Journalism is my life. I've been at it since the 1970s, starting in news and developing specialties in covering automobiles and motorsport. I hold more than 50 journalism awards for work in both newspapers and magazines. I have developed a global audience during my career.
At the top of any motorsport enthusiast’s bucket list ought to be a visit to one of the historic gatherings held annually at the Goodwood Estate in Great Britain. The organizers tend to recognize major milestones in the sport, with two of this year’s being the centennial of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 60th birthday of the Porsche 911, both huge happenings. They’ve also focused on 2023 as the 100th anniversary of the late Carroll Shelby’s birth, announcing today that Shelby’s lifetime and accomplishments will be the tribute subject at the Goodwood Revival, set to take place September 8th through 10th at the historic estate and hillclimb.
Could you have asked for a better photo of Ol’ Shel, decked out in the bib overalls that formed his driving uniform, while better-attired officially look on a little disdainfully from the background? Today is indeed Shelby’s 100th birthday, the outset of a life that saw him do everything from capture Le Mans as a driver to create groundbreaking sports cars with gargantuan Ford engines that are still be produced in tribute fashion to this very day. As predicted now, Goodwood will mark Shelby’s remarkable life with a full-on Cobra presence that will include a field of the cars taking part in the Royal Automobile Club TT Celebration. Meanwhile, the Whitsun Trophy event at Goodwood will host a number of examples of the Ford GT40, whose design Shelby played such an integral part in refining when Ford was bent on global motorsport conquest. If you like old race cars from all over the world, being exercised at full gallop, then Goodwood is positively paradise and well worth the airfare and transportation costs to get there.
It’s always gratifying to start a new year with a new endeavor in journalism. Accordingly, we’ve just had our first article published in Tazio, a recently launched premium-quality quarterly magazine, based in Belgium, that focuses on the international history of motorsport. The magazine’s motto is “Slow stories about fast cars.” You’ve got to respect that. It’s a philosophy that great racing cars of the past are entitled to deep-dive historical analysis to determine what made them that way. My own entry was a feature on a car that transformed the Indianapolis 500 more than 70 years ago.
Designed and built by the great fabricator Frank Kurtis, the Cummins Diesel Special of 1952 snatched that year’s 500 pole position with the Chicago Midget ace Freddie Agabashian in the low-slung hot seat. The first Indianapolis race car of any kind powered by a turbocharged engine, the Cummins likely would have won the race if rubber debris hadn’t been sucked into the turbocharger inlet to choke the engine. To research the story, we spoke to sources in Cummins’ archive and engineering team, and even to the last surviving family member still in the business. This multi-page story is the kind of coverage that’s Tazio’s speciality, and we’re proud to be affiliated with the title. As you may have already guessed, Tazio takes its name from Tazio Nuvolari, the preternaturally gifted Italian racing champion of the 1930s, who excelled on both two wheels and four.
One of the biggest trade shows extant is CES 2023, the former Consumer Electronics Show, which is now going full bore in Las Vegas. Since motor vehicles have increasingly become electronic playthings, it makes sense that a growing number of new vehicle reveals are now taking place at the show, as well. Here’s an example, as Stellantis picked CES 2023 to unveil its Ram 1500 Revolution concept, the corporation’s take on an all-electric full-size pickup, and a clear indication of how the next generation of Ram truck styling will look when the prototype makes it to production sometime in 2024.
The Revolution is built on Stellantis’ new STLA body-on-frame platform for full-size battery-electric vehicles, will styling cues, including the large saloon-type door openings in the cab, that will be adopted directly via the next generation of full-size Ram trucks. One industry-first feature of the concept is three-row seating inside the cab. The Revolution is capable of adding 100 miles of range in 10 minutes using 800-volt fast charging. The Revolution’s dual electric motors give it all-wheel-drive capability, and all-wheel steering is part of the package.
It’s been generally known for several months now that Michael Andretti has wanted to join the Formula 1 ranks as a team owner, having set up a Special Purpose Acquisition Company to raise funding for the venture. Not everyone believed it would actually happen, given the rarified gigabuck reality of F1 that makes the bar exceptionally high for anybody interest in joining the circus. This week’s announcement that Andretti Global is teaming with Cadillac to form a new team, the series’ second under American ownership, was still a stunner. Cadillac already has a huge footprint in U.S. road racing, and the Andretti name remains magic throughout the world of motorsport. With GM money behind it, this F1 dream should become a reality.
There’s solid reasoning at work here that goes beyond the Haas team’s current presence in Formula 1. An American-based entertainment conglomerate now owns the series, which has since made major inroads into the consciousness of U.S. race fans. The already established F1 race at COTA in Texas has been joined by another F1 round in Miami that was a blowout success in its opening outing last year, plus Formula 1 is now at work building a new circuit in Las Vegas for a third U.S. race set for later this year. According to some published reports, Cadillac will be a branding partner, with the team’s engines initially set to be provided by an existing F1 powertrain supplier, with Renault mentioned as one of the possibilities.
Without question, it will be a bittersweet event, but Dodge intends to sent its current gasoline-fueled generation of muscle cars into retirement with a bang, while teasing the EVs that are coming to replace them. The event is the Last Call performance showcase set for March 20th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which will introduce final “Last Call” editions of the Dodge Challenger and Charger, while also unveiling the car in the photo, the 2024 Dodge Charger Daytona SRT concept, with its all-electric powertrain. The Last Call editions – instant collectibles, anybody? – will be the swan song of the current, vaunted crop of Hemi-powered Mopar muscle cars.
The Las Vegas happening will feature a day of drag racing, an all-Dodge car show, celebrity appearances and more. Can’t make it? The Dodge Garage will feature daylong livestreaming of the event, including the reveal of the Last Call special editions. If you’ve always wanted a Hemi, now’s the time to join the queue and get ready to ride loudly.
At the end of the year, Ford was on track to produce and sell more than 640,000 copies of its F-Series pickups, continuing a sales history that dates back to when the postwar Ford F-1 first went on sale in 1948. The sales figures mean that the F-Series has now been North America’s best-selling light truck for an amazing 46 consecutive years, and the largest-selling vehicle of any kind for 41 straight years, as well. It’s kind of like Roger Penske’s record as a team owner at the Indianapolis 500, unassailable. Here’s another stat for you: Ford calculated that if you took every F-Series truck built in 2022, from the F-150 all the way to the F-550 chassis cab, and lined them from end to end, the line of new trucks would reach all the way from the home base in Dearborn, Michigan, to Los Angeles.
For the record, when you crunch the numbers, that all works out to a new F-Series truck being sold somewhere in North America on the average of one every 49 seconds. There’s another anniversary at work here, too, as 2023 will mark the 75th consecutive year of F-Series production. One of them is the new F-150 Lighting, the muscle truck that now holds down the title of top-selling electric pickup in the United States.
You can make a strong argument that the coming of the automobile put Daytona Beach, Florida, and environs firmly into the public’s consciousness, going right back to when Ransom Eli Olds and Alexander Winton had their first gentlemanly charge along the hard-packed sand in Ormond Beach more than 100 years ago. From NASCAR to Harley-Davidson, vehicles of all kinds have found a playground in Daytona Beach ever since then, a party that continues right up through today. One element of car enthusiasm that’s indigenous to Daytona is the crowd of Jeep enthusiasts who happily come to town and show off their thoroughly personalized Wranglers and Rubicons. Appropriately, Jeep will be unveiling two new beach-themed models, one of them exclusive to the event, when Jeep Beach 2023 takes place in Daytona Beach from April 20th through 23rd of next year.
The blue vehicle on the left is the Wrangler High Tide, which is making a return to the Jeep model lineup and is just going on sale now, identifiable by its 35-inch BFGoodrich T/A tires mounted on 17-inch, beadlock-capable wheels. Among its notables are a spare-relocation kit with hinge-gate reinforcement, fender extensions and a Sunrider Fliptop roof treatment. Even more exclusive is the other Jeep, the Wrangler Jeep Beach special edition just for the Daytona Beach event, built in a limited edition of 500 units with outside markings and Jeep Beach-embroidered leather seating. The Jeep Beach edition will be available to order in January with a list price of $54,040.
Following a hiatus, Hyundai is about to make its return to one of Canada’s largest automotive salons, the Montreal Auto Show, which takes place next month in the Francophone metropolis. Hyundai plans to commemorate its return to the auto show circuit in Canada by unveiling two new vehicles, both of them electrified. Specifically, Montrealers will get to examine the Hyundai SEVEN, the company’s intrepretation of a future non-ICE SUV, plus the all-new IONIQ 6, a highly aerodynamic sedan study based on the Prophecy EV concept and making its Canadian debut as a production vehicle..
First unveiled last year at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the SEVEN rides on Hyundai’s E-GMP electric platform and has a targeted driving range of 480 kilometers on a full charge, with a fast recharge from 10 percent battery capacity to 80 percent needing only 20 minutes. Among its interior attributes are a retractable control stick, lounge chairs and a built-in mini fridge.
Acura, the halo brand of Honda, is moving ahead with development work in anticipation of releasing the ZDX, its first all-electric vehicle wrapped in crossover bodywork. Created at the Acura Design Studio in Southern California, the ZDX is now clad in camouflage as it participates in real-world evaluations on California highways.
Sold in a two-model range, the ZDX and performance ZDX Type S evoke styling themes first unveiled when Acura displayed its Acura Precision EV Concept during Monterey Car Week back in August. The first emissions-free offerings from Acura, both versions of the ZDX will arrive in showrooms during 2023.
If you’re unfamiliar with Hennessey Performance, you’d be well advised to get acquainted. Based in Sealy, Texas, Hennessey specializes in hypercar development and special editions of existing vehicles, such as their new take on the Ford F-150 Raptor, which they’ve turned into a monster with four digits’ worth of output. The VelociRaptoR 1000, to use the truck’s full name, has had a fundamental transplant in which the standard twin-turbocharged V-6 is replaced by a version of Ford’s 5.2-liter Predator V-8, with more than 700 stock horsepower, and goes on from there.
Hennessey already reliably upgrades the Predator, the engine in the Shelby GT500, to some 1,200 horsepower at the wheels. With the Raptor redo, it fits a larger, 3.8-liter supercharger that it says will bring this truck in at an even 1,000 horsepower. High-flow induction, larger fuel injectors and upgraded fuel lines also contribute to an output rating that’s 40 percent better than stock. Exterior improvements include Hennessey custom wheels and a custom front light bar.