Each week, we like to recap some of our favorite tidbits of auto industry news. Disclaimer: As legal mumbo-jumbo goes, Engine Block cannot be held responsible for the range of emotions readers experience whilst immersing in the following content unless that emotion is uncontrollable laughter or some other happy emoji-worthy feeling.
Super Street outdid themselves with its Hipster Hot Rod – 2017 Smart Fortwo Cabrio coverage. Their “only in a Smart car” theme was strangely brilliant and equally disturbing, similar to Alec Baldwin and his larger-than-life impersonations on Saturday Night Live. Likening an urban parking dilemma to “a curb space slightly larger than an iPhone 7, not even a Plus, on the opposite side of the street that six SUVs, each trolling for coveted street space, have had to begrudgingly pass up” is not something we’ll soon forget. But in all seriousness, “the ability to fit into nearly any urban parking space is but one aspect of the Smart Fortwo Cabrio’s versatility.” If you find value in less than 100 horsepower, that is. Even so, it’s worth the read or, at the very least, a good laugh.
Changing lanes from the Smart car’s 22.8 foot turning radius to Honda’s self-balancing motorcycle isn’t too big of a leap. Recently, “Honda revealed its new Cooperative Mobility Ecosystem, a new structure that Honda claims will blend artificial intelligence, robotics and cloud data to improve driving and mobility,” claimed Auto Blog. Reese Counts, author of Honda reveals NeuV mini-EV, self-leveling motorcycle, and more at CES continued by stating, “Honda’s Riding Assist Motorcycle uses robotics technology for self-leveling capabilities, meaning the bike can balance itself. Rather than heavy and cumbersome gyroscopes, this motorcycle uses technology poached from the Uni-Cub. Having ridden a Uni-Cub, I can say that after a bit of orientation the self-leveling tech works well.” Although only a prototype, imagine a world with self-balancing motorcycles. Even a degenerate klutz has a chance to ride like Jesse James.
Just when you thought things couldn’t get weirder, meet Rinspeed Oasis. It’s an all-electric, fully autonomous concept vehicle being tested in Sweden. Drivers, if you can even call them that, enjoy sophisticated digital overlays in the windows to help navigate. A steering wheel that folds into a tray catches crumbs while munching on the go and provides an immediate work space for punching keys while in motion. Oh, and there’s even a small garden in the nose of the vehicle. Yes, a garden. Designed for ownership, ride sharing or rental, this innovative technology will happily strip away all your driving control, if you so wish.
Record Speeds, Record Numbers
Thankfully we have a drag queen to balance things out. Hold your horses. Not that kind of queen. Although a slightly dated post, we recently learned about HELLEANOR. This 3000 horsepower behemoth of a Ford Mustang is tricked out with some serious twin turbo action and custom fabrication. See to believe!
But on a more serious note, Ford released video of its highly anticipated 2018 Ford Mustang. The responses of which range from “Buzz, your girlfriend’s ugly (i.e., Why would you ever buy that?)” to “I want one NOW! When are they available?” Mercedes followed suit with teasers about its 2018 AMG E63 and BMW with its 2018 M4. Ford closed out its biggest year in Canada since the 1980s, with the Ford F-Series breaking records. And Toyota is following in its competitions’ steps by announcing plans to invest 600 million in an Indiana plant, adding 400 US jobs and earning the right to say, “We concede. Now get off our back for a little.”
The world-famous Barrett-Jackson auction just wrapped up in Scottsdale, AZ. We saw countless shiny, rare rides and a few shockingly high sales. But it was a big event for charity causes. Steven Tyler of Aerosmith raised $800,000 for Steven Tyler’s Janie’s Fund with the sale of his ultra-rare Hennessey Venom GT, while Ford Motor Company raised $157,000 for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation with its 2017 Ford Trucks.
All in all, an interesting couple of weeks in auto industry news, wouldn’t you say?