The News for December 15th, 2017

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. There’s also just a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:

  • McLaren debuts ultimate road car tribute to Ayrton Senna

  • ARES Design introduces stunning coach-built Pantera tribute

  • Ford Fusion/Mondeo’s future uncertain as production shift announced

  • What’s your automotive news?

McLaren Senna

Typically whenever a new McLaren road car is revealed, they always stress that it’s a supercar that’s usable every day. Comfortable and practical(ish) supercars have become their trademark by now, but here is a car that deliberately says “nah, you’d have to be superhuman to be able to live with this every day”. It’s McLaren’s most extreme road car yet and it hasn’t been sanitized at all in the pursuit of becoming road legal.
For its uncompromising focus on performance, it was a fitting car to bear the name of one legendary F1 driver Ayrton Senna. Remember, he won all three of his F1 championships in a McLaren. Those MP4 cars he drove though… much prettier.

McLaren hasn’t lost their touch with designing pretty cars, but this is one of those pure form follows function designs that was never meant to be easy on the eyes. Oversized splitters and a hydraulically adjustable rear wing are only part of the story with this car’s design, but all you need to know is this car is glued to the surface. It might not overheat either as you can’t follow a single line from front to rear without it passing through a functional air intake or vent.
The Monocage III chassis and every body panel on the car is made of carbon fiber and designed with lightness in mind. This isn’t a case of “oh look, $200,000 worth of carbon fiber and we’ve saved 20 whole pounds!” This whole car weighs in at just under 1,200 kg or 2,641 pounds.

It’s powered by a revised twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 capable of sending 789 horsepower and 590 lb.-ft. of torque to the rear wheels. It’s McLaren’s most powerful gas engine ever built. Lightweight internal components, low-inertia twin-scroll turbochargers, and electronically controlled waste gates deliver near instant throttle response. Unique engine mounts and a functional roof-mounted snorkel intake mean drivers will be able to hear all sorts of cool engine noises from inside the cabin.

And inside that cabin is the bare essentials. Driver and passenger controls were kept to a minimum and there’s no storage besides a space behind the seats with just enough room for helmets and racing suits. There does still appear to be a sound system though… which somehow feels out of place on a £750,000 car. Only 500 are being built and they’re still taking orders.
Kidding. 499 were sold already with the 500th being auctioned off for £2,000,000 with proceeds going to the Ayrton Senna Institute which benefits underprivileged children in Brazil.
So to recap, it’s hideous and uncomfortable but it has a great name and is going to be unbelievably fast. That’s all we should really want from a modern day supercar.
[Source: McLaren]

ARES Project Panther

Your eyes don’t deceive you. That’s a Pantera-inspired supercar you’re looking at here, pop-ups and all.
This beauty comes to us from ARES Design, an Italian coachbuilder that was feeling a bit nostalgic for the 70’s. It’s called Project Panther and it actually starts life as a Lamborghini Huracan. Like a true coach-built special, everything you see here is built specifically for this car and clearly inspired by the De Tomaso Pantera.

Wedge-shaped nose, check. Rear buttresses, check. Flat decklid, check. Split five-spoke wheels that mimic the originals, check. POP-UP HEADLIGHTS. Mega check.
The Project Panther is retro done right.
And because it’s a Huracan underneath, its 5.2-liter V10 and seven-speed DCT mean it’ll be a blast to drive while also being way more reliable than the originals. ARES hasn’t listed any detailed specifications yet, but this is a real car that they’re actually going to build starting next year. They’re taking deposits now. Have your people contact their people if you’re interested.
[Source: ARES via Autoweek]

Ford Fusion/Mondeo’s Future Uncertain

Automotive News has learned that Ford will stop producing the Fusion at its Hermosillo, Mexico plant at the end of the decade. This news comes as suppliers were told in advance about Ford’s decision. This might sound like good news for our autoworkers at home, but the car’s future remains unclear.
Currently, every Ford Fusion is built in Mexico and every Ford Mondeo (as its called in Europe) is built in Spain. Suppliers for Ford’s Valencia, Spain plant were also informed that Mondeo production would end there at the same time. Other reports coming out this week suggested that Ford was moving all Fusion and Mondeo production to China, but a Ford spokesperson told Automotive News that they won’t ship Chinese-built Fusions/Mondeos to America and Europe.
So does that mean the Fusion/Mondeo we get is going to be built elsewhere? Will the next Fusion/Mondeo get built for western markets at all? With new car buyers incorrectly buying crossovers instead of sedans, Ford has already had to cut back on sedan and hatchback production in America especially. They see the shift to crossovers as permanent, so this might be their way of going all in on the trend of blandness.
[Source: Automotive News]

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 © 2017 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]

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36 responses to “The News for December 15th, 2017”

  1. Smaglik Avatar

    Lots going on with the cars…I finally finished the end of a semester that really kicked my butt, so I’ve deferred a few things. Coming up, the M5 is getting pretty much every fluid changed early this coming week, and the M3 is getting new summer tires tomorrow. I know it isn’t summer, though we haven’t had a flake fall yet, but through several events, it just seems to be working out that way. A friend gifted me a set of 18″ e92 M3 rims with snows on them, several years ago. I eventually bought an e46 M3 specifically to fit the set of rims I had already in the garage. Said M3 came with all seasons on it. Not my preference, but at least they are damn good all seasons (Conti DWS06 Extreme).
    When I put the snows on the car, the rims looked really, really good (and I am not one for typically straying much from stock), and one corner wouldn’t hold air very well. I looked into the issue a bit, and with the help of my Discount Tire, those snows are from 05. Yeah. So, new summer rubber for the rims I like a lot, and the all seasons go back on the car for winter. 🙂

    1. bv911 Avatar

      Wait, so you’re some kind of student, with an M3 _and_ an M5??

      1. Smaglik Avatar


        1. bv911 Avatar

          D’oh, of course, thought that was a stretch…

          1. Sjalabais Avatar

            Just checked the rule book: Tweed jackets with elbow patches while driving M BMWs are an unregulated grey area.

          2. Smaglik Avatar

            I wear hoodies and blue jeans. No elbow patches yet!

  2. Batshitbox Avatar

    Well, I haven’t had a 4 wheeled vehicle since I sold the GMC, but I’m starting to feel the need. I called my favorite second-hand fleet-service truck guy but he said they were fresh out of vans, wouldn’t have more ’til the end of the month.
    I sold the TW200 for a bit of a profit, so I went out and got an Aerostich suit that fit (the TW came with a ‘Stich that was too small.) and immediately decided I needed another motorcycle. Actually, I want to get rid of the Laverda after 30 years, and buy a new Honda NC700X. Only, the Honda dealer said they didn’t have any 2017s with the Dual Clutch Transmission (flappy paddles!) and won’t until the 2018s arive in June. Good news is, the 2018s are longer stroke motors, with higher compression and redline, but lower fuel economy (Pffft!)
    $8000 burning a hole in my pocket, and I get nothing from the van guy and the motorcycle guy, jeez! At least I’m color keyed now. (Not pictured: Minion plush doll mascot.)

  3. Maymar Avatar

    Just mentioning this here since I know not everyone’s a fan of FeceBork – it’s a little delayed, but Secret Ninja-Claus is on for 2017, if you’re interested, just drop a line to

  4. kogashiwa Avatar

    If the Senna’s form follows function then the function needs to be changed, wow. That drooping arse, that gigantic proboscis. Awful. And somehow the rest of the lines conspire to make the greenhouse look like it came off a Jetsons bubble car.

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      Well it is restricted by being yet another version of the basic McLaren body.
      The ‘new Pantera’ looks good but almost too good though, it will be interesting to see how the render translates to reality.
      Finally I think it would be a big call for Ford to shift all Fusion/Mondeo production to China, perhaps a bit premature. Definitely consolidate global production though,. 2016 had 265k or so sold in the US and only 70k for all of Europe!

  5. Rover 1 Avatar
    Rover 1

    It’s nice to see a little Michelotti styling feature making a comeback on the new SuperMcLaren.
    I’m referring to the little strakes continuing back from the wheel arches, just like on the last Triumph saloons and the Reliant SS1. A little nod to previous British car history?

  6. MohammedM Avatar

    I wonder if the ‘Senna’ looks better in a different colour. The one in the lead image looks pretty good.

  7. Sjalabais Avatar

    The Panther reminds me of the awesome 2005 NewStratos concept I saw in Berlin last week. My plan was just to see the CK Model Car store, a company Chris Haining mentioned here and which has since been my reliable source of model cars. They sit in what is called “Classic Car Remise” in Berlin, a bit off from what is sight seeing worthy in the city, but for everyone reading this, it should be a satisfying destination anyway. Think of every canonical classic car ever, and most of the oddlings you usually just read about – they have it. A few shoddy cell phone pictures follow:

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    Note how unfathomably massive the Buick convertible (correct me if I’m wrong) is compared to the Mercedes.

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    Guess what the above convertible above is and you get the whole picture. =8^)

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    1. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
      dead_elvis, inc.

      Is there a good story to go with the bashed-up Benz?
      This looks like a pretty entertaining museum. Not sure when I’ll get back to Berlin, though I’m due – it’s been 31 years since my one visit.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        I wish there was! The car just sat there, probably waiting for repairs, with a gentle “only touch with your eyes”-sign. Even a mangled high dollar classic is nothing to be smeared by pleb’s hands.
        Berlin is definitely worth a visit. It is still super cheap, lots of vibrant life everywhere, an impossible choice of great food from all over the world – and, obviously, it has changed a fair bit in a generation’s time.

        1. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
          dead_elvis, inc.

          Yeah, there was this big, inconvenient wall running through the place as I recall…

    2. Fuhrman16 Avatar

      I don’t have an answer for the mystery car, though the A pillar mounted semaphore seems quite unique.
      Also, what is the blue car next to the Aston Martin DB4?

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        Maybe @mdharrell has an idea what the white ‘vert is? Let’s say it is in its home country.
        The blue one is some sort of Alfa Romeo:

        1. outback_ute Avatar

          It will be a version of the post-war 6C 2500 – usually fitted with coachbuilt bodies so nailing it exactly will take a lot of skill/research (absent here).
          I’m guessing the mystery car is also a one-off or low-production coachbuilt one, so the base could be anything (nearly). Seeing it is in Germany, maybe a BMW?

        2. mdharrell Avatar

          Listen, that white convertible is not an Audi.

          (The yellow one is, however, indeed a ’38 Buick.)

          1. Sjalabais Avatar

            You, sir, are one impressive, walking car library. I will upload the complete picture when I’m back home from work, silently.

  8. Victor Avatar

    All of us that have wrenched have needed one or more of these specialty products.

  9. jeepster Avatar

    Well, it has been a year since posting,
    I see Craigslist crapshoot is still gone ..( too bad ) that was fun –
    commie made toys are still here ( do you have a toy blog somewheres ? )
    everyday joe’s build posts are near gone. Check back in 3 months….
    what is next for the new year ??

  10. Topokon Guy Avatar
    Topokon Guy


  11. mdharrell Avatar

    Late-breaking news: I don’t get to keep it but I do get to add it to the list of small cars I’ve hauled on this trailer:

    1. crank_case Avatar

      Formula Student?

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        Yup. It’s the 2012 University of Washington Formula SAE car.

        1. crank_case Avatar

          Cool, what does it get used for now? Hillclimb is probably the only thing you could enter it in?

          1. mdharrell Avatar

            For the last few years it’s been used exclusively for taking up space in a parental garage which is why I offered to haul it back to campus so the current team can decide its fate. The only sanctioned use of which I’m aware is SCCA autocross:

    2. Sjalabais Avatar

      Car-to-wing-ratio in a class of its own, too.

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        After the above photo was taken we realized nobody present was sure whether this car had been tested at 60 mph in reverse, so we reloaded it facing forward. The overhang meant that the front had to be jammed against the trailer’s winch in order to get the rear wheels on deck but this seemed like a fair tradeoff for protecting the wing at speed.

  12. nanoop Avatar

    I mentioned last week in ‘Hooniverse Asks’ that Koenigsegg could contact me here in order to hire me as their tech writer or something. I have to say they are a very unreliable car manufacturer, since they didn’t reach out to me yet.

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      Despite my show of unbridled enthusiasm for expending minimal effort at relocating, I haven’t heard from Palatov or Commuter Cars yet, either. When they finally realize they need a licensed geologist on staff I intend to make sure this delay will cost them dearly.

  13. crank_case Avatar

    Ares Design – headed by Danny Bahar… NEXT!!
    King Vapourware himself, thank goodness Lotus is headed by Jean-Marc Gales these days.

    1. nanoop Avatar

      Well observed.

  14. Fresh-Outta-Nissans Avatar

    New wheels on my Miata!
    It’s now much less terrifying to drive. The new look is demonstrably less Hello Officer, but people still seem to respond well to it; within seconds of street parking it for the first time, the owner of a slammed Eclipse hailed me down and said it looked ‘clean.’ He’s wrong, but whatever.