WOT Four Years Ago: Topless Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Volt Launch On Time, Special Shelby GT40
May 2, 2008 – Four years ago today, former GM CEO Rick Wagoner confirmed the Chevrolet Volt was on schedule for its projected 2010 launch date, while Ford denied reports of selling off Volvo and Mercury. The Toyota Prius went topless, and Shelby Automotive built a GT40 rolling chassis for Carroll Shelby’s birthday.
GM CEO Wagoner: Volt Still on for 2010 — Battery problems, among many other issues, had critics doubting the Chevrolet Volt would make its projected launch date in 2010, but GM’s then-CEO Rick Wagoner put those rumors to rest when he confirmed the Volt was on schedule. Wagoner even said engineers were working six-day work weeks to make sure the highly publicized car stayed on track.
California Company Builds Prius Convertible — A Toyota Prius dropped its top in time for summer with help from California-based company Newport Convertible Engineering. NCE chopped the top off the hybrid car and replaced it with a custom canvas soft-top reinforced by window frames and a roll bar. Toyota has recently offered more variants of the Prius, but it appears a convertible Prius is still out of the picture.
Shelby Automotive Builds GT40 for Shelby’s 85th Birthday – Racing legend Carroll Shelby turned 85, and to commemorate the milestone, Shelby Automotive built 255 limited edition GT40 roadcar chassis. Available in three racing inspired colors that wore the liveries of past eras, 85 of each color were up for grabs, in addition to a race version chassis.
Ford Insists Volvo and Mercury Will Stick Around…For Now — Despite sagging sales from Volvo and Mercury, Ford insisted it had no plans to give up on the two. Ford said Volvo had a strong product lineup and, with new models such as the XC60 CUV on the horizon, Ford said it was “focused on improving the business.” Ford also claimed it was continuing to invest in Mercury’s upscale division, and that it would debut a new Milan and upgraded Mariner later on in the year. Ford had a change of heart two years later, selling Volvo off to Chinese company Geely, and eliminating the Mercury brand.