For the latest episode of his “Workshop Diaries” YouTube show, former “Wheeler Dealers” host Edd China starts work on one of his more unusual projects. It’s an Outspan Orange, a fruit-shaped vehicle built in the 1970s to promote a South African orange grower.
China acquired his driveable Orange directly from the company, restored it, and has driven it occasionally ever since. Because it’s been acting up recently, China puts aside his other projects temporarily to focus on it in Episode 6.
The Orange is based on a classic Mini, though with a tiny 48-inch wheelbase that matches the track. Owing to the unusual bodywork, the engine sits under the dashboard. So if it breaks down at the side of the road, China will be sheltered from the weather while working on it, at least. The spherical interior has a definite ’70s vibe, with a smattering of Mini gauges and controls.
Edd China’s Outspan Orange
After removing a bird’s nest from the engine compartment, China finds a leaking fuel line. Fixing that smooths out the previously rough-running engine, seemingly addressing the problem, but because the Orange had been sitting for awhile, China also replaces the air filter and the spark plugs.
The work gets the car back on the road—a dirt road in this instance—and a short test drive reveals plenty of other problems, including a hesitant engine, a bearing in need of replacement, and steering that pulls dangerously to the right. China plans to tackle those issues in future episodes, so instead he segues into a segment answering viewers’ questions, which in turn leads him to briefly pop the hood of his ongoing Land Rover Range Rover project to make the sure the engine has oil pressure.
This episode also continues the story of the world’s fastest electric ice cream van, which China started building in 2018 for a successful Guinness World Record run. He started out with a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, and has spent the past few episodes focusing on how he got the stock transmission to couple with an electric motor. That continues in this episode, where China discusses machining down the flywheel to save weight, and machining an adapter to allow the motor to fit with the transmission. That leads to the next issue, which is the need for a bellhousing of sorts. The finished product will certainly be included in a future episode.
Watch the full episode for a complete explanation of the processes China uses to work on all three of his ongoing projects.
After over a year of coronavirus-induced delays, “F9,” the ninth “Fast and Furious” movie, is finally scheduled to hit theaters June 25. In the meantime, this video previews the vehicular carnage you can expect in the latest film in the franchise.
The short video includes some footage we’ve seen in previous trailers, cut together with behind-the-scenes shots to give an idea of how different stunts were performed.
Earlier trailers also revealed that the plot will center around the appearance of Jacob Toretto, played by John Cena, the previously unmentioned brother of Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto. The siblings seem to have some issues that can only be worked out by destroying a lot of cars.
The vehicular casualties shown here include a Chevrolet Nova, Jeep Gladiator, numerous police cars and military vehicles, and both classic and modern Dodge Chargers. We also get some glimpses of a crash during an oval-track stock-car race, indicating “Fast and Furious 9” will revisit the death of the Torettos’ father, which hasn’t been mentioned since the first movie.
The video also offers a better look at the A90 Toyota Supra driven by Sung Kang’s character, Han, who appears to be alive despite his apparent onscreen death in “Tokyo Drift” (and shown again in “Furious 7”). The Supra wears a shade of orange similar to the iconic A80 Supra from the first movie, with a black stripe reminiscent of the Veilside wide-body Mazda RX-7 Han drove in “Tokyo Drift.”
Other trailers also showed a Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R and a rocket-powered Pontiac Fiero, so there should be plenty to see when the latest “Fast and Furious” movie finally premieres next month.
Ford has offered a number of Shelby-branded Mustangs in recent years, but you can also purchase a tuned ‘Stang direct from Shelby American. The company’s latest is the 2021 Ford Shelby GT which comes standard with 480 hp but can be upgraded to 700-plus-hp.
2021 Genesis GV80
One of the vehicles we tested this week was a BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class rival from Genesis. Called the GV80, the luxurious mid-size crossover appeals with good looks, superb build quality, and non-intimidating tech.
2023 Porsche Cayenne facelift spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
Buyers looking for more performance from their mid-size crossover should definitely consider the current third-generation Porsche Cayenne. A prototype for an updated version was spotted this week.
2022 BMW X3 facelift spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
Another crossover out testing was an updated BMW X3. The X3 is among BMW’s best-selling vehicles, and the automaker plans to keep the momentum going with some mild tweaks.
Ferrari 812 Competizione A
This week Ferrari unveiled the 812 Competizione, the hardcore version of the 812 Superfast. There’s both a coupe and an open-top version, the latter featuring a targa-style roof with a removable panel made from carbon fiber.
Ford NASCAR Next Gen Mustang race car
NASCAR this week unveiled its Next Gen race car, in Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota guises. Among the changes are independent rear suspension, modular construction, a 5-speed sequential transaxle, and 18-inch, center-lock wheels.
1936 Duesenberg Model J Rollston Convertible Berline – Image via Mecum
Two Duesenbergs are coming up for sale, including a car originally purchased by a president of Coca-Cola. The cars will be sold at Mecum’s Indianapolis auction later this month.
2021 Ford Explorer Timberline
And finally, Ford unveiled the Explorer Timberline. With more ground clearance, all-terrain tires, increased departure and approach angles, and a Torsen limited-slip rear differential, the Timberline promises to be the most capable Explorer off the road.
We drove the 2021 Genesis GV80, the 2022 Cadillac Escalade-V was spotted, and the NASCAR Next Gen race car debuted. It’s the Week in Reverse, right here at Motor Authority.
We got another crack at the 2021 Genesis GV80 and found the luxurious crossover SUV feels like a budget Benz. The exterior is gorgeous with a fast roofline and short overhangs, and the leather-lined interior is a comfortable place to spend time. The interior fit and finish are competitive with Mercedes or Audi, but the third-row seat is tiny and the GV80 looks sportier than it is.
The 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline debuted online. With more ground clearance, all-terrain tires, increased departure and approach angles, and a Torsen limited-slip rear differential, the Timberline promises to be the most capable off-road Explorer. The Timberline model will arrive at Ford dealers this summer.
The 2022 Cadillac Escalade-V was spotted testing on public roads. The large three-row SUV was covered in camouflage, though it appeared to be in production form. A supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 with more than 600 hp is expected to sit under the Escalade-V’s hood when it’s unveiled later this year.
The NHRA announced it’s creating an electric class for drag racing. The new class will be part of the 2022 NHRA Summit Racing Series. The rules for the class haven’t been finalized, but this marks the first time the NHRA has formally incorporated electric cars into one of its racing series.
NASCAR unveiled the Next Gen race car with an independent rear suspension, modular construction, and a 5-speed sequential transaxle. One of the largest changes is the new center-lock 18-inch aluminum wheels, which are massive compared to the outgoing car’s 15-inch wheels. The Next Gen race car will hit the track in February 2022 at the Daytona International Speedway.
The funky Renault Megane eVision concept car from last fall is currently out testing in production guise, and Renault on Thursday confirmed the vehicle as the Megane E-Tech Electric.
It will go on sale in markets where Renault operates starting in 2022, and bring with it a new logo for the French brand. The teaser shot below shows the rear of the vehicle and the new logo.
Teaser for Renault Megane E-Tech Electric due in 2022
Teaser for Renault Megane E-Tech Electric due in 2022
A teaser showing the interior also hints at what’s likely to be a digital dash, with a digital screen serving as the instrument cluster and a second screen as the infotainment hub.
The Megane E-Tech Electric is a compact crossover based on the CMF-EV modular platform for future battery-electric vehicles from the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance. We’ll see the platform debut locally in the Nissan Ariya small crossover due out later this year as a 2022 model.
Nissan Ariya prototype first look – Los Angeles, November 2020
The Megane E-Tech Electric can best be described as a tallish hatch, similar to the recently revealed Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Chevrolet Bolt EUV. The taller height is due to a raised floor holding the battery, which in the original Megane eVision concept is a 60-kilowatt-hour unit. Expect something similar for the production version.
Looking again at the specs of the concept, expect a single electric motor at the front axle generating approximately 217 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque.
Renault Megane eVision concept
The length of the vehicle should be about 165 inches, making it similar in size to the current Megane hatchback. The vehicle isn’t a replacement for the current Megane, however. Intead it forms part of an extended Megane family.
The Megane E-Tech Electric isn’t the only EV that we know is in the works at Renault. The French automaker is also developing a subcompact hatch previewed by the 5 Prototype unveiled in January and billed as the spiritual successor to the classic R5 (known as the LeCar in the U.S.).
The top NASCAR Cup Series has just taken a massive leap out of the dark ages.
On Wednesday, the NASCAR Next Gen race car debuted as a clean-sheet rethink of what the stock car is. The structure, design, suspension, materials, wheels, and transmission are all new.
The clean-sheet design has a lower greenhouse, a shortened decklid, and a wider track, though the current car’s 110-inch wheelbase carries over. NASCAR gave automakers the latitude to stylize the greenhouse to look like the production cars upon which these race cars are based, be it the Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang, or Toyota Camry.
“From an engineering standpoint, this is a seismic shift. It’s a completely new car that brings with it a lot of opportunity from a technical standpoint,” said Eric Warren, Chevrolet director of NASCAR Programs.
Chevrolet NASCAR Next Gen Camaro ZL1 race car
Up front, the side air intakes are now functional and they, along with the front center intake, now feed the engine as well as the brakes. There’s no longer an intake at the cowl near the base of the windshield, which feeds the engine on the current car. NASCAR has also mandated a symmetrical design of the composite body, which will remove the current aero advantage achieved by using different shapes for the left and right sides of the current cars. NASCAR says that will put the emphasis back on the car’s setup and driver’s skill.
Another important visual change is the new center-locking 18×12-inch forged aluminum wheels that will be wrapped in Goodyear Eagle rubber. The current car runs on 15-inch wheels. The larger wheels with smaller tire sidewalls will dramatically change the handling of the Next Gen car, but Toyota TRD Racing Development’s team noted that automakers really wanted the larger wheels to help make the style appear closer to production cars.
The larger wheels allow NASCAR to require larger brakes with 15-inch rotors and 6-piston monoblock calipers up front and 14-inch rotors and 4-piston monobloc calipers in the rear.
Toyota TRD Camry Next Gen NASCAR race car
Toyota TRD Camry Next Gen NASCAR race car
Toyota TRD Camry Next Gen NASCAR race car
What can’t be seen is the modular structure. While the current car’s steel tube chassis carries over, the Next Gen car features a modular construction (like a modern production car) with bolt-on front and rear subframes that should make repairs after a crash easier and less expensive. The underside of the car features a full carbon-fiber undertray with a stepped center splitter and a new rear diffuser, which is all modular and can be replaced in the event of a crash.
New independent front and rear suspensions use a double-wishbone configuration, billet aluminum control arms, and adjustable coil-over shock absorbers. The previous car had a 2-link live rear axle. The steering system is now a modern rack and pinion design instead of recirculating ball.
President of TRD Toyota Racing Development David Wilson told Motor Authority, “The significance of the Next Gen for Toyota TRD would be difficult to explain given that over the course of a year, or year-over-year, the car raced will see more change than the NASCAR race car has seen in over the last 50 years.”
The 358 cubic-inch naturally aspirated V-8 carries over with 670 hp or 550 hp depending on the track. The engine continues with fuel injection, a dry sump oiling system, and split-side exit exhaust. The transmission, however, is new. It’s a 5-speed sequential transaxle with a gearshift but not a clutch. The setup will still require drivers to remove one hand from the steering wheel and match revs to shift.
NASCAR Next Gen race car
New rules state that each team can have a maximum of seven cars rather than the unlimited number previously allowed. Wilson noted that additional cost savings will arise from the car being standardized as teams will no longer need large fabrication operations. “There’s nothing stock about a stock car,” executive engineer for TRD Toyota Racing Development Andy Graves joked, but there are now about 30 suppliers that teams can buying parts from, and those parts can’t be modified or touched once bought.
While the driver seat and roof flaps are carried over, the Next Gen car has improved safety gear. Additional roll bars have been designed along with form-fitted foam inserts between the chassis and nose and tail like what is found in production cars. The driver seat has been moved closer to the center of the car to move drivers away from the source of impacts.
NASCAR didn’t go into specifics but noted the Next Gen car has been upgraded to allow for in-car cameras in every vehicle so fans can see more real-time data.
While development of the Next Gen race car was completed in February, it won’t make its racing debut until the start of the 2022 season in February at the Daytona International Speedway.