Property

Green shoots of recovery start to appear in construction sector

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 01:00
The green shoots of recovery are starting to appear in the construction industry, reveals the Gleeds Spring 2021 Market Report.
Categories: Property

New offices bolster Klarna’s UK presence

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 01:00
The Fintech firm will set up new UK HQ in London and take extra space in Manchester.
Categories: Property

The 2022 Buick Encore Sort of Gets Updated, But No Full Redesign

Motortrend News Feed - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 00:35

Entering its ninth year of production, the Buick Encore occupies a curious station. It is Buick’s best-seller and competes in the subcompact SUV segment, one of the hottest in the auto industry—but the aging, potato-shaped SUV is starting to feel a bit out of its depth by now, especially now with the larger, newer, and confusingly named Encore GX selling alongside it. Nevertheless, the Encore is gaining a few updates for 2022, but not a full redesign.

The U.S. market is yet to get the second-generation, non-GX Encore, currently only offered in China, which shows more personality and frankly is better looking. For the 2022 model year, the Buick Encore comes powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter I-4 rated at 155 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. That’s 17 more horses and 29 extra lb-ft compared to last year’s model. It pairs with a six-speed automatic that propels the front wheels or all four if you choose the available all-wheel-drive option. This delivers quiet, deliberate performance and not many thrills.

New equipment includes an electric heater and map pockets for the driver and passenger seatbacks. The 2022 Encore features active noise cancellation technology that helps block out noise for a more enjoyable ride experience. A 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and a rear vision camera are standard.

Buick has two available safety packages, the Safety II package includes forward collision warning, lane departure warning, front and rear parking assist, and rain-sensing wipers.

The front-wheel-drive 2022 Buick Encore has an EPA-estimated 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway (and 27 mpg combined). Fuel economy is slightly worse for the all-wheel-drive Encore, with a rating of 23/30/26 mpg city/highway/combined.

The post The 2022 Buick Encore Sort of Gets Updated, But No Full Redesign appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

GM Highlights Strong Q1 Earnings and Upcoming Chevy Silverado EV

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 05/05/2021 - 23:30

Pandemics and semiconductor chip shortages are both good and bad for business, automakers are finding. Both have caused production cuts, but the silver lining of leaner inventory is fewer incentives, higher average transaction prices, and strong first-quarter earnings.

General Motors reported net income of $3 billion and pretax adjusted earnings of $4.4 billion on $32.5 billion in revenue for the first three months of the year. GM still expects to earn $10 billion to $11 billion this year in adjusted pretax profits despite the chip shortage.

That is because GM is the sales leader in profitable full-size SUVs and is also moving a lot of full-size pickup trucks in North America—enough that it is pulling ahead plans to restart the Canadian plant in Oshawa, Ontario, in the fourth quarter—up from January 2022—to make full-size pickup trucks. The automaker is also experiencing record sales in China.

GM: We Won’t Overbuild

GM recognizes record profits are due in part to tight inventories. “We’ll never go back to pre-pandemic levels,” Barra says of past bloated inventories that required deals to move all that metal. The past year has forced the automaker and its dealers to home in on getting the right models to dealerships. But the company also needs to be responsive to customers who want to buy off the lot. The sweet spot is a bit more inventory than now, but significantly lower than in the past, Barra says. “We won’t overbuild.”

Meanwhile, the GM team under CEO Mary Barra has been moving quickly. The automaker has been pulling ahead product launches of the wave of new electric vehicles being developed in half the usual time, starting with the 2022 GMC Hummer EV electric pickup truck coming this fall, followed by the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq mid-size crossover in the first half of 2022.

Early Peek at the Electric Chevrolet Silverado Pickup

An electric Chevrolet Silverado full-size pickup truck for retail and fleet buyers is also in the works with a range of about 400 miles in certain configurations, Barra says. “The initial interest has been overwhelming, especially from commercial and government customers. We gave a small number of them a sneak peek at the interior and exterior designs. They said it exceeded their high expectations with zero emissions, long range, pickup capability, innovative storage, and strong value, along with a powerful design. What’s especially important is this truck will be a high-volume entry in one of the most popular and competitive segments in the industry.”

GM is also co-developing electric vehicles with Honda and there will be a large SUV for Honda and a second vehicle for Acura for the 2024 model year. They will be built at a GM plant for the North American market.

Existing GM plants are being converted to make the new EVs. Barra has also pushed for GM to make its own batteries and has two plants under construction with partner LG Chem. By mid-decade she hopes the next-generation Ultium lithium-metal batteries will be ready for use, with even greater density for more range, and less cost.

Barra says despite the full-throttle push to EVs, GM won’t abandon plans to launch new models with internal combustion engines. The automaker has invested in new vehicle platforms over the past 5–7 years which will allow many of them to continue to be updated without major investment. There are things in the ICE world that can be re-used the EV world, Barra says.

BrightDrop and Cruise Plans

In other updates, Barra says the new BrightDrop division for electric commercial delivery vehicles built its first EV600 electric commercial van prototypes in March. The EV600 is being assembled at the Canadian CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, and deliveries to GM’s first customer, Federal Express, will begin by the fourth quarter. GM has other interested customers in what Barra says could be a $3 billion commercial light vehicle industry by 2025—and double that by 2030.

On the autonomous vehicle front, Cruise is now valued at more than $30 billion with GM owning a majority stake. Cruise is getting closer to commercialization as it continues its real-world driverless testing, Barra says. GM is already tooling up its Factory Zero plant in Detroit to make the Cruise Origin driverless ride-hailing vehicle. And an agreement was recently signed for Cruise to be the exclusive provider of self-driving taxis and ride-hailing services for the city of Dubai, with plans for 4,000 vehicles by 2030.

As for the semiconductor chip shortage, GM did not want to forecast the number of units of lost production, but GM had $1.2 billion in inventory awaiting components to get them out the door and recoup costs—the shortage could ultimately result in $1.5 billion to $2 billion in lost earnings. Key plants will work through the traditional summer shutdown to make up production shortfalls.

The post GM Highlights Strong Q1 Earnings and Upcoming Chevy Silverado EV appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Drake’s Gothic-Themed Rolls-Royce Cullinan Is Definitely Unique

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 05/05/2021 - 21:30

Drake has never really been one for the preservation of money. The Canadian rapper and songwriter said as much on the track “Crew Love” from his sophomore album Take Care. His penchant for customizing luxury vehicles is just one way the Grammy award winner spends all of those C-notes. Case in point: A tailor-made Rolls-Royce Cullinan designed in collaboration with fashion brand Chrome Hearts.

According to GQ, the bespoke Rolls-Royce SUV took one year to customize. In teaming up with Chrome Hearts, Drake was striving for a one-of-a-kind Rolls-Royce and accomplished just that. The luxury line, established in 1988 and owned by Richard and Laurie Lynn Stark, is known for its meticulous attention to detail and high-end design work.

While most of the custom work transpired in the interior, Chrome Hearts replaced the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament with a trio of crosses, and fitted wheels featuring a massive Chrome Hearts logo, with the words “F**k You” engraved in Gothic script on the lip. The custom 24-inch wheels come wrapped in 285/40/ZR23 Pirelli Scorpion Zeros. Upon closer observation, you will notice the carbon fiber hood, side skirts, rear diffuser, front bumper splitter, air dams, and C-pillar trim. Other modifications on the outside include air vents and cladding on the fenders, and a lower chrome grille.

If you are a fan of the Hotline Bling singer, then you probably caught a glimpse of the Gothic-themed interior in the music video “What’s Next,” which shows Drake in the back seat rapping his heart out.

Inside, the Chrome Hearts Cullinan is covered in quilted black leather (from handcrafted raw materials) throughout, including the dashboard, center console, door panels, seats, and floorboard—but unlike the usual diamond-quilted pattern on luxury car interiors, this black-on-black Rolls-Royce features extravagantly embroidered goth crosses, embedded silver accents, and fleur-de-lis motifs. No stone was left unturned; everything from the climate vent knobs to the brake and gas pedals to the floor mats were updated. The Rolls-Royce starlight headliner, however, was kept intact in its original form.

Oh, and this Rolls gets a unique key holder made of leather with a chain that attaches to the key fob.

The lavishly decorated Rolls-Royce Cullinan is part of the launch for Drake’s upcoming album Certified Lover Boy. It will be on display at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Miami until May 15, 2021. In addition to the Rolls-Royce project, Chrome Hearts and Drake have also created a lifestyle collection of curated apparel and auto accessories that complements the customized Cullinan.

Photography courtesy of Chrome Hearts.

The post Drake’s Gothic-Themed Rolls-Royce Cullinan Is Definitely Unique appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Watch Two D.C. Cop Cars Crash While Drag Racing

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 05/05/2021 - 21:10

Last month, a curious news story bubbled up out of Washington D.C. by way of the city’s local Fox news station: Two D.C. police cars had crashed into one another, allegedly after having raced each other down a city street. Thanks to one of the body cameras of the officers involved in these shenanigans, we now have a (slightly odd) view of what went down.

A quick recap on body cameras: They activate when something happens (or when manually turned on). In this case, that triggering something was the two Ford Police Interceptors crashing into one another. Thing is, the cameras also record the prior two minutes, albeit without sound, before activation, which is where the footage below comes from. In it, we get the point-of-view of the officer in the front-passenger seat (not the driver) of one of the involved police cars. As such, the view of the lens comes from about chest height and aimed somewhat skyward through the windshield.

Careful with your computer or phone volume, because the audio kicks on abruptly immediately following the impact, at which point we see the officer stumble out of the car and sprinkle some profanity in a mixture of shock and, probably, “oh poop!” concern.

The clip was released by the D.C. police, so jump to the 1:20 mark to skip the city’s verbal and visual recap of the situation and see the in-car view of the incident. Again, because the body camera appears to be somewhere on the officer’s torso, the view is awkward, and we only see the other police car enter the frame at the very end, as it appears to turn left in front of the police car our camera-wearing officer is seated in. The driver inexplicably drives straight into the other car’s left side, turning it around and running both sedans off the road and into someone’s front yard.

It seems everyone involved in this lapse in judgment is being investigated, with punishment forthcoming, up to and including people losing their jobs. Next to misusing police equipment, and that’s putting things mildly, the cops are said to have torn down a surface street in excess of 60 mph, putting everyone nearby in danger (at the end of the clip, we can even see two folks walking their dog opposite the stumbling officer, assuredly dumbstruck by the crash they just witnessed). So, while it’s amusing to see police idiocy rivaling that of the 1984 movie Police Academy, there’s no ignoring the fact these officers put people in real danger while giving the world yet another lesson in why street racing is a terrible, awful, very bad idea.

The post Watch Two D.C. Cop Cars Crash While Drag Racing appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Next-Gen NASCAR: Toyota Reveals Its New Racing Camry

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 05/05/2021 - 20:00

NASCAR’s plans for its seventh generation of race cars first crossed the desk of Toyota’s senior manager for vehicle design at TRD, Todd Holbert, almost three years ago. Since then, Holbert and his team have been working on a car that will introduce more changes to the sport in one year than it has seen in the last 50 years put together. Now, we finally get a look at what Toyota (and other OEM’s) have done with the new rules and regulations.

Even though we now know what Toyota’s Camry TRD racer will look like inside and out, we’re still left with a number of unanswered questions. But first, the specs. The 5.7-liter naturally aspirated V-8 remains, and Toyota will run it in one of two states of tune depending on the track. The lower tune produces 550 hp, but the wick can be turned up to 670 hp for certain tracks.

There was talk that NASCAR might introduce some form of an electric boost to its gas-burning powertrains as the sport tries to become more eco-conscious, but TRD technical director Andy Graves said we won’t see those changes until at least 2023. That said, Graves also noted that the new, seventh-gen racer is essentially “future-proofed,” and the packaging of the new car would allow Toyota to easily adapt a hybrid system to the big V-8.

Other big changes include a move from 15- to 18-inch wheels, as well as going from a five-lug configuration to one giant center lock nut. The wheels are provided by German manufacturer BBS and are made from aluminum to help keep weight down. Bigger wheels also mean there’s room for bigger brakes for extra stopping assistance.

The chassis of Toyota’s next-gen racer is still a tubular steel frame, but the body panels are now made of a carbon composite material. The underfloor is sealed, while the solid rear axle has been replaced by a new independent rear end. There’s also a much deeper front splitter and a massive diffuser at the back of the car. These are all changes that have never been featured on NASCAR race cars before.

The car is also symmetrical from left to right—as mandated by new rules and regulations—so there’s no longer a massive disparity in the way the cars will look in profile from either side. That will also have a knock-on effect on the way the car’s aero load is balanced from left to right. It’s something NASCAR’s tried to model with computational fluid dynamics, but the series’ competitors won’t really know how to truly keep these cars balanced until rubber hits the pavement.

Another looming quandary is the way the cars will work in traffic, and if getting close to the car ahead and passing will be made more or less difficult by the new aerodynamics. So far, the seventh-gen car has been tested on just two occasions, with another test scheduled for October before the real racing starts next year. The new Camry looks great, but there’s still a lot of work to do before Toyota can call it an honest-to-goodness winner.

The post Next-Gen NASCAR: Toyota Reveals Its New Racing Camry appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Always Wanted a Life-Size Tamiya R/C Vehicle? You Better Sit Down

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 05/05/2021 - 19:28

The Little Car Company’s name might ring a bell. Remember the exquisitely crafted small-scale Aston Martin DB5 Junior and Bugatti Baby II … well, we hesitate to call them toys, really, although children could certainly drive them. Many adults would fit, too, and we think for more than $30,000 a parent or enthusiastic big person should probably get to enjoy them at their 30 mph top speed at least once. In an awesome reversal of The Little Car Company’s usual modus operandi, the company’s paired up with Tamiya to release a larger version of one of its iconic model vehicles: the Wild One Max.

Launched in 1985, the Wild One is a remote-control (R/C) buggy that came in kit form. Now, 36 years later, the kids and adults that enjoyed building and racing the Wild One around yards and R/C tracks are perfectly positioned to be able to afford a really special nostalgic experience: getting inside and driving something they were wild about way back when. Frankly, it’s a brilliant idea.

And more to the point, a lot of the fun of Tamiya R/C kits was the ability to build it yourself, and then drive it around—combining the assembly fun of a static model with the enduring thrills of R/C adventuring. So, this big Wild One? It’s a kit, too. Yes, with decals to adhere, and even a catalog of upgrades just like its smaller forebear—individual “hop-ups” for both appearance and performance, and complete “packs” of upgrades to optimize the Wild One for, say, tarmac or off-road duty.

And since this is an 8/10ths scale, instead of a 1/10ths, version, the Max will be relatively large: 137.8 inches long overall and about 551 lbs, and able to accommodate drivers up to 6.5-feet tall. The chassis is a spaceframe design suspended by coilovers at each corner, coming standard with 15-inch off-road tires, and rear-wheel drive is the only option. Hydraulic Brembo disc brakes provide stopping power, and are supplemented by the electric drive motor’s regenerative braking.

Power is provided by a single electric motor and a 2-kWh battery pack, giving 5.5 horsepower peak and a maximum range of 25 miles. Upgrades can add power or battery capacity. The base top speed is a healthy 30 mph, which in this windscreen-less buggy should feel plenty quick.

There’s more! Upgrade packs to make it road-legal in various regions are available, including a kit to make it legal as a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle in the U.S. And The Little Car Company says this big Wild One Max should ring in at much, much less than the company’s other luxury offerings: $8,250 before tax. A refundable $140 deposit secures a spot on the build list, and also allows you to provide input on exactly which decals and features the company should make available.

Now, who can we talk to about getting a large-scale Sand Scorcher, anyways?

The post Always Wanted a Life-Size Tamiya R/C Vehicle? You Better Sit Down appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

2021 Ford Explorer Timberline debuts, Ford Shelby GT returns, used EV prices jump: What's New @ The Car Connection

The Car Connection News Feed - Wed, 05/05/2021 - 16:49
2021 Ford Explorer Timberline gets ready to rumble The addition of a 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline model provides another off-road choice for Ford buyers who don’t need the full Bronco capability. 2022 Kia Sportage review The 2022 Kia Sportage compact crossover SUV earns a solid TCC Rating of 6.7 out of 10, thanks to excellent features and...
Categories: Property

Ilke Homes secures development site for 165 new homes in Exeter

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 05/05/2021 - 16:46
Ilke Homes has secured a development site on which it plans to deliver 165 new homes at Exmouth Junction, Exeter.
Categories: Property

Ford Ready to Unleash E-Transit EV Van—For Nearly Fifty Grand (!)

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 05/05/2021 - 15:34

In our first look at the 2022 Ford E-Transit van last year, we were told it’d come at “less than $45,000.” Consider that promise kept—barely. The E-Transit, a rear-drive van powered entirely by electrons, will start at $44,990. While that seems like a lot for an electric work van, a regular gas-fed Transit starts at $43,390, so, not far off.

Registration is now open for commercial customers who want to raise hands with an intent to purchase these Transit EVs. Ford claims that 450 commercial customers have “expressed interest” in acquiring these vans, although a rough estimate of how many vans these interested parties might order isn’t yet available.

We’ve already taken a detailed look at what the E-Transit has to offer, but as a quick refresher, this is going to be a big deal for Ford in the commercial space, and the company is going all-in. Its rear-drive powertrain utilizes Mach-E components for economy of scale, and produces a more-than-adequate 266 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque.

More importantly, there’s a 67-kWh battery pack below the cargo floor that should offer a maximum of 126 miles of range (on the low-roof variant—expect a lower figure for the higher-drag tall-roof versions). For skittish fleet managers, Ford is backing up the powertrain with an 8-year, 100,000-mile warranty. The vans top out at 3,800 pounds of payload, or 4,290 pounds for the cutaway/bare chassis versions.

For E-Transit operators with job site needs, the E-Transit can supply 2.4 kW of AC power for tools and what have you—that’s the same output as the standard generator on the F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid, though not quite the level of power that, say, that pickup’s optional 7.2-kW supply can pump out; consider it adequate for the van’s mission.

Ford estimates a 40 percent reduction in maintenance costs, so the E-Transit should be a very attractive vehicle for short-haul urban delivery duty—which, Ford claims, is an average of 74 miles of day for a typical commercial van. The E-Transit will be available in eight configurations—including three roof heights and three lengths—and Ford says its seeing healthy interest in all configurations.

The E-Transit will roll out with early adopters in a pilot program—essentially, a real-world beta test—with selected customers this summer, although more details aren’t available yet. The order books for this program will open in July. As for when the E-Transit will be available to other customers, we’ll just have to wait and see.

The post Ford Ready to Unleash E-Transit EV Van—For Nearly Fifty Grand (!) appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Issa brothers to sell 27 petrol stations to complete £6.8bn Asda deal

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 05/05/2021 - 15:23
The billionaire Issa brothers have agreed to sell almost 30 petrol stations so that its £6.8m Asda takeover can go ahead.
Categories: Property

MHA instructs agents for the sale of Hanwell’s Elthorne Village

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 05/05/2021 - 15:21
MHA London has appointed Allsop and Colliers to market its mixed-use residential-led development, Elthorne Village, Property Week can reveal.
Categories: Property

Ferrari 812 Competizione First Look: The A Team

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 05/05/2021 - 13:40

The Ferrari 812 Superfast just got a little less super with the arrival of the 812 Competizione and Competizione A (apparently the names Superfaster and Superfaster A never stood a chance). The two models are the latest evolution of Ferrari’s front-engined V-12 supercar, with the Competizione maintaining a traditional coupe body style and the Competizione A going the open-topped Targa route.

Under the Competizione twins’ hoods rest the same 6.5-liter V-12 engine that pumps out 818 hp and screams toward a 9,500 rpm redline. Ferrari used some high-tech tricks to increase performance from the big engine, including replacing the usual steel connecting rods with lighter titanium units, adding diamond-like carbon to the piston rings to reduce internal friction, rebalancing (and shedding weight from) the crankshaft, and fitting a new set of cylinder heads to let the pistons more efficiently suck in air and expel exhaust. 

The Italian automaker massaged the oil pump, direct fuel injection setup, and cooling system to make sure the powertrain is fully prepped for high-speed adventures. Like lesser 812s, the 812 Competizione and Competizione A rely on a seven-speed transmission that uses a pair of clutches to quickly swap cogs—except shift speeds are now five percent faster. All this tinkering allows the 812 Competizione to hit 62 mph in less than 2.9 seconds, per Ferrari, with the car eventually topping out at more than 211 mph.

The race-ready performance of the Competizione and Competizione A is not simply due to powertrain improvements, as the model benefits from aerodynamic tweaks to help keep the engine bay and brakes cool during hard driving. Redesigned exterior pieces, including a new rear diffuser and a closed-off rear window with a panel that incorporates a set of vortex generators, increase the limited-run 812 Competizione’s available downforce to ensure its Michelin Cup2R tires’ contact patches stay glued to the tarmac. The open-roof 812 Competizione A, meanwhile, trades the vortex generators of the Competizione coupe for a bridge between its two buttresses that directs air toward the rear spoiler to help keep its rear-end planted. A four-wheel steering system further improves the cars’ lateral capabilities.

While Ferrari has yet to mention pricing or specific production figures for the 812 Competizione and Competizione A, it’s likely both models will sell for “more than you can afford, pal” once production of the Competizione and Competizione A commence.

The post Ferrari 812 Competizione First Look: The A Team appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Marlet inks financing deal for mixed-use development

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 05/05/2021 - 13:38
Marlet has agreed a €147m (£126.8m) financing facility with AIG to construct its mixed-use development, Grand Canal Harbour in Dublin 8.
Categories: Property

US luxury giant RH to make UK debut with Mayfair store

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 05/05/2021 - 13:31
Luxury American home furnishings company Restoration Homeware (RH)  is set to sign for its first UK store at Mayfair’s Burlington Gardens, Property Week can reveal.
Categories: Property

2022 Kia Sportage

The Car Connection News Feed - Wed, 05/05/2021 - 12:54
What kind of vehicle is the 2022 Kia Sportage? What does it compare to? The Sportage is a compact crossover SUV with front- or all-wheel drive, room for up to five people, and a choice of turbo-4 or non-turbo engines. It’s a rival for vehicles like the Hyundai Tucson, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape. Is the 2022 Kia Sportage a good crossover...
Categories: Property

Henley and Sixth street JV buys west London office park

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 05/05/2021 - 12:03
A joint venture between Sixth Street and Henley Investments has completed the purchase of New Square, Bedfont Lakes in Feltham, West London.
Categories: Property

Dublin’s Donnybrook House on the market

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 05/05/2021 - 12:02
Donnybrook House, a 66,525 sq ft five-storey office building in Dublin, has been launched to market with a price tag of €27m (£23.3m).
Categories: Property

Highway Robbery: There’s a New MT Boss in Town

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 05/05/2021 - 12:01

Welcome, tiny percentage of MotorTrend readers who actually read the editor’s monthly musings! Man, are you in for a treat. You’ve probably already noticed something’s different, not quite right. Or … is it so wrong that it couldn’t be more right?

What tipped you off? My warm, gentlemanly greeting? Or was it my devil-may-care style of prose, tumbling gracefully like a figure skater who just broke a shin bone or two. Was that it?

Most likely, you looked at the photo above—or the cover of the July issue—saw my face, then screamed victoriously, like a bald eagle after gobbling up a delicious puppy. Then, in a high-pitched register, you called out to anyone within earshot: “The sportscaster dude from Anchorman is the guest editor of MotorTrend this month?! F yeah!”

Yes and no. You’re actually thinking of the other bald guy in funny movies, Dave Koechner. That’s cool, we both get it a lot, and he is hilarious. But I’m actually the bald guy from Top Gear America … or Ballers? Hot Tub Time Machine? Whatever, it doesn’t matter, anyway; just step into my custom van and help yourself to some hard candies, because we’re gonna give MotorTrend the beans.

When MT’s real editors asked me to man the helm, the first thing I said was, “Yes, please!” because my mother raised me right. The second thing I said was, “Dax Shepard said no, I guess?” That seemed to make them very uncomfortable, lots of throat clearing, etc. So, to clear the air, I got down to business.

My first demand was for complete and total control of my edition, right down to commissioning writers and doing the photo editing myself. They immediately came back with, “Absolutely not.”

“Cool,” was my reply. (I’m pretty awesome at negotiating.) “How much do I get paid?”

“Zero dollars.”

“Hmmm …”

I let them sweat it out for a whole 10 minutes of silence before saying, “You folks have got yourselves a deal.” And everyone left the negotiating table happy, feeling like they won, you know?

Now it was time to think about what I wanted to do with my edition. I didn’t want it to feel anything like the gross examples of blatant self-promotion that usually pose as celebrity guest-editorships. So, I won’t be telling you to WATCH TOP GEAR AMERICA, streaming NOW on the MotorTrend app! (Guys, make that last sentence look big and splashy, but not too over the top, you know? Ooooh, can you make it sparkly?! But subtle sparkly! No! Better idea … like a pop-up book!)

One thing is for sure: This will still be the MotorTrend you look forward to every month.

On a more serious tip, I do look forward to it. Very much so. There may be nothing I enjoy more than finding time to stretch out and read a good car mag (yes, even this monthly editor’s note). It’s a good time, guaranteed. Because while the universe of cars, driving cars, car parts, and parts of car parts is something inherently definable, it still manages to remain wildly subjective. Because we, the car enthusiasts, are as important as any tie rod or differential. A car still needs us to make it go (at least for now), and we can be an opinionated bunch, to say the least. So, reading a car magazine is always a collaborative experience—it’s like an off-key sing-along!

A few old friends will join, friends you’ll recognize from … I don’t know, just about everything car-related? Firstly, Top Gear America producer and prolific car journalist Derek Powell and I have a spirited, dare I say game-changing back and forth on the subject of Top Gear America: Behind the Scenes. All your questions finally get answered. Questions like:

  • Is fellow co-host Dax Shepard from Detroit?
  • Who writes the episodes?
  • How do the writers feel when the hosts pee on their scripts and refuse to say anything the writers have worked so hard to write?
  • What part of Detroit? Because I have a friend that lives off of 6 Mile Road … does Dax know Maureen?
  • And of course, the big one: Who is the Stig …
  • … Sleeping with these days? Also, what’s the Stig’s net worth and birth sign? And how many Stig children are there?

The truth is, as of this writing, Derek and I haven’t had the chance to speak, so I have no idea what we’ll talk about. But I’m looking forward to it. And I know nothing about the Stig except to say I think I have a secret admirer.

Along the way, MT’s resident racer Randy Pobst gives me some finer points about the art of performance driving. And my Top Gear America co-host and renowned auto scribe Jethro Bovingdon drives the Honda Civic Type R and compares it to the legendary Acura Integra Type R, a gorgeous example of which Honda delivered to us from its museum. Jethro wasn’t allowed drive it more than 60 mph, which made him so mad, and nothing makes me laugh harder than a mad Jethro. I do him the honor of adding notes to his piece; I may even grade him, I haven’t decided. Whatever makes him angriest.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to MotorTrend for having me. This has been a fun experience that was simultaneously so stressful that what is left of my hair has turned snow white overnight. I look like a U.S. president three years into his second term, like, “North Korea is on the phone again? My phone? Crap. Tell them I just got out of the shower or something.”

Enjoy!

The post Highway Robbery: There’s a New MT Boss in Town appeared first on MotorTrend.

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