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A Kia Stinger convertible exists and it’s wild

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Kia Stinger GT-C concept by City Kia

From start to finish the very modified Kia Stinger convertible seen here came to life in nine months. The vast majority of that time was dedicated to the convertible top conversion. The rest took less than three days.

City Kia of Orlando, Florida, is responsible for this creation, but it was vehicle development consultant Aaron Vaccar and City Kia’s Motor Vehicle Performance department head Joe Manno who championed this creation to completion. The convertible Stinger build is known as the Stinger GT-C concept. A one-off build, the fully functioning car made its public debut on March 14 at the Festival of Speed at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando.

City Kia may have conceived the idea, but the convertible conversion was done by Droptop Customs of High Springs, Florida. The shop has been chopping tops since 1976, built custom cars for basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal, and created a 2018 Dodge SRT Demon convertible.

Kia Stinger GT-C concept by City Kia

The convertible conversion was about more than chopping the top off the Stinger. The body needed to be reinforced. Bracing was added to the side rails, under structure support plates are running side-to-side and diagonally underneath, and internal A- and B-pillar supports were added. A full-width rear brace and C-pillar was reconstructed from steel. This all ensured the structure of the Stinger would be sound despite retaining four functional doors.

For the three-layer soft top, a four-bow brace was mounted behind the rear seats to serve as the top’s base. The power-operated top uses two hydraulic pumps. A custom rear decklid cover was created out of the hatchback panel to hide the top when stowed, and it can be raised while moving at up to 5 mph after manually releasing two latches.

While all the bracing and extra supports were created from steel, they are currently being reproduced in aluminum to help keep the weight in check.

Notably, the power soft-top has the same roofline, when raised, as the stock Stinger. Droptop Customs estimates the convertible conversion will add about 70 lbs to the Stinger after the parts are recast in aluminum.

Kia Stinger GT-C concept by City Kia

Kia Stinger GT-C concept by City Kia

Manno’s team at City Kia’s Motor Vehicle Performance department worked with various suppliers to add a host of go-fast bits and other aftermarket parts to showcase what the team can do for customers. The car was originally supposed to appear at the 2020 SEMA show, but that was derailed by COVID-19.

Vaccar and Manno estimate the tweaked 3.3-liter turbocharged V-6 makes 550 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque thanks to an AEM cold air intake, Velossa Tech dual big mouth ram snorkels, a Mishimoto performance intercooler kit and catch can, a Borla S-Type Cat Back exhaust system, Ultimate Performance downpipes with midpipes, a RaceChip GTS chip tune, and Turbo XS hybrid blow-off valves. The car’s also fitted with an XLR pedal box.

Kia Stinger GT-C concept by City Kia

Kia Stinger GT-C concept by City Kia

The exterior has also been modified with a carbon-fiber hood, eyelids, side splitters, and rear diffuser by Strictly Business SBGT. KDM Kia carbon-fiber front fender vents and mirror covers were added along with MVP quad-rectangle exhaust tips. An Eibach pro-kit spring and anti-roll bar were installed to improve handling. The car rides on Axe Compression Forged CF 20×9.5 front and 20×10.5 rear wheels wrapped in Toyo Proxes Sport 245/35 front and 275/30 rear tires.

The interior isn’t yet complete, but it will receive a customized Katzin leather kit in a lighter sport gray color to better match the car’s current look.

Vaccar and Manno wouldn’t disclose how much money has been sunk into creating the Stinger GT-C concept. “You need to understand that when you do a one-off, you can’t put a price on it. Every nut and bolt and angle is made from scratch,” Vaccar said. The concept started life as a $52,304 Stinger GT2.

The car was commissioned and is owned by the owner of City Kia. The Stinger GT-C will make appearances at events in the Orlando area for awhile to showcase what City Kia’s team has done, but afterward it could disappear into a garage forever.

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Autos

Audi to unveil EV concept in Shanghai, and it may just be a sedan

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Marc Lichte

Audi on Thursday provided a glimpse of a new concept car it plans to unveil at the upcoming Auto Shanghai 2021.

An E-Tron badge at the front confirms the concept as an electric vehicle, but other than that we don’t have any further information.

Rumors point to the concept being a sedan, specifically a fastback-style sedan previewing an electric successor to the current A5 Sportback. Interestingly, there are also rumors the full A5 range might not be renewed after the current generation. Perhaps Audi is planning to replace the A5 with an electric equivalent. The automaker is committed to having at least 20 EVs by 2025, so it’s likely some existing models will either be replaced or redesigned on an EV platform.

Marc Lichte

The only official comment on the matter was made by Audi design chief Marc Lichte who in early 2019 said the automaker was planning an electric sedan similar in size to the A4. He described it as a low, sporty sedan similar to the E-Tron GT. Just a few months later, Audi teased the silhouette of just such a car while presenting the new PPE (Premium Platform Electric) modular EV platform, which Audi is developing for the Volkswagen Group in partnership with Porsche.

The PPE platform will make its production debut next year in an electric Porsche Macan. Audi has also confirmed plans for a Q6 E-Tron that will essentially be a twin to the electric Macan, similar to how the Porsche Taycan and Audi E-Tron GT are twins under the skin. The Q6 E-Tron is due in 2022.

We’ll have all the details soon as the 2021 Shanghai auto show starts April 19. For our full coverage, head to our dedicated hub.

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Porsche dealers compete in restoration challenge

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Porsche also has a company-owned restoration shop at its US headquarters in Atlanta

You don’t have to go all the way to Stuttgart, or even to company-owned facilities in Atlanta for restoration of your classic Porsche. To underscore that fact, the 2021 Porsche Classic Restoration Challenge involves 40 dealership service departments across the United States, each restoring a car for the company-sponsored contest.

“The entries run the gamut from the 1950s to the 2000s, from 75 to 612 horsepower, and from rear- to mid- and front-engine layout,” Porsche notes in its announcement of the challenge.

“The years and the miles have written individual histories for each car, but now a common chapter is about to tie their journeys together: the 2021 Porsche Classic Restoration Challenge.”

Previously, the challenge has been based in Europe. However, “The U.S. is home to more classic Porsche sports cars than any other market. After decades on the road, some will inevitably be in need of a little extra care. Enter the Restoration Challenge, where Porsche Classic has encouraged U.S. dealerships to acquire a car that is due for some expert technical attention to ensure many more years of driving pleasure.”

Porsche reports that multiple 356 models, some dating from 1956, as well as five generations of 911, transaxle cars including the 944 and 928, as well as “modern classics” including the first-generation Boxster, are undergoing restoration work.

“Each vehicle will undergo restoration in the best possible hands: Porsche-trained technicians who will have a portfolio of more than 60,000 unique Porsche Classic Genuine Parts at their disposal,” Porsche notes.

Nine of the participating dealerships already have been designated Porsche Classic Partners “who every day go above and beyond in their commitment to keeping vintage cars on the road and driving just as well as the moment they left the factory,” Porsche adds.

Porsche also has a company-owned restoration shop at its US headquarters in Atlanta

]The challenge runs until mid-August when winners will be chosen from three regions — East, South-Central, and West. Those cars will advance to the challenge finals in September, when the winner will be selected based not only on the restoration itself but on documentation.

For more information, visit the Porsche Classic website.

This article, written by Larry Edsall, was originally published on ClassicCars.com, an editorial partner of Motor Authority.

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Maybach to celebrate 100th anniversary of first car, announce EV

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1921 Maybach 22/70 HP W3

Maybach was founded in 1909 by Wilhelm Maybach and his son Karl, originally as a company supplying engines for Zeppelin airships and later trains.

The company would soon expand into the car business, with the first prototype, the W1 Testwagen, unveiled in 1919. It proved so popular that a production version was launched just two years later.

That production version was the 22/70 HP W3, unveiled by Maybach in September 1921 at the Berlin International Motor Show. It featured an inline-6 engine generating 70 hp, an impressive figure for the time, as well as many other engineering and luxury marvels, such as brakes at each wheel, a planetary gearbox, and an interior lined in leather and wood.

1921 Maybach 22/70 HP W3

A little over 300 examples of the 22/70 HP W3 were built, after which Maybach launched a variety of additional cars. Maybach ceased building cars at the onset of the Second World War and never returned to it after the war ended, and by 1960 the company was absorbed into Daimler, parent company of Mercedes-Benz.

Today Maybach is a sub-brand of Mercedes and the German automaker plans to celebrate this year’s 100th anniversary of the launch of the 22/70 HP W3. However, the automaker hasn’t said what exactly it has planned so we’ll have to wait and see.

There will likely be special editions of the current Maybach S-Class and Maybach GLS-Class, and judging by the photo above there will also be a reveal of a new V-12-powered Maybach S-Class (only a V-8 is available at present). We can also confirm that an electric Maybach will be revealed in the coming months. It will likely be an ultra-lux version of the new EQS sedan. Stay tuned.

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