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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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What was your best car-related experience this year?

Chris Teague

This year has been a lot of things, but it hasn't been boring. Even if we focus only on the car world, there's plenty to talk about, from microchip-related new vehicle shortages to the wave of new electric vehicles hitting the market. That leaves us with a question for all of you: What was the best or most memorable car moment for you in 2021? I'll get the conversation started.

Porsche Cayenne GTS My SoCal Cayenne śaw snow for the first time in its nearly 200k-mile life last week.Chris Teague

I'd spent a good portion of 2021 wanting a new-old car to drive when I wasn't testing a new vehicle. That's harder than you'd think for someone who thinks, talks, and writes about cars all day, because there are so many interesting, risky, and downright funky options out there in every price range. The added headache for me was that I'd chosen to shop for a "fun" car in one of the most volatile car markets ever seen. Even the extremely high-mileage "untouchable" European cars I wanted to buy were commanding ridiculous prices.

After a solid few months of waffling between various rattletrap Mercedes-AMG, BMW M, and Audi S/RS cars, I landed on an option that had escaped me before: The Porsche Cayenne. First-generation Cayennes are a real bargain now, but the 955/957 (Porsche's internal code for the SUVs) can experience major problems that occur with or without regular maintenance and care. I was determined to buy one, and wasn't overly concerned about mileage, as long as I could count the number of owners on one hand. There was a beautiful 2009 Cayenne GTS with 90,000 miles but nine owners, a gorgeous 2004 Cayenne Turbo with a concerning engine tick, and many more just like them. Finally, I decided to risky-click a 196,000-mile Cayenne GTS in Southern California. It had one owner and one dealer-owner for a month or two prior to sale, its condition looked decent in photos, and I was able to negotiate a reasonable enough price that shipping it from San Diego to Maine wasn't a huge problem.

Porsche Cayenne GTS The pics look great, but hands-on tells another story.Chris Teague

I had two traveling Euro mechanics check the car out, and both confirmed that it was well-worn but mechanically sound, so I jumped. Ten days later, on a snowy, icy, dark Maine afternoon, the Cayenne arrived. Cosmetically, there were a few things the dealer and mechanics failed to mention, but overall, it looked good. The SUV passed Maine safety and emissions testing without problem, got a new set of Michelins, and I was on my way.

Porsche Cayenne GTS I'm in danger, but thankfully this should be a reasonable fix.Chris Teague

A few days of driving revealed what I was really in for. A check engine light revealed a camshaft position sensor error and the Cayenne displayed a nasty vibration at idle. A new sensor and motor mounts, and I'm on my way. I'll update you as more things break or miraculously work, but I want to hear your memories from 2021.

Email me at chris@automotivemap.com, and I will compile the best and most interesting stories for a story on New Year's Day. May you all have a wonderful 2022.

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New AWD performance car

The Subaru WRX is all-new for 2022

The new WRX's body cladding is already stirring up controversy.

Subaru

The Subaru WRX is a rally-bred performance car that offers a unique mix of rowdy all-wheel drive fun, a value price, and youthful styling. The car is long overdue for an update, though, and Subaru is doing just that for the 2022 model year. The fifth-generation WRX is all-new, and features a more powerful engine, along with several go-fast upgrades.

2022 Subaru WRX Both a manual and an automatic transmission will be offered.Subaru

A new GT trim joins the WRX lineup for 2022. It features a new automatic transmission, adaptive dampers, and drive mode selections. With various customization options available to the driver, the system offers up to 430 different settings combinations. The GT's interior adds Recaro seats wrapped in Ultrasuede with red stitching. The GT also gets exclusive 18-inch wheels.

Though still a Boxer engine, the 2022 WRX's powerplant is new and more powerful than before. It delivers 271 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, as well as a broader torque curve. Subaru says that the larger engine plus an electronically controlled turbo wastegate and air bypass valves improve responsiveness and acceleration.

2022 Subaru WRX A larger 11.6-inch infotainment screen is on board. Subaru

All WRX models come with Subaru's Symmetrical all-wheel drive system and active torque vectoring, which can shift power to individual wheels that need the most traction. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, but a new Subaru Performance Transmission is available, which features faster shifts and other features to improve performance.

The 2022 WRX also gets a tech upgrade that brings a large 11.6-inch tablet-style touchscreen. It runs Subaru Starlink infotainment, handles HVAC and vehicle controls, and offers split-screen functionality for two apps to run simultaneously. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, as is Bluetooth, SiriusXM radio, and HD radio. An upgraded version of the system also offers navigation with three years of free map updates.

2022 Subaru WRX Subaru will offer a new GT trim with upgraded suspension and finishes.Subaru

As it has done with many of its other vehicles, Subaru is equipping every WRX with its EyeSight suite of advanced driver aids. The packge includes lane departure prevention, adaptive cruise control with lane centering, and more. A new available automatic emergency steering system works with the car's pre-collision braking feature to help avoid collisions at speeds under 50 mph.

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