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May 27, 2024
The BMW Skytop Could Go into Production After All

Much like last year’s Touring Coupe unveiled at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, the Skytop is just a one-off. However, the German luxury brand might change its mind provided enough people will be willing to pay an obscene amount of money for the 8 Series Convertible with a targa top. Speaking with Automotive News, BMW Group design boss Adrian van Hooydonk said a production version is being considered.

He believes anywhere between 20 to 25 cars could be built. Pricing wasn’t mentioned but Skytop would certainly command a massive premium over the 8 Series Convertible donor car, priced at $100,500. Since the concept had the most powerful V-8 ever used by BMW, it was likely based on the M8 Convertible, available from $148,800.

For lots of BMW enthusiasts, money isn’t really an issue. The Munich-based marque reportedly charged roughly $750,000 for the 3.0 CSL, which was essentially a rebodied M4 CSL with a manual gearbox and a bit more power. The regular CSL retailed for $139,900, therefore making the retro-flavored 3.0 CSL nearly five and a half times more expensive. The BMW Group is also likely encouraged to give Skytop the green light by the success Rolls-Royce has had with its coachbuilt cars, some of which were allegedly sold for as much as $30 million.

Adrian van Hooydonk believes there is a market for Skytop based on the amount of money people are willing to pay these days for a Z8 from which the new concept takes inspiration. The gorgeous roadster was far less exclusive, with 5,703 cars built from 1998 until 2003. The targa-topped 8 Series Convertible also takes after the 503 and brings back the signature “sharknose” design trait.

<p>2023 BMW Concept Touring Coupe</p>

2023 BMW Concept Touring Coupe

<p>2023 BMW Concept Touring Coupe</p>

2023 BMW Concept Touring Coupe

The 2023 Touring Coupe we mentioned earlier was also considered for production at some point. Initially, the plan was to build just nine but BMW brand design chief Domagoj Dukec wanted as many as 1,000 units. Doing so would’ve been simpler to homologate the Z4 M40i-based coupe that brought back the Clown Shoe. However, it ultimately never happened as BMW pulled the plug on the project.

BMW has a long history of debuting beautiful concepts at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. Unfortunately, none of them saw the light of production day. The 2008 M1 Hommage springs to mind, but there were others, including the 2015 3.0 CSL Hommage, the 2011 328 Hommage, and the 2013 Gran Lusso Coupe penned by Pininfarina. Hopefully, the Skytop will break with tradition and enter production, even if it’ll be limited.

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May 27, 2024
The 2024 Yenko Corvette Shreds Tires With 1,000-HP Twin-Turbo V-8

The latest creation from Specialty Vehicle Engineering is a 1,000-horsepower Chevrolet Corvette C8. The Yenko/SC is one of the coolest tuner Corvettes yet, powered by a twin-turbocharged 6.2-liter LT2 V-8 engine with some serious upgrades.

In addition to the two 58-millimeter water-cooled turbochargers, the V-8 in the Yenko/SC gets a forged steel crankshaft, forged H-beam rods, forged aluminum pistons, and a proprietary camshaft. A custom intake manifold, an ARP high-strength head, CNC ported high-flow cylinder heads, custom valve covers, an upgraded fuel system, and a custom tune help the LT2 make 1,000 hp. SVE also upgrades the eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox to handle the extra power.

Inside, the builder embroiders the SYC logo on the headrests and the floor mats. The company offers the 1,000-hp Corvette in coupe and convertible forms, available in any factory Corvette color. SVE offers nine color choices for the SYC graphics and a tenth carbon-fiber option.

The Yenko-badged brake calipers come in red as standard, but customers can pick an optional color, while SVE caps off the upgraded powertrain with unique exhaust tips in silver or black. There are also three styles of staggered 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels in various finishes.

SVE is making just 10 units of its Yenko/SC Corvette for the 2024 model year. It plans to increase production to 50 cars in 2025. The package starts at $99,995, which does not include the Corvette itself. You’ll have to pay for that, too. 

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May 27, 2024
Oil Additives Actually Cause More Wear to Your Engine, Testing Shows

Oil additives are marketed as useful products to splash into your engine, claiming to decrease wear, extend the life of your oil, and clean out harmful deposits. But according to a series of laboratory tests and real-world analysis, oil additives have the potential to do far more harm than good.

The Motor Oil Geek on YouTube set out on a fact-finding discovery to see whether the most popular oil additives on the market are any good at helping out the health of your engine. Host Lake Speed Jr. spent 12 years as Joe Gibbs Racing’s lubricant specialist, so if anyone knows how oil works, it’s him.

Speed Jr. picked out nine oil additive products you can find on the shelves of any auto parts store for this test. Stuff like Marvel Mystery Oil, Lucas Stabilizer, Rislone ZDDP Supplement, and Seafoam oil treatment are all extremely popular, but according to this test, you’re better off leaving them out of your engine’s oil.

It’s important to understand motor oil is already a very complex, precisely formulated mixture. It’s designed in a lab by a team of engineers who created it to perform under a specific set of circumstances. Throwing an additive to the mix, no matter how well-formulated, will always interfere with the base oil’s properties. The result is, according to Speed Jr., is a shorter oil lifespan and possibly more wear.

“If you have to put an additive in your oil, you have the wrong oil,” he says.

In an oxidation test, Speed Jr. discovers that both Lucas Stabilizer and Marvel Mystery Oil increase the viscosity of the oil and cause imbalances in the mixture, decreasing the oil’s effectiveness. In a separate test, he discovers Seafoam pulls in water from the atmosphere (the presence of water in an engine is bad) and actually boils away before the engine reaches operating temperature.

Oil Extreme, another additive, is especially dangerous for direct-injection motors, Speed Jr. says. The high amounts of calcium and sodium present can actually cause low-speed pre-ignition, giving it the potential to cause serious damage. The Rislone supplement is also bad, Speed Jr. says, because it raises the acidity of the oil, opening up the engine to corrosion-based damage and excess bearing wear.

In short, Speed Jr. says you should stay away from oil additives and instead choose the correct base oil for your engine. 

“It’s basically chemical Russian roulette whenever you add an additive to your oil,” he says.

While oil additives are bad, you shouldn’t discount fuel additives, according to Speed Jr. Every major-brand fuel additive contains a chemical called polyetheramine, a detergent that cleans injectors and removes combustion chamber deposits. Cleaning out injectors means better atomization of the fuel during the combustion process, which results in more power and more efficiency. So if you want to improve the health of your engine, start with the fuel system, not the oil.

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May 27, 2024
This Weird BMW 507-Inspired Z4 Proves Proportions Are Everything


It’s based on the new Z4 and makes 500 horsepower.

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May 27, 2024
Listen to This BMW 2002 Hillclimb Car Rev All the Way to 10,800 RPM

Hillclimb racing might just be the coolest form of racing on the planet. Where else can you find street cars transformed into hardcore racing machines flying up a mountain pass with next to zero runoff? It’s a truly hardcore form of motorsport, one that requires the cars be as extreme as possible. This old BMW is a perfect example. 

This vintage BMW 2002 started off life as a street car, but it’s since been given a huge helping of upgrades in the name of speed. A wide-body kit with a gigantic splitter and a huge wing surround the once-narrow frame, while modern KW suspension and ultra-wide rubber help to keep the car stuck to the road.

The biggest upgrade hides under the hood, though. Gone is the original four-cylinder, replaced by a BMW M12/7 race engine. Based on the road-going M10 these engines were originally designed for use in Formula 2 open-wheeler race cars. This one can rev all the way to 10,800 rpm, and it sounds glorious. 

According to the HillClimbFans YouTube channel this engine is making 321 horsepower—around triple what this 2002 made from the factory. Attached to a six-speed sequential gearbox, driver Mario Minichberger has no trouble putting its power to the road. In fact, this car is surprisingly stuck to the surface, with nary a hint of oversteer throughout the short highlight clip.

Sounds like a fun time to us.

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May 27, 2024
The New Qiddiya City Circuit That Will Blow Your Mind

This virtual tour of the new Qiddiya City racing venue reveals how it is taking motorsport to the next level, with cars racing alongside rollercoasters and driving up a giant cantilevered hairpin! Discover the vision behind this epic project and how its developers plan to build something that is, quite literally, like nothing you have ever seen before.

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May 27, 2024
McLaren Painted Senna’s Face on the Side of a Senna

Thirty years after the death of Formula 1 legend Ayrton Senna at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, the world is paying tribute. For this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix—a race Senna won a record six times—McLaren is going all out. Its F1 cars will wear a Senna tribute livery featuring the blue, yellow, and green of the Brazilian flag, and the company has hand-painted a Senna road car in a similar scheme.

In case the colors, “S” logos, and “Senna” emblazoned on the rear wing didn’t make it obvious, McLaren painted Senna’s face on the rear fenders. On the driver’s side, we see Senna looking off into the distance, while on the passenger side, he’s helmeted. The Senna used is a pre-production car McLaren’s kept in its collection. In addition to the exterior work, the interior features yellow seats and a quote from Senna and his signature on the door trim. It reads “I have no idols. I admire work, dedication and competence.”

The car is also adorned inside and out with all the race numbers Senna’s cars wore for his five Monaco wins with McLaren, achieved in succession from 1989 to 1993. (His 1987 win was with Lotus.)

If you’re in Monaco, first, lucky you, and second, this Senna will be on display throughout the weekend. So keep an eye out.

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May 27, 2024
Honda Modified a Peterbilt to Run on Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Honda is known for its small vehicles. But there’s nothing small about the company’s latest concept. It’s a semi-truck infused with hydrogen fuel cells, simply dubbed the Class 8 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Truck Concept. Honda will showcase it, along with other fuel-cell vehicles, at the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in Las Vegas on May 20.

The truck is a fully functional demonstrator designed to showcase Honda’s current hydrogen tech. It carries three fuel-cell systems, each capable of generating 80 kilowatts. That’s 240 kW of combined energy, powering an unknown number of electric motors. Honda says the truck has an estimated top speed of 70 mph, and can travel 400 miles before refueling. It’s worth noting the range applies to a fully loaded truck/trailer combo weighing 82,000 pounds.

Honda Class 8 Truck Hydrogen Fuel Cell Concept
Honda Class 8 Truck Hydrogen Fuel Cell Concept
Honda Class 8 Truck Hydrogen Fuel Cell Concept

While the truck is a concept, the fuel cells aren’t. They’re new mass-production items currently being built at the joint Honda-General Motors plant in Michigan. With this truck, Honda hopes to grab the interests of potential partners to help pursue a hydrogen-fueled future.

“Commercial vehicles, including Class 8 trucks, where fuel cells offer the best zero-emission replacement for existing diesel applications, are a key part of Honda’s broad hydrogen business strategy,” said Ryan Harty, Honda assistant vice president of sustainability and business development. “Honda is actively seeking business collaborations and customers to help bring these hydrogen fuel cell solutions to market here in North America.”

Honda takes ownership of the concept with its fuel cell internals, but the truck is actually a Peterbilt. To our eye, it looks like a 579EV—a battery electric rig with a pair of e-axles and a range of 150 miles. Honda makes no mention of Peterbilt in its announcement, and images show Peterbilt badges removed from the concept. It’s unclear if there’s any co-development happening between the two brands; we contacted Honda for clarification, and we’ll provide an update if more information becomes available.

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May 27, 2024
The BMW Skytop Concept Looks Like an 8 Series With a Targa Top

BMW loves revealing concept cars at Villa d’Este. This year is no different, with the German carmaker taking the wraps off the Skytop Concept, a two-seater coupe without a roof the company says takes inspiration from its past models. 

“The BMW Concept Skytop is a truly unique and exotic design, in the tradition of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, head of BMW Group Design. “It offers a combination of driving dynamics and elegance at the highest level, comparable to its historic ancestors, like the BMW Z8 or BMW 503.”

BMW Concept Skytop (2024)
BMW Concept Skytop (2024)

Connections to the Z8 roadster are obvious. The Skytop’s thin taillights and sharknose front end are clear design inspirations lifted from the early 2000s roadster. The sculpted hood design, small headlights, and unique flat-decked rear end remind us of the 503 from the late 1950s. 

From a quick glance, though, you’d think the Skytop was just a rebodied 8 Series. It has similar proportions and uses the 617-horsepower 4.4-liter V-8 from the M8 Competition. We wouldn’t be surprised if BMW simply used an M8 as a base and resculpted the lines.

BMW doesn’t give any other technical or performance specs, though if we had to guess, the Skytop is also using the M8 Competition’s eight-speed automatic transmission and trick all-wheel drive system.

The production-car-like theme continues inside. The dashboard setup looks to be lifted straight from the 8-Series, with a familiar digital gauge cluster, infotainment screen, center stack, and gear selector. While the leather-clad seats and steering wheel look lovely, it’s clear they’re also production-based.

BMW Concept Skytop (2024)

The unique roll bar behind the seats is totally bespoke, though, and features a power-retractable window. The roof is a two-piece item that can be manually removed and stowed in the trunk area.

While the Skytop is likely production-based, we doubt it’ll actually ever see an assembly line. BMW already makes the 8 Series coupe and convertible, so we assume a slick targa version would be cannibalized in the lineup, no matter how cool it looks.

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May 27, 2024
Ford Unearths Forgotten Off-Roader that Never Happened

Although the Henry Ford Museum is one of the biggest of its kind in the world, it’s still not large enough to publicly display all the cars. Located in Dearborn, Michigan, the building features a storage facility where access is restricted. However, Top Gear was allowed to discover the Blue Oval’s secret stash of cars, including the Alpe.

What was it? The quirky concept started as a Ford Escort before Ghia turned it into a boxy small crossover that would’ve preceded the Pontiac Aztek by several years. It originally came out in 1996 at the defunct Turin Auto Show and was subsequently exhibited with a slightly different design at the 1998 Detroit Auto Show. A couple of years later, BMW sold Land Rover to Ford, giving it access to a small off-roader in the form of the Freelander.

Alpe was engineered with a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter gasoline engine and four-wheel drive. It had a jacked-up suspension with generous ground clearance and 17-inch wheels. Ford gave it a maroon-colored dashboard, a translucent plexiglass roof, and seat upholstery partially made with recycled soda bottles.

The late Ross Roberts, who was Ford Division General Manager at the time, said the intent behind Alpe was to gauge consumer reaction to a small crossover priced at around $20,000. Ford wanted to go fight the CR-V and RAV4, but it wasn’t until 2001 when the first-gen Escape was launched. The smaller EcoSport came out a couple of years later, although the US market didn’t get it until 2018.

In hindsight, Alpe was probably a missed opportunity given the rise of SUVs in the decades that followed. It also looked less dorky than the Aztek. Then again, the Escort was approaching the end of its life cycle since the Focus took its place in the lineup in the early 2000s. The original Escape co-developed with Mazda gave Ford the smaller crossover it needed, so Alpe ultimately never happened.

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