The Market

Extremely rare 1981 MGB GT V8 SEC heads to auction

The car is a one-of-one, making it extremely rare.

Photo courtesy of The Market

The Market, an online classic car auctioneer, will offer one of the rarest cars of the 1980s for sale this month. The 1981 MGB GT V8 SEC is one of just five Special Edition Classic MGBs made.

The final run of MGBs to leave the MG Abington factory before it closed in 1980 wore the SEC badge. They were one-off cars built as part of a collaboration between British Leyland, the MG Owner's Club, and The Abingdon Classic Car Company.

The vehicles that were part of that run were engineered nearly exclusively by former MG employees who stripped back standard MBGs and gave them the luxury treatment. They had plush interiors, upgraded performance, and featured classic design elements from MG history.

1981 MGB GT V8 SEC interior The car features a black leather interior with red piping on the seats.Photo courtesy of The Market

"The level of finish and quality of this car is nothing like any other MGB. It's more like an Aston Martin," comments Tristan Judge, director, The Market. "The SEC cars hold a special place in MGB history but few people are aware of them. With such small numbers made even less remain, which means one thing; rarity. This is a case of try to find another! It's simply impossible, this is it."

The GT V8 SEC is the only model of its kind that was made. It is registered "SRT 856W" and wears a black paint job. It is powered by a V8 engine (in updated Rover SD1 form) that is paired with a five-speed gearbox. Its interior is finished in black heater, Bedford cord headlining, Wilton wool carpets, leather and walnut veneer dashboard, and door cards and seats in matching black leather with red piping.

The model has been enhanced by the addition of a chrome bumper in place of rubber, an earlier grill, and lowered suspension to pre-1974 specifications.

The original buyer checked some options boxes. The car came with a period glass "sun hatch" roof, limited edition alloy wheels, map pockets, stainless steel exhaust system, and bespoke Moto-Lita steering wheel. The car also has Protectol corrosion protection and improved sound proofing.

Today, just two of the five models are known to have survived. The original sale invoice from the model shows that its first owner was Kay Shoemakers Ltd of Kendall, Cumbria. Kay Shoemakers has a history at least as rich as MG's, but like the automaker it too fell on hard times in the last half of the 20th Century.

The original invoice for the car totalled just over £13,100, significantly higher than the standard model price at the time of approximately £5,500.

The vehicle is known to have spent a period of time in Sweden before a new owner repatriated it to the U.K. last year after three years of regular use in Europe.

The Market offers that the car's history file includes the original sales invoice (a BL Heritage stamp shows that the company was an approved restorer) and a British Motor Industry Heritage Trust Certificate as well as correspondence with the MG Owners' Club, who prompted the SEC project in the first instance, a selection of invoices, and magazine articles.

Auctioneers expect that the model will go for £28,000 to £40,000 ($34,000- $50,000 USD) when it goes on sale May 21-28, 2020. Buyers from The Market pay only what they bid with no additional auction fees.

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New driver assist technology is coming to the Lexus lineup later this year.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

New Lexus Teammate driver assistance technology will debut on the 2022 Lexus LS 500h later this year. Its availability is constrained to all-wheel drive models.

The technology was developed based on the Mobility Teammate Concept. This automated driving concept is unique to Toyota sough to enhance communication between drivers and cars, "enabling them to reach out to each other for mutual assistance". The concept sees cars and humans interacting and partnering rather than having automation take over for drivers. This approach allows drivers to enjoy the experience of driving but allowing the vehicle to take over some functions of driver's duties at times. In this way, the tech works as both guardian and chauffeur.

2022 Lexus The company's flagship sedan will get the technology first.Photo courtesy of Lexus

2022 Lexus LS 500h

On the 2022 Lexus 500h, Lexus Teammate will offer two functions: Advanced Drive and Advanced Park.

Advanced Drive is design to "accurately detect driving conditions to plan and execute acceleration, braking, and steering commands to maintain the vehicle within the lane, follow other vehicles, change lanes, navigate certain interchanges and traffic jams and overtake slower vehicles." It's a Level 2 functionality that "allows for driving on limited-access highways with partial hands-free, eyes-on-the-road operation".

This description makes it sound a lot like the suite of lane keeping, lane centering, and adaptive cruise control technology that Hyundai offers rather than true Level 3 technology that General Motors's Super Cruise delivers.

Lexus will show operation of the technology on a screen with information displayed like this.Photo courtesy of Lexus

Advanced Park operates similar to how the Genesis GV80's hands-free parking assist technology works. The Lexus tech automatically controls steering, acceleration, braking, and gear changes with parallel parking or backing into a parking space. It uses a combination of 360-degree sensing technologies and a bird's eye view display to perform the task while allowing the driver to monitor progress.

"We are very proud of Lexus Teammate, which is the culmination of five years of close collaboration between our technical centers in Japan and the US. We conducted simultaneous development and rigorous testing in both markets with the goal of achieving industry-leading advanced driver assistance functionality," says Derek Caveney, executive engineer at Toyota Motor North America's Integrated Vehicle Systems team.

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The 2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST gives buyers more performance at a lower price.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Explorer lineup is getting a three-model enhancement for the 2021 model year. The Explorer Enthusiast ST, Platinum, and Platinum Hybrid will be making their way to dealership lots later this year in a targeted attempt to identify customer desires.

The new models join the just-announced 2021 Ford Explorer King Ranch, also a new addition.

2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST

The Enthusiast ST grade takes a lot of what customers like about the existing Explorer ST and delivers it at a far cheaper price. The Enthusiast ST has a starting MSRP of $48,750 as opposed to the ST, which starts at $52,830.

Setting it apart from there Explorers is the Enthusiast ST's quad chrome exhaust tips, 20-inch machined aluminum wheels with painted pockets, and sideview mirrors with ST projection lamps.

The new model comes equipped with the same 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine that's in the Explorer ST that churns out 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. A 10-speed automatic transmission completes the powertrain.

Ford has given the model a sport-tuned suspension and a top track speed of 143 mph. A standard Class III Trailer Tow Package provides towing capability of up to 5,600 pounds.

The cabin of the Enthusiast ST is complete with leather seating surfaces, unique Miko micro-perforated inserts, and City Silver accent stitching with the ST logo. There's a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, heated sport-style steering wheel with the ST logo, and paddle shifters.

The Explorer Enthusiast ST also features standard Ford Co-Pilot360 technology.

2021 Ford Explorer Platinum

2021 Ford Explorer Plat Ford has two new Platinum models coming to a dealership near you.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

2021 Ford Explorer Plat

The new Explorer Platinum is powered by a 3.0-liter engine and comes standard with rear-wheel drive. Four-when drive is available.

To make the Platinum version worthy of its upscale price tag, its packaging includes door handles with satin aluminum insert, liftgate appliqué, lower bodyside cladding insert, roof-rack side rails, a twin-panel moonroof, and a unique grille with satin aluminum finish. Its cabin is fitted with leather seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dashboard, door rollovers, and door and front console armrests.

The 2021 Ford Explorer Platinum has a starting MSRP of $52,480. The hybrid version of that model starts at $53,085.

All the models are currently available for order via Ford dealerships. Deliveries are expected to begin this summer.

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