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New MINI Paddy Hopkirk Edition takes inspiration from 1964 Monte Carlo Rally

The new MINI Paddy Hopkirk Edition is named after a famed Irish rally driver.

Photo courtesy of MINI

Down country roads, up mountains passes, through ice and snow, and around tight corners. The 1964 Monte Carlo Rally was the stuff of legends - a David versus Goliath story - and its winner surprised most everyone. Irish rally driver Patrick "Paddy" Hopkirk and his English co-pilot Henry Liddon took home the winner's trophy in a MINI Cooper S.

Overnight, Hopkirk became the U.K.'s most famous rally driver. The MINI too made a transformation becoming known as both rally and on-road competent. It was the brand recognition still automakers dream of when they enter their models in rally across the world, like the annual Rebelle Rally in the U.S., which was won by a Rolls-Royce Cullinan last year.

Paddy Hopkirk poses with the trophy he won at the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally next to the car bearing his name.Photo courtesy of MINI

It's been 56 years since that victory. MINI will commemorate the win this year with the 2021 MINI Paddy Hopkirk Edition. Based on the Mini Cooper S Hardtop 2 Door model, the special edition will have features inspired by the rally-winning Mini.

The modifications for the special edition start at the roof where it wears a white paint job then moves down to the body of the vehicle, which is painted in Chili Red. The rig rides on 17-inch John Cooper Works light-alloy wheels that feature a Track Spoke Black design. The frame and horizontal brace of the radiator grille are finished in high-gloss black, as are the inserts for the lower air intakes, the opening in the hood, the door handles, the fuel filler flap, the tailgate handle, the MINI logos at the front and rear as well as the surrounds for the headlights and rear lights.

The side scuttles wear the number 37, just as Hopkirk's MINI did during its race. In a modern twist, the car adds LED headlights and Union Jack embellished taillights to the mix.

2021 MINI Paddy Hopkirk Edition

Photo courtesy of MINI

Hopkirk's name is shown throughout the model. There are tickers with the inscription "Paddy Hopkirk Monte Carlo". A single white hood stripe on the driver's side, which like the tailgate and decorative trim strip on the passenger side of the edition model, bears the signature of the 1964 "Monte" winner. MINI LED entry sills bearing the name "Paddy Hopkirk".

Additionally, the number and letter combination 33 EJB of the license plate of the 1964 Monte Carlo winning car is shown on the bonnet strip using 3D effect graphics.

The MINI Excitement Package and Comfort Access are also included in the MINI Paddy Hopkirk Edition, which will be available at U.S. dealerships in November. Pricing has yet to be announced.

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The 2022 Lexus ES will debut next week.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

The meat and potatoes of the Lexus sedan lineup, the ES, is due for a refresh, and it will get one. The 2022 Lexus ES will be shown publicly for the first time this Sunday as part of the festivities of the Shanghai auto show.

While the photo doesn't tell a lot, there's some things you can bet on in the 2022 ES. For starters, look for all the improvements that the auto has gotten over the last two years to carry over into the new model. That includes the addition of all-wheel drive to the lineup and standard blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert.

The ES Black Line may not make its way to the 2022 version of the midsize sedan. Generally, blacked out editions are available only at the tail end of a model run ahead of a refresh or generational redesign. However, the blacked out elements could become available as part of a package.

The headlight photo that Lexus has offered as a teaser shows a housing that is not dissimilar to the one that the Lexus IS wears. However, the daytime running light is on the bottom here, instead off the top. Like the IS, there are strong hood lines.

At the back, the preview video shows a vehicle that is very similar to the current model. It's taillights, a strong chrome line that runs the width of the year, and rear lip spoiler all look mostly same as before.

As for what to expect underneath the body of the car, there's not a lot of indication from the teasers, which leads one to believe that's where the biggest changes are coming. There's a good chance that we'll finally say goodbye to the Lexus touch pad in favor of a touch screen display that's within a comfortable distance.

It's also likely that Lexus will fine tune the dynamics of the ES in a similar fashion to how the Lexus IS got more performance-focused driving dynamics in its latest redo.

Stay tuned for more specifics are the curtain is pulled back on April 19 in China (April 18 in the U.S.).

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Domino's and Nuro announced their partnership in 2019 — and now the robots are hitting the roads.

Photo courtesy of Nuro

After announcing their partnership to work on pizza deliveries via self-driving robots in 2019, Dominos and Nuro have officially rolled out their technology to one part of town.

Beginning this week, if you place a prepaid order from Domino's in Woodland Heights (3209 Houston Ave.), you might have the option to have one of Nuro's R2 robot come to your door. This vehicle is the first do deliver completely autonomously without occupants with a regulatory approval by the U.S. Department of Transportation, according to a news release.

"We're excited to continue innovating the delivery experience for Domino's customers by testing autonomous delivery with Nuro in Houston," says Dennis Maloney, Domino's senior vice president and chief innovation officer, in the release. "There is still so much for our brand to learn about the autonomous delivery space. This program will allow us to better understand how customers respond to the deliveries, how they interact with the robot and how it affects store operations."

Orders placed at select dates and times will have the option to be delivered autonomously. Photo courtesy of Nuro

Nuro Domino's delivery vehicle

The Nuro deliveries will be available on select days and times, and users will be able to opt for the autonomous deliveries when they make their prepaid orders online. They will then receive a code via text message to use on the robot to open the hatch to retrieve their order.

"Nuro's mission is to better everyday life through robotics. Now, for the first time, we're launching real world, autonomous deliveries with R2 and Domino's," says Dave Ferguson, Nuro co-founder and president, in the release. "We're excited to introduce our autonomous delivery bots to a select set of Domino's customers in Houston. We can't wait to see what they think."

California-based Nuro has launched a few delivery pilots in Houston over the past few years, including the first Nuro pilot program with Kroger in March 2019, grocery delivery from Walmart that was revealed in December 2019, and pharmacy delivery that launched last summer.

From being located in a state open to rolling out new AV regulations to Houston's diversity — both in its inhabitants to its roadways, the Bayou City stood out to Nuro, says Sola Lawal, product operations manager at Nuro.

"As a company, we tried to find a city that would allow us to test a number of different things to figure out what really works and who it works for," Lawal says on an episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast. "It's hard to find cities that are better than Houston at enabling that level of testing."

You can find out which self-driving vehicles are being tested in your neck of the woods by clicking here.


This article first appeared on AutomotiveMap's sister site InnovationMap.

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