Next-gen Genesis G90 looks like the sleek, elegant flagship the brand needs

The Genesis G90 flagship sedan underwent a pretty major refresh only a few years ago, and now it’s getting what seems to be a completely new generation. For now, Genesis is only showing the outside, but it looks very promising, especially in the context of the brand’s other impressive offerings.

On the whole, the car looks much lower and wider than the somewhat tall and stately current model. The nose looks longer, too. And speaking of the nose, it actually has a smaller (at least proportionally) main grille, which has two layers of mesh patterns. The headlights are truly split units and line up with the fender-mounted turn signals. Also noteworthy is the fact that the hood is a clamshell that stretches all the way to the grille, lights and wheels, minimizing cut lines.

Down the sides, there’s a significant amount of tumblehome, which further emphasizes the car’s width, as do the pronounced wheel arches. The panels are very clean with subtle trim and lines that stretch from stem to stern. This look is complemented by the flush-fitting door handles. The tail has split taillights with large sections for additional lighting needs, and they meet up nicely with the cut lines for the fender.

We sadly don’t get to see inside the G90 yet, but it should be gorgeous based on other recent Genesis models. It will likely continue to use a twin-turbo V6 like the current one. It’s possible the 5.0-liter V8 could still be offered, but that seems unlikely. Rear- and all-wheel drive should be on offer along with an eight-speed automatic transmission. More information on specs and interior design will come later.

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Source: AutoBlog.com

BMW Concept XM previews the first standalone M car since the M1

BMW M has worked its magic on numerous cars over the past 50 years but it has only developed one model from the ground up: the M1. It’s about to add a second vehicle to its résumé, and it previewed the high-performance SUV by unveiling a design study named Concept XM.

While the XM is new, we’ve heard rumors about it for many years. Put simply, this is BMW’s long-rumored range-topping SUV, which many assumed would be called X8 or X9 to signal its flagship positioning. Visually, it falls in line with recent additions to the Munich-based company’s range by adopting the controversial oversized kidney grilles, but it’s not a Xerox copy of an existing model. Its headlights are split into two separate modules, which is a futuristic take on a historic design cue, and LEDs frame the grilles. The roof line peaks above the driver and gently slopes down, though it’s not as swoopy as the X6, and the back end is dominated by a pair of thin LED lights that stretch well into the quarter panels. BMW roundels in the upper corners of the rear window forge a visual link between the XM and the M1.

Like it? BMW had better hope so, because the automaker stresses that the XM is, among other things, a preview of the X range’s next design language.

What the cabin looks like depends on where you’re sitting. If you’re in the front, you’re surrounded by brown leather upholstery that looks almost vintage, and you face a curved screen that’s similar to the one BMW makes available in the iX and the i4. If you’re in the back, however, you may as well be in a club. The rear bench is mostly upholstered in quilted velvet, and the floor mat features deep-pile carpet.

Power for the Concept XM comes from a plug-in hybrid powertrain built around a V8 engine. We don’t know if it’s the venerable 4.4-liter unit found in the M5, among other models, or if it’s a new engine. Regardless, it works with an electric motor to develop 750 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of torque, figures that make the XM the most powerful car that M has ever put its badge on. Performance specifications haven’t been announced, but the gasoline-electric system will give the big SUV the ability to travel on electricity alone for up to 30 miles.

As of writing, it sounds like the V8-electric system will be the only drivetrain available. BMW stressed that the XM will solely be available as a hybrid and that it will exclusively be offered as an M model. That means there won’t be an XM550i or a base model with a straight-six engine.

The Concept XM is, as its name clearly implies, a concept, but BMW admits it will spawn a series-produced model that’s scheduled to enter production in late 2022. It will be built alongside other Xs in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and it will likely go on sale as a 2023 model.

When it lands in showrooms, presumably with a six-digit price tag, the SUV won’t be the first XM sold in the United States. Citroën used the name on a wedge-shaped, Bertone-designed sedan built from 1989 to 2000. The model notably had 13 windows, including one fitted to keep wind out of the cabin when the hatch was left open. And while Citroën left America in 1974, a company called CX Auto went through the trouble of importing and federalizing some of its cars for the few buyers that wanted one. It brought a tiny handful of XMs to our shores.

Source: AutoBlog.com

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson gives his Ford F-150 Raptor to deserving vet

One fan at a recent screening of “Red Notice” received much more than a viewing of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s latest action flick. He received Johnson’s personal truck as well, a modified Ford F-150 Raptor. The actor gifted his ride to the deserving fan surprise handover that nearly knocked the Navy veteran over with its generosity.

The screening had been set up by Johnson for his fans. He paid for the movie, concessions, ice cream, and drinks. However, the actor wanted to give away something even more special to one special fan.

“My original idea was to give away the Porsche Taycan, that I drive in the movie, Red Notice,” Johnson posted on Instagram. “So we reached out to Porsche, but they said no.”

 
 
 

 
 
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A post shared by therock (@therock)

“But I still said, yes,” Johnson continued. “I’ll do one better. I’ll give away my personal custom truck as the gift. My baby.”

Johnson got as much background information as he could about the individuals in attendance at the screening. The story of one particular man, Oscar Rodriguez, spoke to him. As Johnson describes, the Navy vet is also a personal trainer, church leader, and he volunteers to help victims of domestic violence with meals and support. On top of all that, he also takes cares of his 75-year-old mother.

Johnson surprised Rodriguez at the screening, calling him down to the front of the theater and telling the audience of his good deeds. Rodriguez, stoked to meet his idol, hugged the actor three times. Johnson then brought the audience outside, where his truck was waiting.

He then passed Rodriguez a note that read, “Thank you for your service, brother. Enjoy your new truck.” Upon reading the message, Rodriguez was floored, dropping to the ground before giving Rock a fourth squeeze. Moved to tears, Rodriquez exclaimed, “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen you in this truck.”

“It’s my baby,” Johnson replied.

 
 
 

 
 
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A post shared by therock (@therock)

The act of tremendous goodwill received a flood of positive comments on social media. Even Ford CEO Jim Farley tweeted, “Kindness matters. Nice work, DJ.”

After Rodriguez drove off in his new Raptor, The Rock turned to the camera and quipped, “And now I can figure out how I’m getting home.” It will be interesting to see what vehicle The Rock picks up next.

Source: AutoBlog.com

Bistella 500 boasts DIY 10-cylinder supercharged radial engine in a Jawa frame

We think it’s likely that there are a lot of automobile or motorcycle enthusiasts — some may be reading this right now, in fact — who are always dreaming of what they’d build if only they had the time, skills and money required for such a project. And we get it; most of us who write about vehicles for a living fall into the same camp. But there are also a very select few who decide to stop dreaming and break out the tools. Marek Foltis belongs in that latter group.

We’ve exchanges a few emails with Marek, and before we go into the details of his incredible Bistella 500 motorcycle, it’s helpful to understand what might possess a person to set about with such a monumental task. “Honestly, I don’t know what kind of devil possessed me,” he told us before breaking his real motivation into two parts. He said he had been “tinkering with motorbikes for 15 years” and wondered “what I should do to test the limits of my ability.”

By setting a bar higher than the set of skills he had when he started ensured that he would fail. And that was the entire point. “With failure comes experience,” Marek explained to us, and “with experience your ability rises higher. So I knew that I will fail a lot. I knew it even before I started. So I wasn’t surprised when it happened … every time I failed I knew that was necessary to gain a little bit of extra experience. So it did not cost me emotional drain, that’s how I got persistence needed.”

In a more matter-of-fact secondary answer to our seminal question, Marek told us he wanted to build something that would truly be one of a kind. He set out with a clear set of parameters: It must be road-legal, it had to be built using parts made by Jawa but with an engine of his own design, it would be inspired by ’50s and ’60s motorcycles but invoke a certain shock-and-awe kind of response and be free from too many modern gadgetry.

Because Jawa only made two-stroke engines, Marek’s bike would be two-stroke too. His desire to be unique led him to design a one-off radial two-stroke with integral superchargers. He settled on 10 cylinders because 8 would have been more difficult with his crank design and 12 wouldn’t fit into the exceedingly small Jawa frame he used for his machine.

Lest you think this is nothing more than a museum piece, here’s video proof that it runs and that Marek, the builder, rides it. As you can see, the oversized engine is a tight fit into the little Jawa frame, but everything sits right where it’s supposed to and looks amazing.

Not that the process of turning the Bistella dream into reality wasn’t without incident. “I blew the engine five times,” Marek told us. “Keeping my mind positive was the hardest, I was not sure if this concept will work,” he said. “I wasn’t sure it will work until the first start.”

But start it did. In its current form, Marek explains that the Bistella 500 produces a relatively low 12 horsepower, but that’s just because he had to tune it that way to get it road legal. “EU bureaucracy is so rigid,” Marek explained to us. “I had to go through multiple safety inspections, tests, and homologation it took me a year of stamp hunting. But finally, it’s legal and insured.”

Marek calculates that the Bistella’s 10-cylinder supercharged radial two-stroke engine can spin out 120 horsepower when fully uncorked, though it’s set up for a limited 60-horsepower tune in non-road-legal guise. No matter its state of tune, though, it sounds awesome, as you can hear in the video up above.

What’s next for Marek? He tells us he’s considering a few options, one of which is a rotary radial where the cylinders spin around a stationary crankshaft. Sounds crazy, but we wouldn’t put anything past him. And he wouldn’t put anything past you, either. “Anyone can make these things happen,” he says, crediting his persistence instead of his intelligence or education for the Bistella 500’s success. 

“I’m convinced that there are thousands of projects like this in garages waiting to be done, and the only missing part is encouragement,” says Marek. “That is the message I would love to convey with this project.”

Consider that message sent, Marek. And congratulations on a truly impressive build.

Source: AutoBlog.com

2022 Dodge Durango adding R/T Plus trim

For the 2021 model year, the entry-level Dodge Durango SXT trim and the next-level GT trim offer enhanced SXT Plus and GT Plus versions. Among the changes planned for next year’s Durango, Mopar Insiders reports that the Plus formula will head one more step up the ladder with Dodge planning an R/T Plus for the 2022 model year. The R/T is the first of the trim steps to get the 5.7-liter V8 producing 360 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque, and sits just below the luxury-oriented Citadel trim. The Plus version will add a bunch of luxury and driver assistance features at a slight discount to configuring them a la carte. 

The equipment list includes the Technology Group’s adaptive cruise control, advanced brake assist, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning; the Premium Interior Group’s upgraded instrument panel and suede headliner; the Safety and Security Systems’ blind-spot detection; a power sunroof; 19-speaker, 825-Watt Harman Kardon audio; and Nappa leather seats. Configuring all of this on a 2021 Durango with no-charge white paint rings up an MSRP of $56,942. However, adding the Premium Group automatically adds the $1,275 second-row captain’s chairs and it doesn’t appear those chairs will come with the R/T Plus. Backing that out, we’re left at $55,667. 

MSRP for the rear-wheel drive 2022 Durango R/T Plus is $53,820 after the $1,595 destination charge. That represents a $5,818 jump over the RWD 2021 Durango R/T and $3,413 more than a 2021 Durango Citadel, but saves $1,847 over a similarly-equipped 2021 Durango R/T. This price differential doesn’t take into account any price increases for the 2022 Durango, since we don’t know yet what next year’s model will cost. Adding all-wheel drive takes the R/T Plus MSRP up to $56,420. 

And of course these prices are for a Durango in the no-charge DB Black or White Knuckle paint. Dodge has culled seven of the current 11-strong exterior color palette, leaving just those two freebies to run with Octane Red and Destroyer Gray, both of which will cost $395. 

Production of the next year’s Durango should commence later this month.

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Source: AutoBlog.com

Cadillac applies to trademark Ascendiq and Escalade IQ

Let’s start with what we know. Earlier this month, CarBuzz discovered trademark applications Cadillac submitted to various agencies in the U.S. and Europe to reserve the names Vistiq, Lumistiq, and Escalade IQL. Now, before the month is out, CarBuzz has found another pair of trademark applications that Cadillac has submitted to gain exclusive rights to the names Ascendiq and Escalade IQ. Sticking with what we know, the suffix -iq, as in Lyriq and Celestiq (pronounced “ik,” not “eek”), indicates Cadillac’s coming lineup of battery-electric vehicles. That starts with the Lyriq crossover early next year, then the Celestiq flagship sedan in 2023 (pictured). The all-electric Escalade is due by 2025. We assume an Escalade IQ and a longer version called the Escalade IQL will be battery-electric twins for the current ICE-powered Escalade and Escalade ESV.

They are three of the six electrified vehicles we’re expecting from Cadillac by the end of 2025. Moving on to what we suspect, two of the other three are crossovers, the last has only been referred to as a “low-roof” EV. In July 2020, GM applied to trademark the names Symboliq and Optiq. It had been thought that these would be the two coming crossovers, but a check with the United States Trademark and Patent Office showed both trademarks dead at the time of writing. GM does have an open brand mark application for “optiq,” but it’s not classified with motor vehicles, it’s for a downloadable software application.

As we’ve written many times before, USPTO applications don’t mean we’ll ever see the name or product being applied for. With that out of the way, we do have three remaining mysterious Cadillac vehicles and three names: Vistiq, Lumistiq, and Ascendiq. We also have a question: Will this be too much iq? Many of us have applauded brands abandoning alphanumerics on their cars for proper names because it could finally mean clear distinctions between one vehicle and another. If all the names are going to pull from the same or similar phonemes, this could end up being like meeting five siblings named Barry, Mary, Terry, Larry, and Gary. And we know how jokey and cruel that can get. So stay tuned.

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Source: AutoBlog.com

Carlex Jaguar XJ Coupe restomod is neither British nor understated

The Jaguar XJ Coupé was already an unconventional Jag. The dramatically long two-door was built on a Series II sedan chassis and kept most of the styling in tact, just losing two doors and gaining a whole lot of subtle elegance. However, the customizers at Carlex Design have created an XJC that takes things to the next level (and maybe a few levels beyond that).

Based in Poland, Carlex has a history of cranking out modified vehicles for well-off clientele. Past projects have included a race-inspired Land Rover Defender, a yachting-inspired Mercedes G63, an aggressively styled Hyundai Santa Fe, and a gargoyle-esque Ford Ranger. The Jaguar XJ Coupé is clearly a favorite, though.

The newest XJC takes the British classic and gives it racier look. De-bumpered and widened with blister flares, it evokes a touring car racer from back in the day. Actually, it’s more accurate to say this is what a modern restomod inspired by a fictional 1970s race car would look like, as the real XJ Coupé race cars didn’t quite look like this.

That’s because the wheels are gigantic, big enough to bathe a medium-sized dog in. No in-period race car would have had saucers that large. And while the side view maintains faithful to the classic, its face betrays its era. Circle to the front end and LED headlights and afterburner-style high beams complete the Jag’s four-eyed gaze. The original’s elegant grille has been replaced with a toothy maw that would look more at home on a SEMA Jeep. Underhood the Carlex sports a V8 (of unspecified origin) delivering 400 horsepower. The company says its brakes are new, and that suspension and air conditioning are suitable for everyday use.

The interior has been upholstered in what Carlex calls hand-aged leather. The deep brown color gives it the feel of a mahogany-walled boardroom. Aside from the fluting everywhere, the interior is fairly clean, and less busy than the original XJC’s. If we had to pick we’d go with the unflared body of Carlex’s old XJC design, but replace its Kardashian-designed dash with this one.

Carlex didn’t disclose price or production run, but only that a few examples would be built each year. Or, you can try to find one of Jaguar’s original XJ Coupés, which were only produced between 1975 and 1978, with a run of fewer than 10,000 units over the four-year span. Given its obscurity it’s kind of a strange car to restomod, but perhaps we in the U.S. — where less than 200 exist, according to one fan site — are just less familiar with them.

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Source: AutoBlog.com

Acura Integra’s racing hopes hinge on Honda

The 2023 Integra has mostly failed to create the stir from long-time enthusiasts that Acura had hoped it would. However, all is not lost; Acura could perhaps regain some street cred if they took the Integra racing, like they did with the Integras of the 80s and 90s. Brand head Jon Ikeda wants to take the ‘Teg to the track, but it all depends on whether the leadership at the American Honda mothership permits it.

“We want to race this thing, but maybe the Honda PR and marketing guys might have different ideas,” Ikeda told Road & Track. That’s because the Integra is largely a 2022 Civic Si with a hatchback form factor and new sheetmetal. Honda already sells a Civic Type R race car in several tunes for various classes in the TC America touring car series. That was based on previous-generation Civic, but in all likelihood will continue the program with the latest gen. A racing Integra, then, would seem redundant.

On the other hand, Acura has been highly active in motorsports, from 24 Hours of Daytona-winning IMSA DPi prototypes to NSX GT3 race cars to Pikes Peak hill-climbers. Even Honda’s F1 cars were re-branded with Acura livery at last month’s U.S. Grand Prix in Austin.

And it’s not like the Integra doesn’t have a long history in motorsports. The nameplate as competed in various North American series from SCCA Pro Rally to IMSA sedan to the Import Drag Racing Championships. Perhaps the most well-known Acura Integras to race, though, were Peter Cunningham’s white and neon orange RealTime Racing Type Rs that dominated the SpeedVision World Challenge championships around Y2K.

Ikeda has said before that he wants Acura to be the performance brand of Honda, and a rumored Integra Type S is in the works with a more potent engine, possibly a version of the upcoming Civic Type R’s mill. “We’re the performance division of Honda,” Ikeda emphasized to R&T, “So we’re not going to shy away from Honda, you know? We’re going to just have a little bit more fun.”

While an admirable goal, the brand will struggle if it’s merely the performance arm of Honda. It has to be about performance cars, period. That was part of Acura’s magic in the 90s; it offered products that, while sharing components with Honda, were distinct and had their own personalities. The Integra was Civic-based, but it had noticeably better handling, more power, and unique design. With the NSX driving off into the sunset soon the Integra will be asked to carry a heavy load, but if Acura can find a way to send the Integra into battle without stepping on the Civic’s toes, maybe it has a shot.

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Source: AutoBlog.com

Junkyard Gem: 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP

John DeLorean began his career working on Packard’s Ultramatic Twin transmission, but he made his greatest mark on the automotive industry during his 1956-1969 tenure at GM’s Pontiac Division. There, he helped develop the first production car engine with a quiet timing belt instead of a noisy chain, among other engineering feats, but his real fame came from the development of two money-printing models based more on marketing than machinery: the GTO and the Grand Prix. While the GTO gets all the attention now, the Grand Prix set the standard for the big-selling personal luxury coupes that sold like mad for decades to come. Today’s Junkyard Gem is an example of the most powerful Grand Prix available at the turn of the century, found in a Denver-area self-service yard during the summer.

The Grand Prix got front-wheel-drive for 1988 and a sedan version for 1990, but then something very beneficial happened in the 1997 model year: supercharging!

Various flavors of the venerable 3.8-liter Buick V6 engine (itself based on the early-1960s Buick 215 V8 and thus cousin to the Rover V8) received Eaton blowers, starting in the 1992 model year. The Grand Prix didn’t get its introduction to forced induction until the 1997 model year, but it kept the boosted option until the final Grand Prix rolled off the line in 2008 (the final Pontiac followed within a couple of years).

This one made 240 horsepower, making it King of Grand Prix engines until the 2005 model year (when the GXP and its 303-horse V8 engine showed up).

The very last year for a Grand Prix with a manual transmission was 1993 (there had been a three-pedal Grand Prix drought from 1973 through 1988, just to put things in perspective), so this car has the mandatory four-speed automatic.

The Grand Prix lived on GM’s W platform for its last two decades, making it sibling to the Impala, Regal, and Intrigue in 2001.

Until the 2004 model year, every W-Body Grand Prix was built at Fairfax Assembly in Kansas City (no, the other Kansas City). Production of the final generation of Grand Prix took place in Ontario.

It seems fitting that this car’s final pre-crusher parking spot would be between two other GM products of the same era: a Monte Carlo and a Vibe.

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Source: AutoBlog.com

Frank Williams, founder of Formula One team, dies at 79

LONDON — Sir Frank Williams, the founder and former team principal of Williams Racing, has died. He was 79.

Williams took his motor racing team from an empty carpet warehouse to the summit of Formula One, overseeing 114 victories, a combined 16 drivers’ and constructors’ world championships, while becoming the longest-serving team boss in the sport’s history.

“After being admitted into hospital on Friday, Sir Frank passed away peacefully this morning surrounded by his family,” Williams Racing said in a statement on Sunday.

Williams driver George Russell remembered Williams as a “genuinely wonderful human being.”

Williams’ life is all the more extraordinary by the horrific car crash he suffered in France that left him with injuries so devastating doctors considered turning off his life-support machine.

But his wife Virginia ordered that her husband be kept alive and his sheer determination and courage — characteristics that personified his career — enabled him to continue with the love of his life, albeit from the confines of a wheelchair.

He would remain in his role as Williams team principal for a further 34 years before F1′s greatest family team was sold to an American investment group in August.

Francis Owen Garbett Williams was born in South Shields on April 16, 1942 to an RAF officer and a headmistress. He was educated at St Joseph’s College, a private boarding school in Dumfries where he became obsessed with cars following a ride in a Jaguar XK150.

A travelling salesman by day, Williams fulfilled his racing ambitions at the weekend and, aged just 24, he launched his own team, Frank Williams Racing Cars.

Four years later, they were competing in Formula Two, and with flatmate and closest friend Piers Courage behind the wheel, Williams graduated to F1 in 1969 using a second-hand Brabham.

But tragedy struck at the 1970 Dutch Grand Prix.

Courage ran off the track, one of his front wheels hit his helmet, and his car burst into flames. Courage’s grizzly death in a car bearing his name left Williams devastated. Broke and with spiralling debts, he reluctantly sold 60 per cent of his team to Walter Wolf in 1975.

But Williams was not made to be a back-seat driver and, desperate for independence, he severed ties with the Canadian businessman.

He set up shop at an old carpet warehouse in Didcot, Oxfordshire and signed a promising young engineer named Patrick Head. The double act would go on to make grand prix history.

With Saudi Arabian funding and the hiring of Australian driver Alan Jones, Williams Grand Prix Engineering became a force.

At the 1979 British Grand Prix, Jones registered Williams’ first pole position before team-mate Clay Regazzoni took the team’s maiden win a day later.

In 1980, Jones delivered Williams their first title. The team also won back-to-back constructors’ championships, while Keke Rosberg was crowned drivers’ champion in 1982. But, in 1986, Williams’ life would change forever.

Following a test at the Paul Ricard circuit in March, Williams set off on a 98-mile dash to Nice Airport in a rented Ford Sierra. Travelling through the windy roads at speed, Williams lost control and the car ended up on its roof following a 2.5-metre drop into a field.

Williams’ passenger, the team’s marketing manager Peter Windsor, escaped with minor injuries. But Williams suffered a spinal fracture that would leave him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

“I was late for a plane which I didn’t need to be late for because I got the French time mixed up with the English time,” Williams later said. “The roads were very bumpy, the hire car was not the world’s best, and suddenly I was off the road upside down and with a broken neck.

“It was very unfair on my family, particularly my wife, because of how my circumstances changed. In hindsight, it was a careless and a selfish thing to have done. Life went on, and I was able to continue, but it has been a handicap in the true sense of the word.”

Despite his life-changing injuries, Williams was back at the helm of his team within nine months. Over the ensuing 11 years, five further drivers’ championships — including those for Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill — as well as seven constructors’ titles, followed.

But there would be more heartache for Williams when Ayrton Senna was killed in just his third race for the British team at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

Williams was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1999 but his team was never able to replicate its heyday of the 1980s and 1990s. He stepped back in 2013, the year in which his wife died, allowing his daughter Claire to assume the day-to-day running of the team.

Williams fought off pneumonia in 2016, but he has been an irregular fixture in the paddock for a number of years.

And, at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, an historic sporting chapter was closed when the Williams family contested its 739th and concluding race after selling up to Dorilton Capital.

Williams is survived by his three children, sons Jonathan and Jamie and Claire, and grandchildren Ralph and Nathaniel.

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Source: AutoBlog.com