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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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Three Bugatti Divos have been delivered to U.S. customers.

Photo courtesy of Bugatti Beverly Hills

Three Bugatti customers on the West Coast have started 2021 off on a better note than the rest of us. Bugatti of Beverly Hills was recently able to deliver three of the four Bugatti Divo supercars that have been commissioned through the dealership to their new owners.

Each of the models has been customized to deliver the high-performance, exclusive drive and ride experience required by its commissioner. Ahead of their delivery, the three Divos took to the track together completing laps at The Thermal Club in Palm Desert, California.

The Divo itself is a unique Bugatti even before customization. It rides on new architecture that features more air inlets than other Bugatti models and a wide front spoiler that works to provide optimal air supply and aid with downforce. The car looks lower and longer than other Bugattis due to its slimmer side line. At the front of the grille is the traditional, 159-gram Bugatti emblem.

U.S.-bound Bugatti Divos

Photo country of Bugatti Beverly Hills

Each model is powered by a 8.0-liter W16 engine that achieves 1500 horsepower. That engine can propel the car up to its 236 mph top speed.

Bugatti's Atelier in Molsheim is charged with the creation of each Divo. The first deliveries of the hyper sports cars took place in August 2020. By the end of the first months of 2021, all Divos will have been delivered to their new homes.

"To see these spectacular automobile works of art go from a piece of paper to sitting here in front of me is a phenomenal feeling," says Tim O'Hara, General Manager Bugatti Beverly Hills. "It was a very involved and lengthy process that demanded our best skills and expertise. To deliver 4 of only 40 to be built in the world and see the project through fruition is deeply gratifying."

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General Motors has launched a new business initiative, BrightDrop.

Photo courtesy of General Motors

General Motors is expanding its business offerings to include first-to-last mile delivery solutions for delivery and logistics companies. The new business is called BrightDrop and will offer its own all-electric vehicles and software solutions beginning in early 2021.

"BrightDrop offers a smarter way to deliver goods and services," said Mary Barra GM Chairman and CEO. "We are building on our significant expertise in electrification, mobility applications, telematics and fleet management, with a new one-stop-shop solution for commercial customers to move goods in a better, more sustainable way."

GM estimates that by 2025, the combined market opportunity for parcel, food delivery and reverse logistics in the U.S. will be over $850 billion. According to the World Economic Forum, demand for urban last-mile delivery, fueled by e-commerce, is expected to grow by 78 percent by 2030, leading to a 36 percent increase in delivery vehicles in the world's top 100 cities. At the same time, this increase in demand is expected to cause delivery-related carbon emissions to rise by nearly one-third.

To take advantage of these market opportunities, BrightDrop is developing an integrated set of solutions. BrightDrop will initially serve customers in the U.S. and Canada.

BrightDrop EP1

BrightDrop EP1

Photo courtesy of General Motors

The BrightDrop EP1 will be the company's first product to market. It will be a propulsion-assisted, electric pallet developed to easily move goods over short distances. It can reduce package touch points, costs, and physical strain on delivery drivers. It has built-in electric hub motors with adjustable speed up to 3 mph, the ability to secure and carry approximately 23 total cubic feet of cargo, a 200-pound payload capacity, adjustable shelving, lockable cabinet doors, and tight space maneuverability.

An EP1 pilot program has been completed in partnership with FedEx Express. During the pilot, FedEx Express couriers were able to handle 25 percent more packages per day when using the EP1s. FedEx Express couriers shared feedback that the EP1s were easy to maneuver and reduced physical strain.

The BrightDrop EP1 will be available early this year.

BrightDrop EV600

BrightDrop EV600

Photo courtesy of General Motors

The BrightDrop EV600 will be the company's second product to market. It's an electric light commercial vehicle that will be purpose-built on GM's Ultium platform for the delivery of goods and services with up to 250 miles of range. It has a peak charge rate of up to 170 miles of EV range per hour via 120 kilowatt DC fast charging.

The vehicle also has 600 cubic feet of cargo area, a cargo area security system with motion sensors, auto-open cargo bulkhead door, wide cabin walkways, and front sliding pocket doors. It is available at a GVWR of less than 10,000 pounds.

GM is installing a number of safety features in the vehicle including front and rear park assist, automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, following distance indicator, front pedestrian braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, automatic high beams, and a high-definition rearview camera. It comes with a 13.4-innch full-color infotainment screen.

The EV600 is set to take on the 2022 Ford E-Transit, which has a targeted range of 126 miles. GM will deliver the first EV600 models by the end of the this year. BrightDrop expects to make the EV600s available to more customers to order starting in early 2022.

Software-enabled services

BrightDrop app

Photo courtesy of General Motors

In addition to vehicles, BrightDrop offers an integrated, cloud-based software platform, which provides customers visibility and access to their BrightDrop products through both web and mobile interfaces. Built-in connectivity provides businesses with detailed data and insights that can help improve overall operations, including route efficiency, asset utilization and product upgrades. Drivers and couriers can utilize the mobile application for a variety of tasks.

Ford offers something similar with its Ford Telematics data system for Transit fleet owners.

FedEx Express is slated to be the first customer of the EV600, receiving their vehicles later this year.

Future product

​GM says that EP1 and EV600 are just the beginning. The business is committed to growing its product offerings to include a portfolio of integrated, zero-emissions products. Among the concepts currently being explored are a medium-distance solution that transports multiple EP1s, and a rapid load delivery vehicle.

BrightDrop will establish a customer support team to assist with every aspect of operating and servicing BrightDrop products, including supporting charging and infrastructure installation, advising on upfitting services, and retrofitting a current fleet vehicle to integrate with BrightDrop products. BrightDrop support services will also assist with maintenance needs, including securing parts and scheduling repairs.

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