Called the Gemera, this beast rushes to 100kph in less than 2 seconds (??!!!!), cost about $1,000,000 a piece and only 300 units will be made. Talk about a perfect compliment to the Jesko! The former for an outing with the wife and kids, the latter for trips with the girlfriend(s) – as the case may be!
It’s really easy to assume that Lewis Hamilton is the first black professional racing driver because, well, there hasn’t been enough – perhaps close to zero? – exposure provided to these unsung heroes. It’s also easy to assume that Lewis is the first black driver to RACE in Formula 1 because, well, that is true. But he isn’t the first to actually sit in an F1 car and drive it. It’s also easy to applaud Lewis for this speech at the recent Laureus Awards because what he had to say about diversity in the sport made so much sense. So much sense, indeed.
Really, though, he – and we, motorsports fans – have to thank Willy T. Ribbs for paving the way decades ago for drivers of color to even THINK about entering motorsports. From the Miller Brewing pulling its sponsorship of a NASCAR team because he was hired on as its driver – RACIST MUCH, Miller Brewing? To Bernie Ecclestone’s Brabham squad ultimately giving a seat to an Italian driver instead because Parmalat wanted an Italian behind the wheel.
And it’s easy to get excited about season 2 of Drive to Survive. But before you deep dive into that documentary about the 2019 Formula 1 season, I highly recommend watching Uppity: The Willy T. Ribbs Story. Hear and feel all the crap he had to go through, from being called the N word a countless number of times, being discriminated, marked, boo’d and more throughout his career.
Yes, it’s happening! Despite earlier stirrings, Fernando Alonso – who one of this author’s most favored Formula 1 drivers, past and present – will be contesting the Indy 500 with McLaren after all. Due to his remarks about the Honda-supplied powerplant during his last years at the Woking outfit, it was rumored he would not contest the May motorsport spectacle with McLaren. Surprise, surprise. It will be great to see the Spaniard contest the 500 once again. If he wins, he would be come only the second driver in history to win the Monaco GP, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indy 500. One can only hope!
VW, still reeling from the diese-gate disaster a couple of years ago, really needed to make a splash. And a splash it did make with the ID Space Vizzion concept and the more earthly 2020 Atlas Cross Sport. The latter is a looker, with a sloping rear section not unlike the BMW X6 or the Cayenne from VW’s sister company, Porsche.
The new Corvette took center stage at Chevrolet. With a shark like front end (see below) and a rear end that wouldn’t look out of place on a Lambo, the blue Smurf colored convertible variant attracted more than its fair share of looks.
Yawnfest at Honda, Subaru: Nothing to see here, really. Honda touted its commitment to “green cars,” whereas Subaru had a national park kinda booth. The latter announced a special version of the WRX / STI, dubbed “Series White,” that will cost up to nearly $44,000 (for the STI version). Right. Kind of like how they sell you “Recaro” seats that look like office chairs as an optional paid upgrade. We’ll pass.
Sure, Hyundai and Kia are technically two separate car companies… but not really. The former unveiled the Vision T concept, which is a wicked looking cross over. The design language is aggressive with lots of angles. We likes. The latter introduced the 2020 Niro and the brand new 2021 Seltos. A smaller SUV with either an NA 2.0L or a 1.6L turbo I4, it should do well in a market looking for ever more SUV / cross over options.
Toyota for the Family: New for 2020… RAV4 Prime, new Highlander and a new Mirai (which we did not spot).
Lexus: All models in the Japanese maker’s lineup remained pretty much the same – although they FINALLY added Apple Carplay to their 2020 line up (what took so long, I have no clue). The shining star in the booth was the LC500 convertible. I’ve pined for the hard top version since it’s inception and the convertible is no less sexy. The LC500 is what the Supra SHOULD have been. To hell with the price. Nearly 500 horsepower from a V8 is what it SHOULD have been. Not the poor excuse of a Z4 skinned like a MkV. Lame.
At BMW: Two cherries and… um… something to fill yet another imaginary gap in the line up was present. The M2 CS – the “real” M3, in my opinion – accompanied by the new M8. The styling of the latter doesn’t quite feel right. The M6 Gran Coupe is a sexy beast and the M8 4-door variant should have elicited the same emotional response. It didn’t… but the performance figures look healthy regardless. As for the 235i M – or is it the M 235i? It’s like what Merc is doing with the A series. These Germans keeps making cars for the downmarket. That’s not what German luxury performance is known for. Shareholder value, I suppose.
Across the South Hall at Audi: The RS Q8 and the RS6 Avant were on display. Both are beefed up beasts compared to their non-RS versions but these weren’t the cars that excited me. Rather, I’m looking at the Audi S8 with with 563 ponies that’s tickling my pickle.
Not much to see at Lincoln, save for the suicide doors on the Continental. Wow.
The manufacturer formerly known as Fisker returned as Karma. Nothing new in the way of a production vehicle, but they put out two stunning concept vehicles, the SC1 and SC2. The latter was far more stunning – and more practical – than the former roofless vision of the future. But what does practicality have anything to do with concept cars, right?
Despite the rather chilly and rainy weather in downtown LA (yes, it actually RAINED in Southern California), hordes of automotive industry professionals and media heads – although I can’t understand how much of a “media” person anyone can be shooting photos with an iPhone – gathered at the Los Angeles Convention Center for the latest edition of the LA Auto Show. Phew. What a mouthful.
There were a handful of new vehicle debuts to speak about, although few are going to raise anyone’s heart rate.
At the Ford Motor Co. booth: So what did Detroit unleash upon us? Their own version the Pontiac Aztec, it seems. While it’s 100% electric, it’s also 100% ugly. Nothing wrong with going all in on electric but the Mustang Mach-E looks nothing like its petrol-drinking brethren. I would be embarrassed to drive this thing around town. Wow. Speechless.
Meanwhile, at Porsche: The Taycan was the rage. Couldn’t get a clean photo because attendees were too busy leaving the fingerprints all over the car, inside and out. Regardless, I am really excited for this all electric car as it will give Tesla a serious run for its money. And frankly, Tesla’s brand cache will take a serious hit once the Taycan hits the road.
Yes, electric Porsches are cool but I was more titillated by their gas guzzling counterparts. Namely, the new 911 Carrera 4S on display (drool) and the IMSA GTLM winning 911 RSR. Oh my…
Nothing to see at Nissan: Perhaps it’s reflective of their horrible sales numbers… There was nothing to see at Nissan, except a “50th anniversary” edition of the GT-R. And a customized Nissan truck. Neither really excited anyone, AFAIK, but here are some photos for shits & giggles.
Still working on other photos. Coverage will continue tomorrow. Stay tuned!
The 2019 LA Auto Show kicks off in earnest with a bevy of press conferences tomorrow (November 20, 2019), which we are sure will include new vehicle debuts. Manufacturers holding press conferences include:
Look for lots of photos and commentary from the show soon!