Out of all the fun one-offs produced for Pebble Beach, this Infiniti Prototype 9 may be one of the most striking. Built to resemble a pre WWII racer while being powered by a high-tech electric powertrain, the Infiniti Prototype 9 represents everything beautiful design can bring out of an automobile. It is a rolling sculpture with amazing details on a shape that appears simple at first.
Here’s Infiniti’s take: Nissan Motor Corporation and premium automotive brand INFINITI have unveiled a sleek, open-wheeled electric retro roadster prototype at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The car, called Prototype 9, is a celebration of Nissan Motor and INFINITI’s ingenuity, artistry and craftsmanship. It represents a reimagining of a 1940s race car with time-honored production techniques employed to realize its retro design.
“Prototype 9 celebrates the tradition of ingenuity, craftsmanship and passion of our forebears at Nissan Motor Corporation, on whose shoulders we stand today. It started as a discussion: What if INFINITI had created a race car in the 1940s? If one were to imagine an open-wheeled INFINITI racer on the famous circuits of the era, such as Japan’s Tamagawa Speedway, what would that look like? The sketches were stunning and the idea so compelling that we had to produce a prototype. As other departments became aware of this, they volunteered their time to create a working vehicle.”
One of the things we’ve tried to do with TeamClearCoat is show how car culture is connected to the world around it. The enthusiast community is an escape — hell, one of the benefits of driving a race car is the concentration required renders thoughts about Donald Trump physically impossible. But in light of this horrendous past few weeks, it’s time to reevaluate and reflect. After the Nazi rally and subsequent attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the President’s abysmal reaction, we’re all trying to understand how we let the cave dwellers back out into the light. And that reckoning needs to extend into our little corner of the culture.
Car culture is not and never has been immune from elements of racism, homophobia, sexism, etc. We could fill volumes with examples of each. But there is one undercurrent I want to explore here — the role of masculinity. Over the last week, my thoughts kept returning to the pictures of the young men carrying the torches on Friday night. In between the waves of anger, I felt pity and a sense of loss for them. The other thing I keep returning to is a 2015 article from The Federalist called “The Revenge of the Lost Boys.” For most of the piece, Tom Nichols lays out the overwhelming similarities between the young men that commit destructive acts in our country. Whether it’s violence, desertion, or acts of vigilantism, his thesis is that a combination of personal weirdness and a culture-wide lack of defined masculinity has left these young men rudderless. And so, they glom on to destructive influences, whether internal or external (note: this is a really ham-fisted attempt at explaining a complex theory. You’re better served just reading the damn article. This post will probably still be here when you get done. Go.)
Now, Mr. Nichols is more conservative than I am, so I don’t agree with some of his diagnosis — he refers to some social changes over the last 50 years in much more negative terms than I would. But the core of his argument, I think, is correct. And it strikes true for me on a personal level. As a kid I was a weird, sensitive loner, never felt comfortable with stereotypical masculinity, and even joined the military as a means to get some direction in life. In other words, my adolescence maps pretty neatly onto the Snowden/Bergdahl version of the Lost Boy Nichols describes (with the key distinction that the military worked out for me). And, yes, I’m going to bring it back to cars eventually, I promise.
Towards the end of the piece, Nichols says he is “at a loss for a solution, because the answer lies in some kind of long-term restoration of social order among young men.” He then cites factors he considers social ills as barriers to addressing this phenomenon. This is where Nichols’ conservatism becomes important, and where I feel differently: I agree with Nichols that it’s a problem for some definitions of masculinity (“responsibility, restraint, self-discipline”) to have diminished in our culture. But, I’d argue that ephemeral definitions (physicality, stoicism, and other jock-itching nonsense) have remained, and their outsized importance is actually more destructive. For a great example of what I’m talking about, see this heartbreaking Twitter thread:
And it’s here where we car enthusiasts can do some house cleaning.
A lot has been written about how things like grid girls, sexist car dealers, and this asshole are bad for women and girls who would otherwise be a part of our community. But I’d argue this is just as destructive for boys. How many times have you heard a car described derisively as “a chick car?” To be sure, describing a car in anything other than cartoonishly masculine terms is shorthand for “don’t be caught dead in this.” I’m looking at you, Jeremy.
Now, I’m of not saying that Bernie Eccelstone or Jeremy Clarkson or your uncle that doesn’t like the Porsche Boxster is somehow responsible for creating the next Dylan Roof. Or that if you prefer ND Mazda Miata over the NA you’re pushing someone onto a Daily Stormer message board right now. That would be idiotic.
No, I’m saying that maybe a young car enthusiast is listening to you. And maybe he’s a little insecure because he doesn’t recognize himself in the images of the men that surround him. But he likes the Bugeye Sprite, or the Nissan Micra, or the Mercedes SLK. Or he wants a donk or a low-rider. That kid shouldn’t feel that car culture doesn’t have a home for him. He shouldn’t feel that our hobby is only for the men to whom he doesn’t feel attached.
The observation that masculinity is ill-defined to our peril is not a novel one, from conservatives or liberals. And neither is the concept that what’s bad for girls is so often also bad for boys. So whether you want to place this in terms of “the erosion of our cultural institutions” or “toxic masculinity,” my conclusion is the same. That weird boy without a direction in life is going to find a home someplace, and all of culture is going to have to reckon with that before he lands someplace destructive. The least we — as owners of a constructive and creative subculture — can do is make sure we’re ready to take him in.
We also talked about this on episode 104 of the podcast, which can be seen below. This topic starts at the 19:00 mark.
The Autowerkz.TV crew just finished a mega road trip that encompassed Hot August Nights, Concorso Italiano, racing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and a multitude of interviews. Being on the road with a camera crew, producers and on-air talent isn’t an adventure to be taken lightly.
Toyota was kind enough to loan us a 2017 Toyota Highlander for a support vehicle while we covered the action at Car Week in Monterey, CA. We worried that the Highlander was a mistake compared to the Sienna minivan we initially wanted; however, we needn’t have worried. In many ways, the 2017 Toyota Highlander was ideal for our needs.
We used its all-wheel drive system more than once, specifically when we shot near the beach. It never struggled on the sand. The four of us were driven in total comfort as our model had the rear captain’s chairs and a very quiet interior. The leather was plush and the interior assembly quality was top notch. We felt like we were in a Lexus.
Most importantly, with max cargo space of 83.7 ft,³ (all-three rows folded) and our utilized space of 42.3 ft,³ we had enough room for several cameras, lights, tripods, sound equipment and more. We usually kept the third row folded flat, but could add a fifth passenger with some creative packing. Very utilitarian.
Regarding the V6, according to Toyota: 3.5-Liter V6 Double Overhead Cam (DOHC) 24-Valve direct-injection Atkinson-cycle-capable engine with VVT-iW (Variable Valve Timing-intelligent Wide) intake and VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing with intelligence) exhaust; 295 hp @ 6660 rpm, 263 lb.-ft. @ 4700 rpm. We averaged about 20 mpg as the traffic during Car Week was thick.
This power is connected an eight-speed automatic transmission which worked great but clunked a bit in traffic.
All in all, our days spent with the 2017 Toyota Highlander were excellent. It never looked out of place, no matter how highfalutin the location. We thank Toyota and look forward to driving a new Highlander in the near future.
Here are a few bits of social media that featured our ride!
Capable of 85 mph on land and a whopping 45 mph at sea, the gas-powered, turbocharged, 135 horsepower weighs less than a 1,400 lbs. This means it’s easy to maneuver on and off land. Click (here) for more information.
Introducing Gibbs’ first three wheel Road Legal HSA variant; the Triski. Classified as a motorcycle, the Triski is a fully homologated road going vehicle, allowing it to travel at highway speeds on land, and over 40 mph on water; a truly versatile HSA platform. A twin jet system is located on either side of the single rear wheel, which retracts into the body, using a new type of Gibbs suspension technology specifically designed for single wheel applications.- – Gibbs
The Youabian Puma is a (very) large convertible that incorporates components from several automakers (Volvo and General Motors to name a few). Hand-built in Los Angeles, CA – the Puma might be one of the largest, and most unusual vehicles that uses a hard-top convertible system.
A massive V8 and six-speed automatic transmission power the rear wheels. It looks like it can handle some off-road adventure, provided that its long wheelbase doesn’t hinder its travel. It’s not an amphibian, nor does the vehicle appear to have active suspension to lift or lower it.
About as long as an average school bus, the Youabian Puma has massive tires and has an available 4X4 setup. You can read up on other details (here). The Puma was on display at the Concorso Italiano a few years back and it carries a 1.1-million dollar price tag.
Here’s some of their PR:
It was conceptualized for those individuals who dare to be different than the ordinary. Those who go a step beyond achieving and dreaming the best that they can be.
The Youabian Puma’s design was based on feedback from many wealthy individuals around the world who wanted something different and unique. Wealthy individuals who were bored of owning exotic sports cars like Ferrari and Lamborghini. The Puma’s goal is not to be the fastest in the world, but to be the most unique, just like its owners.
The Puma was conceived, designed, engineered and built in Los Angeles, California. It incorporates the most technologically advanced features offered in the automotive industry , along with a fully automated convertible hardtop.
INTRODUCES SKYACTIV-X, WORLD’S FIRST COMMERCIAL GASOLINE ENGINE TO USE COMPRESSION IGNITION
HIROSHIMA, Japan—Mazda Motor Corporation today announced “Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030,” a new long-term vision for technology development that looks ahead to the year 2030. As part of the new technology to achieve this vision, the company disclosed plans to introduce a next-generation engine called SKYACTIV-X in 2019. SKYACTIV-X will be the world’s first commercial gasoline engine to use compression ignition.1
Under the original “Sustainable Zoom-Zoom” vision announced in 2007, the company has striven to offer both driving pleasure and outstanding environmental and safety performance. In light of the rapid changes taking place in the automotive industry, the new vision takes a longer-term perspective and sets out how Mazda will use driving pleasure, the fundamental appeal of the automobile, to help solve issues facing people, the earth and society.
The following is an overview of “Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030” and the next-generation SKYACTIV-X engine.
1. SUSTAINABLE ZOOM-ZOOM 2030
Mazda believes its mission is to bring about a beautiful earth and to enrich people’s lives as well as society. The company will continue to seek ways to inspire people through the value found in cars.
Through conservation initiatives, create a sustainable future in which people and cars coexist with a bountiful, beautiful earth
Expand measures for carbon dioxide reduction from a “well-to-wheel” perspective, considering emissions over the vehicle’s entire life cycle
Aim to reduce corporate average “well-to-wheel” carbon dioxide emissions to 50 percent of 2010 levels by 2030, and achieve a 90-percent reduction by 2050
Achieve this with a policy prioritizing efficiency improvements and measures for cleaner emissions that apply in the real world
In line with this policy, continue efforts to perfect the internal combustion engine, which will help power the majority of cars worldwide for many years to come and can therefore make the greatest contribution to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and combine the results with effective electrification technologies
From 2019, start introducing electric vehicles and other electric drive technologies in regions that use a high ratio of clean energy for power generation or restrict certain vehicles to reduce air pollution
Through cars and a society that provide safety and peace of mind, create a system that enriches people’s lives by offering unrestricted mobility to people everywhere
Develop more advanced safety technologies under the Mazda Proactive Safety philosophy, working toward the goal of eliminating traffic accidents
Further enhance safety fundamentals, such as correct driving position, pedal layout and good visibility, and standardize them across all models
Promote further standardization of i-ACTIVSENSE advanced safety features, which help drivers recognize and assess potential hazards; in addition to Japan, where they are already becoming standard, gradually make these technologies standard in other markets starting in 2018
Begin testing of autonomous driving technologies currently being developed in line with Mazda’s human-centered Mazda Co-Pilot Concept2 in 2020, aiming to make the system standard on all models by 2025
Using connectivity technologies, create a new business model that enables car owners to support the needs of people in depopulated areas and those who have difficulty getting around
Enhance customers’ mental well-being with the satisfaction that comes from protecting the earth and contributing to society with a car that offers true driving pleasure
Pursue an enhanced Jinba-ittai driving feel that will unlock people’s potential and revitalize them mentally and physically
Based on the philosophy of “breathing life into the car,” further develop KODO design to raise vehicle design to the level of art that enriches the emotional lives of all who see it
2. SKYACTIV-X NEXT-GENERATION ENGINE
SKYACTIV-X is the world’s first commercial gasoline engine to use compression ignition, in which the fuel-air mixture ignites spontaneously when compressed by the piston
A proprietary combustion method called Spark Controlled Compression Ignition overcomes two issues that had impeded commercialization of compression ignition gasoline engines: maximizing the zone in which compression ignition is possible and achieving a seamless transition between compression ignition and spark ignition.
This new proprietary combustion engine combines the advantages of gasoline and diesel engines to achieve outstanding environmental performance, power and acceleration performance.
Compression ignition and a supercharger fitted to improve fuel economy together deliver unprecedented engine response and increase torque 10–30 percent over the current SKYACTIV-G gasoline engine.3
Compression ignition makes possible a super lean burn4 that improves engine efficiency up to 20–30 percent over the current SKYACTIV-G, and from 35–45 percent over Mazda’s 2008 gasoline engine of the same displacement. SKYACTIV-X even equals or exceeds the latest SKYACTIV-D diesel engine in fuel efficiency.
With high efficiency across a wide range of rpms and engine loads, the engine allows much more latitude in the selection of gear ratios, providing both superior fuel economy and driving performance.
Moving forward Mazda hopes to help create a future in which people, the earth and society can coexist with cars, to enrich people’s lives through a car ownership experience that celebrates driving, and to become a brand with which customers feel a strong emotional connection.
Join us as we watch the 2018 Dodge Demon lights up the drag-strip. The guys at TFLcar gets a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to make a track just right for this brawny machine. There’s a lot more to prep a racetrack over a lump of concrete.
Yorkshire, England – Per a Guardian report, a man had a devastating crash in his new Ferrari 430 Scuderia having just picked it up from the dealer.
On the M1 motorway, the 430 veered off the road and fell down an embankment 50 meters down, then engulfed in flames. The driver survived the crash with only minor cuts and bruises. His new 430 Scuderia, on the other hand, suffered a much worse fate.
Police officials on the scene said that the road conditions were slick. Fire and police officials responded quickly to the South Yorkshire overpass to quell the fire. The car was hardly noticeable due to the damage.
When they questioned the driver, with an almost defeatist response, he gave, “It was a Ferrari. I’ve just got it, picked it up an hour ago.”
Always Be Mindful
Devastating news from an automotive enthusiast perspective. This man having just received his car from the dealership, and then this happens. It is not known if this was his only Ferrari model, but owners are well aware of the lengthy process to possess one.
Not to say this man drove irresponsibly since driving conditions were sub-optimal, it is awful to see. With great responsibility, comes great care. Drivers, no matter what model they are driving, should be aware to take the necessary precautions when driving.
But when it is something like a 430 Scuderia fresh from the dealership? Always better to be safe then sorry when taking one of your most prized possessions out in bad weather conditions.
Everyone have a great weekend driving your adventure! If it’s raining or hazardous weather, stay in and work on your sports car, rather than the alternative!
Subaru is an unusual car company. They build safe, capable cars and they have an enormous capacity for good; yet, they have issues with press relations and public opinion about their CVT transmissions. Still, they know how to market and they know their audience well. Their philanthropic deeds are hard to ignore with this latest kind gesture truly showing a charitable bent.
“Cherry Hill, N.J. – In celebration of its 50th anniversary, and in keeping with its philosophy of supporting local communities, Subaru of America, Inc. announced today its donation of 50 vehicles to Meals on Wheels America. This fall, 50 new 2018 Subaru Outback vehicles will be donated to select Meals on Wheels programs throughout the county, to be used in the delivery of an estimated 53,000 meals to an additional 3,700 seniors across 39 states. The donation will address the Meals on Wheels network’s growing demand for fuel-efficient, versatile and safe delivery vehicles to enable our nation’s most vulnerable seniors to live nourished lives with independence and dignity.
Subaru has supported Meals on Wheels for the last nine years through Share the Love, contributing more than $12 million to Meals on Wheels America and providing more than 1.7 million nutritious meals, friendly visits, and safety checks to seniors in communities nationwide. Subaru announced the donation to its 630-strong retailer body at the company’s National Business Conference in Denver, CO. This was particularly appropriate as Subaru retailers participate in the company’s annual Share the Love event and donate to causes in their local community. The company’s ‘50 Cars for 50 Years’ vehicle donation will enable Meals on Wheels programs to deliver more nutritious meals and moments of companionship, expanding its reach to seniors in need.
“This generous vehicle donation will have an immediate and indelible impact on local Meals on Wheels programs and the seniors they serve – many of whom live in rural, remote and difficult to reach places,” said Ellie Hollander, president and CEO, Meals on Wheels America. “This latest act of care and kindness further underscores Subaru of America’s longstanding commitment to giving back to communities large and small.”
The Subaru and Meals on Wheels partnership is part of Subaru Loves to Help, a pillar of the automaker’s larger Subaru Love Promise Community Commitment effort dedicated to making a positive impact on local communities across the country. Each 2018 Subaru Outback donated will be delivered to local retailers and wrapped with Meals on Wheels America and ‘Subaru Loves to Help’ co-branding.
“We were pleased to break this announcement to our retailers as they do so much to help their local communities and showing them the first of 50 vehicles in the metal really brings the program to life,” said Thomas J. Doll, president and chief operating officer, Subaru of America, Inc. “We wanted to celebrate our 50th anniversary in America in a way that is appropriate for our brand and are delighted to donate vehicles that will support local communities by combatting threats of isolation and hunger affecting seniors across the country. At Subaru, we believe in providing safe and reliable vehicles for all of life’s journeys and are honored to partner with Meals on Wheels to help people live more nourished lives.”
SUBARU ‘50 CARS FOR 50 YEARS’ RECIPIENTS
City of Kenai/Kenai Senior Services, Kenai, AK
Homer Senior Citizens, Inc., Homer, AK
United Way of Central Alabama, Birmingham, AL
Senior Activity Center of Elkins, Elkins, AR
CareLink, North Little Rock, AR
Coconino County Community Services Department, Flagstaff, AZ
Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services, Walnut Creek, CA
Service Opportunity for Seniors, San Leandro, CA
Gray Gourmet, Grand Junction, CO
Thames Valley Council for Community Action, Inc., Jewett City, CT
Meals on Wheels, Etc., Sanford, FL
Athens Community Council on Aging, Athens, GA
Senior Citizens, Inc., Savannah, GA
Metro Meals on Wheels, Boise, ID
Community Action Partnership of Central Illinois, Lincoln, IL
REAL Services, Inc., South Bend, IN
Meals on Wheels Nemaha County, Seneca, KS
Tri-County Community Action Agency, Inc., LaGrange, KY
St. Martin Council on Aging, Breaux Bridge, LA
Ethos Jamaica, Plain, MA
Eastern Area Agency on Aging, Bangor, ME
SeniorsPlus, Lewiston, ME
Benzie County Council on Aging, Inc., Honor, MI
CEAP Meals on Wheels, Brooklyn Center, MN
Putnam County Senior Citizens, Unionville, MO
Senior Services, Inc., Winston Salem, NC
Meals on Wheels of Durham, Inc., Durham, NC
Tabitha, Inc., Lincoln, NE
Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada, Reno, NV
Foodnet Meals on Wheels, Ithaca, NY
Meigs County Council on Aging, Inc., Pomeroy, OH
Westlake Meals on Wheels, Westlake, OH
Meals on Wheels of Metro Tulsa, Tulsa, OK
FOOD for Lane County, Eugene, OR
Meals on Wheels of Northampton County, Bethlehem, PA
Berks Encore, Reading, PA
East Cooper Meals on Wheels, Mount Pleasant, SC
Meals on Wheels Western South Dakota, Rapid City, SD
Smoky Mountain Meals on Wheels, Maryville, TN
Meals on Wheels of Johnson & Ellis Counties, Cleburne, TX
Meals on Wheels San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
Brigham City Senior Center Meals on Wheels, Brigham City, UT
Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens, Cedar Bluff, VA
Waterbury Area Senior Citizens Association, Waterbury, VT
Whatcom Council on Aging, Bellingham, WA
Senior Life Resources, Meals on Wheels, Richland, WA
Independent Living, Inc., Madison, WI
Pendleton Senior and Family Services, Inc., Franklin, WV
Nissan’s EV success story began in 1947 – exactly 70 years ago – with the launch of the Tama. This pioneering four-seat EV was available as a passenger car and a van and offered customers a range of 65 kilometers on a full charge. It was initially developed by the Tokyo Electro Automobile Co. Ltd, which later became part of Nissan.
Since the debut of the Tama in 1947, Nissan has established a rich heritage in zero-emission technology as the world leader in EVs. It pioneered the EV revolution with the launch of world’s first mass-market 100% electric passenger car, the Nissan LEAF, in 2010. The new second-generation LEAF will make its world premiere on September 6.