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The News for November 13th, 2015

Greg Kachadurian November 13, 2015 The News! 48 Comments

Welcome to the Redusernab News! As always, this is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. I just throw in a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:

  • Panoz restores one-off Esperante GTR-1 Homologation Special

  • Land Rover graces the planet with another convertible SUV

  • Cadillac releases more detail on the all-new XT5

  • Honda to debut 2016 Civic Coupe next week

  • Mercedes-Benz teases the all-new SL with its new face

  • Subaru bringing Impreza Sedan Concept to LA Auto Show

  • What’s your automotive news?

Panoz Esperante GTR-1 restoration

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As far as automotive news goes for this week, this might not be the biggest story or the one that’s most relevant, but it’s by far the coolest so I’m writing about it first.

Panoz has finished restoring their Esperante GTR-1 Le Mans Homologation Special – the only one left in the world – just in time for its public debut at the Dubai International Motor Show earlier this week. This car has been in Panoz’s personal collection since 1997 and hasn’t exactly been neglected since, but it was still in need of some TLC. To Panoz, TLC means a comprehensive restoration from the ground up. The results are pretty spectacular.

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This car only exists because Don Panoz wanted to go racing at Le Mans. He commissioned racecar designed Adrian Reynard to create the Esperante GTR-1, the first front-engine prototype racecar in at least three decades at the time. Like anyone that wanted to go racing under FIA, Panoz needed to build a certain number of road-going models to compete legally. They built one. This one. Panoz rolls it out on occasion and I’ve seen it twice at Road Atlanta, just down the street from their HQ. Funny, it was purple the last time I saw it.

It now sports a sharp new paint job, all-new leather interior, and all the same racing hardware it’s always had. That includes a 6.0-liter Élan Power V8 with an estimated 600 horsepower and 500 lb.-ft. of torque paired with a ZF six-speed transaxle. It’s a featherweight at 1,980 lbs and has serious stopping power from Brembo discs with eight piston, four pad front and four piston, four pad rear calipers. It rolls on eighteen-inch OZ Racing center-lock wheels with 285/40-R18 tires.

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This car has been in the Panoz collection since the beginning and it’ll stay that way, but Panoz will be happy to build you another Esperante GTR-1 if you’ve got the cash. Using the original body and tub molds, they can create a near-exact carbon fiber replica or a modified version using other lightweight materials. Pricing starts at $890,000 and it’s fully road legal.

[Source: Panoz – ]

Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Convertible

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The Evoque Convertible can partake in various Range Rover activities, such as kicking up sand.

We knew it was coming… it had to eventually. But it’s here: the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Convertible. It’s still a Land Rover that can do Land Rover things on almost any terrain, only now you’re closer to the elements with the push of a button.

This isn’t even close to being the first SUV with a cloth top and it’s not even the first one of its kind built within the last few years, but it’s already looking better than the last attempt. It’s a two door, four seat convertible built to Land Rover standards, meaning it’s comfortable and refined yet rigid and highly capable off road. It comes standard with the same 240 horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine and advanced all-wheel drive system with Terrain Response found in its fixed top counterparts.

Its convertible top is made from “sophisticated fabric” which maintains the hard top’s roofline when extended and tucks away cleanly with its Z-fold mechanism. The top is fully automated and can stow in 18 seconds and be raised in 21 seconds at speeds of up to 30 mph. It also features a layer of acoustic insulation which they say puts cabin noise on par with the five-door Evoque.

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Cargo space, however, is not on par at all. Four adults can fit comfortably, but not much of their belongings. They’ve been able to give it 8.9 cubic feet of space in the Evoque Convertible compared to the 19.4 in the Coupe. Even the Nissan Versa Note I drove a while back had almost double what the Evoque Convertible has, but for some people a drop top is worth sacrificing some cargo space.

The interior features an all-new InControl Touch Pro infotainment system in a 10.2 inch screen of Jaguar Land Rover’s own design, a premium sound system, and hidden rollover bars that can deploy when needed. It also comes with fine leather which you probably wouldn’t want to get muddy (but you’ll be forgiven if you do).

The Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Convertible goes on sale in 170 markets worldwide starting mid-2016. Pricing starts at $50,475.

[Source: Land Rover]

2017 Cadillac XT5

2017 Cadillac XT5 luxury crossover

Cadillac has dropped more details and photos of the all-new Crossover Touring 5 (XT5) ahead of its full debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The XT5 is the cornerstone of a new series of crossovers in Cadillac’s ongoing restructuring and expansion, so they’ve put some extra effort into making this one good.

Starting at its deepest level, the XT5 is developed with Cadillac’s new lightweight construction techniques to deliver a crossover that’s 650 pounds lighter than the Mercedes-Benz GLE yet still provide excellent rigidity and crash protection. Interior space is improved over the SRX it replaces and even gives backseat passengers the ability to recline and move their seats. Overall interior design is more modern and has a wider and more horizontal orientation. The interior is assembled with cut-and-sewn wrapped panels rather than molded surfaces. All said and done, it looks nice.

2017 Cadillac XT5 luxury crossover

It’s also packed with technology too, featuring Cadillac’s exclusive Rear Camera Mirror (projecting the backup camera in the rear view mirror), a new Cue infotainment system, and available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

The XT5 is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 with an estimated 310 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque and paired with a smooth eight-speed automatic transmission. A new twin clutch all-wheel drive system is optional.

Production begins in spring of 2016.

[Source: Cadillac]

BLIPS

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Honda will debut the 2016 Civic Coupe at the Los Angeles Auto Show next week (concept pictured). Built on the new tenth-generation platform which spawned the wonderful new Civic Sedan, the Civic Coupe will showcase sportier lines and a new intimate, high tech interior. It’ll feature “engaging” powertrain options including the new turbocharged engines and boast new levels of performance and refinement. And yes, the Si and Type-R models are still coming. More as I get it.

[Source: Honda]

SLface

Mercedes-Benz is teasing the all-new SL ahead of its LA Auto Show debut. They’ve not released any details along with it so we’ll just have to wait for more, but we can already tell it will get a complete makeover – at least up front. The current SL was most controversial in its front styling, which just seemed a little awkward compared to some of the SL designs of the past. Benz seems to have already fixed that with the new one though, so stay tuned to what should be a stellar car.

[Source: Mercedes-Benz via ]

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Subaru has a new Impreza in the works and they’re going to give us a glimpse of it next week. Expect the 2017 Subaru Impreza Sedan Concept to feature modern design cues and a bold new look not unlike the they unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show. The final product may not be an exact match to the concept, but it’ll certainly look pretty neat. More as I get it.

[Source: Subaru via ]

What’s your automotive news?

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That’s all I’ve got for you this week. Now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, drove something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything news worthy that you’d like to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.

[Image © 2015 Redusernab/Greg Kachadurian]

  • bigredcavetroll

    Saleen (the makers of the S7, not the OTHER Saleen) is for sale:

  • Batshitbox

    One (1) production model qualified as homologation? Kind of makes a mockery of the requirement. I wonder what the number of homologation units has to be to maximize their market value enough to underwrite the cost of building them?
    (Wasn’t there a manufacturer that destroyed a bunch of rare cars to try and increase the value of the ones they didn’t crush? Hoonihive mind, please?)

    • Greg Kachadurian

      I don’t know how many they require now but I know Nissan was able to homologate the R390 GT1 by making just 2 road cars at around the same time Panoz got by with 1. Just a few years later, BMW was able to schedule production of 10 M3 GTRs to meet regulations (but then that increased too). I’m sure it’s different for each series though.

      • Rover 1

        Ferrari’s preferred homologation number used to be ‘one’. Is it still one?

      • AlexG55

        I think there were either one or two Toyota GT-One road cars built:

    • Monkey10is

      “Wasn’t there a manufacturer that destroyed a bunch of rare cars to try and increase the value of the ones they didn’t crush?”
      That does explain why you see so few Yugos on the road these days. But I’m not sure that the “increase the value” part of the strategy worked out.

  • GTXcellent

    Oh ma gosh, oh ma gosh, OH MY GOSH! I’ve commented/griped quite a few times about the seemingly fruitless search to replace Mrs. GTXcellent’s 9-3 Aero – the search is over! (well, it will be eventually)

    On Monday we were in ptschett’s fair city and test drove our future car – Chevrolet SS.

    Granted, the one we drove was an automatic (or we would have taken it home with us guaranteed), but what a machine. Stupidly powerful of course, but the way the car drove is unbelievable. Super tight, but with the tune-able suspension, just a beautiful, beautiful ride (and Fargo, North Dakota may have the worst pot-hole marked roads known to man. Seriously, our gravel road is smoother than what NDDOT subjects people to). Now, not only was the car incredible to drive, but the fit and finish and craftsmanship was crazy good – especially for a GM product. The materials were much nicer than the Caddy ATS we also looked at. Seats were better. I’m getting all excited again just typing this up. Mrs. GTXcellent has the sales brochure on her at all times and basically has it memorized.

    Only problem/worry now is getting one. Pricing on 2016’s hasn’t come out yet, and the order allocations aren’t open. Supposedly there were some allocations early this fall, but nothing now. Sounds like there might be some info coming out next week, but we’ll see. Hopefully, fingers crossed, come springtime there will be a “Some Like it Hot” red, 2016 Chevrolet SS with a manual transmission with our name on the title! I CAN’T WAIT! I WANT IT NOW! I WANT IT! I WANT IT!

    • ptschett

      I didn’t even know Gateway was getting any SS’s in. I’ve gone all-Mopar lately (working for the industrial part of the old Fiat conglomerate helps) and I can be happy with a good automatic, but I love the fact that they built the manual SS anyway.

      Re: potholes, I blame the weak lake-bottom soils which have some odd geotechnical properties. For an extreme case, this is what happened when someone tried to build and then fill a grain elevator in the ’50’s, located approximately where most of the Fargo car dealerships are now; a later analysis found that the underlying soils were too unstable to support more than about half of the elevator’s designed ground pressure.
      (Screencapped from: )

      • GTXcellent

        Granted it’s been 15+ years since I’ve spent any time in Fargo, but I still can’t recall the roads being as terrible as they were. Must be the rose-colored glasses – either that or my memories are clouded by the copious amounts of ethyl alcohol consumed.

    • Sjalabais

      What a joy to see your excitement – and you’re going for a true the-internet-loves-it-car. Keep us posted, and let the Redusernab overlords post your ownership review as soon as it’s ready! 🙂

    • Rover 1

      I don’t know why GM don’t sell the Sportwagon as well. Or the ute.

    • 1977ChevyTruck

      Awesome!

      I’d be excited just to even see one in real life… Damn you, GM Canada!

  • Jeff Glucker

    Been driving a VW GTE these past few days… pretty interesting hatchback. It’s a hybrid GTI, and you can run up to 31 miles on pure electric juice on a full charge. Pop it into GTE mode, and you get combined power of 201 hp and 258 torque. Total range is 584 miles on a full tank and full charge.

    Also, it has blue plaid seats…

    • nanoop

      Like these but blue? That would be a cool self-reference!

      • Jeff Glucker

        Yes

        • Rover 1

          What Scottish clan’s tartan is that?

          • Vairship

            The McDaddies!

  • nanoop

    So car manufacturers publish low-key images of new cars first. What are they thinking? I’m so excited to see car silhouettes that I order one right now? Do they really believe I’ll follow all channels for days in order to maybe even see a (gasp) rear light?

    While this may increase the internet value (clicks) it is boring and to me, a pretty arrogant or even narcissistic attitude: Our products just look so beautiful/cool/desirable that nanoop will be interested in dropping a few years’ salary just by looking at 20% of the car!
    Apologies for the rumble, I’m getting old.

    • 0A5599

      I think they are basically trying to have potential customers hold off on buying brand X, so that those people will still be in the market when the curtain finally comes up.

  • CraigSu

    The Volvo has experienced surging acceleration pretty badly of late with a lumpy idle to boot. We replaced the fuel filter 13,000 miles ago so I felt good about that. When I called my Volvo specialist and described the symptoms to him he said it sounded like the primary (aka in-line) fuel pump was going bad. (Volvo 240s have 2 fuel pumps; a pre-pump in the gas tank and an in-line pump under the car on the right side.) As it turned out the fuel pressure regulator was shot, letting about 100 lbs of pressure through which severely weakened the primary pump. We wound up replacing both the regulator and the fuel pump. Along with new rear brake pads and an oil/filter change that trip cost us about $740.

    On the side, we spent no money other than gas on the Saab this week.

    • Frank T. Cat

      If you do replace the pre-pump, replace it with the one from a 740 turbo. It’s a lot more reliable than the tiny stock one, although you need to modify some stuff to make it fit. IPD makes a nice kit with everything you need, except for a new fuel sender lock ring; the original lock ring will probably bend like paper when you remove it.

      • CraigSu

        I’ll keep that in mind. My mechanic replaced the primary pump and the regulator with Bosch units. He said he didn’t like the OEM units, not robust enough.

  • Frank T. Cat

    An hour bath for each camshaft follower in the 50/50 acetone/denatured alcohol mix in the ultrasonic cleaner, a squeeze in the vise to push all the nasty remaining oil and crap out of them, and now they’re bathing in clean engine oil for a couple of days until all the air works out of them before I reinstall them.

    Tried whacking them apart with the hammer trick, but that failed to work. Hopefully the ultrasonic bath was enough.

    Maybe I’ll have the car running by Monday.

  • This weekend I finally will change the oil filter housing gasket on the ti. At least that’s the plan. Suddenly the oldest’s Escort has a clutch issue (maybe just an adjustment, might need a master cylinder) and the Mazda3 has a mysterious issue. Daughter said the radio cut in and out, the steering locked up and there were dash lights. Then it was fine again. So maybe I’ll get to the BMW.

    • Drove the Mazda a few miles and found nothing. I’m hoping it was a random key immobilizer glitch that never returns.

      • jeepjeff

        You might check for loose grounds. Negative battery terminal, ground strap on the engine, any grounds under the dash. That’s the kind of weird crap that happens when you get a brownout on an embedded processor.

        • Well, it did it to me.

          Driving home from church, every time I used the turn signals, the radio would cut out and restart.

          I turned the car off and back on and the power steering (electric?) went out. It eventually came back on. Weird stuff.

          I pulled and cleaned the negative battery terminal, which had some corrosion, and removed the chassis ground at the fender and cleaned it. I’ll drive it this week and see if I have more issues. I’m hoping to not have to chase down other grounds that might be bad.

          • I’m relieved to hear it’s the power steering going out as opposed to the steering locking. Losing power steering is bad (especially if you’re hustling an on-ramp), but nothing compared to locking the column.

            • I had assumed that it was the assist going out when my daughter told me that. To the inexperienced, the dramatic increase in effort can feel like a loss of steering. She would have no understanding of the difference anyway.

  • jeepjeff

    Tim covered the wrenching I got up to last weekend. However, I did make progress on the FZ-07 on one front. I have a CHP appointment for next week, a follow-up with the DMV the Monday after and I went and talked to the PO to get his signature on a document to replace the bill of sale that the DMV did not like.

    The engine number and the VIN match what’s on the salvage cert, I have the full chain-of-custody documentation and all the receipts for the parts I’ve bought for it. I just need to print out the one for the exhaust I bought off of eBay, but I can do that Monday at work. I think I’ve got my t’s dotted and my i’s crossed. I should have a title in just over a week.

    • Vairship

      Having your eyes crossed is essential in any DMV paperwork or photos.

      • jeepjeff

        I usually just look like I’ve been dragged in for a mugshot in my ID photos.

  • Thanks to my extensive network of British connections (well, one guy, anyway), I now have trailer hitch assemblies for both my Austin Maestro VP and my Volvo 66 GL. If the weather holds, I’ll be working on installing them this weekend.

    Watling Engineers had both in stock, although judging from the dusty appearance of the hardware and the typewritten nature of the instructions, I suspect the kits had been sitting in their warehouse for some time.

    • Sjalabais

      What trailer weight is the CVT rated at?

      • jeepjeff

        That seems a terribly impolite thing to ask.

      • According to the stick-figure illustration on the data plate, it’s good for a combined total of 1960 kg (of which 833 kg is the curb weight of the car itself), provided the load is distributed within the liimits shown. I think it is reasonable to assume without checking the math that this corresponds to many, many thousands of pounds.

        • Vairship

          I think what that diagram intends to tell you, is that the maximum tongue weight is not to exceed 1960kg.

          {insert picture of VOLVO 66 flipped over backwards here}

    • Rover 1

      That’s surprising.

      With the huge numbers of Volvo 66s and Maestros of all descriptions, and the enormous demand for people to tow things with them – no doubt, in part because that is an innately designed-in adaption to which both of those cars are superbly suited, one would have thought that they’d be having trouble making enough to keep up with demand.

      And yet they drew old dusty ones from stock?

      Puzzling.

      • Perhaps the newer instructions employ metric units, so they charitably assumed I’d be more comfortable with the older kits.

        • Rover 1

          Of course.

          And to be mathematically precise about the number of Maestros and Volvo 66s that I have seen without towbars, I can confirm that I have seen precisely zero. As I have seen no cars without towbars, I can confirm that your charitable assumption on metrication is scientifically correct.

          Now that that’s cleared up, I’ll just go back to my task of statistical analysis for Fox News International.

          • Vairship

            I hear they like pie charts!

        • Vairship

          It’s just such a bugger digging the old boy up every time!

  • Rover 1

    Finally a logical replacement for the Saab Convertibles out there driven by members of the ‘creative professions’.

    Architects and ‘Designers’, your new car is here.

    Car pictured in it’s natural environment.

    • Monkey10is

      Hmm… photoshop?
      (Car officially launched this week, but ‘Freedom Tower’/’1 World Trade Centre’ not topped-out and clad only to 2/3 height suggests the Lower Manhattan skyline 3-4 years ago).

      • Rover 1

        Photo of original ‘show’ car (in 2012?) which turns out to be pretty much identical to production.

        • Monkey10is

          Now I understand.
          (…but in the process I accidentally outed myself as an architecture geek.)

          • Rover 1

            Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m an architect myself. And three of my colleagues drive Evoques and can’t wait for the soft-top.

    • Sjalabais

      I’d rather have architects and designers drive something I’d like to own, once it is fully depreciated, that is. Trying to think of a new car that arouses my interest, it became impossible to finish that thought. There’s nothing.

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