I’m Jim Donnelly, and thanks for stopping by my new website, Jim Donnelly On Wheels. Some of you already know who I am. I was previously the senior editor of Hemmings Motor News in Bennington, Vermont, and before that, I held a bunch of positions at a daily newspaper in the Philadelphia area, including automotive and motorsport writer. I hold more than 50 journalism awards and have been in this life for more than 40 years. My home base now is Daytona Beach, Florida, down the road from the House that Bill France Built. My current list of writing clients, besides Hemmings, includes Speed Sport, PRI Magazine and Crankshaft, where I serve as senior editor. I’ve written books about my friend Don Miller, the former president of Penske Racing and a mega car guy; and one on the history of automotive advertising. What I hope to accomplish here is to share some of the stuff that I consider so worthy, inspiring and, really, life-changing. The automobile unhitched us all from the pieces of dirt we once called home. Going fast brought us thrills. Watching others compete in cars made us marvel at people with such limitless skills, determination and fortitude. Cars upended our whole existence totally and irreversibly, the same way that computers are doing today, so it’s entirely appropriate to marry the two of them here. What you’re going to find here is fresh info on what’s going on in the world of cars, what’s innovative, history that’s worth remembering, roads worth driving, races worth attending, books worth reading, cars worth buying, and maybe even some places to dine that are worth a stop when you’re out on the highways. No politics. I’ll leave that sordid topic to those who claim to know it. Let’s get rolling, because this is going to be a hell of a ride we’re going on together.
Genesis expands EV sales
Genesis, the halo-style luxury brand of Hyundai, has been gradually increasing its presence in the EV market, after recently announcing long-term strategies for the electrification of its product lineup. It’s a gradual process that got an assist this week when Genesis expanded the sales territory for its existing EV lineup to a total of 22 states, with Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina added to the list. Genesis is on record with its intention to convert its entire product line to electric propulsion by 2030.
The current Genesis electric lineup includes the GV60 SUV, Electrified GV70 SUV, and Electrified G80 executive sedan. All three models are now available at select retailers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Instant collectible: the final sixth-generation Camaro
Next year’s not going to be the easiest for those who venerate American performance cars. Stellantis has already announced that the Hemi-powered Challenger and Charger will sunset at Dodge with the 2024 models. Chevrolet has now added the sixth-generation version of the Chevrolet Camaro to the chopping block, with its disclosure that the model will leave the lineup after the final examples are produced late next January at the Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant in Michigan. If you’re a Chevy fan, this is depressing news but hold on, because there’s more.
While full details are still forthcoming, Chevrolet has announced a sendoff for its longtime Mustang-fighter that ought to leave car collectors in a very good place. Chevrolet will be marking this milestone in its performance heritage by offering a Collector’s Edition of the 2024 Camaro SS and RS, with a very limited and exclusive number of Camaros with the ultra ZL1 package also to be so equipped. What Chevrolet’s saying right now is that the Collector’s Edition will salute the entire history of Camaro, which will incorporate the car’s original project name when it was under development by General Motors and originally supposed to be known as the Chevrolet Panther. Stay tuned for details.
Last call for the world’s most potent Challenger
The current Dodge rear-drive performance platforms are nearing the end of their production run in what Dodge is calling its Last Call celebration, which is the word we’re choosing because this fadeout really does involve something stirring. For the finale, Dodge has released the most powerful muscle car in its long history, the 2023 Challenger SRT Demon 170, a limited-edition package that’s legal for use only at the dragstrip. This turnkey drag car, complete with Mickey Thompson street drag radials filling the wheel housings, is rated at 1,025 horsepower at 6,500 RPM, has a 0-60 time of 1.66 seconds and delivers the highest g-force acceleration rate of any production automobile at 2.004 gs on launch.
Radically stripped out and lightened, the Demon 170 can still produce 900 horsepower on cleaner E10 fuel. The power comes from a larger supercharger with 105mm throttle body, an entirely new driveline with high-strength axles, housings and propshaft; plus a torque-tunable transbrake as factory equipment. With a bunch of personalization options, the Demon 170 will be built to a maximum of 3,300 units for North America, with 300 earmarked for Canada. To get to the starting line, dig deep and come up with the $96,666 MSRP for U.S. sales.
Spring means it’s time for the Daytona Turkey Run
NASCAR’s been packed away and the Harleys have rumbled out of town, which means that at Daytona International Speedway, cars of the past will be coming in to jam the historic high banks for just plain fun beginning this weekend as the Daytona Turkey Run, so named for its more familiar Thanksgiving date, returns to the speedway for its 33rd annual springtime car fest, which the organizers are saying will be the biggest yet. What is it? The Turkey Run is a huge show for collector cars, and an accompanying car corral, that takes up a good portion of the speedway’s real estate, and traditionally attracts cool rides from all over the Southeast. It’s taking its place among the United States’ significant car happenings.
In addition to the show and car corral, the Turkey Run boasts nightly cruise events running from Friday through Sunday, a well-popular vendor area, a swap meet and an area dedicated to automotive art and fashion. Celebrities, such as TV personality Dennis Gage this year, commonly make the scene. As the photo helps to demonstrate, this is a huge happening, and a definite must-attend for Daytona Beach visitors who are looking for something a little different than racing and Bike Week. The Turkey Run will be going full bore from Friday through Sunday.
An illustrated stroll through the heritage of Citroen
Based in the United Kingdom, Veloce Publishing is broadly respected as the creator of beaucoup volumes on European cars that have usually been scarce on these shores, such as the French iconoclast, Citroen. One of its authors, Julian Parish, is a resident of France who has a close personal relationship with one of its better-known models, the Citroen Dyane. Now, he’s made an admirable addition to the publishing house’s compact series of Pictorial Histories on significant cars, which until now has focused on British-built subjects. So with Citroen Cars 1934 to 1986, Parish expands the series to examine purely Continental offerings for the first time.
As the title implies, this is a photo history, with Parish requiring about 150 softcover pages to both introduce readers to the manufacturer and then take on compact, well-informed chapters on significant individual Citroens from the fabled Traction Avant forward. The DS/ID, CX and 2CV ranges get justified equal billing, with entries that will help those who are less than conversant on these unique cars to understand their history and technical development. Photos abound, many of which take the reader into customs or one-offs. Example: Did you know that the esteemed Citroen SM coupe, with Maserati power, was once converted into an open-top tourer, and even a T-top variant? Neither did we, and it’s all in here.
Timeless hot rod classic donated to Petersen
In 1948, Hot Rod magazine featured a newly constructed hot rod that by the standards of the day, did absolutely everything right. Hand-built by Bob McGee, the flathead-powered 1932 Ford roadster, representing the most timeless raw material that any rodder could desire, boasted styling touches that would become textbook orthodoxy for these cars. The McGee roadster, as it immediately was known, boasted a dropped suspension, big rear wheels sourced from a Lincoln Zephyr, a three-piece louvered hood, filled grille shell, hidden hinges and latches plus a full custom interior. Another pioneering hot rodder, Dick Scritchfield, bought it in 1956, repainted its original red color and took it to the Bonneville salt flats. Eventually, it was acquired and restored by the famed collector Bruce Meyer as part of his brace of historic and documented 1932 Ford hot rods.
This wonderful, ultra-traditional hot rod is having a homecoming, now that Meyer has donated the McGee roadster to the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles for permanent display. Meyer transferred ownership last week to Terry L. Karges, the Petersen’s executive director, noting how fitting it is that this car will be shown at a museum created by Hot Rod‘s late founding publisher. “The McGee Roadster is so much more than just a car. It is the symbol of an entire era and generation of innovative hot rodders,” said Karges. “We are honored by Bruce’s donation and proud to preserve this piece of history.”
Bold heads-up display is coming to new BMWs
Way back when, some automakers, including General Motors, introduced a primitive form of heads-up display by which speed and a few other data details were projected onto the inside of the windshield, like an F-35 projects onto the inside of its canopy. The idea is to keep relevant information clearly visible in the driver’s line of sight. Now, BMW is preparing for the launch of Panoramic Vision, a new-generation system that will project colorized data cleanly upward and across the full width of the windshield as the driver focuses ahead.
Panoramic Vision is just one element of a fully new technical platform that BMW is planning for its forthcoming series of NEUE KLASSE automobiles, the name recalling the modern BMW sedans of the early 1960s that did so much to create the firm’s reputation in the United States and elsewhere. While no introduction date for the new line of cars has been set to date, the firm debuted Panoramic Vision when it recently displayed the BMW i Vision Dee concept car at the Consumer Electronics Show extravaganza in Las Vegas.
Cadillac marks 20 years of red-hot V-Performance
With its trio of V-Series.R hybrid sports cars preparing to contest the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship beginning this coming weekend at the 12 Hours of Sebring, and with Cadillac also announcing plans to assault Formula 1 in conjunction with Andretti Autosport, Cadillac is starting the embark on a year-long celebration of its V-Performance sub-brand, which marks 20 years of existence in 2023. The festivities will include a rollout of new products and features for the V-Series line that will last throughout the year.
The yearlong observance will also see Cadillac make its return in June to the 24 Hours of Le Mans following a 20-year absence. Today’s V-Series lineup includes the CT4-V and twin-turbocharged CT4-V Blackwing, the CT5-V and the supercharged CT5-V Blackwing, and the supercharged Escalade-V. With 682 horsepower (508 kW), the Escalade-V currently owns the distinction of being Cadillac’s most powerful production model ever.
M-B readies for GLCs
Mercedes-Benz is on the cusp of introducing a new, revised lineup of its GLC-class midsize SUVs, with two specific ranges, the better equipped of which will feature the marque’s 4MATIC all-wheel drive system. Both versions of the GLC-class have revised styling, added layering of interior luxury, and a more powerful standard four-cylinder engine fitted with a 48-volt mild hybrid powertrain system. Essentially, the GLC 300 and GLC 300 4MATIC will be offered across three trim levels: base, Exclusive and Pinnacle.
AMG-created premium trim and equipment will be part of the package, depending on model, when the new GLC-class offerings arrive in showrooms later in spring. Prices will start at $47,100 for the base model, and swing upward to $53,450 for the GLC 300 4MATIC with the Pinnacle equipment level.
RRDC honors for Ickx
One of the most acclaimed and versatile racing drivers of the 1960s, 1970s and beyond, the Belgian native Jackie Ickx, has a truly stellar resume. In addition to being a six-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, back-to-back driver’s titles in the World Endurance Championship and a Can-Am title, Ickx owns six victories in Formula 1 and finished as runner-up in the World Driving Championship on two different occasions. An international star and longtime fan favorite, Ickx will be honored by the Road Racing Drivers Club on April 13 in Long Beach, California, as part of the buildup to the NTT IndyCar Series’ annual race through the city’s streets.
The event is entitled The RRDC Evening with Jacky Ickx presented by Firestone, and like all such RRDC fetes, is assured to both attract a full house of motorsport glitterati and to put Ickx, the son of a motoring journalist, in some rarified company. This will be the 13th annual honors celebration presented by the RRDC, which in the past has recognized the racing accomplishments of Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, Roger Penske, Jim Hall, Brian Redman, Mario Andretti, Bobby Unser, George Follmer, Emerson Fittipaldi, Johnny Rutherford. David Hobbs and Rick Mears. That’s a spectacular crowd that owns more pro-level racing wins than we can count. As always, proceeds raised from the banquet will go toward funding the RRDC’s array of support programs for young drivers, which include its SAFEisFAST.com program, supported by the Mark Donohue Foundation, and the Team USA Scholarship, which the RRDC has backed since 1997.