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Rolls-Royce reveals Boat Tail as sign of return to coachbuilding

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Rolls-Royce Boat Tail

Remember the Rolls-Royce Sweptail? Billed as the most expensive new car ever built at its reveal in 2017, the Sweptail was just a warm up to Rolls-Royce’s permanent return to coachbuilding.

The British maker of ultra-luxury vehicles on Wednesday announced the new Rolls-Royce Coachbuild division, and on Thursday it showed off the Boat Tail as the latest in its line of coach-built cars and an example of just what is possible at its coachbuilding division, assuming money is no object. The Sweptail is rumored to have cost 10 million British pounds (approximately $14.6 million) and the Boat Tail is rumored to have cost even more.

Unlike the Sweptail, the Boat Tail won’t be a true one-off. Rolls-Royce plans to build three of them for three separate customers that approached the automaker after the reveal of the Sweptail with a request for a nautical-themed creation. The resulting Boat Tail is said to take its inspiration from the J-Class yachts popular in racing.

Rolls-Royce hasn’t provided any technical details but we know the Boat Tail is based on the aluminum space-frame platform that debuted in the latest Phantom and has since made its way into the Cullinan and Ghost. A space-frame instead of a typical unibody structure means unique bodies can be created.

Rolls-Royce Boat Tail

Traditional methods are used wherever possible. For instance, crafting the body starts with a clay model whose design is then transferred to a buck on which aluminum body panels are then hammer-formed by hand. The resulting design measures 228 inches in length, making the Boat Tail longer than pretty much any other car on the road.

Most of the length is taken up by the rear section, where most of the nautical references can be found. A real-wood deck is used as a nod to boat tails built early last century. However, at the press of a button, the two halves of the deck flip open, revealing what Rolls-Royce refers to as a hosting suite. This is just a chest filled with items to add a little glamour to a road-side picnic, such as a refrigerator, champagne flutes, refresher towels, sun shade, and fold-out chairs.

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2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe becomes more practical with seating for five

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2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 4-Door Coupe gets an update, but it’ll take a keen eye to spot the changes.

On Monday, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe was unveiled with a tweaked look, an updated suspension, more seats, and more customization options to better stand out at the golf club.

2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe

The most significant change to the latest four-door AMG is an upgrade to the available three-chamber air suspension. Two pressure limiting valves have been added to the outside of each damper. One valve controls the rebound while the other controls compression and each is continuously variable. AMG said the new valves provide a wider spread between ride comfort and performance damping forces.

The engine hasn’t changed. It’s a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system breathed upon by AMG for 429 hp and 394 lb-ft of torque. An AMG-tuned all-wheel-drive system directs power to the ground via a 9-speed automatic transmission. Mercedes-Benz said the large hatchback can sprint from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds on its way to an electronically limited top speed of 174 mph.

The V-8-powered 63 and 63 S models, along with the plug-in hybrid 73e model, haven’t been detailed yet.

The only ways to spot a refreshed 2022 AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe from the outside will be by a variety of new paint colors and the newly the available red brake calipers, which are optional for the standard iron brakes. The optional carbon-ceramic brakes continue to feature bronze-painted calipers.

2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe

2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe

Buyers will be able to customize their AMG 53 4-Door Coupes with four new matte finish paint colors, five metallic colors, and two solid colors. A new AMG Night Package II has accents finished in a dark chrome or black. A new Manufaktur Exclusive Edition indulges those looking for the most luxurious model with a V8 Styling Package, exclusive paintwork, and 21-inch AMG forged wheels.

2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe

2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe

Inside, the leather-lined interior is carryover except for the steering wheel. The new twin-spoke AMG-specific steering wheel found in the latest E-Class has made its way to the AMG GT 4-Door. It has two round digital dials to enable quick changes between drivetrain, stability control, and AMG programs. The dashboard carries over with its 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system featuring the latest version of Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX system. For those looking to carry more than four, a new rear bench seat option will allow seating for five along with the ability to fold the rear seat flat to expand cargo space. Like the exterior, the interior also adds new color choices.

Mercedes-Benz hasn’t said how much the 2022 AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe will cost when it arrives in dealers later this year, but the current model costs $99,995.

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Henry Ford II’s 1966 Ford Mustang GT K-Code convertible heads to auction

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Henry Ford II's 1966 Ford Mustang GT K-Code convertible (Photo by Barrett-Jackson)

A 1966 Ford Mustang K-Code convertible owned by Henry Ford II is heading to the Barrett-Jackson auction in Las Vegas scheduled for June-17-19.

The K-Code was one of the earliest performance variants of the Mustang. It featured a sportier version of the available 289-cubic-inch V-8, boasting a 10.5:1 compression ratio, a solid-lifter camshaft, a 4-barrel carburetor, heavy-duty valve springs, and a high-flow exhaust manifold.

The result was 271 hp, according to the listing, which is routed to the rear wheels through a 4-speed manual transmission and 3.89:1 rear-end gearing.

Known as the “Deuce,” Henry Ford II was the son of Edsel Ford, and grandson of Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford. After his father’s death, Henry II took over the company and emphasized motorsports as a marketing tool. When his offer to buy Ferrari was turned down, he famously launched the GT40 program that led to four consecutive 24 Hours of Le Mans wins.

The car comes with documentation from Jean-Jacques Browaeys, Ford France director of communication, dated Jan. 3, 1991, confirming the Mustang was “commissioned by Ford for Henry Ford II during his stays in France,” according to the listing.

Henry Ford II’s 1966 Ford Mustang GT K-Code convertible (Photo by Barrett-Jackson)

The Mustang wears Raven Black paint (a special finish from Ford’s styling department, per the listing), with a white leather convertible top and tan leather interior. These colors weren’t available on the regular-production Mustang, according to the listing.

Other unusual features include bucket seats that would later be used in the 1967 Mercury Cougar, and door-panel trim that would wind up in the 1968 Cougar. An “HFII” logo is displayed throughout the interior as well.

The Deuce’s Mustang also has the GT Equipment Group, including an AM/8-track stereo, power steering, power front disc brakes, a power convertible top, grille-mounted fog lights, dual exhaust, model-specific wheels, and a quicker steering ratio, per the listing.

The car spent most of its life in France, where it was shown at Mustang events, the listing says. Interestingly, Henry Ford II also owned a 1952 Ferrari Barchetta, which is now in the collection of Los Angeles’ Petersen Automotive Museum.

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Lordstown Motors loses CEO and CFO days after warning of cash crunch

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Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns in assembly plant

Lordstown Motors on Monday announced that Chief Executive Officer Steve Burns and Chief Financial Officer Julio Rodriguez have left the company.

The electric-vehicle startup said it is on the lookout for replacements but in the meantime has appointed independent director Angela Strand as executive chairman to lead the company during the search for a new CEO, and Becky Roof as interim CFO. Lordstown President Rich Schmidt will continue to oversee all day-to-day operations, the company said.

It’s now been a year since Lordstown unveiled its Endurance battery-electric pickup truck, and the new announcement comes after the company’s warning last week that it is unlikely to start production without fresh investment.

Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns in assembly plant

Lordstown, which only last October went public via a SPAC deal, said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it doesn’t have the cash to start production of the Endurance and has warned that it might not be able to stay in business over the next 12 months. According to the filing, Lordstown had $259.7 million in cash as of March 31 and had posted a loss of $125.2 million in the three months prior to the date.

Lordstown also said in the filing that it still needs to complete development of its pickup, including obtaining regulatory approval. The company’s last update on production pointed to a start date of late September. Lordstown plans to build the Endurance at a former General Motors plant located in Ohio, which it acquired in 2019.

At the time of writing, Lordstown’s shares, which trade on the Nasdaq, dived 16% to $9.60. That’s down from the high the shares hit last September.

Lordstown Endurance

Lordstown Endurance

The latest news comes after famous short seller Hindenburg Research in March issued warnings about the credibility of claimed pre-orders for the Endurance pickup. This is the same company that made warnings about rival EV startup Nikola last year, leading to Trevor Milton, Nikola’s founder and chairman at the time, stepping down.

In a response issued on Monday, Lordstown conceded that its statement that its pre-orders were from, or “primarily” from, commercial fleets, was inaccurate, and that some commitments appear too vague to be counted as pre-orders.

Should Lordstown manage to get the Endurance into production, the company will be faced with more hurdles. Ford has just unveiled an electric version of its top-selling F-150 pickup that is priced from a very reasonable $39,974, or roughly $12,500 less than what Lordstown said it will charge for its own pickup. Chevrolet is also close to unveiling an electric version of its top-selling Silverado, and then there’s the other electric pickups like the Tesla Cybertruck and Rivian R1T to compete with.

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