Good Oil: Yaris gets the heat treatment
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A Toyota Yaris that will rival the output of the Volkswagen Polo GTI and Ford Fiesta ST? Ha! Good one!
No wait; it’s true. Well, we think it’s true.
Now Toyota is making its comeback in the World Rally Championship, a “street” version of the Yaris WRC competition car is almost a given. And at the Geneva motor show in March, it will be showing one off in the metal.
What’s more, it’s been developed by the in-house team that brought us the Toyota 86 sports coupe, working alongside the recently launched Gazoo Racing performance division of the Japanese manufacturer. Which is surely no bad thing.
Images show the “hot” Yaris — which is based on a three-door version our market doesn’t receive — as featuring updated front and rear bumpers, a boot spoiler and a rear diffuser with an exhaust pipe through the middle. The big guards and wings of the gravel monster version have, obviously, been discarded for the civilian model.
There’s no word yet on power figures, but it’s hoped the hot hatch will walk the talk. The Fiesta ST and Polo GTi have been mentioned as benchmarks, along with Francophile pocket rockets, the Peugeot 208 GTI and Renault Clio RS.
With the Yaris in dire need of an excitement injection — and a brand-new Suzuki Swift on the horizon — it’d be great if Toyota New Zealand saw red momentarily and brought the diminutive hatch here.
But there is no word yet on whether the street fighter Yaris (that’s not its official name, but it would be a good start) will be available as a right-hand drive model. Without parts to support a three-door version available in New Zealand either, odds are we won’t see it here.
CHiP off the old block
Just when you’d presumed Hollywood had run out of 1970s/80s TV shows to remake for the big screen, here comes the CHiPS movie no one was asking for.
Starring two faces you’ve seen before but can’t quite place (Dax Shepard as Officer Jon Baker and Michael Pena as Officer Frank Poncherello), the new movie looks to be taking on the comedy/drama shenanigans of the original series, but adds the usual blow-’em-up Hollywood set-pieces. And lots of guns (in the original TV show, nice guy officers Baker and Poncherello rarely pulled their guns).
Actually though, the idea of a feature length CHiPS film has been floating around for a while.
It was almost a case of art imitating life imitating art in 2005 when it was announced That 70s Show cast member Wilmer Valderrama — who played foreign exchange student Fez in the sitcom — would be taking on the Erik Estrada role in a CHiPS movie.
There was a certain serendipitous element to this, as in one episode of the TV show, the “most likely to” section of Fez’s year book was shown to contain the phrase “most likely to appear as Ponch in a musical version of CHiPS”.
That reboot never happened, although half a decade before, Turner Network Television managed to reunite the original small screen cast (albeit greyer at the temples) for a made-for-TV movie called CHiPS ‘99, that we confess we’ve never seen and don’t wish to.
The new film, which is out in the US in a couple of months, isn’t even set in the early 1980s. The period time setting didn’t work for the ill-fated Starsky and Hutch reboot of a few years ago, but seeing the freeways of LA once again clogged with all manner of 1970s/80s American iron would have at least diverted motorhead moviegoers from what looks to be a phoned-in missed opportunity of a film.
The rides formerly owned by Prince
Court records have revealed the contents of secretive recording star Prince’s garage. The list, issued by the probate court in the late artist’s home state of Minnesota, is often light on detail, but does give us an interesting new angle: when it came to motoring miscellanea, the Purple One appeared to be a bit of a hoarder.
Rather than the sort of Euro exotica you might be expecting, the singer/songwriter was a patriotic supporter of the American auto industry, with nine of his 14 cars built by Detroit manufacturers.
Perhaps reflective of a quieter patch in his career in recent years, the newest car in his collection — a Lincoln MKT SUV — was first registered in 2011. Other than that, Prince had a penchant for 90s metal, with a Ford Thunderbird, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Lincoln Town Car, Plymouth Prowler and two BMWs — an 850 and a Z3 roadster — all hailing from one of the least memorable periods in motoring.
A third BMW (a lovely 633 CSi) and an unnamed Mercedes-Benz of 2010 vintage are the other foreign cars in his garage, though there’s a Honda motorbike. And this will make fans happy: the original Purple Rain and Graffiti Bridge motorbikes still resided in his collection all these years later.
In all though, it’s a rather strange assemblage of vehicles that would have made sense only to the man who collected them. But when it comes to Prince, that’s not out of character.