A Bull in a China Shop

The first full week of 2020 was a bull in a china shop creating one breaking news story after another. We saw the start of an election year, multiple natural disasters, and a dramatic spike in WW3 memes. The automotive world saw its fair share of WTF moments trending online as well, so here is a recap of some of the news stories that came to light in the dawn of 2020.

GM Engineers Busted for Street Racing C8 Stingrays in Kentucky

Kentucky state police confirmed that they had stopped two drivers for exceeding the speed limit in two Corvette C8 Stingrays on the evening of January 8. Police report stated that the vehicles were stopped for exceeding the posted 45mph speed limit by more than 26 mph, reckless driving, and street racing on public roads. Both drivers were arrested, and the pair of C8 Stingrays towed off to the impound yard. One of the drivers is Alexander Thim, is a computer engineer working with exhaust and induction for Corvette. The other driver is Mark Derkatz, an electrical engineer.

UPDATE: A recent update on this story came from Kentucky’s WNKY local news. Their report stated that one C8 was clocked at 120 mph, the second at 100 mph, and that there was a third Corvette on the scene but was “not participating in the racing”.

I hope they are not fired over this because it would be a real shame for two qualified engineers to lose their job simply for using a the product they helped create. It is no secret that prototype muscle cars were often focused grouped on the streets of Woodward Avenue during the displacement wars of the late 1960s. So this may not be a case of rouge employees, but rather two that just ran out of luck.

The Seven Figure Patina Mustang

One of the two 1968 Ford Mustang GT390’s from the Steve McQueen’s film Bullitt was sold at Mecum auction last week. The hammer dropped on a final bid of a $3,400,000 dollars (with added auction fees for a total of $3.74 million) making this patina ’68 fastback the most expensive Mustang, and muscle car, on the planet.

This particular Highland Green Fastback GT was the screen used hero-car that McQueen drove. After the film production wrapped up the Mustang was sold off to a private owner who was actually a New Jersey police detective – life imitating art. From then on the car passed through several hands with McQueen trying to buy it at one point in the 1970’s. The Bullitt Mustang has survived with its original factory V8 and 4-speed, and still bares evidence of its time as a movie star. This is a definitive cool car.

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They Named it What?

Subaru debuted the Forester Ultimate Customized Kit Special Edition, or F.U.C.K.S for short, at the 2020 Singapore Auto Show last week. There are many ways to interpret the logic those in charge of this machine took to arrive at this name decision. The name is definition an attention getter and whether people get offend or not the rule is any publicity is good publicity. My guess is that those in charge of developing this Forester simply threw a bucket of chum into the internet ocean to attract attention - and threw in some Enkei wheels as a bonus. This kustom Forester was being featured at Subaru’s booth. The interior is dressed in STI trim, and the Forester sports a unique paint scheme. The overall appearance is nice and the name causes levity even if it as subtle as a candle made from a stick of dynamite.

UPDATE: Since the story debuted Subaru has released a U.S. edition apology to Subaru retailers in America in a formal letter. The Drive posted the letter in where Subaru shifts the blame on the Singapore distributor who allegedly had the special edition Forester made. Subaru of America denies they had anything to do with this and that the F.U.C.K.S in “no way reflects the values and standards we hold true.” The letter reads like a standard apology letter to cover their bases against the handful of people who had the time of day to get offended over a vehicle 9,200 miles away from them.

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EV HUMVEE Pickup Truck, Presented by LeBron James

Last Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Hummer was returning home to the General Motor family tree. The report cited their sources as “according to people familiar with the matter” and stated that plans were in motion that included having LeBron James as a spokesperson in an upcoming Super Bowl commercial. Hummer is planned to be the moniker for an electric pickup set to be debuting as soon as 2022.

The report also stated that there are “no plans” to establish Hummer as a stand-alone brand. Hummer could be a model or a trim label under GMC. It seems electric trucks will be the next arms race in the automotive market. I for one look forward to seeing how these upcoming EV work horses will cope with the sometimes brutal living conditions of a pickup truck.

Hummer closed its doors 10 years ago on February 24, 2010. Remember the 2000’s? A Hummer H2 rolling heavy gliding on a set of spinning 24’’ wheels towering over a Mitsubishi Eclipse with too much neon – both fitted with butterfly doors. Keeping up with Jersey Shore, and paying $150 dollars for an iPod shuffle with 1GB of memory so you can download the latest 50 Cent album off Lime Wire.

When I first heard this news I pictured a mild mannered Pruis owner anxious to trade-in for a new EV Humvee and have his revenge on all those who made him lose face on the highway.

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