Drive Wire: May 13, 2016
Nissan buys Mitsubishi, a new Camaro transmission, a classic Bronco, a GoPro steadycam, and serious bungee jumping.
Hey guys, it’s Marisa Hunter and this is Drive Wire for Friday, May 13.
Absolutely huge autobusiness news as Nissan has confirmed it will pay $2.2 billion for a 34% stake in struggling automaker Mitsubishi. The deal comes as Mitsubishi is facing a large-scale scandal for faking the fuel efficiency numbers on every car the company has sold in Japan for the past 15 years. Since a great deal of those cars were Mitsubishi-built models badged as Nissans, it makes sense that Nissan acquires the majority shares as a form of damage control. Nissan will also get a great deal of technical know-how and market share for a very decent price. Pending approval of the deal, the Mitsubishi brand will fall under the ownership of Renault, which actually owns nearly half of Nissan. It will be interesting to see what this means for Mitsubishis sold in America, as the Mirage Compact and Outlander Crossover have been among the nation’s worst-reviewed cars for several years now.
In muscle car news, Chevrolet has a new ten-speed automatic for the Camaro ZL1, and they’re saying it shifts even faster than contemporary dual-clutch transmissions. That’s amazing when you consider that Chevy’s unit is a hydraulic auto, a classic slushbox distantly related to the hydramatic. GM says that the transmission is at least 26 percent faster than Porsche’s famed PDK dual clutch transmission while taking up the same space as the existing eight-speed. But the true benefit of using a hydraulic transmission will probably be in extra-smooth shifts, in addition to the fuel economy advantage more gears will provide. We’re looking forward to trying out this new auto in its special ZL1 – tuned variant.
If you’re in the market for a beach cruiser and aren’t worried about price tags, turn your attention to this beach-boy-worthy ‘74 Bronco Woody conversion. Thanks to the talented hands at classic Ford Broncos, you can have the iconic Bronco look with a little more go from a five-liter crate motor. And to stay true to a classic beach style, you’ll get a lot of gorgeous wood laid down inside and out, from steering wheel to headliner to side panels. The whole thing hearkens back to a golden-brown era of beach customs. The only thing about this Bronco that doesn’t make us smile as big as Brian Wilson’s best album is the price – 75 grand. Wouldn’t it be nice if we were richer?
In today’s gear, we have just the thing for GoPro enthusiasts who need some stability in their life and their videos. The Stabylizer hand-held steadycam is a mechanical stabilization system that’s rugged, simple, and weatherproof, taking all the punishment you can dish out while dampening your body movements. It’s intuitive, takes no training, and helps you get the shot the first time. Get it now on Kickstarter.
For today’s ridiculous video, we have classic bungee jumping from Travis Fimmel, a former underwear model who now jumps off things for a living. That’s a life transition we can all get behind. Check it out as he flings himself off the bridge to nowhere. Truly, more models should follow this brave man’s lead, but maybe leave out the whole banana thing.