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Jeremy Clarkson farm shop to open

Crop Gear: Jeremy Clarkson’s farm shop opens tomorrow

Jeremy Clarkson farm shop to open

The opening of a farm shop shouldn’t generate many column inches beyond the parish news or local rag. But most farm shops aren’t owned by Jeremy Clarkson.

His ‘unheated and meat free’ farm shop opens tomorrow afternoon. As a result, you can expect the roads in and around the Oxfordshire village of Chadlington to be rather busy.

In a tweet, The Grand Tour presenter and farmer said: “My farm shop opens tomorrow afternoon. Twitter friendly as it’s unheated and meat free. Do drop in if you’re in the Chipping Norton area.”

When pressed for a precise opening time, Clarkson said: “The afternoon; like I said.” Form an orderly queue around lunchtime…

Last year, Jeremy Clarkson was forced to defend plans to build a shop at Diddly Squat Farm. Locals said the farm shop would have a “negative impact on the landscape”. At the time, Clarkson told the BBC: “I really know I’m not doing anything wrong or anything that would hurt the village.”

West Oxfordshire District Council granted planning permission last year, with approval granted on the proviso that the shop can only sell produce grown on-site or by West Oxfordshire producers. When asked whether he has grown the produce himself, Clarkson tweeted: “All of it.”

Top Beer

Jeremy Clarkson

This comes ahead of Clarkson’s new Amazon show which has the working title of ‘I Bought The Farm’. The eight-part series will see the former Top Gear presenter and “inept townie” attempting to run the 1,000-acre working farm. 

In a video released in October 2019, Jeremy Clarkson said: “Good news! I can finally confirm that I’m going to be spending the next year, in the rain, making a show about farming.

“This means people all over the world will be able to watch me using a thousand acres of the Cotswolds to make thousands of tons of beer, and bread, and vegetable oil, and lamb chops, and jumpers.”

Needless to say, tomorrow’s grand opening is likely to be filmed for Amazon. It could be your chance to meet a star at a reasonably priced farm shop…  

Also see:

Jeremy Clarkson’s cars of the year 2019

See the Top Gear cars from the Nepal special at Beaulieu

50 years of the truck Jeremy Clarkson couldn’t kill

Roush announces details of 2020 Ford F-150 performance pickups

2020 Roush Performance Pickups

Roush Performance has confirmed details of its Ford F-150 pickup truck offerings for 2020, with two versions available to order now. 

A supercharged V-8 engine provides the power for both of the pairing, but Roush has tailored the vehicles to suit different tastes. 

Both will offer impressive power and performance, but buyers will be able to pick whether they prefer to enjoy it on the street or in the dirt.

Rumble in the jungle

2020 Roush Performance Pickups

Getting ready to kick it in the rough stuff is the 2020 F-150 SC. Designed as an all-purpose off-roader, the SC has features to enable it to make the most of its supercharged engine.

At the heart of the SC is Ford’s 5.0-liter V-8 engine, but fitted with Roush’s TVS R2650 supercharger system. This boosts output to an impressive 650 horsepower, with 610 lb-ft of torque. 

A Roush cat-back exhaust with sporty dual-tips is also standard, helping the engine breathe better, while enhancing its sound. Buyers can also pay extra for an active exhaust, controlled by a switch inside the cabin. 

2020 Roush Performance Pickups

Roush has also tuned the Fox 2.0 suspension system, and fitted Grabber ATX 305/55 tires mounted on special 20-inch alloy wheels. 

Exterior changes include a custom front bumper, Roush-branded front grille with special lighting, and flared fenders. Roush badges inside and out, plus a special graphics package are also included in the $24,000 price over the donor vehicle. 

Optional extras include a premium leather interior, and a Baja-inspired exterior rack with light bars. A console vault to safely store your possessions can also be added.

Ready for the drag strip

2020 Roush Performance Pickups

Last year saw Roush claim the title of the quickest pickup in the world, using the F-150 Nitemare to set a new record. Independent testing saw the truck accelerate from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds when configured in Regular Cab format. 

Like the SC, the Nitemare uses the supercharged 5.0-liter Ford V-8, producing 650 horsepower and 610 lb-ft of torque. A dual-tip sports exhaust is standard. 

Aiding the greater acceleration of the Nitemare are 22-inch satin black wheels, wrapped in sticky Continental CrossContact rubber. A suspension lowering kit also allows it to sit lower to the floor, making this an asphalt-orientated truck.

2020 Roush Performance Pickups

Exterior changes include a Nitemare-specific front grille, which Roush states still works with Ford’s active cruise control system. Bold graphics include a hockey stick stripe for the sides, and a blackout panel for the tailgate.

The interior features a serialized Roush build plaque, whilst each example also comes with a certificate of authenticity from the factory. Despite the speed, the Nitemare is actually cheaper than the SC, with prices beginning at $19,150 above the donor vehicle.

Buyers can again opt for a full leather interior, or specify that center console storage vault if needed. Like all Roush vehicles, the SC and Nitemare come with a three-year / 36,000-mile warranty. 

Serious horsepower and serious capability

2020 Roush Performance Pickups

According to Jack Roush Jr., the 2020 duo are designed to aid customers who want “serious horsepower and serious capability” in their pickup truck. 

He also added that both “the Nitemare and the F-150 SC are a thrill to drive – whether you’re on the street, towing your boat, or enjoying the trails off-road”.

The two trucks join the recently announced Roush F-150 5.11 Tactical Edition, along with the upgraded 2020 Phase 2 Mustang.

Aston Martin Valkyrie: Le Mans racer may be delayed, not cancelled

Aston Martin Valkyrie prototypes tested by F1 drivers at Silverstone

It was previously reported that Aston Martin is shelving its Valkyrie Le Mans Hypercar project. The news came uncomfortably soon after we witnessed two new prototypes of the road car taking their first steps, with Red Bull F1 aces Max Verstappen and Alex Albon. Fear not, however, as it’s now thought to be more of a delay, rather than a cancellation.

Reports from Autosport said the project is likely to be on hold for at least one year. In an official statement, Aston has confirmed that it will not start the season at Silverstone in 2020, or race at Le Mans in 2021.

Valkyrie delay: grey areas in the rules

Aston Martin Valkyrie prototypes tested by F1 drivers at Silverstone

The marque has stated that the decision to allow the racing Hypercar class to include LMDh IMSA prototypes has caused the delay. 

In a statement regarding the combination of the classes, the company said ‘Aston Martin Lagonda has postponed development of its World Endurance Championship (WEC) Hypercar race entry, following the recent decision by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) and the International Motor Sport Association (IMSA) to harmonise the Hypercar class with the so-called LMDh prototype category in the WEC from 2021 and the US-based WeatherTech Sportscar Championship from 2022’.

It went on to say that it will ‘pause’ while it ‘considers whether to continue in any future prototype class’. The silver lining, however, is that the onus is now on the rule-makers to get the harmonization of the two classes right, and keep Aston in the loop. ‘Aston Martin remains open to working with both organisations to find a suitable pathway for any future participation.’

Following the initial announcement of the Valkyrie racing project, Aston went quiet. Delays to the confirmation of the rules aside, it was already on a tight schedule, given the car is due to line up at Silverstone in September.

Money woes and F1 buy-ins

Aston Martin Valkyrie and Valhalla

The recent buy-in to Aston by F1 mogul Lawrence Stroll is thought to be a factor here. His cash injection will at first lead to the Racing Point F1 team being rebranded as Aston Martin at the beginning of the 2021 season.

At that point, Aston will end its sponsorship of the Red Bull F1 team. Red Bull has, however, said the separation will not affect development of the Valkyrie. 

It was under Red Bull that Valkyrie designer and F1 design legend Adrian Newey first began conceptualising his vision of the ultimate road car. This was before any partnership with Aston Martin on the project, with the marque originally working on its own vision for a flagship hypercar.

Hypercars stumbling at the start

Aston Martin Valkyrie and Valhalla

With Aston out until proven otherwise, that leaves Toyota with its GR Super Sport alone at the head of the grid for the Silverstone Six Hours.

Peugeot should also be joining the fray before long, although it recently announced it was undecided on whether to develop under LMDh or Hypercar specifications.

Many other marques are rumoured to be toying with an entry, including McLaren and Ferrari. For now, though, this blow for Aston is also a major blow for the class.

Czinger 21C revealed: next-level hypercar revs to 11,000rpm

Czinger 21C hypercar revealed in full

After weeks of teasing, Czinger has revealed the full specificaion of its 21C hypercar, due to debut at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show.

A feast of new images allow us to fully drink in the details of this new 3D-printed exotic. Here we go…

Czinger 21C: the engine

Czinger 21C hypercar revealed in full

One of the biggest mysteries around this new hypercar was exactly what powers it. In teaser videos, it didn’t sound like your average turbocharged small-block V8, or an exotic Italian V12. It had the tone of a racing car, and indeed, the spec sheet reads like something from motorsport.

It’s a 2.88-litre twin-turbocharged flat-crank V8 revs to a dizzying 11,000 rpm. It produces 1,250 hp, which means the 1,250 kg 21C has a power to weight ratio of one horsepower per kilogram.

It’s not just the V8 creating that power, though. Augmenting it are two high-output electric motors, one for each front wheel, with full torque-vectoring capability. Powering those are very high-tech lithium-titanate batteries.

Putting the engine’s oomph to the rear wheels is a seven-speed automated manual transmission. Those familiar with old Ferrari F1 gearboxes and the original Aston Martin Vanquish may quiver in fear at the thought of that.

Fear not, it is a new proprietary design by Czinger, so we expect it’ll whip-crack shifts like the very best dual-clutchers.

Czinger 21C: performance figures

Czinger 21C hypercar revealed in full

So what does it all add up to? Well, some seriously impressive figures. Czinger claims the 21C will get to 62mph in 1.9 seconds, and a quarter-mile time of 8.1 seconds. Have that, Dom Toretto. 

It’ll also do 0-186-0mph in 15 seconds, and 0-248-0 mph in 29 seconds. Top-end, it’ll be stomping (some) Bugattis at 268mph. Dizzying stuff. That jutting bodywork creates downforce of up to 250 kg at 155 mph, although that’s just for the standard car…

With what Czinger calls ‘Lightweight track configuration’, it can produce more than three times that: 790 kg at 155 mph. Top speed is reduced, however, to a lowly 236 mph.

Joking aside, that’s impressive for a high-downforce car. That’s because both benefit from the two seats being in-line in the middle of the car, allowing for a slim glasshouse and improved aerodynamics. 

Czinger 21C: the design

Czinger 21C hypercar revealed in full

What do you make of the looks? As we’ve said before regarding the teaser shots, it resembles a Grand Theft Auto reimagining and amalgamation of multiple supercars. On the flip side, it does have its own unique silhouette thanks to that seating layout.

Czinger says the design originates from the concept of functional art. ‘Line logic’ is how the cuts and lines in the car all connect, to serve a function. It certainly, as Czinger says, ‘looks like nothing else on the planet’. For us, Minority Report meets McLaren P1 about sums it up.

As for how that cockpit looks and feels? We’ll have to find out at the Geneva Motor Show, where Czinger will be taking orders for the limited run of 80 cars. Speaking of, one number we don’t know yet is price. Needless to say, it won’t be cheap…

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New Cupra Leon is a plug-in hybrid hot hatch

Cupra Leon revealed with hybrid option

Hot on the heels of the new fourth-generation Seat Leon comes the racy Cupra version, now sold under the separate Cupra sub-brand. And the big news is a fast and efficient plug-in hybrid version.

Firstly, a brief look back at the car it replaces. The last Leon Cupra – still a Seat – was highly rated by enthusiasts, offering Golf R-beating power and Renault Sport-rivalling lap times, plus value that was difficult to knock. The new car has big shoes to fill.

“The Leon Cupra has been a bestseller, with close to 44,000 units sold in the last generation”, said Wayne Griffiths, Cupra CEO.

“With the launch of the new Cupra Leon, we will strengthen the Cupra brand, by giving a new identity to a very emblematic car. The new Cupra Leon is the king of Leons.”

Cupra Leon: up to 310hp, no manual gearbox

Cupra Leon revealed with hybrid option

So, what do you want to know? How powerful and how fast, of course. Like the last Leon Cupra, the new car will be available with a number of power outputs. This time, though, that power range is much broader: from 245hp to 310hp.

For fans of the old-school, the 310hp variant runs a familiar 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which is non-hybridised, but only offered in the Cupra Leon ST (estate). There, it’s combined with 4Drive all-wheel drive.

The estate, as well as the hatch, can also be had with 245hp and 300hp versions of that same engine, sending power to the front wheels exclusively. Happily, those who opt for the lower power level aren’t short-changed in terms of supporting hardware. Both also come with an electronic limited-slip diff.

Unfortunately for those who crave that little bit more interactivity, the manual gearbox is no more. Gone the way of the three-door body style, the manual leaves only the DSG twin-clutch paddle shift transmission.

Cupra Leon eHybrid: no, it’s not a Porsche

Cupra Leon revealed with hybrid option

Speaking of going digital, the plug-in hybrid eHybrid version comes complete with a name borrowed from Porsche.

Overall, it produces 245hp, combining a 150hp 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine with a 115hp electric motor. The latter draws power from a 13kWh lithium-ion battery. That means 37 miles of all-electric range (WLTP) and a full charge in three-and-a-half hours from a 3.6kW wall box, or six hours from a 230v domestic socket. As a result, this has the potential to be a very eco-friendly hot hatch, with official CO2 emissions of 50g/km.

Keep it charged up and you could commute on EV power during the week, then tackle the finest Welsh B-roads at the weekend with all the petrol you saved.

There aren’t comprehensive acceleration figures yet. Cupra gives a solitary, yet impressive, 0-62mph time of 4.8 seconds. It’s not clear which version this refers to, although the 300hp or 310hp AWD models are a safe bet. A 155mph top speed is achievable by all Cupra Leons.

Making the new Cupra Leon handle

Cupra Leon revealed with hybrid option

The last hot Leons weren’t one-trick ponies. Powerful though they were, they could put that muscle down well, and got you grinning in the corners. Happily, with the standard electronic diff, the new one is off to a good start.

The Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) allows the driver to tailor the new Leon’s road manners. Comfort, Sport and Cupra do as you’d expect, while Individual allows the driver to mix and match attitudes across various parts of the car. Day to day, for instance, we suspect we’d enjoy suspension in Comfort and the engine in Cupra.

The Cupra Leon is suspended on McPherson struts at the front, with a multi-link set-up at the rear. It’s also 25mm and 20mm lower than the standard Leon.

Giving the Cupra Leon attitude: styling and aero

Cupra Leon revealed with hybrid option

It’s all well and good going fast and handling well, but to a majority of customers, how it looks will matter most. The last hot Leon had most rivals licked for looks. It was sharp and aggressive, but not fussy or overdone. It had exceptional proportions and well-judged extrovert angles. It made the Golf R look boring, and the Focus RS look a bit much.

So what of the new car? Cupra is leaning on bronze as an identifier for its sportier models. This we saw back with the run-out Cupra R specials before the third-generation car’s production ended. The new Cupra badge takes the place of the old Seat logo.

Cupra Leon revealed with hybrid option

There are also bigger vents, bolder side skirts, darkened brightwork and a nice spoiler. At the rear, the exhaust exits are now integrated into the diffuser, for a touch of the high-class performance look. Big wheels are a must, with 19-inchers across the range, barring the 245hp petrol, which sits on 18s. Overall, the Cupra Leon’s aerodynamic performance is eight percent improved over the outgoing car.

Finally, the colours. Magnetic Tech is what you’ll want to flaunt the Cupra-ness. It’s available in both matte and metallic finishes. Metallics also include Candy White, Midnight Black and Urban Silver, while two special finishes are Desire Red and Graphene Grey. The other matte option is Petrol Blue. The wheels can be finished in black, copper and silver, while the Brembo brake calipers are copper.

Inside the Cupra Leon

Cupra Leon revealed with hybrid option

Drawn in by the performance and looks, all that’s left is the cabin. You’ll find special Cupra puddle lights, bucket seats and a Cupra steering wheel complete with drive-mode selection buttons.

The standard Leon’s digital displays are present and correct, in the middle and up ahead. Everywhere else, copper, dark chrome and brushed metal detailing add a sprinkling of sportiness.

When can I buy one, and how much?

Cupra Leon revealed with hybrid option

A price list and release date have yet to be revealed. Expect conventionally-powered versions to be slightly more expensive than their predecessors. The PHEV will likely cost more still.

We expect Cupra Leon buyers to be in their cars by the end of the year.

Rare Alfa Romeo owned by Mussolini is unearthed

Mussolini's Alfa Romeo is being restored

Classic and vintage car restoration specialist Thornley Kelham has begun work on a 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Super Sport once owned by Benito Mussolini. 

If that name doesn’t ring a bell, he was the dictator in charge of Italy around the time it aligned with Hitler and Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

Mussolini's Alfa Romeo is being restored

Thornley Kelham’s research has turned up an image, found in the Archivio Luce, Cinecitta’s main archive in Italy. Taken in April 1931, it shows Mussolini driving the car, and was found alongside film footage of him using it on a rally.

This material is being used as a reference for restoration. By enlarging and enhancing one of the period photos, they were able to ascertain that the car wore Stabilimenti Farina coachwork.

In period, chassis were built and sent off to be bodied by one of a number of coachbuilders, of which Farina was one. The car was at some point modified for racing, into a stripped-down style.

Much of the bodywork was removed following the car’s move to Asmara with its next owner, Renato Tigillo, in 1937. It’s believed he used it for hillclimb racing, which was common in the region at the time.

Mussolini's Alfa Romeo is being restored

On inspection, the car bore very little resemblance to the original, with few of its authentic panels and an different grille fitted. We’d describe its current condition as ‘fascinatingly dilapidated’.

The chassis, engine and transmission are original, however. Thornley Kelham now plans to return it to its early 1930s condition, as when Mussolini drove it.

Several thousand hours of fabrication, engineering and assembly will be required by the company’s team of skilled technicians. 

Mussolini's Alfa Romeo is being restored

“We’ve undertaken many challenging restorations here at Thornley Kelham but this Alfa Romeo presents us with perhaps our greatest test to date,” said Simon Thornley, company co-founder.

“Over the course of its extraordinary life, it has been graced with a beautiful hand-crafted body from Stabilimenti Farina, owned and piloted by one of the world’s most (in)famous dictators, and stripped out for motorsport and raced on the streets of North Africa. 

“Our challenge now is to restore it to the condition it first left Stabilimenti Farina’s carrozzeria, based on further painstaking research and thousands of hours of expert craftsmanship. Automotive history like this has to be preserved, and we are delighted to be involved in the latest page in its amazing story.”

Become an icon of retro cool with this 1988 Italdesign Aztec

BaT 1988 Italdesign Aztec

Interest in cars from the late 1980s and early 1990s continues to grow, but this incredible Italdesign Aztec could beat them all. 

Intended to be a concept car for display at the 1988 Turin Motor Show, the hype around the futuristic Aztec saw a small number of cars put into production.

Now one of the estimated 25 cars made for the road is up for sale in the United States, with a listing currently live on auction website Bring a Trailer. 

Welcome to the future

BaT 1988 Italdesign Aztec

The Aztec was the creation of famed car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro. Described by him as being the car that ‘dreams are made of’, the radical two-seater sports car wowed onlookers when revealed. 

Driver and passenger sit in separate plexiglass cockpits, which open using a gullwing design. The top bubble of each can be removed to allow open-air motoring, whilst the conventional doors have transparent panels set into them. 

Futuristic touches can be found across the bodywork, with pop-up headlights and extended fenders covering the rear wheels. A combination of carbon fiber, aluminum, and kevlar were used, whilst the tubular chassis is made from steel.

Coded commands needed

BaT 1988 Italdesign Aztec

A large carbon fiber rear wing helps provide downforce, whilst twin roll hoops are also incorporated into the design.

Panels in the rear of the car allow the doors to be unlocked using a keypad. By entering certain codes, access can also be gained to storage compartments for a hydraulic jack, tool kit, and various dial readouts. 

The Aztec is powered by a mid-mounted Audi 2.2-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine. This was supplied by MTM Mayer, with a claimed 250 horsepower when new.

All-wheel drive and turbo power

BaT 1988 Italdesign Aztec

Also standard is an all-wheel drive system, using front and rear differentials said to have been taken from a Lancia Delta Integrale. A five-speed manual transmission is responsible for shifting gears. 

Being mid-engined means there is a degree of storage space beneath the small front hood, and also in a rear luggage compartment behind the engine. 

The interior is just as radical, with the driver faced by an asymmetric Nardi steering wheel. Control buttons are incorporated into the circular housing for the dashboard gauges, whilst the climate control and JVC sound system are operated from a more conventional center console. 

An original museum piece 

BaT 1988 Italdesign Aztec

The passenger also gets their own control panel. It includes a period rally trip computer, along with a large grab handle. Power adjustable sports seats trimmed in gray leather are fitted, whilst driver and passenger were meant to communicate via motorsport-style headsets. 

This particular Aztec has lived a curious life, having been part of the Shanghai Automotive Museum collection between 2011 and 2015. Following that, the car resided in the Blackhawk Collection in California. 

Imported in 2015, the car is registered with a New Jersey title, with the seller including all the relevant documentation in the sale. From new this example has covered less than 250 miles. 

Raddest of them all

BaT 1988 Italdesign Aztec

What kind of price can you place on living in an idea of the future from the 1980s? Examples listed for sale previously have ranged from $750,000 to $2 million, reflecting the rather unique nature of these cars. 

The auction on Bring a Trailer is set to run until Monday, February 24th, leaving plenty of time for the bids to start stacking up. Expect plenty of comments from BaT regulars, too. 

Whoever wins the Aztec will also gain themselves an unexpected bonus. Radwood, responsible for events celebrating automotive lifestyles from the 1980s and ‘90s, has promised the winning bidder ‘free lifetime entry’ with this car.

Skoda builds its seven-millionth Octavia

Skoda Octavia seven million units

The Skoda Octavia has surpassed seven million units produced. Arguably the Czech marque’s definitive model, the Octavia has been on sale for 61 years.

The seven-millionth Octavia has just rolled off the line in the factory at Mlada Boleslav. This followed a bumper 2019, when 363,700 Octavias were delivered. The new fourth-generation model made its debut in November.

“The Octavia is the heart of our brand,” said Michael Oeljeklaus, Skoda board member for production and logistics.

“Having enjoyed success since the mid-90s, it has contributed significantly to transforming Skoda from a regional market leader into an internationally thriving carmaker that has now firmly established itself as a high-volume manufacturer. This milestone is therefore a very special event for us and is a great testament to the fantastic work of our colleagues in the production and logistics department.”

Skoda Octavia seven million units

The original Octavia offered much of what the latest one does. A combination of affordability, dependability and an array of contemporary technology. While today, that means a voice assistant named Laura and LED lighting, in 1959 it meant independent suspension for all four wheels.

The original Octavia was Skoda’s eighth model since the end of the Second World War. That’s where the ‘Oct’ in its name comes from. The first 400,000 of the seven million Octavias made to-date were the first generation model, built between 1959 and 1971.

Modern Octavia: the VW revolution

Skoda Octavia seven million units

The modern-day Octavia debuted in 1996, developed under the Volkswagen Group umbrella. This is where the Octavia success-story takes off, with the marque shifting 61,000 in 1997, then 117,500 in 1998.

The first-gen car continued in production until 2010, in parallel with its successor after 2004, reaching over 1.4 million units by the end.

The 2004 second-generation model lasted until 2012, with 2.5 million made. The third-generation car spanned 2012 to 2019, with around 2.6 million made.

Skoda Octavia seven million units

With the fourth-generation model taking over in November 2019, all that’s left is the hot vRS model. It’s due to debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

While previous iterations have employed petrol and even diesel power, this new model is expected to be the first plug-in hybrid Octavia vRS. Here’s to the next seven million Octavias, and the next 60 years.

McLaren founder joins electric Ford Mustang project

McLaren mind moves to electrify classic Mustangs

One of the founding fathers of McLaren Automotive has moved to Charge Cars, which converts classic Ford Mustangs to electric power.

Mark Roberts has been there since the beginning, joining McLaren Cars as employee number nine. He was involved with the legendary F1, and has been instrumental in the modern P1, Senna, Speedtail and new Elva.

Now he’s joined Charge Cars, with a mission to electrify classic cars – including the original Mustang of the 1960s. Roberts is Chief Creative Officer at the company.

McLaren mind moves to electrify classic Mustangs

“Charge has something really special and I felt it the moment I walked in the door – a spark and an energy that only a start-up can have,” said Roberts.

“It reminded me of when I first started at McLaren. I’ve always had a real passion for classic vehicles, and after many years working with cutting-edge technology on supercars, I love the concept of taking an iconic classic and incorporating supercar technology into it whilst always respecting the original design.

“I’m looking forward to working on electric cars with real soul that give people a way to show their personality whilst still being mindful of their carbon footprint.”

McLaren mind moves to electrify classic Mustangs

Charge has partnered with Arrival, to fit classics with new electrical systems, from batteries and motors, to software and cabin user interfaces. Charge plans on building 499 of these re-engineered electrified Mustangs. They’re will have a 200-mile range, and can be reserved now with a full price of £300,000.

As for what other electrified classics could come down the pipeline? There are no specifics yet. But, as is the way with many of these things, we suspect it’ll be a case of ask, pay, and you shall receive. 

McLaren mind moves to electrify classic Mustangs

“Charge Automotive is pioneering cleaner, advanced technologies for the classic and luxury car market and we are delighted to welcome Mark to join us in this vision,” said Vadim Shagaleev, CEO of Charge.

“Mark is well versed in the precise level of detail and execution required to create world-class bespoke performance vehicles and his expertise will be invaluable to the team at Charge and our customers around the world.”

Honda reveals 2020 Civic Type R, including hardcore ‘Limited Edition’

Civic Type R Range 2020

Honda has treated its Civic Type R hot hatch to a mid-life update, and introduced two special variants. Meet the track-focused Limited Edition and wingless Sport Line.

While the Type R range gets a mild visual update, these new versions expand its appeal. At one end of the scale, the unmissable Limited Edition is the most extreme Type R yet. At the other, the Sport Line offers a more subtle take.

Civic Type R Limited Edition: not-so-mellow yellow

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The Limited Edition has been developed with track performance firmly in mind. As the name suggests, it’ll be limited, to just 100 examples for Europe. That’ll make this Civic hot property, but will it be worth getting into scraps over it at your Honda dealer?

Potentially, although we don’t advocate that kind of behaviour. The LE adds lightweight BBS alloy wheels, Michelin Cup 2 tyres and modified dampers. On the inside, the Alcantara-trimmed wheel, bucket seats and classic Type R metal teardrop gear shifter spice things up. As will a 47kg saving made by removing the infotainment system, air conditioning and a chunk of sound deadening.

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Honda takes a dig – presumably at the very expensive Renault Sport Megane Trophy R – by saying ‘unlike other brands’ track-focused performance hatchbacks, the Limited Edition retains its rear seats’.

The Type R Limited Edition gets to 62mph in 5.7 seconds. Finally, the colour: it’s called Sunlight Yellow, presumably to remind you of what will be cooking you with the lack of air conditioning.

Civic Type R Sport Line: wingless wonder

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The Type R Sport Line takes a different tack to the hardcore Limited Edition. Most obvious is the absence of the huge rear wing, for added slipperiness and subtlety. Honda also says the Sport Line offers a more refined ride.

Extra refinement comes courtesy of new 19-inch alloy wheels with soft-sidewalled Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres, designed to combat noise vibrations and harshness. The Sport Line adds sound deadening, too.

Don’t worry, this isn’t a ‘diet’ version of the Type R. All the important stuff remains, like the VTEC turbo engine and bucket seats. The old-school EK9-style shift knob also features on the inside.

Given it’s the softer sibling, the Sport Line also retains the infotainment system, which, for this update, spans seven inches and incorporates DAB, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.

New Civic Type R: overall updates

Honda Civic Type R 2020

The whole Civic Type R range has been breathed on for 2020. Those subtly updated looks aren’t just for show. The intake has a 13 percent larger opening, which helps toward a 10-degree reduction in coolant temperature. If you’re worried how this affects the Civics famed functional aerodynamics, the downforce deficit has been countered with a redesigned air dam. 

Subtle updates to the suspension should make it a sharper, more responsive steer, while updated brakes reduce unsprung weight at the front by 2.5kg. The brake pedal also has 15mm less travel, for more precise control. 

Honda Civic Type R 2020

Finally, the infotainment now includes the Honda LogR data-logger. It works with the car’s sensors as well as an app on your phone to record your performance driving, and help improve it. 

Performance Monitor allows you to monitor key vehicle parameters, like coolant and oil temperatures, oil pressure and air intake temperature. It can also display a G-force meter or a 3D view of the car’s on-road behaviour.

Log Mode will help you get the best lap times. It uses GPS to track you, in combination with the car’s sensors. It can then encourage you with colour-coded racing lines, not unlike on a racing game. The aim is to improve driving smoothness, both on a circuit and on the road.

Auto Score mode takes that performance, as well as your driving habits over time, and compares it with an ‘expert driver’ baseline.