California

The Menacing 1949 Mercury Hot Rod From ‘Grease’ Is Heading to Auction—With Olivia Newton-John’s Autograph

The Menacing 1949 Mercury Hot Rod From ‘Grease’ Is Heading to Auction—With Olivia Newton-John’s Autograph

In the wake of Olivia Newton-John’s passing on Monday, at the age of 73, it’s no surprise to see Grease and its memorabilia get renewed attention. Indeed, one of the classic movie’s most memorable props—consigned months before the singer’s death—is now headed to auction complete with her autograph.

The famous 1949 Mercury hot rod featured in the 1978 musical will be sold on August 20 at a Mecum Auctions event in Monterey, California. The custom coupe was built by the legendary Eddie Paul and used in the unforgettable Thunder Road drag race at the Los Angeles River Basin. During one of the film’s most memorable scenes, Danny Zuko (John Travolta) takes on his rival Leo “Craterface” Balmundo (Dennis Stewart) from behind the wheel of “Greased Lightning,” a 1948 Ford De Luxe convertible. Balmundo, on the other hand, drives “Hell’s Chariot,” a black convertible with yellow flame paint job for the high-speed chase.  

Hell’s Chariot versus Greased Lightning in the Thunder Road drag race from “Grease” 

Getty

The vehicle was created to be as menacing as its Scorpions leader and features hubcaps with spinning blades attached. Though they did a number on Greased Lightning, spoiler alert, it ultimately wasn’t enough to keep Zuko from winning the race and the girl.
Today, the car still maintains its original 255 CI flathead V-8 engine and 3-speed manual transmission with Touch-O-Matic overdrive, as well as “Scorpions” stickers on both doors, Firestone Wide Oval tires and 1950 Mercury grill. A later addition was an autograph from Olivia Newton-John, who starred opposite Travolta as Sandy Olsson, on the dash. It carries a pre-auction estimate of $600,000 to $750,000. 

Olivia Newton-John’s signature appears on the dashboard of the 1949 Mercury hot rod, Hell’s Chariot 

Getty

In addition to appearing in the Paramount film, Hell’s Chariot was used during the opening scene of “Grease Live” and has made several appearances in ad campaigns and TV shows. Most notably, Newton-John was paraded around in Hell’s Chariot during the grand entrance of her 2014 Las Vegas residency “Summer Nights.” The Australian singer and actress died on Monday, August 8 from complications from cancer.  

‘Not Based on Facts’: California’s DMV Accuses Tesla of Lying About Its ‘Self-Driving’ Cars

‘Not Based on Facts’: California’s DMV Accuses Tesla of Lying About Its ‘Self-Driving’ Cars

The California Department of Motor Vehicles says Tesla isn’t able to deliver on some of its boldest promises.

The agency alleges the EV maker misled consumers about the capabilities of its drivers assistance systems in two complaints filed with the state’s Office of Administrative Hearings in late July, reports the Los Angeles Times. Although unlikely, the complaints could cause the company to temporarily lose the licenses it needs to manufacture and sell vehicles in the Golden State.

In the pair of filings, the DMV’s lawyers accuse Tesla of suggesting that EVs equipped with its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) technologies can operate autonomously, even though they cannot. The agency, which registers motor vehicles and issues driver licenses in California, claims the automaker “made or disseminated statements that are untrue or misleading, and not based on facts” at least five times on its website between May 2021 and July of this year. There are currently no vehicles, made by Tesla or any other company, capable of full autonomous driving.

Tesla Model Y 

Tesla

Tesla’s Autopilot technology is included as a feature on all of its EVs, while a premium FSD option is available for $12,000 up front or on a subscription basis for $199 per month, according to CNBC. FSD users with a high driver safety score, as determined by Tesla’s proprietary software, are able to participate in an exclusive beta program that lets them test out unfinished driver assistance features on public roads. The company says more than 100,000 drivers have already participated in the FSD beta, and that most of them are located in the US.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Robb Report on Monday. The company dissolved its media relations department in the fall of 2020, although a press email address for press inquires is listed on its website.

Tesla has two weeks to respond to the accusations, otherwise the DMV could make a default decision, according to CNBC. It remains to be seen what consequences, if any, the automaker will face, but the complaint mentions the possibility that it could lose licenses to make or sell vehicles in California. That would be a worst-case scenario, of course, and it is likely that any punitive actions taken against the company will less drastic.

The State With the Most Luxury Cars Isn’t California or New York

The State With the Most Luxury Cars Isn’t California or New York

New York and California have long been at the epicenter of luxury in the US, but what about when it comes to cars? Turns out another proud but oft-overlooked state can now claim top honors for having the most impressive vehicles in the country. 

New Jersey has edged out its bigger siblings and is now home to the most luxury vehicles in the nation by percentage, according to new findings released by iSeeCars. The study analyzed 10.9 million used car sales from July 2021 through June 2022. The metrics were calculated by tallying the number of vehicles from luxury automakers in each state.  

Over the last year, analysts found that luxury vehicles accounted for 17.7 percent of all car sales. In the Garden State, 27.9 percent of residents have reportedly put their money into higher-priced automobiles. Next in line was California at 25.2 percent, followed by Connecticut at 24.6 percent and Florida at 22.1 percent. New York still maintains its prestige in the top five spot with 21.5 percent.  

A new study revealed which US state had the most luxury car sales 

Getty

A record number of 15 states were found to have above-average numbers of luxury car sales, with nine of them located on the East Coast—including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland and Virginia. Among the states with the lowest shares was Wyoming, which ranked last at a modest 5.2 percent. North Dakota, Vermont, Montana and West Virginia followed suit with the lowest number of luxury vehicle sales.  
So, what makes some states buy more luxury cars than others? Analysts noted that population density was a key factor in their findings. States with the fewest luxury cars also have the lowest population density. Those with smaller populations typically have fewer numbers of cars on the road (also: duh). So, considering that New Jersey has consistently been among the most densely populated states in America, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see a Ferrari or three cruising down the Jersey Turnpike. 

Check out the full ranking of states with the most luxury cars below:

Ranking of States by Share of Luxury Cars – iSeeCars Study

Rank
State
% Share of Luxury Cars

1
New Jersey
27.9%

2
California
25.2%

3
Connecticut
24.6%

4
Florida
22.1%

5
New York
21.5%

6
Georgia
20.4%

7
Massachusetts
20.3%

8
Illinois
19.9%

9
Rhode Island
19.5%

10
Maryland
19.5%

11
Oregon
18.8%

12
Nevada
18.6%

13
Hawaii
18.1%

14
Virginia
17.8%

15
Arizona
17.7%

National Average
17.7%

16
Texas
17.5%

17
Delaware
17.3%

18
North Carolina
16.3%

19
Washington
16.3%

20
Colorado
16.3%

21
Pennsylvania
15.6%

22
Mississippi
14.7%

23
South Carolina
14.6%

24
Alabama
14.2%

25
New Hampshire
14.1%

26
Tennessee
14.0%

27
Louisiana
14.0%

28
Michigan
13.8%

29
Ohio
13.6%

30
Missouri
12.8%

31
Indiana
12.6%

32
Minnesota
12.2%

33
Utah
12.1%

34
Oklahoma
11.6%

35
Kansas
11.5%

36
Arkansas
11.4%

37
Kentucky
10.9%

38
Nebraska
10.5%

39
Wisconsin
10.4%

40
Alaska
10.0%

41
New Mexico
9.8%

42
Iowa
9.2%

43
Maine
8.4%

44
South Dakota
7.6%

45
Idaho
7.3%

46
West Virginia
6.6%

47
Montana
6.5%

48
Vermont
6.4%

49
North Dakota
6.2%

50
Wyoming
5.2%

This Life-Size Model of the Legendary Ferrari F40 Is Made of 358,000 Legos

This Life-Size Model of the Legendary Ferrari F40 Is Made of 358,000 Legos

On your marks, get set, go … to Legoland?

The building-block-based theme park just released the first images of its life-size model of the classic red Ferrari F40. Built with more than 358,000 Lego parts and weighing over 3,000 pounds, the car will be part of Legoland California Resort’s “Ferrari Build and Race” attraction, which is set to open May 12.

The back of Legoland’s model Ferrari. 

Legoland California Resort

Similar in size to the real deal, the Lego Ferrari measures in at 14-feet long, over six-feet wide and four-feet tall, with a wheelbase at eight feet. It took designers more than 1,800 hours to develop and builders more than 1,900 hours to construct. The model will be parked in the garage area of the park, where visitors will be able to sit in the F40 and take photos, surely inspiring jealously in all of the car fans who haven’t yet been able to check out the vehicle.

“We are excited to build upon our existing relationship with the Lego Group by combining our leading brands within this transformative entertainment attraction,” Annabel Rochfort, director of location-based entertainment and e-sports for Ferrari, said in November, when the collaboration was first announced. “The Build and Race experience has been designed to engage with both Ferrari and Lego lovers of all ages, aligning with Ferrari’s strategy to reach out to its younger fans.”

Someone works on the model Ferrari F40. 

Legoland California Resort

Introduced in 1987 as a successor to the 288 GTO, the actual F40 was the last car to be personally launched by Enzo Ferrari, quickly imbuing it with a legendary status. The Legoland model is just one of three interactive zones that will allow aspiring drivers to get a feel for what it’s like behind the wheel of such an icon. Guests will be able to build their own Lego Ferraris, for example, which they can then race against other cars on a digital racetrack that’s based on Pista di Fiorano, a private track owned by Ferrari.
Many kids will certainly enjoy the attraction, but we bet you’ll be seeing a ton of Ferrari-loving adults at Legoland in the near future, too.

This British Automaker Has Created the World’s First All-Terrain Hypercar

This British Automaker Has Created the World’s First All-Terrain Hypercar

The terms “hypercar” and “all-terrain” are rarely found side-by-side. So if you’ve always wondered what a mashup of those two may look like, wonder no more. British automaker Prodrive has unveiled its next release that is a first-of-its-kind beast.

Dubbed the Hunter, the four-wheel drive hypercar is designed for high performance from desert sands to mountain tracks. Its beastly bodywork is made of lightweight carbon fiber composite, which includes recycled materials. Down below, you’ll spot its high-tensile steel chassis that features double wishbone suspension with twin adjustable dampers; alongside bespoke 35-inch wheels made for off-roading. The hypercar also has 50 percent more power than the Hunter T1, a race version that inspired its design after debuting at the 2021 Dakar Rally. Soon, you’ll be able to order one of your own for $1.6 million.

Rear profile of the Prodrive Hunter. 

Courtesy of Prodrive

Renowned British car designer Ian Callum worked on the Dakar model—with the Bahrain Raid Xtreme sports team—and returned for this project to create a more comfortable interior for everyday driving. His additions include carbon fiber seating with six-point safety harness’ and a dual fire extinguisher system for safety. Hopefully, you won’t find yourself in any situations that would call for an extinguisher, but it’s there. A six-speed paddle shift is also placed in the center console of the ride that replaces the former racer’s clunky manual gearbox.
As for its drivetrain, there are a few things to gush over. The Hunter runs on a 3.5-liter twin turbo V6, for starters, that has been refined and retuned to produce up to 600 hp. The dry sump engine also produces 516 ft lbs of torque that helps allow the behemoth to reach a top speed of 185 mph and go 0-62 mph in under four seconds. Not having to comply to strict competition regulations is what encouraged Prodrive to increase the Hunter’s speed in its street-legal version. However, if you feel yourself speeding too far ahead, the six pot racing brake calipers and vented discs will grant you plenty of stopping power while on and off-road, thankfully.

Interior of the street-legal hypercar. 

Courtesy of Prodrive

Founded in 1984, Prodrive is known for its innovative designs that span across the automotive, aerospace and marine sectors. Even more noteworthy, it has competed in over 1,200 events and amassed an extensive list of titles from FIA World Rally and Sportscar occasions, to Le Mans and British Touring events. While the company’s race-ready edition of the Hunter made headlines when driven by nine-time World Rally Champion Sebastion Loeb last January, this street-legal edition is sure to spark much more interest.

“There are numerous hypercars on the market, however they all need good roads or even race tracks to show their performance,” says Prodrive chairman David Richards in a statement. “We identified that in certain parts of the world, particularly the Middle East, there are vast expanses still to be explored that go way beyond the access provided by asphalt roads. Therefore, why not create a vehicle that gives the opportunity to explore these regions with performance way beyond that offered by any off-road vehicle before.”
Deliveries are expected to be made later this year. Visit Prodrive.com for more details. Check out more images below.

Courtesy of Prodrive

Courtesy of Prodrive

This Rare $24.3 Million California License Plate Could Soon Be the Most Expensive Ever Sold

This Rare $24.3 Million California License Plate Could Soon Be the Most Expensive Ever Sold

And you thought buying a brand-new supercar was expensive.

An extremely rare license plate with the letters “MM” on it is currently up for sale in the state of California for $24.3 million. And because it’s still 2021, you aren’t just buying the plate, you’re also buying its matching one-of-a-kind NFT.
There are over 35,000,000 registered vehicles in the state of California, each of which has its own unique license plate with anywhere from two to seven characters. Of these, two-character plates are the rarest, especially two-character repeating plates like “MM,” according to the “MM” plate website (h/t DuPont Registry). There are only 35 two-letter plates, making this license plate literally one in a million.

The “MM” license plate NFT 

MMPlate.com

If you’re wondering if the buyer will even be able to use the plate, the answer is yes, but only because of a relatively recent change to the state’s Special Interest License Plate Application. In 2017, the California DMV updated Form Reg17 to include the option to “release interest to a new owner.” Before that change, the plate could only be transferred to another of the original owner’s vehicles, but now it can be sold and the buyer can use and register it on their own vehicle.
The “MM” license plate is currently available for purchase on OpenSea, a popular digital art auction space, for 5,888 ether, which is the equivalent of $24.3 million. That’s because you’re not just buying the plate and the right to transfer it to your own vehicle, you’re buying its matching non-fungible token. Why an NFT? Because both the plate and digital artwork are both completely unique. The token also acts as a proof of authenticity and ownership, with its QR code ID number both inscribed on the back of the plate.

The NFT’s QR code and Token ID are inscribed on the back of the “MM” license plate 

MMPlate.com

“Just like NFTs, license plates are exclusive by nature, always 1 of 1,” the OpenSea listing says. “The pairing of these two rarities was inevitable. This minting has established provenance, and hopes to inspire an entire community around an aftermarket buying/selling desirable license plate configurations.”
It remains to be seen if someone will bite and spend the cash on “MM,” but if they do, they will be able to claim ownership of the world’s most expensive license plate. Currently, that honor belongs to an Abu Dhabi license plate with the number “1” which sold for $14.3 million in 2009. The most expensive one in the US is a Delaware plate with the number “11” that sold for $675,000 the year before.

Bentley’s First Hybrid Flying Spur Mulliner Just Debuted at Monterey Car Week

Bentley’s First Hybrid Flying Spur Mulliner Just Debuted at Monterey Car Week

Bentley just took one step toward its carbon-neutral goal.

This Thursday, the British carmaker revealed a new Flying Spur Mulliner at Monterey Car Week. The four-door luxury grand tourer is the first electrified model made by the manufacturer’s elite bespoke division.
The hybrid’s exterior includes exclusive 22-inch wheels with self-leveling wheel caps that stay upright as the wheels rotate in a gray painted and polished finish. Its sophisticated design is accented by a “double-diamond” front grille and chrome front lower grille that are matched by the division’s branded wing vents and satin silver painted mirror caps. The signature Bentley Flying B hood ornament, which is deployed electronically, is another distinct feature of the hybrid’s exterior.

The backseat with both electronically operated picnic tables displayed. 

Bentley

The comfortable interior can be styled in a selection of eight custom color combinations. The model is fitted with Mulliner’s signature “Diamond-in-Diamond” quilting. This specialized interior pattern uses an embroidery process that took 18 months to develop—each diamond is formed with exactly 712 individual stitches. Additionally, the center and rear consoles display a diamond-milled finish.
Each rear passenger has access to an electronically operated picnic table that lowers and self-levels to reveal a leather-trimmed surface. The tables are mounted to the rear of the front seats and are easily deployed or returned to their home position with the touch of a button. The LED driver’s instrument panel sports new Mulliner graphics, and the steering wheel itself is heated. The centerpiece of the dashboard is a brushed silver Mulliner clock, and a panoramic sunroof lets light in to enhances the ambiance in the cabin.

The LED driver’s instrument panel with new Mulliner graphics. 

Bentley

But while the new Flying Spur Mulliner edition is decidedly luxurious, its performance is what sets it apart. Previous versions were available with Bentley’s V8 and W12 powertrains, but the new Flying Spur Mulliner is equipped with a 2.9 liter V6 hybrid. The engine, with an electric motor, allows the grand tourer to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds (0-100 km/h in 4.3 seconds) with a top speed of 177 mph (285 km/h).
Though it may not be the fastest engine Mulliner offers, it is the most eco-friendly, and rolling it out in the marque’s most luxurious vehicle proves it’s committed to its Beyond100 plan. The plan should see Bentley become carbon-neutral with an entirely electrified range by 2023.

Pricing information was not immediately available, but non-Mulliner Flying Spurs start around $214,000. You can see more images of the new hybrid below.

Bentley

Bentley

Bentley

Bentley

Bentley

Bentley

Bentley

Bentley

Bentley

Bentley

Bentley

Bentley

This Aston Martin Dealer in SoCal Just Unveiled 5 Stunning Pastel-Colored Rides for Summer Cruising

This Aston Martin Dealer in SoCal Just Unveiled 5 Stunning Pastel-Colored Rides for Summer Cruising

Aston Martin Newport Beach wants to help you welcome the warmer months in style. The dealership has just unveiled a quintet of sports cars finished in hues that are synonymous with spring, summer and the sprawling California coast.

The aptly named Pastel Collection comprises five specialized Aston Martin rides that feature a chic, pastel paint theme. It’s a drastic departure from the marque’s signature gray colorways, though somehow works with the refined styling for the coastal locale. Think British luxury meets sunny Los Angeles. The collection, which is exclusive to the Orange County location, runs the gamut from a menacing V-8-powered coupe to a spacious five-seat SUV.

“We are lucky to have years of experience working with Q (Aston’s in-house personalization service), and we started a conversation with them last year about putting together a unique palette of colors that would be exclusive to our dealership,” Matthew Parsons, Aston Martin Newport Beach’s brand manager, told Robb Report via email. “When we realized the cars would be arriving around the start of spring, we settled on a family of pastel colors that we would paint across our model range.”

Arguably the most suited to summertime touring is the 2021 DB11 Volante ($290,192). Finished in a light blue known as Clear Water, the convertible features an elegant aluminum body that’s ideal for open-air cruising along the Pacific Coast. Under the hood, the drop-top packs a 4-liter, twin-turbo V-8 engine that delivers 503 horses for a top speed of 187 mph.

The Pastel Collection is available exclusively at Aston Martin Newport Beach. 

Aston Martin Newport Beach

The 2021 Vantage Convertible ($203,880) is also conducive to breezy, waterside jaunts. While it’s painted in a Cardamom Violet that’s undeniably subtle, the beastly V-8 is anything but and will push the roadster to 190 mph at full tilt. For those who prefer a fixed roof, there is a 2021 Vantage Coupe ($195,680) on offer that’s painted in a brighter shade of purple called Ultra Violet.
The Volante’s hard-top counterpart is represented, too, albeit in a slightly darker shade of pastel blue. The 2021 DB11 Coupe ($271,059) sports a striking Butterfly Teal colorway along with a 630 hp twin-turbo V-12 for comfortable yet quick cruising.

The collection comprises five pastel-colored Aston Martin’s. 

Aston Martin Newport Beach

Rounding out the multi-colored quintet is a 2021 DBX SUV ($239,836). Sporting an eye-catching Vibrant Coral exterior, the crossover packs a Mercedes-AMG-sourced 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V-8, which is similar to the mill used in the DB11 and Vantage, though it brings an additional 39 hp for an even gutsier 542 horses and 516 ft lbs of torque. Robb Report recently put the DBX to the test in Oman’s deserts where it proved to be taut and responsive even while on trying terrain.

To make the pastel paint colors really pop, each car sports gloss black accents for the wheels, grille and other exterior trim. The interiors, meanwhile, utilize Obsidian Black and Ivory leathers, with the additional Q feature of painting the exterior paint color on the center console and door inserts.
Looks like collectors could be in for five instances of summer love this touring season.
Check out more photos of the cars below:

2021 DB11 Volante 

Aston Martin Newport Beach

2021 Vantage Convertible 

Aston Martin Newport Beach

2021 DBX SUV 

Aston Martin Newport Beach

2021 Vantage Coupe 

Aston Martin Newport Beach

2021 DB11 Coupe 

Aston Martin Newport Beach

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