited Fusion Active — the presumed successor of the venerable Fusion sedan.

Though the car itself resembles something closer to the Mach-E or perhaps a lowered version of the Chevrolet Blazer. The Evos’ general shape exists somewhere between a crossover and a traditional passenger car, much like the Subaru Outback the Fusion Active has been assumed to be targeting. But it’s not a perfect fit and Ford is keeping many of the details to itself, making it very clear that the concept will be the blueprint for future models and not necessarily a snapshot of something that’s production-ready.  (Read More…)

By on April 12, 2021

While automotive enthusiasts have mixed opinions on the cultural clout of electric vehicles, there’s one aspect of electrification that’s undeniably cool — the resto-mod potential. Despite the historic appeal of driving around in vintage automobiles, they’re often painfully slow with ridiculously long braking distances and a lack of standard features many people living today would deem unacceptable. If you don’t believe me, select a random friend and ask them to parallel park a car without power steering or automatic transmission. Chuck in maintenance costs that are often well above average and it’s little wonder why so many Baby Boomers have been spending their retirement years outfitting the classic-era (or older) cars they grew up with with modern conveniences and components.

But we’ve also started seeing manufacturers (and even some intrepid entrepreneurs) taking the foundational concepts of resto-modding and adding electric propulsion. Some executions even seem to be pushing the boundaries of what we could effectively call automotive restoration, like Hyundai’s Pony Heritage EV.  (Read More…)

By on June 2, 2020

The automotive industry’s sudden interest in all-electric pickups may have been surprising initially, but they’ve since offered a few perks that have helped us understand why companies are suddenly so smitten with the concept. When Rivian first showed its pickup in 2018, it came with some interesting storage solutions that were only possible because it doesn’t need to worry about things like a driveshaft tunnel or a crowded engine bay. We wouldn’t call them game changers but they certainly opened the door (literally) for new storage options and we’re beginning to see this take ever-more impressive forms.

Bollinger Motors has recently patented a passthrough gate that allows one to slot exceptionally long cargo all the way through the vehicle. Officially, they’re two separate patents that work in tandem to allow pickup owners a spot to stash up to 16 feet of lumber — or more if one doesn’t mind it hanging out the front and/or back of the vehicle. Just be sure to tie things down so you don’t accidentally create a brake-launched tarmac torpedo.  (Read More…)

By on June 2, 2020

As the year pivots from frustrating lockdowns amid a terrifying pandemic to utter lawlessness in the streets, we’ve all probably been waking up on the wrong side of the bed on a daily basis. Today, your author roused himself feeling particularly bitter as he realized the sniffle from last night has evolved into something a little more persistent. That’s going to keep me on the sidelines while my neighbors decide whether to protest brutality or embrace it fully by ensuring another quadrant of the city is razed. Perhaps I should have splurged on a fancier pack of masks, surely then this 2020 would have all worked out in my favor.

Now would be the perfect time to share the hollow virtue-signaling coming from the leadership at Ford and General Motors, both of which have announced they’re finally ready to tackle discrimination head-on several days after the tragic killing of George Floyd. But you know that would be pointless because — and I can’t put too fine a point on this — they are automakers and nobody sane wants their corporate opinion on racial politics.

So we’re covering the new Batmobile (below the break), which was only controversial in 1995 because someone designed it to look exactly like a giant phallus (above).  (Read More…)

By on May 1, 2020

With Ford’s Bronco debut scrubbed on account of the coronavirus, its getting increasingly difficult for the automaker to keep things secret. While some of this is fine, as leaks help Ford maintain interest on its upcoming products, other details are probably items Ford was saving for its big reveal — which is still TBD.

We don’t know which camp the following falls under, but Ford Authority claims the body-on-frame SUV will come with three distinct looks or, to be precise, grilles. While two of the designs will be of a more contemporary bent, the third will harken back to the original Bronco.  (Read More…)

By on April 23, 2020

With the pandemic altering daily life for just about everyone alive, the slogan “the new normal” has exploded into popular parlance. Everything has changed and nothing, allegedly, will ever be the same. Governments are issuing stringent lockdown orders the likes of which haven’t been seen in our lifetimes, companies are initiating aggressive new health protocols, and gigantic tech firms are deciding what constitutes harmful information online as they act as censors for the public good. Worst of all, there’s little reason to drive anywhere — unless you’re planning on bugging out to live in the woods.

Whatever form society takes after the pandemic subsides, those eerily empty roads probably won’t be among the lingering changes. People are already chomping at the bit to get out there and do something, meaning most folks will return to their road-going ways. Which doesn’t mean COVID-19 won’t have an influence on future designs. Automakers are already mulling the possibility of adding better air filtration systems as a selling point.  (Read More…)

By on April 7, 2020

Polestar has released details of its Precept concept, offering a reminder that this will be the vehicle that informs all future models the company produces. Jointly owned by Volvo Cars and Zhejiang Geely Holding, Polestar has morphed from the Swedish manufacturer’s partner in performance engineering into a separate brand specializing in sporting EVs.

We’ve seen the Precept before, bashing it gently in February for being a handsome sedan with a manufacturer that wasted everyone’s time (and its press release) by prattling on endlessly about green tech and sustainability. While we had hoped Polestar would remedy this in its follow-up teaser, powertrain details remain nonexistent. Considering this is a concept car, that’s not an unforgivable sin, but it’s curious a company supposedly focused on performance engineering has twice failed to discuss that aspect of the vehicle. Instead, we’re offered additional details about the model’s design — including some new photographs — as the brand continues to discuss sustainability and high-tech features.

Just enough to keep us interested. The bare minimum.  (Read More…)

By on March 24, 2020

With the coronavirus keeping everyone on the cusp of cabin fever, we’ve seen unaccompanied celebrities release collaborative renditions of terrible songs in order to maintain their fragile egos, museums offering virtual tours and activities, and texts from good people that we haven’t heard from in ages. The secret to living in isolation, it seems, is to remain active and upbeat while sharing those positive vibes — something made easier by the internet.

Keeping that in mind, we noticed some buzz surrounding Fiat Chrysler lead designer Ralph Gilles on Monday. Seemingly bored to tears, he’s been working from home this month and decided to share a rendition of the Dodge Charger (maybe Challenger?) the team has been working on. While clearly an early design draft of a yet-unbuilt concept model, we’re not so sure the artist has taken the exercise totally seriously.  (Read More…)

By on March 4, 2020

While prophecies have a habit of coming true in films and books, they rarely come to pass here in reality. Sadly, this will probably be the case with Hyundai’s new concept EV — appropriately named the Prophecy.

Responding to a voicemail left by the God of Electrification, Hyundai has moved on what is arguably one of the best-looking concept designs since the 1938 Phantom Corsair. Black, minimalist and extremely retro-futuristic, both cars rely almost entirely on the long lines of the respective aerodynamic shells to make an impression, with small details providing additional, attention-grabbing flourishes.

Hyundai says the timeless design was intentional, yet it still manages to adhere to the brand’s “Sensuous Sportiness” design philosophy. Truth be told, we’ve had a difficult time finding a common theme among its latest concepts. Some are all angles (45 Concept) while others are all about smooth curves (Le Fil Rouge Concept). The only real through line seems to be that they all look rather good wherever they’re displayed. (Read More…)

By on February 25, 2020

While many are still under the impression that Chinese automakers will never manage to wrangle the North American automotive market, Geely’s ownership of Volvo Cars and Polestar has already proven them wrong. The Chinese manufacturer purchased Volvo in 2010, with savory bodywork and sumptuous interiors doing much of the heavy lifting with consumers. Performance-focused Polestar wasn’t purchased until a few years later, but the theme remained largely the same — move toward electrification, don’t forget about safety, and try to build the sexiest car possible while maintaining an aura of respectability.

So far, it’s worked rather well. Polestar is now eager to drive that message home via its new Precept concept vehicle. The company claims the car reveals “a vision of the brand’s future direction and a clear expression of intent.” Since we’re fluent in marketing speak, we’re pleased to tell you that sentence is not entirely meaningless.  (Read More…)

By on February 4, 2020

While the next-generation Cadillac Escalade debuts on Tuesday, the cover was pulled off early by automotive photographer Wilco Blok. The model has seen leaks before, helping to validate Blok’s image as authentic. That said, this is probably the best-quality photo we’re likely to see of the model before its official premiere just hours from now.

Visually, the 2021 Escalade maintains its familial resemblance to SUVs from GMC and Chevrolet sharing the same GMT1XX platform and has dramatically scaled back its reliance on bling. However, the de-chromed grille arguably makes it more difficult to tell apart from the Tahoe/Suburban and Yukon, which hardly seems like a wise marketing decision.  (Read More…)

By on January 23, 2020

Image: Mahindra & Mahindra

On Wednesday, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) said it will review an administrative law judge’s initial determination, made in November, that Mahindra’s Roxor looks suspiciously like a Jeep product.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles filed a trade complaint with the ITC in 2018, claiming the Roxor infringes on Jeep’s “trade dress” — a term used to identify trademarked images or general appearance of a product. Not quite a patent, it exists on the fringes of intellectual property laws, frequently making trade dress issues difficult to navigate.

The judge’s recommendation was that regulators issue a cease-and-desist order and prohibit any Mahindra vehicles or parts that infringe from entering the country. Meanwhile, the commission is still in the midst of its own investigation — which opened in September of 2018 — and now estimates finishing its inquiry by March 20th.

From there, the U.S. Trade Representative would have two months to make a final determination. Of course, now that Mahindra has updated the look of the 2020 Roxor (below the break), the whole issue could be moot.  (Read More…)

By on January 8, 2020

Cadillac’s recent decision to move its corporate emblem to the top of the grille was, apparently, a very controversial one. While older models carried the badge dead center, current models have allowed the symbol to creep nearer to the hood latch. We failed to notice any riots in the streets over the change, but Cadillac Society contends there are a contingent of customers who don’t appreciate the new look.

It also has the answers for why General Motors thought the modification necessary. (Read More…)

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