Amelia Island 2020

Dune buggy from 'The Thomas Crown Affair' sells for $456,000

This dune buggy was driven by Steve McQueen in the cinematic classic "The Thomas Crown Affair".

Photo courtesy of Bonham's

When the gavel fell on Lot 119 on Saturday afternoon, a piece of cinematic history was claimed by new owners. Bonham's auctioned off the 1967/68 Con-Ferr Meyers Manx Dune Buggy from the classic movie "The Thomas Crown Affair" to the highest bidder during the company's annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance auction.

Before it was driven around by Hollywood heartthrob and noted automotive enthusiast Steve McQueen, the car was specially built for the movie. It's an authentic Meyers Manx complete with a modified Volkswagen floor plan, chassis, and suspension. The exterior was been thoroughly customized for the movie by Con-Ferr as were the interior, exhaust, and wheels (American Racing Wheels). The seat frames are from a Datsun Fair Lady.

Thomas Crown Affair 1968 dune buggy Actors Faye Dunaway and Steve McQueen ride in a dune buggy in a scene from the movie "The Thomas Crown Affair" which was released on June 19, 1968. Photo by Getty Images

The car is powered by a 2,683 cc lat six-cylinder Chevrolet Corvair engine and gets over 140 bhp. That's well over the 40-125 bhp generally gotten from the traditional air-cooled Volkswagen flat-fours in the dune buggies at the time.

Originally, the script called for Crown to be driving a Jeep but McQueen nixed that idea after allegedly seeing the original Meyers Manx on the cover of a 1966 issue of "Hot Rod" magazine and thought it would be more his character's style.

As part of the car's listing, Bonham's described McQueen's affinity of the little car:

In a period documentary about the making of the film, McQueen told the story of the one-off dune buggy that so clearly demonstrated his love of cars and his driving ability: "Crown lives at the beach, and he has a sand dune buggy. I helped 'em design it, so I'm kinda proud of that. It's set on a Volkswagen chassis, with big ol' wide weenies, big wide tires on mag wheels, Corvair engine stuffed in the back...It's very light, you know. It's pulling about 230 horses, and the vehicle weighs about 1,000 pounds."

The car appears in a pivotal scene in "The Thomas Crown Affair" where McQueen and co-star Faye Dunaway take on sand dunes in the car. McQueen did all the driving for the film.

Post-production, the car lead a less exciting life, spending much of its time driving around Hawaii, living the beach life it was built for. For nearly two decades it sat in a warehouse then it was purchased, disassembled, and restored with concours-level precision.

Lot 119 sold for $456,000 including the premium.

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The teaser image of the 2027 Kia lineup includes numerous cars and SUVs.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia has revealed plans to launch seven new battery electric vehicles (BEVs) by 2027 in numerous segments. The first, code named CV, will launch in 2021 and serve as the kickoff to a new Kia design direction. The move is known internally as the “Plan S" strategy. Under Plan S, Kia's BEV line will include 11 models by 2025.

The announcement coincides with the company's stated goal of having 25 percent of Kia's global sales come from BEVs by 2029. To do that, the company plans to work to expand the world's electric vehicle (EV) charging network. Kia has sold over 100,000 BEVs worldwide since the company introduced its first model in 2011, the Kia Ray.

Kia Ray EV 2011 The Kia Ray was the company's first production EV.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Plan S includes a company-wide business transformation that will include production, sales, and services. Dealerships will likely be required too invest in equipment to handle the influx of EVs. In the U.S, Kia will increase the number of EV work bays at dealerships to 600 by the end of 2020 and increase the number to more than 2,000 by 2023..

The product plan includes a diverse number of models. The vehicles will include BEVs that are “suitable for urban centers, long-range journeys, and performance driving". They will be based on the company's new adaptable Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). The platform will allow for best-in-class interior spaciousness, according to Kia.

Though subscription services have not gained widespread popularity in the U.S., the company is exploring the creation of subscription services, as well as EV battery leasing and rental programs. Other “second life" battery-related businesses may be part of the plan as well.

Kia also plans to add around 500 charging stations in North America, partnering with its dealer networks. Further, the company is seeking a partner in North America to support a larger infrastructure buildout.

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The new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross used the Internet of Things to connect to the My Mitsubishi Connect app

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors North Americ

Mitsubishi has enlisted Aeris and Dealer-FX to better connect owners to their vehicles. Using integrations with the Aeris Mobility Services and Dealer-FX ONE platforms, the My Mitsubishi Connect mobile app will now enable Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross drivers to view real-time service and maintenance needs, as reported by their vehicles.

The system will push timely notifications from the vehicle to the app and the owner's smart mobile device allowing them to act in a matter of seconds rather than trying to remember that a warning light cane in while operating the vehicle.

"Mitsubishi customers are dreamers, achievers, entrepreneurs – active in their communities and in their family homes, and their time is extremely valuable," said Mark Chaffin, Chief Operating Officer of MMNA. "The My Mitsubishi Connect app allows us to enhance their experience, be more efficient with their time and continue to demonstrate our commitment to delivering high quality, top value vehicles with leading-edge technology in the U.S."

This isn't the company's first IoT foray. When it debuted, Mitsubishi Road Assist+ was the first hardware-free, smartphone-based app provided by an OEM that allowed owners to realize the cost savings of usage-based insurance without having to own "connected car" with built-in telematics capabilities or aftermarket-installed telematics hardware.

Mitsubishi continues to grow its presence in the U.S. market. The company recently relocated its headquarters from California to the Nashville, Tennessee area near where Renault-Nissan- Mitsubishi Alliance member Nissan has its North American headquarters.

The company recently announced a partnership with the Nashville Entrepreneur Center to create the Small Batch - Big Ideas Entrepreneur Network, which gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn from Mitsubishi executives, among other benefits.

The My Mitsubishi Connect and Mitsubishi Road Assist+ apps are currently available on the Google Play store and the Apple's App Store for use on Android and iOS devices.

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