Earlier this year, continuation car builder Classic Recreations announced that it had obtained the rights to build and sell brand new 1969 Boss 429 Mustangs. At the time, all we had were a few details and an illustration of what the cars would look like. But now that the actual car has been revealed at SEMA, we know way more than we did before.
Classic Recreations says it’s the only company officially licensed to sell 1969 Boss 429 continuations and that each build starts with an original 1969 Mustang body that it restores to factory condition. It’s then transformed into a Boss 429 with a new hood with the requisite scoop, a new bumper, 18-inch wheels, and all the necessary logos. Inside, CR adds new seats, 200-mph Boss 429 gauges, an aluminum steering wheel, air conditioning, and a custom console.
But for your money, you get a lot more than a 1969 Mustang made to look like a Boss 429. Under the hood, CR adds a 546-cubic-inch (8.9 liter) V-8 crate engine that makes 815 hp. A Tremec manual transmission comes standard, but an automatic is also available. Out back, you get a four-link rear suspension, while the front uses tubular upper and lower control arms, as well as adjustable coil-overs. CR also adds front and rear anti-roll bars, as well as chassis reinforcements and a custom exhaust.
As you’d expect, CR’s brand new, officially licensed 1969 Boss 429 is pricey. The thousands of man-hours it takes to build one of these cars aren’t cheap, nor are the parts they use to transform the car into a modern Boss 429. But even knowing all of that, the base price is still shockingly high. Classic Recreations charges a minimum of $209,000 for a Boss 429, and the price can climb from there depending on options.
Then again, to the right buyer, a meticulously built and modernized Mustang is going to be way cooler than some run-of-the-mill Ferrari Portofino. Plus, 815 hp is nothing to sneeze at.
Unplugged Performance introduced a wicked widebody Tesla Model S kit at the 2018 SEMA show in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Hawthorne, California-based Tesla tuner offers upgrades to the Model S with its S-APEX P100D kit that starts at $50,000.
Each build is unique and includes a 19-piece pre-impregnated carbon-fiber body conversion, racing suspension, Plug-N-Play high performance shocks, supersized carbon ceramic brakes, ultra-light wheels, and fully bespoke interior bits.
The conversion increases the EV’s overall width by 1.57-inches per corner we are told. The widebody kit allows for the use of wider tires up to 13.2-inches in the rear for better performance and rolls on ultra-light forged wheels offered in 19-, 20-, and 21-inch sizes.
Unplugged Performance’s lightweight carbon ceramic braking system improves stopping power and helps sheds 20 pounds. According to UP, rotational mass is reduced by more than 100 pounds and 0-60 mph times are less than Tesla’s own 2.3 second runs.
Inside gets a headliner and pillars re-trimmed in Alcantara, a reworked steering wheel, dashboard, and center console, as well as seats and door cards. The S-APEX build series is also available to retrofit older P85D, P90D, and P100D donor cars upon request. Too cool.
Back in the 1990s, when the original BMW 8 Series was still on sale, you could pay a shop to turn your range-topping coupe into a convertible. But BMW never actually sold a convertible 8 Series of its own. With the new 8 Series aimed squarely at the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, though, BMW has decided that now is the time to introduce its first official 8 Series Convertible.
The new 8 Series Convertible will initially only be available in 850i xDrive form, meaning it will have a 4.4-liter V-8 making 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. BMW says that’s enough to launch from 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds on your way to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. That 0-60 time is 0.2 second slower than the coupe, but both cars have the same top speed.
The convertible’s slightly slower acceleration can probably be blamed on the fact that it weighs a hefty 4,736 pounds, 258 pounds more than the coupe. Even though the 8 Series Convertible is built using carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic, aluminum, and other lightweight materials, cutting the roof off still requires adding reinforcements that drive up the curb weight.
Speaking of the roof, BMW says the soft-top can be raised or lowered in only 15 seconds at speeds of up to 30 mph. When the top is down, owners can use the standard deflector to keep the cabin from getting too windy and noisy. If it’s not needed, though, the deflector can be folded up and stored in the trunk. During colder months, you should still be able to drive around with the top down thanks to the neck warmers that are integrated into front headrests.
To protect passengers in the event of a crash, BMW uses an automatically activated rollover protection system. When the car detects a rollover, the system can extend two aluminum roll bars from behind the rear headrests in a fraction of a second.
Other than those changes, though, it sounds like the 8 Series Convertible is pretty much the same as the coupe. As we discovered in our first drive, that means precise steering, a well-programmed transmission, plenty of V-8 power, and the kind of on-track agility that belies the car’s massive size. Only this time around, you’ll be able to enjoy the drive with the wind in your hair.
If you like the idea of the 8 Series Convertible, BMW says you’ll only have to wait until March to buy one with a base price of $122,395 including destination. The 2019 BMW M850i xDrive will debut later this month at the L.A. auto show.
If you’re one of the millions of Americans with an affinity for European automobiles, you’re a part of a fan base dating back several generations to the early 1950s. Though long before any of the European auto marques prowled our roads and interstates, Americans largely bought Detroit-made automobiles. In that sea of land yachts, endless chrome, and tail-fins proliferating from a booming industrial revolution and war-driven economy, foreign automobiles of any kind were virtually non-existent, except for the few aristocrats who could afford the really expensive ones.
The presence of European automobiles on U.S. soil wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for one ambitious man with a knack for fine automobiles and a rather extensive dealership network: a Mr. Maximillian Edwin Hoffman. Max Hoffman is credited for single-handedly introducing European cars to the world’s largest market for the automobile at the time.
And at this year’s massive and second annual air-cooled Porsche gathering, Driven to America, in Long Island, New York, Mr. Hoffman’s presence was acknowledged with the display of his “Circle of Legends,” or all of the key models Hoffman introduced to American buyers for the first time. Hoffman was celebrated in conjunction with Porsche’s 70th anniversary as a sports car maker. The company’s presence on U.S. soil, along with nearly every other major European manufacturer, would not be without the efforts of Mr. Hoffman.
Hoffman’s U.S.-based operation officially began on the East Coast after immigrating to the U.S. and fleeing the grasp of Germany’s Third Reich. He opened up his first American dealership, Hoffman Motor Company, in 1947 initially selling Jaguars and eventually, Volkswagens by 1948.
By 1952, he opened the flood gates to Mercedes-Benz models, allowing him to gain an understanding for America’s interest in fine European automobiles. Hoffman’s first major move however occurred when he suggested that Mercedes-Benz produce a road-going version of Rudolf Uhlenhaut’s record-breaking W194 300SL racecar, driven by none other than the likes of Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss.
He anticipated the street-going variants and the idea of a toned-down Grand Prix racer for the road would bode well with the flamboyant tastes of wealthy Americans. But Mercedes-Benz wasn’t quite in synchrony with the idea, until Hoffman himself placed an order for 1,000 examples before the project could gain approval. His determination and belief in its success eventually led to the birth of the legendary W198 300SL Gullwing and W121 190SL roadsters. Its first actual customer: none other than the one and only Briggs Cunningham.
In 1954, the Gullwing debuted at the New York Auto Show after Hoffman convinced Mercedes-Benz to build it. From that, he secured the rights as the sole official importer of Mercedes-Benz with his own dealership network that he personally built up since 1947 out of the New York area, selling the finest automobiles Europe had to offer to rich Americans.
He then expanded his operation, utilizing his accumulated expertise and understanding of the U.S. luxury car market to coax BMW into developing the 507 as a more affordable German sports roadster alternative to the Mercedes-Benz 300SL, using influence from the 501 and 502 sedans.
Along the same lines, he later convinced Porsche to cut the roof off its all-new Type 356 coupe to make a high-performance sports roadster, leading to the birth of the 356 Speedster. Word on the street is that he even designed the company’s iconic insignia. And he even played a major role in making Alfa Romeo come up with the Giulietta Spider.
But Hoffman didn’t just dedicate his business to exclusive luxury sports cars. His efforts played a monumental role with introducing the Volkswagen Beetle and the BMW 2002 to the U.S. market. Further, his showroom space wasn’t limited to just German automobiles, as he also imported Alfa Romeos, Austin-Healeys, Fiats, MGs, and other famed European marques.
Born and raised in Vienna, Austria, Hoffman lived out most of his early life perpetuating his father’s bicycle manufacturing operation and later, as an amateur racer. He retired from the sport in 1934 and commenced a career importing the most opulent American iron available into Austria, from the likes of Duesenberg, Cord, Auburn, and Pontiac. Hoffman was also the first agent to pitch Volvos outside Sweden’s domestic market.
With the rise of Germany’s Third Reich encroaching its way into Austria because of the Anschluss of 1938 and Hoffman in disagreement with its rhetoric, particularly since Hoffman himself had Jewish ancestry, he relocated his business to Paris. But a few short years later in 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany, forcing Hoffman to cross the Atlantic and settle down in the New York area.
Unfortunately, after arriving on U.S. soil on December 7, 1941, Hoffman had to temporarily shelve his car dealer operation since automobile demand within the U.S. virtually vanished as the country focused on fighting the Axis powers. Let alone, nobody in America had interest in European automobiles, especially German ones, and battered European automakers weren’t exactly in the position to continue manufacturing passenger vehicles either. To make ends meet, Hoffman temporarily and successfully took up the business of manufacturing costume jewelry.
Once the war was over, Hoffman permanently made New York his home. Using the funds he accumulated from his costume jewelry operation, he reentered the car dealer business, opening shop in both Manhattan and Los Angeles establishing the Hoffman Motor Car Company. With soldiers returning home, fueling the baby-boomer wave, buyers eagerly awaited Detroit to churn out the post-war “cars of tomorrow.”
But Hoffman insisted that those cars were already available, albeit, just from Europe and with levels of sophistication never seen before. As a result, interest in European automobiles skyrocketed. Such marques ranged from French Delahayes, to Italian Lancias, and British Jaguars—most notably, the Jaguar XK120, a personal favorite of his.
It was then that he became the sole importer and distributor for both Mercedes-Benz and BMW, and eventually Volkswagen. And upon receiving the first set of 20 Volkswagens ever shipped to the U.S., this transaction led to his introduction to Porsche.
Through the 1950s, Hoffman continued as the sole importer of those major German marques, coordinating the sale of Mercedes-Benzes through the Studebaker-Packard corporation. With Daimler-Benz AG seeing the market potential in the U.S. themselves, they decided to embark on a mission to establish its own dealership network in America, cutting ties with Hoffman by 1957.
By this point, Hoffman’s initial contract with Jaguar and Volkswagen had long-since been in the garbage bin and he sought new efforts. Witnessing growing success with BMW in America, Hoffman went full-speed ahead with the brand. He persuaded the at-the-time reluctant and financially conservative management to build a two-door version of its newly introduced 1500 and 1600 “New Class” era of passenger vehicles, complete with a new 2-liter engine, specifically for the U.S. market. And thus, the 2002 was born and from its profound success in the U.S., it led BMW to establish its North American operation.
With Mercedes-Benz dominating the European full-size luxury sedan segment in America, Hoffman further convinced BMW to follow the America’s popular hot rod and muscle car formula of the 1960s of “fitting the largest engine in a lower optioned, lightweight version” of its automobiles, with its 2500 and 2800 sedans (also known as the Bavaria), establishing a line that would soon become the famed 7-Series.
Hoffman’s introduction of the Bavaria would later mark the end of his efforts as a car importer in the U.S. as he retired from the auto business in 1975, selling off his remaining company to BMW. And in 1981, Hoffman was laid to rest.
But Hoffman’s legacy remains with millions of buyers still flocking to European automakers as the choice for their set of wheels. So the next time you appreciate a European automobile on U.S. soil, you can pretty much thank Mr. Hoffman for making European imports less foreign to American buyers.
After introducing the 2019 Civic and Civic Si, Honda is rolling out the updated Type R and Hatchback. These two variants go on sale November 3 with small price increases and an updated list of equipment.
Like the Civic Si that just went on sale, the Type R and Hatchback feature an updated infotainment system. This system now has physical buttons and a volume knob, replacing haptic controls on the old version. Models with dual-zone climate control have physical buttons to operate the fan speed. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard on EX trims and higher. Honda also put in larger cupholders, revised controls for the steering wheel, and an indicator light on the electronic parking brake that signals when it’s engaged.
The 2019 Honda Civic Type R starts at $36,595, an increase of $1,000 from last year. In addition to the interior updates, the Type R also receives a new Sonic Gray Pearl color option. The hot hatch is still available in one trim level and with one engine: a 2.0-liter turbo-four making 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque that comes paired exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission.
Hatchback models are priced from $22,345, up from last year’s starting price of $21,045. For the extra coin, buyers get standard Honda Sensing. This package bundles together collision mitigation braking system, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, road departure mitigation, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow.
Honda is no longer offering the base hatchback with a manual transmission, which explains some of the price difference between this year’s and last year’s starting price. If you want the six-speed manual, you’ll have to upgrade to the Sport starting at $23,145. That’s up from last year’s price of $22,645 when paired with the manual. CVT-equipped Sport models go for $23,945, an increase from $23,445.
EX models increase $500 to start at $24,645. EX-Navi is priced from $27,145, also up $500. The top-dog Sport Touring holds steady at $29,645. All Hatchback models continue on with the 1.5-liter turbo-four engine with 180 hp on the Sport and Sport Touring, and 174 hp on the other trims.