Vintage racing returns to Amelia Island in March; GM shows off a new fuel cell platform fit for lots of trucks; and Jaguar tows a skiier.
It’s all in Pod Rods, the weekend look at automotive news parked right here on Jacksonville.com, along with lots of major local car show action:
— The Amelia Island Vintage Gran Prix returns to Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport March 15-18 as part of the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association’s newly announced 14-race schedule for 2018. The vintage racing series is back for a third time, the week after the annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance at the nearby Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. The Amelia event follows the association’s first two events of 2018 — the Bob Williams Heritage Cup Races at Roebling Road near Savannah on Feb. 16-18, and the Sebring Vintage Classic, March 1-4 at Sebring International Raceway. Along with racing, the Fernandina Beach event will include the Hagerty Insurance “show and shine” car corral. More information on the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association can be found at https://svra.com.
— General Motors says it “aims to solve some of the toughest transportation challenges created by natural disasters, complex logistics environments and global conflicts” with its new Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure. That’s a flexible fuel cell electric platform with autonomous capabilities that can fit a myriad of uses. The platform was shown at the fall meeting of the Association of the United States Army this weekend, a commercially-designed platform that could be adapted for military use. SURUS uses GM’s newest Hydrotec fuel cell system, autonomous capability and truck chassis components and could be fitted with utility trucks, mobile and emergency backup power generation, flexible cargo delivery systems and more. It has two advanced electric drive units, four-wheel steering, a Lithium-ion battery system and Gen 2 fuel cell system.
— Batman goes gullwing this fall in the latest DC Comics/ Warner Bros. film, “Justice League.” Mercedes-Benz vehicles will join Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash as they “race to save the planet from an alien assault of catastrophic proportions,” according to a news release. The new E-Class Cabriolet, the Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo with its new interior developed for this film, and the G-Class 4x42 will be part of the film as Mercedes-Benz sets up a marketing campaign around the film’s theatrical release. Activations on social media will also be launching and – for the first time – six exclusive digital comic stories for Mercedes-Benz’ Instagram channels, developed in cooperation with DC’s Custom Creative Studio. The TV commercial launches on October 6 in the U.S., Europe and China. The first digital comic will release on October 20 on Instagram, with all other stories following in quick succession.
The E-Class Cabriolet will be driven by Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman. The AMG Vision Gran Turismo is Bruce Wayne’s vehicle of choice when he drops in on Barry Allen, aka The Flash, to recruit him into the League.
— Mitsubishi is showing more of its e-Evolution concept as it prepares for the premiere at the 45th Tokyo Motor Show. The all-electric concept indicates the direction Mitsubishi Motors will take in the near future, with Artificial Intelligence (AI) augments driver and vehicle performance, Triple Motor 4WD system, Dual Motor Active Yaw Control (AYC), High torque electric drive and other goodies. Mitsubishi says it’s a new-generation high-performance all-electric crossover SUV that “allows a glimpse of MMC’s future.”
— So, a Jeep Wrangler isn’t macho enough for you, and a Range Rover isn’t exclusive enough? Well, the folks at Rezvani Motors have something that might fit the bill, and it’s called the Tank. For a base price of $178,000, the custom car company started by Ferris Rezvani in California offers what it calls “An Extreme Utility Vehicle,” whose core contains a 6.4-liter Dodge V-8 with 500 horsepower, plus on-demand four-wheel-drive, thermal night vision systems and optional ballistic armor protection. The Tank offers two off-road packages providing high ground clearance on an off-road suspension. The sleek and angular design offers power-initiated, rear-opening doors with ergonomically designed seats inside. For the company’s video of the futuristic SUV, go to rezvanimotors.com/tank-video.
— Hyundai is showing off its first tuner concept for the 2017 SEMA show: the Rockstar Energy Moab Extreme Off-roader Santa Fe Sport Concept.
“The Rockstar Energy Moab Extreme Concept was specifically designed to withstand the extraordinary demands of Moab off-road terrain,” said Nic Ashby, Rockstar Marketing. “Leveraging the outstanding Santa Fe Sport platform and powertrain, we definitely pushed its capabilities to new limits to conquer the pinnacle of challenges at Moab.”
The concept has R1 Concepts 6-piston front and 4-piston rear big brake kit; a KING coil-over Suspension and 2.5-inch Internal Bypass shocks with reservoirs; KMC 17-inch Machete off-road bead-lock wheels; Mickey Thompson 35x12.50R17 Baja MTZ off-road tires; and HID Projectors OEM upgraded headlights and taillights
— Finally, we know winter is nowhere near, and it almost never snows in Florida. But Jaguar decided to join its All Wheel Drive Jaguar XE and British skiing champion Graham Bell into a technical partnership aimed at setting “The Fastest Man on Skis” World Record in 2017. As lead technical partner, Jaguar will be developing a unique ski suit and harness containing twin micro jets for Bell, who hopes to reach speeds of over 160mph. In this exclusive training film in the Austrian Alps, watch as the 5-time Olympian reaches 100mph Skijoring.
Some big car events are coming as fall approaches:
• 31st annual Cruisin’ to the Creek Car and Truck Show to benefit Ronald McDonald House: The First Coast Car Council’s biggest annual event runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. SaturdayOct. 7 at Trout Creek Fish Camp at 6550 Florida 13 in northwest St. Johns County, just past the Florida 16 bridge. Free to spectators and $30 for show vehicles day of show. For information, go to carcouncil.org.
• Hilliard Car Show: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Hilliard Middle/Senior High School at 1 Flashes Drive in Hilliard. Free to spectators and $20 per show vehicle.
• Third annual Jax Hot Rod Autorama: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at First Baptist Church of Middleburg, 2645 Blanding Blvd. Free for spectators, $25 for motorcycles and $30 for show cars.
• 10th annual Car and Bike Show: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, at Lake Shore Moose Lodge 220, 5151 Collins Road. Show cars and trucks are $20; show motorcycles are $15. Spectators are free.
• 2017 Cartoberfest: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, at Trinity Baptist Church, 800 Hammond Blvd. Free to spectators, and $15 for show cars and $10 for motorcycles.
• Good Sam Car Show: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, at Church of the Good Samaritan, 3813 Old Jennings Road in Middleburg. Spectators are free, show vehicles $25.
• Florida International Rally and Motorsport Park Open Track Days: Every Saturday at the on-road and off-road racing and testing facility at 7266 Airport Road in Starke. The track days allow car owners to test their setup and improve driving skills. The cost is $214 per driver in advance, or $250 the day of the event. Guests and crew pay $10 each to enter. Online registration ends at 11 p.m. the day prior to each event. For more information on all events at The FIRM, go to gorally.com.
• Prince of Peace Car Show: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4, at Prince of Peace Catholic Church, 6320 Bennett Road. Free for spectators and $20 per show vehicles pre-registration, and $25 registration day of show.
• Informal cruise-in: 7 to 9 a.m. every Saturday in Mandarin near Panera Bread in the Riverplace Shopping Center, 11111 San Jose Blvd.
• First Coast Car Council: 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday at At Home, 1919 Wells Road in Orange Park.
• Clay County Cruzers: 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday at Big Dawgs, 1330 Blanding Blvd. in Orange Park.
• Automotive Addicts Cars & Coffee: Monthly cruise-in joins the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field from 7 a.m. until noon Saturday, Oct. 14, on lots C and D on the stadium’s east side. The cruise-in is free to the public. For information, visit AutomotiveAddicts.com.
• Amelia Cruizers: 5 to 8 p.m. each third and fifth Saturday at Dick’s Wings and Grill, 474313 Florida A1A, in Yulee. Info: ameliacruizers.org/NewSite.
Send information on automotive and motorcycle events to firstname.lastname@example.org or Dan Scanlan, Florida Times-Union, 1 Riverside Ave., Jacksonville FL 32202.