Auto Industry News: Wicked Fast Corvette, Budget Build, and IIHS Cracks Down

This week’s auto industry news has us in the Christmas spirit. From a Lamborghini hauling evergreen and Clark Griswold references to the 2019 Chevy Corvette we all want under the tree and a big ’96 Cherokee on a budget, there’s a little something for everyone. Yes, helicopter parents – we even have some safety reports for you…

A Very Lambo Christmas 

In Boston, MA, a driver caught another driver with a Christmas tree tied to the top of his car on film. Standard holiday fare, yeah? But did we mention that the car was a Lamborghini Huracan and not a wood-paneled station wagon? Your move, Clark Griswold. The Christmas spirit bar has been raised. And while this isn’t an ideal use of the V10, in the end, a hearty laugh was had by all. But good gracious, don’t scratch that paint, buddy.

2019 Corvette ZR1 is a Burner

The 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1 is a vehicle fit for Daenerys Targaryen. It’s an actual fire breather said to top 210 mph. Supposedly, this video wasn’t meant to reach the public yet, as it’s unlisted on Chevy’s official YouTube. But thanks to some Reddit super sleuths, we’re able to admire the the blue flames shooting from the Corvette as it screams and accelerates. Why would something so beautiful be unlisted? Perhaps Chevy actually wanted the video to be found to build some additional hype for its ‘Gring run. Chevy had been teasing that the ZR1 would run a sub-7 lap. After seeing this footage, and considering the 755 horsepower, it’s hard to deny. This ain’t your daddy’s Corvette.

IIHS Safety Protocol Steepens

For automakers, it’s becoming harder to be safer. Well, maybe not in making vehicles safer, as much as having them deemed “safe.” Because this year the IIHS has expanded its criteria for vehicles to be named a Top Safety Pick Plus. And the rule changes have already made their effect felt. Only 15 vehicles received the Top Safety Pick Plus award compared to last year’s total of 38. The steep dropoff is likely attributed to 2018 standards requiring “good” ratings as opposed to “acceptable.” After the dust had settled, Hyundai and Subaru had the most models among the winners. But it’s also worth noting that most of the award winners qualified after adding optional equipment. So, is it that safe cars are harder to make, or simply harder to buy?

96 Budget Cherokee

What’s safer than a boxy Cherokee with aftermarket armor?… Well, armor in the form of jacked up on a budget. After scoring a 96 Jeep Cherokee with around 200,000 miles on it, Ken Brubaker and the crew from Four Wheeler hooked it up with a 3″ lift from Zone Offroad Product. They initially wanted to REALLY jack it up with a 4.5″ kit, but decided that would put them over their $1000 limit. Plus, this gave them room for 30 x 9.50 R15 Goodyear Wrangler GS/A tires still rockin’ factory TJ wheels. To account for all this lift, they replaced the twin-tube hydraulic shocks with twin-tube gas Nitro shocks. Now that’s capability on a budget. Save that Christmas cash and add some GRID Off-Road wheels and Smittybilt bumpers.

Around the Circuit

We close this week’s auto industry news with an “around the circuit” look. It’s been announced that IMSA GTD champ Christina Nielsen is leaving Ferrari for Porsche. The back-to-back WeatherTech SportsCar GTD class champion, Nielsen, who now joins Wright Racing, says her goals remain the same despite the change.

“I know it will be difficult to match what I’ve achieved in the last three years… but we’re going to go for it, 100 percent.”

In other racing news, Richard Petty Motorsports will team up with Richard Childress Racing. RCR will provide chassis and engine support. Petty is also set to field the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for driver Darrell “Bubba” Wallace.

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