LA Auto Show: Not Until May 2021

Yes, this is the LA Auto Show. Automobility LA is just a reference to press-only days.

Considering COVID has relegated most noteworthy automotive events to “virtual” or canceled status, our (shutter) trigger fingers have been dying/itching for something to cover/photograph. The LA Auto Show happens to be an in-town event for us, so needless to say, we were hoping the numbers would go down and allow for some resemblance of normalcy at the LA Convention Center in November. Nope. We can’t have nice things because a certain portion of society at large don’t act with caution/not wear masks. You know what you can do with yourselves… But yes, the LA Auto Show has been rescheduled to May 2021. It’ll feel a bit weird attending the event in early Summer but we’ll take it. See you 8 months from now.

F1: Candian and Italian Bullshit

I’m sure that every Formula 1 fan already knows of Racing Point – owned by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll (is it just me who thinks he looks like a complete asshole?) – signed Sebastian Vettel to drive for them starting next year when the team will be known as Aston Martin (which Larry Stroll also owns) Racing. As a consequence of all this, Sergio Perez will lose his drive despite having a contract. As seen numerous times before, a contract doesn’t mean much in F1, apparently.

Canadian Bullshit, as Uttered by American Otmar

In the video by Formula World on YouTube – this is an excellent channel for F1 fans, by the way – Otmar Szafnauer, team principal at Racing Point describes how difficult a decision it was to bring Vettel on while letting go of Perez. I call Canadian bullshit on this. Stroll Jr. has played second fiddle to all of his team mates, including Perez. Vettel during the last couple of years has been absolutely trounced by his younger team mate, Charles Leclerc. So we are to believe that pairing 2 second drivers is going to produce a winning line up? Canadian bullshit. Daddy Larry wasn’t to demote his son and Vettel is the only former World Champion he could afford to hire. Kimi’s too old. No fucking way Lewis would go to a second tier team and Fernando would rather be at Renault.

The Italian bullshit referred to in the title of this post? If you are old enough, you’ll recall that Ferrari set out on a mission to create an all-Italian F1 team a number of years ago. As a result, they’ve stacked the team top to bottom with paisans which hasn’t led to much success for a very long time. And the only Italian driver promoted from within their young driver academy is the awful Antonio Giovinazzi. The only way they’ve been able to win is to cheat – look at 2019 vs. 2020, but let’s leave that for another discussion. But I digress. Toward the end of the video, none other than Jacques Villenueve comes to the same conclusion about the Scuderia. What do you know.

The Honda e: Yeah, I’d Rock It

Let’s face it. When it comes to electric cars, there aren’t any attractive options on the lower end of the pricing scale. About the only one that pops to mind is the Fiat 500e, but we wouldn’t be caught dead in a “car” that looks like it came out of a Mattel Barbie catalog. That all changed when we saw this. The Honda e. There’s nothing excessive about this car. It’s a true MVP (minimal viable product) in every sense of the term. But it’s so charming – are we allowed to use that word?! – and really harkens back to the days of the EF and EG Civic.

Honda has repeatedly said they’re bringing the e to the States, but there’s never been a release date for the car. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that this will make it production and come to these shores.

Koenigsegg Gemera: Holy 1,700Bhp Hyper Coupe!

There are a number of super coupes and sedans in the market to lust for. The Mercedes-AMG GT sedan. The BMW M8 Gran Coupe. The Aston Martin Rapide AMR. With all that being said, nothing… I mean NOTHING comes close to what Koenigsegg “launched” at the canceled Genera Motor Show today.

Called the Gemera, this beast rushes to 100kph in less than 2 seconds (??!!!!), cost about $1,000,000 a piece and only 300 units will be made. Talk about a perfect compliment to the Jesko! The former for an outing with the wife and kids, the latter for trips with the girlfriend(s) – as the case may be!

The OG – Willy T. Ribbs

It’s really easy to assume that Lewis Hamilton is the first black professional racing driver because, well, there hasn’t been enough – perhaps close to zero? – exposure provided to these unsung heroes. It’s also easy to assume that Lewis is the first black driver to RACE in Formula 1 because, well, that is true. But he isn’t the first to actually sit in an F1 car and drive it. It’s also easy to applaud Lewis for this speech at the recent Laureus Awards because what he had to say about diversity in the sport made so much sense. So much sense, indeed.

Really, though, he – and we, motorsports fans – have to thank Willy T. Ribbs for paving the way decades ago for drivers of color to even THINK about entering motorsports. From the Miller Brewing pulling its sponsorship of a NASCAR team because he was hired on as its driver – RACIST MUCH, Miller Brewing? To Bernie Ecclestone’s Brabham squad ultimately giving a seat to an Italian driver instead because Parmalat wanted an Italian behind the wheel.

And it’s easy to get excited about season 2 of Drive to Survive. But before you deep dive into that documentary about the 2019 Formula 1 season, I highly recommend watching Uppity: The Willy T. Ribbs Story. Hear and feel all the crap he had to go through, from being called the N word a countless number of times, being discriminated, marked, boo’d and more throughout his career.

The OG. Let’s praise the OG.

Fernando Alonso to Contest the 2020 Indy 500 with McLaren

Yes, it’s happening! Despite earlier stirrings, Fernando Alonso – who one of this author’s most favored Formula 1 drivers, past and present – will be contesting the Indy 500 with McLaren after all. Due to his remarks about the Honda-supplied powerplant during his last years at the Woking outfit, it was rumored he would not contest the May motorsport spectacle with McLaren. Surprise, surprise. It will be great to see the Spaniard contest the 500 once again. If he wins, he would be come only the second driver in history to win the Monaco GP, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indy 500. One can only hope!

2019 LA Auto Show: Part III

VW, still reeling from the diese-gate disaster a couple of years ago, really needed to make a splash. And a splash it did make with the ID Space Vizzion concept and the more earthly 2020 Atlas Cross Sport. The latter is a looker, with a sloping rear section not unlike the BMW X6 or the Cayenne from VW’s sister company, Porsche.

The new Corvette took center stage at Chevrolet. With a shark like front end (see below) and a rear end that wouldn’t look out of place on a Lambo, the blue Smurf colored convertible variant attracted more than its fair share of looks.

Yawnfest at Honda, Subaru: Nothing to see here, really. Honda touted its commitment to “green cars,” whereas Subaru had a national park kinda booth. The latter announced a special version of the WRX / STI, dubbed “Series White,” that will cost up to nearly $44,000 (for the STI version). Right. Kind of like how they sell you “Recaro” seats that look like office chairs as an optional paid upgrade. We’ll pass.

Sure, Hyundai and Kia are technically two separate car companies… but not really. The former unveiled the Vision T concept, which is a wicked looking cross over. The design language is aggressive with lots of angles. We likes. The latter introduced the 2020 Niro and the brand new 2021 Seltos. A smaller SUV with either an NA 2.0L or a 1.6L turbo I4, it should do well in a market looking for ever more SUV / cross over options.

Toyota for the Family: New for 2020… RAV4 Prime, new Highlander and a new Mirai (which we did not spot).

Other cars that caught our eyes…