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Silly name signifies more performance for less money

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2021 Ford Explorer ST

The performance and looks of the Ford Explorer ST can now be enjoyed for less money thanks to the arrival of a new Explorer Enthusiast ST model.

New for the 2021 model year, the Explorer Enthusiast ST is priced to start at $49,995, including destination, making it over $4,000 cheaper than the regular ST.

You still get the Explorer ST’s sporty looks and 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 rated at 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. You also get a 10-speed automatic, all-wheel drive, and a tow package with a capacity of 5,600 pounds.

2021 Ford Explorer ST

What you don’t get are some of the Explorer ST’s luxury items, like power side mirrors, heated bucket seats in the second row, and 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system.

That doesn’t mean the Explorer Enthusiast ST is completely stripped out. There’s still leather trim, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and 20-inch aluminum wheels. Multiple electronic driver-assist features are also fitted as standard, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot and cross traffic warning, and a rearview camera with built-in lens cleaner.

Ford has made several other additions to the Explorer lineup for 2021. There is a new King Ranch model, which is a first for the Explorer nameplate. There’s also a new XLT Sport Appearance Package.

2021 Ford Explorer Platinum Hybrid

2021 Ford Explorer Platinum Hybrid

For buyers after the luxury-oriented Platinum, the addition of a new rear-wheel-drive option helps bring the price down to $53,725. All-wheel drive is still available for about $2,000 extra.

And finally, the Platinum can also be ordered with the Explorer’s hybrid powertrain for the first time. Previously it was only offered with a slightly detuned version of the Explorer ST’s powertrain. The hybrid powertrain pairs a 3.3-liter V-6 with an electric motor for a combined 318 hp and 336 lb-ft of torque, and in the Platinum it is only available with rear-wheel drive. It’s priced to start at $54,330. There aren’t any gas mileage figures but other Explorer models with the same setup return an EPA-rated 27 mpg city, 29 highway and 28 combined.

The new 2021 Explorer models will reach dealerships this summer.

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Autos

Lime Rock Park has new ownership

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Lime Rock Park

One of America’s oldest and most revered road-racing courses, Lime Rock Park, located in the northwest corner of Connecticut, has been sold by Skip Barber to a group that includes former Airstream president Dicky Riegel, who will serve as the track’s new chief executive.

“Lime Rock has been one of my favorite places and my home track for over 40 years; the same is true for my partners, Charles (Mallory) and Bill (Rueckert), both of whom consider Lime Rock a home away from home,” Riegel is quoted in the announcement of the sale.

“All of us have deep roots in Connecticut and look forward to being active in the community and working collaboratively with the Town. To now be owners of this iconic and storied brand is a dream come true.”

Lime Rock Park

Skip Barber, the racing school founder who has owned the track for nearly 40 years, will remain part of the new ownership team, according to the announcement. He said the new ownership group brings “outstanding new vision and vitality to Lime Rock’s operations and to our local and regional community. They are the ideal stewards of the Park’s long and successful legacy.”

The race track, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a challenging 1.5-mile circuit founded in 1956 by Jim Vaill with design help from racer John Fitch and the Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory and was the first track built using highway-safety principles. The first race was staged in April 1957.

A quirk of the track’s scheduling is a local ordinance that bans racing on Sundays, which enables the track to feature a schedule with Friday, Saturday, Monday holiday racing events with car shows on Sundays.

The track also is known for buildings designed by auto racer and architect Sam Posey.

For more information, visit Lime Rock Park’s website.

Andy Reid contributed to this article

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

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One of the $1M, 1,300-hp Saleen S7 LMs is up for sale

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Saleen S7 LM - Photo credit: Bonhams

A rare chance to own one of the seven examples of the Saleen S7 LM is coming up shortly.

The 1,300-hp supercar was announced in 2016 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Saleen’s seven-year consecutive run of championships in various motorsport competitions that started in 2006. The first of the seven cars was shown in 2017.

The third car in the line, a silver example with black and yellow accents, can now be yours as auction house Bonhams will put it under the hammer at its upcoming Supercars on Sunset sale. The estimate is between $1 million and $1.3 million.

This particular car was built in 2018 and has had just the one owner, and he or she only put 300 miles on the clock. The car isn’t perfect, though. It appears that there’s some residue or possibly heat damage on the rear fascia caused by the exhaust tips.

Saleen S7 LM – Photo credit: Bonhams

Power in the S7 LM comes from a 7.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 that featured in the original S7 Twin Turbo model. Here, its output matches the 1,000 hp that Saleen originally offered to S7 customers in 2006 via a Competition package. That rating is on pump gas. Use higher octane racing fuel and the output rises to a hypercar-worthy 1,300 hp.

Saleen is still in the tuning scene here in the United States. Most recently, the company announced plans to build a special version of the modern Ford Bronco, as well as a sports car dubbed the S1.

The company had attempted to crack the Chinese market as well, teaming up in 2019 with local player Jiangsu Secco Automobile Technology Corporation. However, things turned sour the following year, with Saleen founder Steve Saleen in a Wall Street Journal op-ed making claims of intellectual property theft.

The auction of the S7 LM will take place on April 10 in Los Angeles, California. Other impressive cars going under the hammer include a Ferrari 458 Speciale, McLaren Senna, McLaren Senna GTR, a modern Ford GT, and a Porsche 911 GT3 RS previously owned by Jerry Seinfeld.

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See the 2022 Jeep Wagoneer at the 2021 Atlanta auto show

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2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

Remember auto shows? Yeah? Well, they aren’t completely dead.

The Atlanta International Auto Show, now into its 39th year, kicks off on April 14 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, and Jeep will be present with its 2022 Wagoneer.

Jeep unveiled the reborn Wagoneer in March, in both regular and extra-plush Grand Wagoneer guises. The Wagoneer is more your Chevrolet Tahoe and Ford Expedition alternative while the Grand Wagoneer has enough luxury to challenge the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator, as well as some of the full-size SUVs from the German brands. Unlike some of those rivals, the Wagoneer comes in only one length for now.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

Underpinning the vehicle is a modified version of the body-on-frame platform from the latest Ram 1500 pickup. An independent multi-link rear suspension should contribute to a smooth ride and air suspension will be available (standard on the Grand Wagoneer) for those that desire extra comfort.

Power in the Wagoneer comes from a 5.7-liter V-8 that makes 392 hp and 404 lb-ft of torque with the assistance of a mild-hybrid system. An 8-speed automatic is standard and buyers will be able to choose from three distinct four-wheel-drive systems. The Grand Wagoneer gets a 6.4-liter V-8 with 471 hp and 455 lb-ft, as well as the top-of-the-range Quadra Drive II 4WD system as standard.

As the official photos show, the interior of the Wagoneer is a very nice place to be, especially in Grand Wagoneer guise. A digital instrument cluster is standard and is joined by a second screen for the infotainment and an available third screen for the climate settings. Grand Wagoneer buyers can opt for a fourth screen for the front passenger.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

Sales of the 2022 Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer start this summer. The Wagoneer is priced from $57,995 while the Grand Wagoneer is priced from $86,995. Both figures exclude destination.

Production is being handled at Stellantis’ Warren Truck Assembly plant in Warren, Michigan.

Jeep will also use the Atlanta auto show for the debut of the new three-row version of the redesigned Grand Cherokee, dubbed the Grand Cherokee L. The regular two-row version of the redesigned Grand Cherokee will debut later this year.

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