The News for April 1st, 2016

Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. I just throw in a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:

  • Tesla finally reveals the Model 3, breaks the internet

  • Volvo prices the gorgeous new S90 flagship at under $50K

  • Spyker’s glorious comeback will be a rare, expensive beast

  • Classics&Exotics brings ride sharing to the enthusiasts

  • What’s your automotive news?

Tesla Model 3

It was a pretty slow news week for the auto industry… right up until last night.
Elon Musk invited hundreds of journalists and other people with hands to clap loudly with to his secret lair at the Tesla Design Studio in Hawthorne, just south of Los Angeles off the 105, to share in the excitement of him trying to present the most highly anticipated Tesla to date without a teleprompter. I was not worthy of attending in person to hear his plans for global EV domination, but it was live streamed… I’m glad I wasn’t there.
Nevertheless, Tesla Motors finally introduced the Model 3, an affordable EV that will further solidify Tesla’s existence as a serious contender in the industry. Over 115,000 deposits were already placed for it before it had even rolled onto the stage, and that’s no April Fool’s joke. Many of those deposits were placed by people who felt the need to stand in line at a Tesla Store to be “the first”, even though online pre-orders started before any of the stores took them. I wish that was an April Fool’s joke.
Technical details are still scarce and Tesla’s media site isn’t showing much either, but there’s already enough info to know that this thing is going to be huge – just not physically. The Model 3 is a mid-size electric sedan with room for five adults and all their gear. Compact EV architecture and space-saving interior design means there’s more room for occupants inside and plenty of storage at both the front and rear. Exact interior dimensions haven’t been released yet, but it looks like it’ll be more than enough. Elon even said you can fit a seven-foot-long surfboard inside the thing.
The Model 3 doesn’t inherit the crazy Falcon Wing doors from its big sibling, but it does take the idea of a panoramic roof to a new level. The entire rear half of the roof is a single piece of glass and the front window is taller than normal to create a more open, spacious cabin. As of now, there are no press images of the interior available, but from the live stream I can say there’s really not much to look at. It’s a very minimalist design and a single huge touch screen in the middle displays everything from navigation, media, air conditioning controls, and more. Despite the huge screen and all the cabin space, the speedometer is confined to a relatively small overlay on the top left corner of the screen. Those that hate centrally mounted instruments (like me) aren’t going to love being inside the Model 3.
Not much was said about the car’s exterior styling because there really isn’t anything revolutionary about it. Styling closely resembles other cars in the lineup as it should and it borrows the Model X’s no grille philosophy even though there’s clearly a place for one. A few different wheel choices are offered, including a carbon fiber wheel option that was seen on one of the cars at some point during the event.
Now for the important bit. The Model 3 will go at least 215 miles on a single charge; expect to see that range increase as more Model 3 variants are announced. Tesla did not go into specifics about batteries or electric motors, but I can report that their awesome electric all-wheel-drive system will at least be an option. 0-60 mph on the base Model 3 will take under 6 seconds. Fortunately, Elon said to expect “much faster” versions further down the road.
With the Model 3, Tesla anticipates company-wide volume of over 500,000 vehicles per year. Let’s just say Tesla’s new Gigafactory is about to get very busy with production of the lithium ion batteries that go into them. As Elon puts it, “in order to produce half-a-million cars a year, we would actually need to – the same battery production, w-we would basically need to absorb the entire world’s lithium ion battery production”. Helping to charge said batteries is an ever growing Supercharger network which is expected to double by the end of next year.
Now for the real big news, the Model 3’s pricing is confirmed at $35,000 before incentives. Autopilot [update: it *might* just be the Autopilot sensors that come standard with actual capabilities costing extra], supercharging capabilities, that 215 mile range, quick acceleration, and top-spec safety features are all included at that price. This might just be the best EV that anyone (more or less) can buy. Production starts sometime in 2017 and Elon is confident deliveries will commence before the end of 2017. If you want to possibly see one in your driveway by the end of next year, you should probably hurry in to your nearest Tesla Store (if you live where they’re not banned) or go to to place your deposit.
[Source: Tesla Motors]


The 2017 Volvo S90 will start at $47,945 when it arrives in dealerships this summer. Volvo’s gorgeous new flagship comes well equipped at that price (T5 Momentum trim) with a 250 horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, standard leather, a nine-inch infotainment touchscreen, legendary Volvo safety, the most advanced semi-autonomous features in its class (yes, as standard on the T5 and up), and did I mention that gorgeous design? Step up to the T6 AWD Momentum for $53,945 and be treated with 316 horsepower from a turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder engine as well as nearly every convenience and comfort option thrown at it. It’s not cheap by any means, but it could be a bargain compared to some of its competition.
[Source: Volvo]
Spyker’s comeback, the C8 Preliator, will cost $354,990 and be limited to just 50 units worldwide. In “standard” form, the C8 Preliator is a very special beast with aviation-inspired styling, insane attention to detail, and a sonorous supercharged 4.2-liter V8 delivering 518 horsepower. A rear-mounted Getrag six-speed manual is standard and a rear-mounted ZF six-speed automatic is an $8,000 option. With styling by former aerospace engineers, power by Audi, and handling by Lotus, it’s a car that’s worth your attention.
[Source: Spyker Cars]
A new start-up firm called Classics&Exotics is looking to merge the passionate world of fine motoring with the future of ride sharing. Classics&Exotics is the first peer-to-peer vehicle rental marketplace focused on classic and exotic vehicles and it launches nationwide with the first rentals this weekend. For owners, it’s a chance to earn money from cars they’re willing to share; for drivers, it’s a chance to try out a car on the bucket list or kill time out on the open road. The site gives plenty of control to the owners on how their car will be used and by who while a rating scale self-polices renters and owners alike to prevent abuse.  Over 100 cars and 1,000 members are already registered. Everything a 2012 Cadillac CTS-V to a 1973 Steyr Puch Pinzgauer 712M can be rented by the day. Those interested can head on over to to review inventory and submit interest in a car. C&E then alerts the owners, allows both parties to agree to rental terms, and then arranges logistics including insurance and roadside service contacts. And if you’re wondering, all cars pictured above are currently available. My favorite car on that site has gotta be this awesome 1951 Pontiac Chieftain though.
[Source: Classics&Exotics]

What’s your automotive news?

That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.
Have a good weekend.
[Image © 2016 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]

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  1. Citric Avatar

    Tesla doesn’t know how to design a grille-less car. It’s not like it’s not possible to design a grille-less car – see Fiat 500 (which this sort of borrows a shape from), Chevy Corvair, Early ’90s Passat and OG Ford Taurus – but they don’t know how to do it, because the front bumper of the Model 3 just looks unfinished, rather than deliberately grille-free.
    It’s not like it’s hard to do either, thinking about it in the shower this morning: Instead of making a 500-esque mustache shape, just do a straight line derived from the line below the headlights, instead of putting the badge on the hood put it in the blank spot between that line and the bottom line that starts underneath the fog lamps in order to have some visual interest in an area with nothing in it. Make the space between those lines concave or something just so you don’t have a big expanse of nothing in the middle of the front end.
    Even keeping the current odd mustache shape, put the badge in that area just so you don’t have an expanse of nothing. Every good grille-free design uses the badge as a visual decoration to break up an empty area.

    1. CraigSu Avatar

      Some enterprising person could make a fortune designing vinyl customized “grilles” for the Model 3. The possibilities really are endless.

      1. kogashiwa Avatar

        I’ll get right on that.

        1. Vairship Avatar

          Everyone will think you’re an Uber driver. So instead:

  2. dukeisduke Avatar

    I’m still wondering if the Model 3 is the real thing, or Elon Musk’s April Fools Day joke.
    Also, the Renault Caravelle wants its front end back:

  3. dukeisduke Avatar

    I’m still wondering if the Model 3 is the real thing, or Elon Musk’s April Fools Day joke.
    Also, the Renault Caravelle wants its front end back:
    Now with bonus hot French stewardess, and Sud Aviation Caravelle.

    1. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      That maintenance guy on the ladder is just discovering that ALL Caravelles have the engines in the back, cars and aircraft.
      Trivia note: Sud Aviation saved a lot of design time by licensing the front section, including cockpit, of the first jet airliner, the De Havilland Comet. The Comet’s career cut short by accident and the inability of European designs to compete with Boeing’s economies of scale risk spreading with the US Airforce flying tanker contract.

  4. Ross Ballot Avatar
    Ross Ballot

    Pretty stoked about the Model 3. It’s the affordable, fast, usable Tesla that they need and that could revolutionize the way we perceive and use cars. It could also help change our infrastructure, adding recharging stations across the map. Can’t wait to see what it’s like in 18 or however many months it is when they hit the roads.
    That being said, I’ll be blasting around some NY mountain roads tomorrow morning. Just put a resonator delete on my Challenger, so no better way to break it in (air quotes on that seeing as there’s no breaking it in) than full-throttle up the side of a mountain. Hikers, cover your ears.

  5. karonetwentyc Avatar

    The Tesla Model 3 has one major flaw to my mind: nothing about it makes me want to drive it.
    As someone who enjoys the actual act of driving, this car seems to be doing more than just about any other on the market to remove – or, perhaps more accurately at this time, greatly distance – the driver from that act. The car’s behaviours are shrouded behind an increasing amount of interaction with the vehicle through abstraction layers of technology, and the driver is effectively there as a substitute for systems that have not yet had the development necessary to let control be as close to completely autonomous as possible.
    None of this comes as a surprise: it’s how the industry as a whole has been moving for some time, and it’s especially not surprising to see from Tesla given their both their actions and statements of intent to do as much as possible to take the driver out of the loop.
    What Tesla has effectively built is a mobile iPad: a piece of technology that you use and put aside until one of the functions that it performs is needed again. Unfortunately, much like any other piece of consumer electronics, it’s difficult to feel any sort of real connection with it beyond possibly an appreciation for its performance of the functions assigned to it. It does not stir at least my soul.

    1. Citric Avatar

      I don’t think it’s that bad – and Tesla, to their credit, is at least trying to make electric fun, a pretty substantial difference from how something like the Leaf is pretty much a hair shirt for people who want you to know they’re making a sacrifice for the environment. Yeah, the focus on Autopilot is probably not for the best and I’d prefer it if all this autonomous crap would go away, but Tesla does try to make a fun car out of their electric models, and they take advantage of the joy of instant torque.
      Which isn’t to say I’d buy one – the all screen interior alone is to keep me away from their showrooms, given that I turn off the much smaller screen in my personal car at night already – but if I were to point out a harbinger of doom for the joy of driving I don’t think Tesla is it. I’d probably point to other tech giants trying to get into the industry as being much worse – Google’s autonomous project is arguably much more miserable, since they do seem to deliberately be designing it so people who enjoy driving hate it and them.

      1. karonetwentyc Avatar

        Fundamentally, I agree with most of what you’re saying. And to clarify a point from my original post: Tesla is far from alone in removing what enjoyment remains to be had from driving. However, I am staying (mostly) focussed on the Model 3 since it’s fresh in the news.
        In theory, I should like electric cars; all torque, all the time is a juicy carrot to dangle in front of my face. But of the ones that I’ve driven, only two sparked any potential interest: the e-Golf and the Fiat 500e. Notably, these are the most car-like of the electrics that I’ve sampled, which also includes the Tesla P60.
        Ultimately, this is a ‘me’ problem: I need direct involvement with any car I’m likely to own, and if it can’t provide that I just can’t own it. The e-Golf and 500e did a relatively decent job of that where the Leaf, Spark EV, and P60 didn’t. To my eye, the Model 3 is a repeat of technology triumphing over actual engagement.
        In much the same way as I appreciate the job that our washing machine does of getting our clothes clean, I’m also never finding myself thinking, “I’d really love to go do another load of laundry.” Similarly, if the Model 3 were for some reason parked in our driveway, I sincerely doubt that I’d ever find myself thinking, “I should go take that for a drive for the hell of it.”

        1. wunno sev Avatar
          wunno sev

          surprised to hear you say that. i’m not saying you’re wrong, but even base model Model Ss have received pretty much universal acclaim for their driving dynamics.
          obviously good handling does not always mean an engaging experience, and what makes you want to drive a car may differ from what makes many other people want to drive a car. but i’d be surprised if the Model 3 isn’t a decent car to drive…with your own hands and feet.

          1. karonetwentyc Avatar

            And that’s the thing: having not driven the Model 3, I can’t fault its dynamics because I simply have no clue as to if they’re any good or not. If my experience with the P60 is anything to go by, however, they’re probably quite decent. But from looking at it and reading over what’s known of the specs at this time, there isn’t really anything there that’s drawing me towards it.
            Perhaps that will change whenever I do get a chance to drive one – it’s not as though I’ve never eaten crow regarding my opinions (both good and bad) of a few cars after getting some wheel time in them. But on first glance, it’s just not tempting me to get behind the wheel.

  6. BigRedCaveTroll Avatar

    “With styling by former aerospace engineers…” Ohhhhhh.

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      Hey, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that approach.

      1. BigRedCaveTroll Avatar

        Oh, definitely not. I just thought that the styling made a lot of sense after reading that sentence. I rather like the styling of the Spyker automobiles, especially their interiors.
        *Edit:* All of this talk about SAABs is making me want to buy a SAAB 99 or 900.

    1. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      It would be pretty easy to glue that grille on a model 3 and go around telling everyone that it was the new Ford electric

  7. JayP Avatar

    Model 3 looks way better than I thought it would… I was thinking Tesla would go down the Prius or i3 path of ugly-funky. And I was relieved that it’ll be RWD with AWD option. If I were in the market for a small sedan, I’d have my $1k down already.
    This is coming from a guy who didn’t like the Focus ST because it was too complicated.

  8. jeepjeff Avatar

    I like the Model 3’s design. I feel like most modern cars are over designed, and the Model 3 seems to distill down the current trends and keep things simple, tasteful and graceful. I don’t particularly want one, but I’ll enjoy seeing them on the road.
    As for my automotive news, I’ve got a full day of wrenching tomorrow, but not on any of my steeds. A friend of mine has been going through a rough patch (which is… understating it), and on top of everything else her car is now giving her trouble. So, she’s tossing me the keys tomorrow, I’m going to drive it back to my place, give it a tune up, figure out what’s going on with the lights, and figure out if there is anything else that needs to be addressed (and deal with it if I have time, or start planning on how to if I don’t).
    I’m the person in her social circle who could do this, and it feels good to have the confidence that I know what I’m getting into. Thank you, fellow hoons, as all y’all are the ones who have encouraged me in my wrenching and engendered an appreciation of lovable beaters.

    1. JayP Avatar

      Yay youtube and forums!

      1. jeepjeff Avatar

        I’ll drink to that. Also, auto parts stores run by old hotrodders (just got back from parts run #1. They didn’t have an air filter in stock, so there’s going to be parts run #2 as well. And then probably 3 and 4, but I have no idea what those will be. Yet).

  9. Krautwursten Avatar

    You can argue back and forth about the front design, and likely there will be third party modifications for it; what disappoints me about the Model 3 however is that it’s shaped exactly like a hatchback but doesn’t have a hatch from the looks of it. Why?
    Also I’m willing to bet money that the interior design isn’t final, there’s a number of physical buttons necessary to get road approval for serial production, and I can’t even see any vents or anything.

    1. salguod Avatar

      Yes. In this PR shot I think you can see into the rear cargo area through that large – fixed – rear window.×1406+0+0/resize/800×450!/format/jpg/quality/85/
      You’re left with a pretty large cargo area accessed through a slot of an opening. Reminds me of the cargo area of the first generation Barracuda.

      1. jeepjeff Avatar

        Better than the Henry J. Probably better than the AMC Gremlin.

      2. dukeisduke Avatar

        That big-ass piece of glass would be expensive to replace after a hailstorm.

      3. Vairship Avatar

        At some point car makers are going to figure out that, with trunk lids getting shorter and shorter, they’re better off designing in a trunk drawer… Something like this, but without the hatch and probably not built of pine:

    2. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      Looking like a hatchback while actually not being a hatchback is something of a trademark for ‘cars of the future’ in the past.. Perhaps we’ll have a super-practical wagon in the range as well ?
      CX Citroen
      GS Citroen

  10. nanoop Avatar

    I’m somewhat re-considering my engine-out plan, since I don’t have the week of time for that. Only the rear seal would require an engine-out, but I don’t have complaints there yet, and the clutch is still good for a while.
    Issues, assorted by length:
    – (rear seal and clutch, both not indicated but a while-you-are-in-there if engine out)
    – Front seals, belts and rollers (do I need to let the oil off for this?)
    – Oil cooler seals (oil and water out)
    – Clean it…
    – Air/Oil separator gasket (injector seals as w-y-a-i-t)
    – Engine mounts
    Any ideas? I don’t have a good space to do it (for engine out, the car’s butt would hang out into the driveway), and I humbly say I’m good in theory…

    1. wunno sev Avatar
      wunno sev

      get that thing pulled and reinstalled in a week? we’re talking about a 928, right? good luck, homie.
      i bet you could get the rear main by dropping the transmission instead. should be a lot simpler. but if you say that and the kupplung are fine, you might as well just not go at it.

      1. nanoop Avatar

        Thanks for your input!
        It’s a 944, my estimate was:
        – Engine out: one long day
        – AOS, cleaning: one regular day
        – front seals, rollers, belts: two regular days
        – Oil cooler: one regular day
        – rear seals and clutch: one long day
        – Engine in: one long day
        That’s full time, no work obligations and family’s out.
        I’m also naive and believe in time claims on the internet… the more I think about this, the more I’m convinced to do at least the oil cooler and the AOS on one, two weekday nights each, and do the front seals in two, three full days. Less space, but doable. The rear seal and clutch can wait (..and will fail two weeks after I’m done).

        1. wunno sev Avatar
          wunno sev

          reading that post again, i didn’t mean to come off sounding like i know anything about you at all, my bad.
          my usual issue is running out of tools/supplies and, subsequently, motivation. “oh, i need that too? guess i’ll make a Harbor Freight run tomorrow.” HF run doesn’t happen until next weekend, and i end up having to follow it up with a Sears run to get a tool that actually works.. you may be better about that than i am.

          1. Vairship Avatar

            And while at Sears, why not pick up a replacement car that actually works?

  11. JBsC6 Avatar

    After a long test drive of the model S … ludicrous mode….as well as autonomous mode on the highway and I was sold. I figure a dual motor model 3 with an insane mode was going to be mine. I ordered on national autism awareness day with my 20 year old son to celebrate, awesome car…..I’m figuring bright red or white and pretty nicely load for 50 or 60 large