The Ford-Cena Lawsuit Heats up as Cena Claims There Were No Re-Sale Restrictions
John Cena isn’t ready to cave to Ford’s lawsuit just yet. The 16-time WWE champion is fighting back against the Blue Oval with a lawsuit of his own, claiming that Ford’s suit had the legitimacy of a Vince McMahon championship reign because the final contract he signed said nothing about the automaker’s resale clause that forbid Ford GT owners from selling before 24 months of ownership had passed. What was thought to be an open-and-shut case in the beginning has evolved into a rivalry that has the makings of a main event match at Wrestlemania 33. Who do you have? Cena or Ford?
Will Jeremy Clarkson Shift Gears and Host "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?"
Richard Hammond is known for his brazen and unapologetic attempts at promoting his other shows during episodes of Top Gear. His co-hosts, Jeremy Clarkson and James May, would call him out on it, but now, Clarkson may start doing the same on The Grand Tour after reports revealed that he’s now in talks to host a revived version of the hit TV game show, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.
Can you imagine Jezza hosting Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? We might not have to imagine for very long because according to The Sun on Sunday, the 57-year old host is already in discussions with British network ITV to bring the game show back to life after a four-year hiatus.
“Millionaire” shot to fame in 1998 and became a global TV sensation. At its peak, it had versions in countries like the U.S., Australia, Russia, India, Japan, the Netherlands, and the Philippines. It was even a big part of the plot of Slumdog Millionaire, the Oscar-winning movie that won Best Picture at the 2009 Academy Awards.
A return of the show with Clarkson at the helm would be an interesting move. The show’s past host, Chris Tarrant, retired from his hosting duties when the show ended in 2014. Whereas the latter was known for his dry humor, Clarkson’s own brand of wit and comedy could play well with today’s audience. Plus, he’s a big personality with a massive star-power following. If he’s going to host a reboot of Millionaire, he’s going to attract plenty of viewers through his name alone.
Unfortunately, none of these reports have been confirmed so we’ll need to take it with a grain of salt until an announcement is made confirming the return of the show on British television. I still can’t help but imagine what Clarkson would be like as a host of the show. What’s the over/under on him saying something inappropriate in the course of one episode? If it’s 1.5, I’d bet on the “over.”
Geely Invests in Bob Lutz’s VIA Motors and its Electric Truck Technology
Remember Bob Lutz? He’s been almost everywhere in the auto industry, spending time at BMW, Ford, and most notably, General Motors, where he spent from 2001 to 2010 in high-end management. Unfortunately for Lutz (or maybe because of), those were some tumultuous times at the General. Now post “retirement,” he’s been creating his own ventures with VLF Automotive and VIA Motors. With the latter, Lutz is acting as the chairman and helps guide the company in its mission of turning stock light- and heavy-duty vehicles into range-extended and all-electric vehicles.
As it turns out, Lutz and VIA made an impression on Geely, the Chinese automaker responsible for Volvo’s illustrious rebound into the luxury market.
Geely and VIA have agreed to co-develop a medium-duty extended range truck by using VIA’s “industry-leading proprietary vehicle software and systems control technology” while Geely offers up its Drive-e hybrid powertrain technology already in use within Volvo. The companies ambitiously suggest the range-extended truck would be available by 2019 in the U.S., Latin America, and China.
Nathan Yu Ning, Geely’s vice president of international business and executive advisor to the board, said in a company statement, “I believe that range-extended hybrid drive systems are a leading technology for the next 5-10 years and the co-developed truck will utilize proven technology such as a Volvo engine for the range extender.”
The immediate goal is for VIA to provide Geely with technological and engineering support in order to push the automaker into becoming a leader in range-extended vehicles by putting Geely trucks on North and South American roads.
So, if all goes according to plan, Americans might have an electric medium-duty commercial vehicle with a Geely, VIA, or even Volvo badge roaming around.
Tom Cruise is Back to Being a Lunatic in New Mission Impossible: Fallout Trailer
By now, you probably know that Tom Cruise is a legend in Hollywood circles when it comes to performing his own stunts. The man has as much use for stuntmen as I have for a box of potpourri. In his last two Mission Impossible movies alone, Cruise scaled the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and held onto the side of an airplane as it took off. Oh, let’s not forget about the car chase in Jack Reacher, the motorcycle chase in Knight and Day, and the unforgettable samurai sword-fight scene in The Last Samurai that almost resulted in Cruise losing his actual head.
Keanu Reeves Rides His Arch Motorcycles KRGT-1 in Squarspace’s Superbowl LII Ad
Keanu Reeves will be in the house for Super Bowl LII. Ok, so he’s not going to be in somebody’s house, but he will be on our TVs because he’s the star of Squarespace’s Super Bowl LII commercial. In the ad, Reeves is riding an Arch KRGT-1 motorcycle, and he’s talking himself. His imagination — or is it conscience? — talks back to him in an aspirational tone, convincing him that he can do anything he wants if he sets his mind to it, including making a motorcycle and creating a website for it.
It’s not the only Reeves spot that’s going to air at the Super Bowl LII. Another ad shows him surfing the same KRGT-1 bike while sing-speaking along to Will Powers’ affirmation-heavy song “Adventures in Success.”
The two ads aren’t exactly the best Super Bowl LII ads we’ve seen so far, but they do a good job promoting both Reeves’ Arch motorcycle brand — he founded it with his friend, Gard Hollinger — and Squarespace’s own “create-a-website” service. The two parties decided to create a Super Bowl LII after Reeves used Squarespace to create the website for Arch Motorcycle. Since then, the relationship between the two companies have grown.
“There’s something about Squarespace that’s really accessible yet sophisticated,” Reeves said in a statement. “The design and functionality share a similar ethos to Arch Motorcycle. When I was approached to make this commercial, we were already using the platform, which makes it a really organic fit.”
Organic fits notwithstanding, here’s to hoping that Reeves’ commercial stands out against a crowded pack of ads from the auto industry. We’ve already seen a handful of them, including those coming from Toyota, Lexus, Kia, and Hyundai.
Australian Filmmaker Accused of Spying With a Drone in Cambodia; Held Without Bail
Australian director James Ricketson’s time in a Cambodian jail isn’t getting cut short after his bail request was rejected by Supreme Court Judge Soeng Panhavuth because the “investigation is still underway.”
The 68-year old Ricketson was arrested in June 2017 after he was caught flying a drone over a campaign rally organized by the now-defunct Cambodia National Rescue Party in Phnom Penh. Flying a drone in the capital city is illegal without official permission from the government. Ricketson was charged with “acts of collecting information which may undermine national defense.” If found guilty, could face between five to 10 years in prison.
Understandably, Ricketson’s family was dismayed at the decision and are worried about the health of the 68-year old. “The Ricketson family … are obviously very disappointed by the outcome of today’s proceedings,” Alexandra Kennett, the partner of Ricketson’s son, Jesse, told reporters outside the court.
The Australian director has spent the last five years in Cambodia and was said to be filming a documentary at the time he was arrested. It’s also not the first time the director has had a brush with the law in the country. Back in 2014, Ricketson was slapped with a two-year suspended prison sentence for allegedly threatening to expose an Australian-based church working in Cambodia for child-trafficking. More recently, Ricketson was fined after being found guilty of defaming Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), a non-profit organization that works on locating and apprehending pedophiles, on accusations that the group was manipulating witnesses.
It’s hardly surprising that Ricketson would be in this kind of trouble in a country that’s as politically charged as Cambodia is now. You get in the crosshairs of the government, and you’re going to be in trouble. Hopefully, we see a resolution here that will work best for all parties concerned.
Electric Cars and Flamethrowers: Elon Musk’s Latest Product is On Fire!
If for nothing else, Elon Musk is proving himself to be the ultimate capitalist. The loquacious owner of Tesla, NeuraLink, and The Boring Company will sell you on any product or idea he’s passionate about. It doesn’t matter if its artificial intelligence, space exploration, or autonomous vehicle technology; if Musk believes in something, the man will go to great lengths to pursue it. Apparently, Musk is also passionate about flamethrowers. Why else would he start selling them through The Boring Company? Yes, for $500 of your hard-earned money, Elon Musk will give you an actual flamethrower.
Lotus CEO Gets Caught Doing 102 MPH In A 70-MPH Zone; Manages To Still Keep His License
We’ve all been there. No matter where they come from or what they’re behind the wheel of, every driver out there has their own excuse for breaking the speed limit – maybe they’re late for work, or maybe their wife is having a baby, or maybe they just really need a bathroom break. Whatever the reason, it probably won’t beat the whopper Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales’ lawyers came up with to get out of a suspended license for going 36 mph over the limit – “[he] likes to test drive cars himself.”
Continue reading for the full story.
Tesla’s New Compensation Plan Could Make or Break Elon Musk
Elon Musk is no stranger to taking risks. He built his fortune on the backbone of taking risks. He’s done it in the past, and it looks like he’s doing it again in the form of a 10-year compensation plan that could turn him into the richest man in the world if he accomplishes all his goals for the electric car brand. Tesla’s board of directors reportedly took six months to come up with Musk’s new compensation plan. As a board member himself, Musk recused himself from crafting the plan. He likewise has no vote on whether to pass or scrap it.
Father Of The Mazda Rotary, Kenichi Yamamoto, Passes Away at 95
On December 20th, Kenichi Yamamoto, a true icon in the world of Japanese automobiles, passed away at his home in Japan. He was 95 years old. Yamamoto is often credited as the driving force behind the creation of such incredible Mazdas as the Cosmo, the RX-2, the RX-3, the RX-4, the RX-7, and the 787B race car, earning him the nickname “Father of the Mazda Rotary.”
Continue reading for the full story.
Chris Goodwin Jumps Ship To Aston Martin After 20-Year Run at McLaren
Chris Goodwin, McLaren’s legendary chief test driver, is jumping ship to Aston Martin. The 50-year old British race car driver is expected to play a key role in the development of Aston Martin’s Valkyrie hypercar after spending the last 20 years helping turn McLaren into the thriving supercar company that it is today.
Jeremy Clarkson Has Some Choice Words For Elon Musk
Jeremy Clarkson and Elon Musk are two of the most outspoken people in the auto industry, and when these two cross paths, fireworks will inevitably start. Ok, so the two haven’t physically met , but Clarkson did have some choice words for Musk during a conversation with the Daily Beast. Not one to mince his words, Jezza called Musk “petulant” and has “sour grapes” over losing a pair of lawsuits he filed against Clarkson’s old show, Top Gear.
Celebrity Special – Happy Birthday Richard Hammond!
Richard Hammond is an English automotive writer, journalist, and television presenter best known for his work alongside Jeremy Clarkson and James May in Top Gear between 2002 and 2015, and as of 2016, The Grand Tour. Richard got his start in radio, working for a variety of BBC stations including Radio York, Radio Newcastle, Radio Cleveland, Radio Leeds, and Radio Lancashire. In 2002, Richard moved on to TV, and became part of the indivisible Top Gear trio with Clarkson and May. During his stint with the BBC, Richard worked on a variety of other shows, including Brainiac: Science Abuse, Crufts, Last Man Standing, and Total Wipeout, among others. In 2015, Hammond left Top Gear to work on The Grand Tour.
As you might imagine from his resume, Richard has enjoyed a rather impressive (not to mention eclectic) car collection over the years. Just a smattering of standouts include a 1927 Sunbeam, a 1931 Lagonda, a Bentley S1, a 1963 Opel Kadett, a 1976 Toyota Corolla liftback, a 1969 Jaguar E-Type, a 1982 Porsche 911 SC, a 1994 BMW 850Ci, a 2009 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder, a 2009 Morgan Aeromax, a 2009 Aston Martin DBS Volante, a 2015 Porsche 911 GT3 RS, a Volkswagen Type 2 Campervan, a Land Rover Defender-110, a pair of Land Rover Range Rovers, and a Willys Jeep, not to mention dozens and dozens of motorcycles. Richard also has a thing for American muscle, and owns a classic 1968 Ford Mustang GT 390, finished in Bullitt Green, as well as a 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT-8. He also owns and regularly flies an R44 helicopter.
Happy Birthday, Richard!
The Grand Tour’s New Test Driver Is A She
One of the biggest mysteries surrounding The Grand Tour’s second season was the identity of the show’s new tame race car driver. We didn’t get an answer in the first episode of the new season, but the reveal finally came in the second episode. In a surprising move, the show’s new test driver is actually a she, and her name is Abbie Eaton.
Celebrity Special – Happy Birthday Manny Pacquiao!
Manny Pacquiao is widely acknowledged as one of the most accomplished boxers of all time, ranking pound-for-pound amongst the very best in the sport. He’s the only eight-division world champion in the history of boxing, the first boxer to win the lineal championship in five different weight classes, and he’s accumulated an incredible eleven major world titles. Manny is also the first boxer to win major world titles in four of the original eight weight classes, including flyweight, featherweight, lightweight, and welterweight.
Clearly, the man is a beast in the ring. However, Manny isn’t a one-trick pony, and enjoys a wide spread of interests that include basketball, music, and politics. In 2014, Manny got involved in the Philippine Basketball Association as a team owner and as a means of cross-training. As a singer, Manny has recorded two albums, an EP, and several singles between 2006 and 2015. Finally, in 2007, Manny launched his political career in his native Philippines, winning a seat as congressman in 2010 in a landslide victory over an entrenched opponent.
With so much going on in his life, its surprising Manny has room for anything else. However, he’s also a huge car lover, and his collection is impressive. Forbes pointed to Manny as the second highest paid athlete in the world in 2015, which undoubtedly helps to fuel his passion for collecting expensive rides, most of which are finished in either black or dark grey. Highlights include a Ferrari 458 Italia, a Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, a Mercedes-Benz SL 550, a Porsche Cayenne Turbo, a Lamborghini Aventador, a Hummer H2, and a Lincoln Navigator. Manny even has a Mitsubishi Montero when he doesn’t wanna rock the flash of the other rides in his garage.
Here’s to hoping he adds another set of wheels this year!
Happy Birthday, Manny!
The Grand Tour Takes New York by Storm
The second season of The Grand Tour got off to a good start as the show didn’t waste any time showing the crash Richard Hammond had while driving the Rimac Concept_One in a hill climb competition in Switzerland. Some of the other segments were a little spotty, but it was still a pretty good episode. Now the boys are heading to our neck of the woods for the second episode, specifically in that urban jungle we all affectionately call New York City.
Celebrity Special – Happy Birthday Billy Gibbons!
Billy Gibbons is a highly celebrated guitarist, songwriter, actor, and beard enthusiast, who’s best known for his work with blues-infused rock-‘n-rollers ZZ Top. Born in Houston, Texas, Billy’s father was a concert pianist and orchestra conductor, who encouraged his son’s musical aspirations. Billy got his first guitar at the age of 13, and by 18, he had accumulated a good amount of experience playing with a variety of bands, while also striking a friendship with the legendary Jimi Hendrix.
Billy really got his career rolling back in the ‘60s with the psychedelic blues band The Moving Sidewalks, which recorded the album Flash in 1968 and opened for the Jimi Hendrix Experience on numerous occasions. In 1969, Gibbons launched ZZ Top, and went on to record such memorable hits as “Le Grange” (off Tres Hombres, 1973), “Tush” (off Fandango, 1975), “Cheap Sunglasses” (off Deguello, 1979), and “Gimme All Your Lovin” (off Eliminator, 1983).
Gibbons is also an incurable hot rod fanatic, as evidenced by the cornucopia of custom machinery that graces several ZZ Top album covers and videos. His car collection is extensive, and includes such personalized beauties as a 1950 Ford Business Coupe, a 1958 Ford Thunderbird, a 1933 Ford Coupe dubbed the Eliminator, a 1962 Chevrolet Impala affectionately called the Slampala, and the incredible CadZZilla, a 1949 Cadillac Series 62 built by the late Boyd Leon Coddington.
Without a doubt, Gibbons is a true-blue car lover, and we here at TopSpeed would like to wish him plenty of chopped tops and shiny chrome.
Happy Birthday, Billy!
Toyo Tires and Ac Milan Release their Fourth Collaboration Video, and It’s Amazing
If you haven’t seen the first three videos put together in collaboration between Ac Milan and Toyo Tires, you’ve seriously missed out. We’ve added those down below so you can catch up, but before you do we need to tell you about the fourth collaboration titled: “Ac Milan in Japanimation.” It’s a completely different animal compared to the previous videos, this time staring four key players from not only AC Milan but Gamba Osaka as well. It was filmed in Japan and Italy, but that’s not the best part. The best part is that Toyo commissioned none other than Yoichi Takahashi, the creator of the very popular and long-running manga series, Captain Tsubasa.
As such, this video is a unique mix of reality and animation in the best way, with AC Milan players, Riccardo Montolivo, Hakan Çalhanoğlu, André Silva, Ricardo Rodríguez taking on Gamba Osaka players, Yasuhito Endo, Yasuyuki Konno, Shu Kurata, Hiroki Fujiharu. What starts out as a scene with Montolivo reading a manga, quickly turns into a showdown not only between the two teams but a Mercedes G63 (represented by AC Milan) and a Mercedes SL400 that’s represented by Gamba Osaka. While the players in natural and animation form battle it back and forth with a ball, the two Mercedes’, which are riding upon Toyo Proxes tires, take to the street in an awesome, mostly animated drift battle.
If you’re in for a bit of entertainment, check out the video below. You’ll be sure you did. If you haven’t see the videos that came before, we’ve added those down below too.
Stereotype Turned Fact: Trump Supports like Big Trucks; Democrats like Sedans; Liberals like the Toyota Prius
Stanford University put together a study based on millions of images from Google Street View and voting\demographic data to come up with a shocking but expected result: Trump supporters (Republicans) love their big trucks while areas that voted for Hillary (Democrats) have significantly more sedans. And, to top it off, the Toyota Prius is the most popular car in San Francisco – pretty much the liberal capital of the world and one of the smuggest places you can visit. Big surprise here, right?
The Grand Tour Goes "More American"
Amazon is pulling out all the stops in promoting the second season of The Grand Tour. From the looks of things, that now includes an edict from no less than CEO Jeff Bezos to make the show’s three hosts — Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond — look “more American.” The latest teaser of the show dives into that uncomfortable situation as Clarkson readily admits that he’s quintessentially British, right down to the “terrible teeth, lackluster hair, poor wardrobe, and a big gut.” So to appease the big boss, the three hosts trooped to the show’s makeup trailer to get their American makeovers. The results, as you can expect, are hilarious.
John Cena Sells his new Ford GT; Gets Sued by Ford for $500k
Professional wrestler John Cena is in hot water with Ford for breaching the contract to retain his 2017 Ford GT for 24 months after initial delivery. In fact, Ford is suing Cena for $500,000, citing it “has suffered additional damages and losses, including, but not limited to, loss of brand value, ambassador activity, and customer goodwill due to the improper sale.”
It might seem odd that selling a vehicle could somehow hurt an automaker, but there’s more to it. See, Ford hand-picked applicants to purchase the GT. Part of the selection process included evaluating the potential buyer’s interest in cars, ownership of other high-end vehicles, and their social reach. Basically, Ford chose buyers who would “organically” promote the GT and the Ford brand – sort of like contracting your customers to be a built-in marketing team. Ford certainly chose heavy hitters, too, including automotive legends Jay Leno and Jack Roush.
Cena didn’t even come close to the 24-month agreement. Rather, the wrestler took delivery shortly after September 23, 2017, and Ford learned of Cena’s third-party sell around October 20, 2017. When a Ford GT representative reached out to Cena, he said he sold the car and other property to cover expenses. Ford’s lawsuit claims Cena “unfairly made a large profit from the unauthorized resale flip” and seeks $500,000 in damages.
It’s unknown exactly how much profit Cena made or to whom he sold the car. We’ll keep you updated on any developments with this bizarre situation. In the meantime, check out all the details of the 2017 Ford GT or read Ford’s full lawsuit here.
Celebrity Special – Celebrating The Life of Karl Benz
On this day in 1844, 173 years ago, Karl Benz was born in the German town of Muhlburg. The son of a locomotive driver, Karl’s father died of pneumonia when he was just two years old, and despite being poor, Karl’s mother, Josephine Vaillant, was intent on giving her son a proper education. Showing great academic promise, young Karl went on to study at the University of Karlsruhe, or as it was known then, Polytechnische Schule (“Polytechnic School”). By the age of 15, Karl began his studies in mechanical engineering, graduating four years later.
After plying his trade in a variety of different jobs, Karl ended up purchasing a new factory with his fiancée, Bertha Ringer, and began to develop new engines and patents to help pay the bills. In 1878, Karl created a new, reliable two-stroke engine, after which the engineering mastermind was awarded several more patents for such critically important inventions as a new spark plug, carburetor, clutch, and water radiator.
By the 1880s, Benz began to work in earnest towards his lifelong obsession, the horseless carriage, and by 1885, he had created the Benz Patent Motorwagen. Inspired by bicycle design, the Motorwagen had a trio of wire-wheels, a tubular steel frame, rack-and-pinion steering, and a Benz-designed four-stroke engine fired by advanced coil ignition. The modern automobile was born. Several improvements were made, eventually leading to the S-Classes and AMG GTs we know and love today.
Now go celebrate properly by laying down a smoky burnout.