Between the overpriced greeting cards and drugstore chocolates, jaded auto lovers can find more than a few things to celebrate this Valentine’s Day. The 2019 Chicago Auto Show kicked off with plenty of seasonal anniversary celebrations. And, per tradition, the truck debuts were on point and larger than life. From the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata 30th Anniversary Edition to the redesigned 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD pickups, enthusiasts had their fair share of gawking and griping. For bigger-budget reveals, Bugatti has something exciting—and expensive—in store and more leaks have sprouted over the 2020 C8 Corvette. All that and more in this week’s Auto News.
HD Truck Market Heats Up
The heavy duty truck landscape heats up in the Windy City. While RAM showed off its incredible new editions just last month in Detroit, Chevy one-upped the automaker’s short-lived, best-in-class tow rating of 35,100 lbs with the new 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD pickups, packing a whopping 35,500-lb maximum towing capacity. It’s still sporting the face of an industrial-grade air conditioner, but with a 6.6-liter V-8 turbo-diesel option pushing out 445 horsepower and 910 lb-ft of torque, it’s a face you could learn to love.
The Ford Super Duty trucks see a mid-cycle refresh too, gaining an updated Power Stroke diesel and adding a new 7.3-liter gas V-8 to the power lineup (replacing the old V-10), with all engines mated to a new 10-speed Torqueshift automatic transmission. Design-wise, the Super Duty sees a restyled grille and headlamps, as well as a new rear bumper and tailgate. The overall look implies that Chevy isn’t the only automaker adopting this strange new big-and-bulky vision. Ford adds some new safety and tech features too, most notably updated driver-assist bells including Pro Trailer Backup Assist.
Not to be entirely outdone, RAM showed up with a new multi-function 60/40 split tailgate, updated versions of the RAM Chassis Cab, and a showcase of 170 Mopar accessories for the new Heavy Duty models. And the plucky little Toyota Tacoma, feeling the mid-size pressure from the return of the Ranger, debuted a fresh face with redesigned grille and taillights, and finally, finally the adoption of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Anniversary Reveals You’d Actually Want
It isn’t all heavy duty hauling power at the nation’s largest auto show, with plenty of exciting anniversary debuts on display as well. Mazda is celebrating three decades of its little two-seater smilemaker, first debuted at the ’89 Chicago Show, with a special Mazda MX-5 Miata 30th Anniversary Edition. Sporting the 2019 model’s recently boosted 181-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the exclusive anniversary model adds an eye-grabbing Racing Orange paint job, 17-inch dark-finish Rays wheels, Recaro seats, and Brembo brakes. Starting at $34,995 it’s a real—what’s that? Oh, the 500 limited editions sold out in 4 hours. Well, here’s hoping they do something fun for the model’s jade anniversary in five years.
Also honoring 30 years of Japanese craftsmanship at the Chicago Auto Show is Acura, celebrating the brand’s reveal of the NS-X concept—also at the 1989 auto show. Currently on display are an OG 1990 NSX and current 2019 model, side-by-side in stunning shades of red, as well as plenty of data, sketches, and videos highlighting the history of the revolutionary supercar that forced even Ferrari to take notice.
It’s important to remember however, that on the timeline of automotive history, not all groundbreaking vehicles were exactly breathtaking. Or beautiful. Or even really exciting in any way, shape or form. We’re looking at you, minivan, celebrating 35 years of spilled sippy cups, lost LEGOs, and crushed adult dreams. Marking this moment in time are a special-edition Chrysler Pacifica and Dodge Grand Caravan. The birthday Pacifica sports a cosmetic upgrade including a black Nappa leather interior with red accents and plenty of anniversary emblems, as well as an optional murdered-out black trim appearance package. (Why, God? WHY?) The Grand Caravan sees some superficial enhancements as well, including a spruced-up interior, plenty of anniversary badging, and some snazzy 17-inch silver aluminum wheels.
Speaking of anniversary editions that are breathtaking, beautiful, and really exciting in every way, shape and form, is the 110 ans de Bugatti. Celebrating 110 years of exquisite car making, Bugatti’s special birthday Chiron features an unchanged 8.0-liter 1,500-hp quad-turbo W16 engine wrapped in a stunning new exterior. Featuring a unique two-tone blue finish and plenty of tri-color French flag design touches, the drool-worthy supercar pays homage to its roots, carrying those elements throughout the interior as well.
No word on cost, but really, us plebs can only afford to look anyway. (And even then, from a distance. Behind a sneeze-guard.) With the ‘ordinary’ Chiron starting somewhere around a cool $3 million, this limited-to-twenty-models special edition will probably carry a price tag north of $4 million.
Psst… You See This Yet?
With Valentine’s Day almost here, we could all use a sexy little tease, eh? Chevy’s got you covered with more leaks around the 2020 C8 Corvette.
Last week, GM-Trucks.com published the new logo, obtained via “a leaked key fob undergoing certification last fall with the FCC,” as well as an exclusive first look at the gauge cluster startup animation for the new sportscar. (Hey, we said it was just a tease.) The site won’t say exactly how it got its hands on the digital files, other than to state that they were “publicly available … by a third party and passed along to us.”
Check it out for yourself in the video above.
Around the Circuit
KOH 2019 Results
King of The Hammers wrapped up this past weekend, with Jason Scherer taking his second straight victory and becoming the first ever back-to-back winner of the grueling off-road race. Finishing in 6 hours 32 minutes (beating his time last year of 7:08:25), he was followed by second-time, second-place winner Erik Miller, who trailed by only 5 minutes. Third place went to Shannon Campbell (7:17:17), who last year lost out to his son, Wayland.
NHRA Winternats Delayed
The Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals got off to a wet start, as continual rain delays forced the postponement of eliminations to today, Monday Feb. 11. Racing resumed at 10:00 AM with clear and sunny skies, and Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car) and Rodger Brogdon as the No. 1 qualifiers. TV coverage will air tonight on FOX Sports 1 at 11:00 PM.
Daytona 500 Breaks History Before It Starts
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series kicked off yesterday, Feb. 10 at the Daytona International Speedway with the invitation-only Advance Auto Parts Clash. Before the event could be called short, also thanks to inclement weather, Jimmie Johnson triggered a 17-car crash when trying to side-draft leader Paul Menard. Johnson went on to claim first, though the exhibition race doesn’t count in the official NASCAR record book, with Kurt Busch in second and Joey Logano in third.
On Valentine’s Day, the Can-Am Duel qualifying races take place, leading up to the 61st running of the Daytona 500 on February 17th. Starting on the pole will be Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron and Alex Bowman, making up the youngest front row in Daytona 500 history, with a combined age of 46. This marks the record fifth consecutive Daytona 500, where Hendrick Motorsports has earned the pole for the race, the sixth time it has earned a front row sweep in Daytona 500 qualifying, and the first time one team’s drivers have qualified one-two-three-four.