The News for May 18th, 2018

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:

  • Aston Martin Racing has a go with the new DB11

  • BMW confirms new 8 Series debut for Le Mans-eve with revealing image

  • Ford restarts F-150 production today, plus the remarkable story of their quick recovery

  • What’s your automotive news?

Aston Martin DB11 AMR

The Aston Martin DB11 has only been on sale for a year or so but its V12 version has already been extensively upgraded. All new V12-equipped DB11s will be made to a new AMR specification which seeks to address the few dynamic shortcomings of the previous model among other things. The chassis gets upgraded, styling gets tweaked a tad, and there’s even some more power too. The DB11 AMR is meant to offer a “more vivid driving experience” while preserving the mature grand tourer qualities Aston Martin is known for.

The first area that AMR – Aston Martin Racing – touches is that V12. It’s still a twin-turbocharged 5.2-liter unit but some new tweaks increase output by 30 horsepower to a new total of 630 hp. Torque is unchanged at 516 lb.-ft. of torque. That extra horsepower and a new transmission calibration is worth a 3.7-second 0-60 mph time, which is 0.2 seconds quicker than before. The new top speed is 208 mph which makes it the fastest series production car in the company right now. And when drivers explore that engine’s newfound potential, they’ll also notice a slightly more aggressive exhaust note.
New chassis and suspension tuning provides for sharper handling and responsiveness without compromising ride quality. They don’t really detail exactly how they’ve accomplished that, but these things are $241,000 so who cares.

The main visual changes come down to more exposed carbon and gloss black trim pieces inside and out. All exterior brightwork has been given a monochrome treatment, which includes dark headlight surrounds, a dark front grille, smoked tail lights, a gloss black roof, and moar carbon.

Aston Martin has made three “Designer Specifications” with unique paint color and interior material combos, one of which sports Aston Martin Racing’s now signature Stirling Green and lime livery. That one commands an extra $36,000 and is limited to 100 units which have all probably been sold before to VIP clients and collectors before Andy Palmer, Aston’s CEO, was even born.
Oh and don’t worry, you can still get expertly tailored luggage sets to match your car’s specification.
[Source: Aston Martin]

BMW 8 Series Debut Set for Le Mans

As BMW prepares to run the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time since 2011 with the M8 GTE, they’ve confirmed the reveal of the car it’s based off of will happen the night before the epic race. The BMW 8 Series Coupe, the company’s newest flagship and the replacement for the 6 Series Coupe, will finally show its production-spec face to the world on June 15th.
BMW confirmed the exact model being shown is the M850i xDrive Coupe, which is sort of a precursor to the full-blown M8 that will follow. Highlights include some new twin-turbocharged V8 engine (the race car runs a 4.0L), BMW’s newest four-wheel drive system (hopefully the one that can become RWD on command), controlled rear axle differential lock, “Integral Active Steering”, “professional” adaptive M suspension featuring Active Roll Stabilization, and 20-inch light alloy wheels.


With my super advanced photograph enhancing software for professionals, I moved a slider and made the dark parts not dark so much which lets you see some of the details of the M850i. It definitely has the M-like valences and wheels you’d expect. A more civilian 8 Series should look stunning while the more performance-focused M8 should look menacing. More on this as I get it.
[Source: BMW]

Ford Pickup Production Resumes After Fire and Insanely Quick Recovery

After a magnesium parts supplier fire shut down Ford’s pickup production lines and impacted many others from different automakers, Ford at least has confirmed that things will be back to normal very soon. The F-150 and Super Duty lines have been completely shut down for just over a week following a fire at Meridian Magnesium Products in Eaton Rapids, MI, but the F-150 line reopens today in Kansas City while the Super Duty gets back in business on Monday in Kentucky. Meanwhile, the Ford Expedition, Explorer, Flex and Lincoln Navigator and MKT production continues uninterrupted thanks to the quick recovery time.
Ford took time to detail the effort that went into restarting production of America’s best-selling vehicle and it’s pretty remarkable. While the fire was still smoldering, Ford teams and other partners moved in to the plant and removed 19 dies from the facility, relocated, and began the repair process. Most were repaired nearby and brought back online right in the same Eaton Rapids location, but there was one 87,000-pound exception.
Ford and Meridian decided this one peculiar die needed to head to Meridian’s plant in Nottingham, UK for it to be brought back online. It was brought to Rickenbacker International Airport in Columbus, OH where an Antonov An-124 cargo plane was waiting for them. Rickenbacker controllers allowed the Antonov to take off as soon as the cargo was loaded. 4,000 miles away, a team was already waiting for it. After much negotiation and absolutely no bribery, Ford quickly received a UK import license for the die a mere two hours before the plane touched down.
Under normal circumstances, moving tooling the size of a bolster die would take 10 days just to get the proper import and export approvals before even thinking about doing the actual move. This entire feat was done in 30 hours.
With production resuming at Meridian’s Michigan plant and the UK facility the proud new owners of a very large die, production is pretty much back to normal. Ford parts produced in the UK are shipped via daily flights on a Boeing 747 until the Michigan facility returns to pre-fire levels. For those worried about truck shortages, Ford confirms that inventories remain strong despite the shut down.
And that’s how important the F-150 and Super Duty are to Ford.
[Source: Ford]

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 © 2018 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]

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33 responses to “The News for May 18th, 2018”

  1. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
    Greg Kachadurian

    Still waiting on a delivery date for my Mustang but it should be within a few weeks. Making the wait even worse is the first press drives that happened this week and it looks nuts. But at least the general consensus is that the performance pack 2 fixes the car’s handling issues which is exactly what I was hoping for.

    1. JayP Avatar

      I can’t wait to see them at the track. The gap between the GT and GT350 was massive.

      1. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
        Greg Kachadurian

        Mine will definitely be on track by the end of the year 🙂 Sadly I won’t have GT350 experience to compare it to, but knowing how the base ’18 GT drives on mountain roads and such I’ll at least have that as a benchmark.

    2. Zentropy Avatar

      I haven’t seen the news about handling issues. What’s the problem?

      1. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
        Greg Kachadurian

        Well me calling them issues may be harsh, but basically the standard GTs don’t feel very planted like you’d expect from a sports car. It bounces and floats when cars like the Camaro are more hunkered down and confidence-inspiring. It’s not bad and probably what you should expect from a Mustang at this point lol. The Performance Package 1 and even the new Magneride dampers allegedly don’t fix that as well as it should, but the PP2 with the stiffer roll bars and dampers do fix it, so it’s basically turned it into a real sports car now.

        1. Zentropy Avatar

          I’m glad they found a fix. I wouldn’t own a Camaro because of the cartoonish proportions and ridiculously tiny greenhouse, but it was kicking the Mustang’s tail in the twisties.
          The current Mustang is otherwise a good design, though I don’t think I’ll ever be in a position to justify buying a new one. I could see picking up a used S197 if I found one for cheap.

        2. Ross Ballot Avatar
          Ross Ballot

          Can confirm, too much float

    3. onrails Avatar

      Surely they’ve done something besides just tires… that will just push the problem further out, not necessarily fix it?

      1. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
        Greg Kachadurian

        Tires are a part of it but it also has a bunch of other tweaks within the suspension. Retuned magneride and steering, stiffer roll bars, and stiffer springs. Our buddy at Motorauthority was on the press drive lat week and said it makes it feel more like an actual sports car.

  2. GTXcellent Avatar

    I have a Monroney! The Wrangler was built last week. Supposedly it is now sitting on a rail car headed towards the Land of 10,000 Lakes. ETA has been given of 5/25/18, but I’m sure with the Memorial Day holiday, it’ll be the weekend after before we can get it (or later).
    Interestingly, in talking to the dealer, they have 2 other customer ordered Jeeps on the same rail car – a Sahara Unlimited and a Sport 2 door. All 3 of these Jeeps (including ours) has 1 thing in common: They ALL have a clutch pedal! I cannot believe these on going dealer chicken/egg arguments that they won’t order manuals because they won’t sell. B.S. Reminds me of a tale from back in my dealership days. One day, for some reason or another everyone was super busy so I was in charge of watching the on-line auction that was in progress. Previously I had been told to only bid on certain cars (usually those f%$*ing W-body Impalas) but if something came across as a smoking deal throw a bid out. This auction just so happened to have a really stunning emerald green Honda Accord that was loaded to the gills but was a manual – so of course the GM and the owner were absolutely furious with me for buying a Honda with a 6 speed. Funny, that car sat on our lot for less than 4 hours and made everybody a lot of money. The buyer even stated the clutch was the only reason he bought it.

    1. Zentropy Avatar

      Awesome! If in a few years my wife determines that my next car STILL must be the family vehicle, then I’ll be pushing hard for a used JL Unlimited (manual, of course).
      You’re not getting rid of the SS, are you?

      1. GTXcellent Avatar

        No that’s why we “have” to get this Jeep 😉
        We’ve come to the conclusion that the SS is truly irreplaceable and might actually be a ‘forever’ car – so it isn’t getting driven in the winter at all. MiSSus GTXcellent has to have something to drive from October through April, so, here we are.

    2. outback_ute Avatar

      The chicken/egg works the other way too right? As in people don’t buy them because dealers don’t have them in stock. Mind you I would be wary of extrapolating demand from early orders of new models, they are not necessarily representative. The trim level mix tends to skew higher in early orders from ‘early upgraders’ too.

  3. Zentropy Avatar

    Suspension work SUCKS without a rack. I’m fighting access and leverage trying to replace my upper control arms. I refuse to take this car to the shop.

    1. JayP Avatar

      I understand your pain.
      I’ll be swapping exhausts tomorrow… on my back all day.

      1. Zentropy Avatar

        Oh yes, I tackled the (previously non-existentent) exhaust before this job. The pain is well-shared.

      2. salguod Avatar

        I am fortunate to still have a great family owned exhaust shop, Mad Hatter, nearby. I brought my used OEM cat back from the RSX to them after I could not get the rusted cat bolts apart. They installed it for $75. They replaced a broken muffler hanger on the Mazda3 for $10.75 (not a typo), with tax. The T’bird is going in there for a new hanger this summer.

        1. JayP Avatar

          Update to the exhaust swap… Used a sawsalll to cut the inaccessible clamps. Once those were out of the way, the rest came off easily. I had the new kit in and bolted in an hour.
          My issue was do I try to save the old clamps or just cut and buy 2 more for $40? Well, after it was done it may be the best $80 I’ve spent in a long time.

          1. Zentropy Avatar

            Awesome that you had such good luck. A bolt-in replacement for mine was going to cost me close to $2000 (uninstalled), so I just ordered generic parts and fabbed it up instead, for about $450. It’s not as pretty as stock, but it sounds better, and the cat I used is much more free-flowing.

        2. Zentropy Avatar

          There’s a Mat Hatter exhaust shop near me as well. Old-fashioned, writes everything on a legal pad, but always busy with work.

          1. salguod Avatar

            We have to be talking about the same shop. Sullivant ave in SW Columbus?

          2. Zentropy Avatar

            Lol, yep, that’s the one!

          3. salguod Avatar

            Funny thing, search Google for “mad hatter muffler -Columbus” and there are a bunch more. Can’t imagine the others are as good, though.

          4. Zentropy Avatar

            Wow… I was just Googling pictures of old AMC Hornets and noticed the origin of one led me to what must be your photo website. It was an album from the Arthritis Foundation Show, which I always attend. Small world!

          5. salguod Avatar

            Probably my old blog photo gallery here:
            or the even older one here:
            Man, I really should move those to Flickr. Not real high on my priority list, unfortunately.

  4. nanoop Avatar

    My first rounds with tin snips, peening hammer and bench vice as ambolt. I am surprised how even cold sheet metal behaves somewhat like dough when hammering out the rims. Snippets that got curly from the cutting process can be straightened out surprisingly well. You can even kind of deburr plates just by hitting it.
    And the best thing: all the puzzle tiles can be welded later!

  5. Smaglik Avatar

    No car news. I am in the middle of a two week study abroad program in Italy, and I cannot wait to drive my car again. Transit is convenient, but I long for my personal space while traversing.

  6. Batshitbox Avatar

    The Econoline hasn’t made any long trips, but I’ve taken steps to improve the gas mileage (9 mpg!) Autolite has a rebate deal on all spark plugs purchased in 2018, so I went nuts and got their Double Platinum model (even though I hate anything that reminds me of KISS) for $3 a pop instead of $5. NAPA Auto had the best price so I walked to the corner and bought a set. Internet Shminternet. I’ll throw some injector cleaner in there before my next long trip.
    Tuesday newsday: I’m hoping to buy a Honda NC750X DCT (an automatic!) next month.
    For some reason, the 2018 models are hitting the showrooms in June. This is the first year for the 750 that Europe has had for a few years, and the 2017 700s were hard to find with the DCT (I heard the transmission factory suffered earthquake damage.) I think they’re still only available in red, so I may put a wrap on it. CB-1 blue is my preferred Honda color.

  7. outback_ute Avatar

    Given that they started with 600 hp from a 5.2L turbo engine, I’d say we should get used to regular power bumps from Aston Martin!
    Maybe a sweep – where will they be by the end of the DB11? I’m guessing 780 hp.

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      Stolen car?

    2. Sjalabais Avatar

      Looks more like an ex-Drive.