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Coronavirus (almost) killed a northern Russia episode of 'The Grand Tour'

A man on a snowy street in Yakutsk, Siberia, 450 km south of the Arctic Circle, in the former Soviet Union, December 11, 1965.

Photo by Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images

The team of Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond were set to head off on their next grand adventure in mid-March. A new interview between Clarkson and "The Grand Tour" executive editor Andy Wilman pulls back the curtain on that next act, which was cancelled because of COVID-19.

Ahead of any shoot for an episode of "The Grand Tour" the show's production company, Expectation Entertainment, expends hundreds of thousands of dollars preparing. That includes expenditures for finding the shooting, driving, and lodging locations; shipping cars to the location; and paying fixers among other things.

During the chat session, Wilman described how the team was in the thick of it with planning for the latest episode featuring a drive in northern Russia when the first reports of the coronavirus came out. "There's no word in Russian for 'I'll give you refund'," joked Wilman. "It just doesn't exist."

Jeremy Clarkson & Andy Wilman discuss why it takes so bloody long to put a Grand Tour film out www.youtube.com

Soon, the team began hearing about closing borders, not just Russia's, but England's.

They had to make a decision. "We had to call it. It was the right move," Wilman confirmed, jokingly adding later, "The people only want us to do globetrotting and boy have we picked the right moment to do that."

Clarkson says that they will still do the episode, but that there will be another one in-between.

An episode shot in northern Russia would be an extreme climatic change from the last episode the trio filmed in Madagascar. That episode has been held up in the editing process due to social distancing guidelines set forth in England over the last few months.

Most of northern Russia is above the Arctic Circle. It's bordered by the Arctic Ocean and Bearing Sea.

This wouldn't be the first time they've been to the Arctic Circle. In 2007, an episode of "Top Gear" starring Clarkson, May, and Hammond aired and featured the group's successful attempt to be the first people to reach the 1996 position of the North Magnetic Pole (in Canada) in a motor vehicle. It was the first "Top Gear" episode ever aired in high definition and featured Richard Hammond on a dog sled.

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The 2021 Acura RDX PMC Edition features a thermal orange paint job that it shares with the Acura NSX.

Photo courtesy of Acura
Acura will make a PMC Edition of its best-selling RDX for the 2021 model year. The move comes following successful PMC Edition iterations of the TLX and MDX and forecasts a design change is in the RDX's future.

Named after Acura's Performance Manufacturing Center (PMC) in Ohio, the 2021 Acura RDX PMC Edition will be hand-crafted alongside the Acura NSX by master technicians. Just 360 of the range-topping RDX PMC Edition models will be made and carry a sticker price in the low $50,000s. Exact pricing will be announced in the coming weeks.

2021 Acura RDX PMC Edition

Photo courtesy of Acura

Acura has given each of the North American market-exclusive models a Thermal Orange Pearl paint job - a color shared with the NSX.

It builds on the top-of-the-line RDX, which includes the RDX Advance Package and RDX A-Spec styling. The model gets exclusive black 20-inch alloy wheels, a body color grille surround, black chrome exhaust finishers, and a gloss black roof, side mirrors, and door handles. All-wheel drive is standard.

Acura has pushed the orange color to the cabin where it appears as color-matched orange stitching for the seats, center console, door panels, steering wheel, and floor mats. The RDX PMC edition features a 10.5-inch color head-up display, 16-way power Sport Seats trimmed in Ebony Milano leather and Ultrasuede, heated steering wheel, and heated outboard rear seats.

Like the NSX, each RDX PMC Edition will be built and handled with care. It starts as a body-in-white shell that arrives at PMC to be finished in its orange paint via a robotic paint system. Multiple base coats enhance the paint's intensity. Next ,a mid-coat of gold and orange mica is applied giving off a pearlescent effect in the sunlight. Finally, four layers of clearcoat are applied to increase the paint's luster and protect the finish. The total time in paint, including curing, is five days.

2021 Acura RDX PMC Edition www.youtube.com

Post-paint, PMC master technicians begin hand-assembling the two-row SUV starting with the installation of the drivetrains and chassis components, wiring harnesses, and electronics. Then, the wheels and tires are added. The final step in the process is to fit the vehicle with its unique interior including an individually numbered serial plate affixed to the RDX's center console.

Following assembly, the RDX PMC Edition undergoes an identical quality control process as NSX, which includes a full electronic systems line-end test, expert wheel alignment, dyno run, water-leak test and final paint examination. Before exiting PMC, each vehicle is wrapped in a protective film and loaded onto an enclosed, single-car carrier for transport to an Acura dealer.

Acura has introduced a PMC Edition of the TLX and MDX as they have entered the final year of their design phase. Could a refreshed RDX be on the horizon for 2022? All signs point to yes.

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The 2021 Ford F-150 will come in a hybrid variant

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

If Ford is making anything clear these days, it’s that the future all-electric F-150 won’t just just a mundane street car. The future model will be capable of achieving the same feats as the rest of the company’s family of full-size pickup trucks, if not with more gusto than its relatives.

Ford has confirmed that the battery-electric (BEV) F-150 will be on sale in just a few years. To get to that point, there’s a lot of work that isn’t just going into product development, but also into facilities development. Demand for the F-150 BEV is expected to be high and Ford’s Rouge Complex can’t absorb it as the plant stands now.

Ford Rouge Complex The Ford plant in Dearborn will be the home of the F-150 electric truck.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The company will invest $700 million in the Dearborn, Michigan plant to include a new high-tech manufacturing home for the model. The investment will add 300 jobs. This $700 million is on top of the $1.45 billion that Ford is spending to equip its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan to produce the Ranger and Bronco.

"We are proud to once again build and innovate for the future here at the Rouge with the debut of our all-new F-150 and the construction of a modern new manufacturing center to build the first-ever all-electric F-150," said Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company. "This year's COVID-19 crisis made it clear why it is so important for companies like Ford to help keep our U.S. manufacturing base strong and help our country get back to work."

The all-electric Ford F-150 is expected to come to market in mid-2022. The redesigned 2021 F-150 will come to market later this year and include a new hybrid powertrain option dubbed the F-150 PowerBoost.

Recently, the company captured video of the F-1500 BEV testing in the wild.

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