Tesla community participates in epic celebration of 4-year-old’s triumph over cancer

The United States commemorated one of the most somber days in its history last Wednesday, but in a quiet, residential area in Alexandria, VA, the morning of September 11 proved to be a time of celebration. The day marked the 4th birthday of Whitaker Weinburger, who has spent most of his young life battling cancer. 

Diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma at 13 months, the young boy had gone through surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, and two bone marrow transplants over the years. It was not easy for Whitaker and his family, but fortunately, he finally got healthy enough to attend preschool. Thus, his 4th birthday this past Wednesday was so much more than a regular birthday — it was a celebration of a battle that was won, and a life that will be hopefully be lived to the fullest

(Credit: Kevin Sadeghian/Facebook)

Whitaker is crazy for the beloved Transformer Bumblebee, to the point where he legitimately thinks that all yellow vehicles could transform into the Autobot. There was a yellow car that the family usually passes by when Whitaker goes to school, and his parents thought it would be nice to have the owner of the vehicle park his car on the morning of his birthday. Erin Weinburger, Whitaker’s mom, took the idea further, asking a local social media group if any yellow car owners would like to pay a visit on the morning of her son’s birthday. 

Her call was heard. Behind the scenes, yellow car owners prepared to drive over to the VA neighborhood for an early September 11 surprise. Among the groups that mobilized was the Northern Virginia Tesla Owners Society, with member Kevin Sadeghian sharing Whitaker’s story on the local group. A series of heartwarming things happened soon after, starting with a Tesla Model S for Kids being donated by a member. 

(Credit: Kevin Sadeghian/Facebook)

Businesses such as Exotic Vehicle Wraps pitched in, agreeing to wrap the Model S for Kids in striking Bumblebee yellow, complete with an Autobot sign and a custom plate. Fellow auto shop TLC Auto Detail added an extra flourish by giving Whitaker’s parents free full detail vouchers for their personal cars. Other members of the Tesla owners group also sent over monetary gifts, which was used to purchase gift cards and a whole load of movie tickets for Whitaker’s family. 

Whitaker’s mother was already overwhelmed when she figured out that about 50 yellow car drivers might show up. As September 11 arrived, the whole family was struck by over 100 yellow vehicles of all kinds, from classic muscle cars to large pickups and of course, to a kid-sized all-electric car that was specially wrapped for the 4-year-old survivor. Buses, bulldozers, and firetrucks were also in attendance. 

(Credit: Kevin Sadeghian/Facebook)

Whitaker was not driven to school on his 4th birthday. The number of yellow cars that showed up for his celebration was so much, the cars formed a line that stretched over a mile long. As he was walking to school, the 4-year-old cancer survivor could be heard exclaiming “Bumblebee!” over and over, as he passed each yellow vehicle and groups of well-wishers. Whitaker’s parents were incredibly grateful for the community’s support, extending their thanks to everyone involved. 

Pete Lapp, an FBI agent who drove a friend’s yellow Dodge RAM for Whitaker’s birthday surprise, noted in a statement to The Washington Post that the celebration was a welcome contrast to what he experienced in 2001. Eighteen years ago, he spent 9/11 interviewing a woman who saw one of the planes crash while she was staying at a hotel. Describing the atmosphere in the VA neighborhood, Lapp stated that Whitaker’s little surprise is something that everyone involved will likely remember fondly. “This is a good memory for all of us,” he said.

Tesla community participates in epic celebration of 4-year-old’s triumph over cancer

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Modern Ferrari Dino plans put on hold

A revival of Ferrari’s entry-level Dino model is still possible, but don’t expect it any time soon.

Those are the words of Ferrari Chief Commercial Officer Enrico Galliera. When asked by Autocar in an interview published Monday about the prospects of a new-age Dino, Galliera said, “I would never use the word dead in the future strategy. [But] it’s certainly not something that we’re planning shortly.”

Rumors of a reborn Dino date back to 2015 when former Ferrari Chairman Sergio Marchionne said it was “not a question of if but when” Ferrari would produce a mid-engine sports car with a V-6 engine. But the idea of a less expensive Ferrari has been continually punted, and it doesn’t sound as if the iconic brand is currently interested in building a more accessible model.

Enrico Galliera

Enrico Galliera

Instead, Ferrari is working on 15 new models that will launch by 2022, including the already introduced F8 Tributo and SF90 Stradale. Ferrari is also working on a super SUV that will take on the likes of the Lamborghini Urus.

The biggest roadblock for a new Dino making production is price. Ferrari isn’t lacking for customers at its current price points, and company execs worry that developing a model to sell at a lower price point could hurt the company’s profitability. Previous rumors suggested the Dino would sell at a $20,000 discount compared to Ferrari’s most modestly priced model, the Portofino.

So the door is still open for a new Ferrari Dino, but only just.

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With top speed no longer the focus, Bugatti boss hints at other performance targets

Now that it’s the undisputed king of speed, Bugatti says it’s going to shift its focus to other performance metrics.

Since the introduction of the Veyron, Bugatti has been best-known for one thing—all-out speed. The Veyron Super Sport, with its 1,200 horsepower, quad-turbocharged W-12, was the fastest road-legal car of its time, with a Guinness World Records-verified top speed of 267 mph. The follow-up Chiron only solidified Bugatti’s position as the preeminent maker of land missiles, with a Super Sport variant of the hypercar recently becoming the first production vehicle to cross the 300 mph barrier. But fearful of being labeled a one-trick pony, Bugatti is looking to diversify its catalog of performance metrics.

“We wanted to be the first ones to break the 300-mph barrier and we did it, but now we need to focus on other things,” Bugatti head Stephan Winkelmann told Roadshow by CNET on the sidelines of the Frankfurt Motor Show.

In order to achieve its other performance goals, Bugatti is planning several different versions of the Chiron. Eventually there will be a lightweight version of the Chiron, and another model variant that will focus on improving overall handling.

“You have to do different cars to highlight different peaks,” Winkelmann said. “It’s so complex and so over the edge that you cannot cover it with one car.”

Those Chiron offshoots should be coming relatively soon. Bugatti plans to build just 500 units of the Chiron, with production expected to wrap up in 2025.

And what comes after 2025 for Bugatti? Even more diversity. In addition to a Chiron successor, Bugatti is also considering a second model that’s described as “a different type of car” that could arrive with seating for four and some type of electric power.

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