Höx Fibber

Type 3 To Be Reintroduced
Useless Tips for VW Owners
Beetle Design Not Original
Interview With Höx Fibber
A Strange Beetle Find
Karmann Conversions
Nutz-Los Accessories
VW-Audi – The Untold History
Advancement Through Technology – The Early Days
Concept One Road Test
Volkswagen Instant-Win Airbags
New Beetle to use Windows 98
VW in alphabet upset
Dihydrogen Monoxide dangers
Late VW News

 

Type 3 To Be Reintroduced

June 1990

Wolfsburg, June 16th. Volkswagen has made a shock announcement that the VW Type 3 series, last built in 1973, is to be re-introduced next year.

The three body styles, Notchback, Fastback and Variant, would all be sold, with greatest hopes for high sales being placed on the Notchback. Negotiations with Karmann of Osnabruck are also continuing concerning production of the Ghia coupe.

The original air-cooled flat four engine, developing 37 kW, would be used. Twin-carburettor versions of all models are planned, and a special GTI version of the Fastback with Bosch D-Jetronic fuel injection will be the sportiest model in the line-up.

The new Type 3 line will benefit from recent technological developments. Features include flush-fitting windows, first seen in the Audi 100, a special engine-support subframe and extensive zinc-plating of rust-prone sheetmetal.

The GTI Fastback will be specially outfitted with the VW Corrado's speed-sensitive rear spoiler, which is automatically raised at 110 km/h to improve stability.

Reasons given for the series reintroduction included buyers' resistance to the Passat model, now in its eighteenth year of production, and the stated wishes of many customers for an air-cooled, rear-engined vehicle. If sales of the Type 3 series develop as expected, the Passat range may be discontinued and the Type 3 series considered for series production.

By Höx Fibber

WARNING!  The above ‘news’ is a complete fabrication, which slipped through the editing process. All names used were purely fictitious and any resemblance to any Volkswagen vehicle, current or superseded, is purely coincidental, so help me God.

This source will not be used again for any so-called ‘news’. In fact, a Club VW letter bomb is on its way to Mr. Fibber.

The Type 3 is dead and buried, never to be seen again, which will please a great many people.  There has never been and never will be a Type 3 GTI Fastback with speed-dependent spoiler.  There are no plans to stop production of the Passat.

Phew, hope that does it.  Sorry Wolfsburg.

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Useless Tips For VW Owners

December 1990

A Better Way to Undo Nuts and Bolts

Can't find your metric shifter to undo that recalcitrant nut or bolt? Why not use your vernier calipers for the job - they are adjustable and fit nice and snug.If you don't have these, a micrometer will do just as well.

Special Tail-Lights

If you're looking for something special in the taillight department for your Beetle and want to stand out from the crowd, try fitting the taillights from a Morris Minor. Now, I've never tried the swap myself, but if Beetle lights fit a Morris Minor, then surely the converse is true.

Wonder-Gunk

Silastic really is Wonder Gunk! Apart from the more conventional uses such as sealing windscreens, I use it for filling up rust holes in bodywork, holes in the exhaust and cracks and holes in crankcases. One place where it's ideal is to permanently seal up rocker covers, so that nobody can ever again mess up my valve clearance adjustments once I get them right.

Quick Warm-Ups

If your Type 1 motor is taking too long to warm up, try fitting the snap-on air deflector plates on top of the cylinders instead of underneath. They do fit!

12-to-6V

Did you know that any 1968 and later Beetle, Kombi and Type 3 can be converted to six volts? All that's needed is the battery generator, voltage regulator, starter motor, wiper motor, automatic choke, idle solenoid valve and globes from a 40-hp Beetle. Of course, the starter motor needs a special adaptor bush for the transaxle, but that shouldn't be too hard to turn up. The advantage of this conversion is that, since the 6V generator puts out much less power than a 12V one, this power can be put to good use in driving the back wheels.

Easy Clutch Cable Repair

It's always a hassle trying to replace a Beetle or Type 3's clutch cable after it breaks, because you've got to squeeze your fingers into the tunnel to locate and secure the cable ends, all through a tiny hole in the side. Make it easy for yourself! Cut a large hole in the top of the frame tunnel, big enough to put both hands (plus your spanner) through. Your chassis may be permanently weakened, but at least you won't get cramped fingers when comes time to fix that clutch cable.

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Beetle Design Not Original

February 1991

Startling claims have recently been made by 75-year-old ex-Toyota engineer, Mr. Maniki Insan, regarding the design of the VW Beetle.

According to Mr. Insan, the Beetle's design was largely copied from blueprints for a Japanese ‘People's Car’, which Toyota was developing in Japan in the mid-1930s. The blueprints went missing from Toyota headquarters while Mr. Insan was working on the project. He is unable to say how the plans made their way from Tokyo to Germany, but says he suspects industrial espionage.

“Our design was so similar to the Volkswagen one that any chance of the Beetle being an original development is out of the question,” said Mr. Insan through an interpreter. “Our prototype was superior, in that it had a side-valve motor at the front and drive to the rear, which had leaf-spring suspension. I was working on problems of body rigidity, trying to eliminate as many welds in the car as possible.

“Volkswagen altered the design enough so we could not claim it was in fact ours.

“Our aim was to build a car for the masses, to sell as many cars to the world as we could, undercutting all other car-makers' prices. When the plans were stolen, our master plan of economic domination was dashed, so we went to war instead.”

Mr. Insan also claims that Toyota had developed a Golf-like prototype in the early ‘50s.

Mr. Insan's last contribution to Toyota before retirement in 1975 was the slogan, now somewhat altered: “Oh, What A Fooling.”

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Interview With Höx Fibber

April 1991

Zeitschrift's renowned German correspondent, Höx Fibber, tells us a bit about his background in this exclusive interview, carried out on his recent Australian visit.

Zeitschrift:  Herr Fibber, your articles of the past few months in our club magazine have given rise to some controversy amongst our readers. Some people have even expressed the opinion that certain aspects of your articles represent less than the absolute truth. Let me put it bluntly, Herr Fibber. You've been making it all up, haven't you?

HF:  Herrgott nochmal, wofür halten Sie mich doch... oh, sorry I must speak English. Let me say here and now that what you accuse me of is, how you say, complete foolishness. I have impeccable sources for all my information. And the proof of the strudel is in the eating. As you well know, another Volkswagen club magazine is now reporting facts from my articles to their readers, and do you hear them complaining? I have a good mind to start sending my excellent reports to them instead of Zeitschrift.

Zeitschrift:  Your point is well taken, Herr Fibber. We would not want to lose you. I am sorry if I offended you.

HF:  That is OK.

Zeitschrift:  Can you tell us something about your background; how you came to get so much knowledge and experience with the Volkswagen world?

HF:  Well, I was born into it, really. My great uncle Ferdinand used to be a car designer, I think you probably would know the one. It was always expected that I would follow in his footsteps. I did go to technical school with Porsche to learn car design, and my greatest triumph was a rear-engined, front-wheel-drive sports car with swing axles all round, Sportmatic gearbox and a V-5, air-cooled engine. It went like hot snot! I wanted to call it the Porsche 925, but they said it sounded too boring. I'm not sure what they meant. After that, they put me to work on the production line at Wolfsburg.

Zeitschrift:  You must have some really interesting stories to tell us about working there...

HF:  Ja, I do, actually. I once knew a fellow who thought he would do the clever thing and build himself a Beetle from parts he smuggled out past the gatehouse. You know what they say about parts from different year Beetles all fitting each other? It took him sixteen years 'til he had all the parts he needed. Getting the bonnet out was the hardest part - he had to wait for a bad rainstorm and make out he was using it as an umbrella. He put it together in his garage and now he has the only split-window Superbug in the world. All right, it wasn't my friend, it was me. Had the devil's own job of getting it registered. The German authorities couldn't work out what year it was, so they contacted the factory. After that, it wasn't long before I made another career change.

Zeitschrift:  Is that when you first became a motoring writer?

HF:  Ja, I used my contacts at Wolfsburg to get me into the testing ground at Ehra Lessien and used my camera to take shots of the factory prototypes. That's where I found out about the new Type 3 GTI.

Zeitschrift:  That was a real scoop. You certainly beat all the other journalists to that one.

HF:  Ja, they're all too slow, you know.

Zeitschrift:  Can we expect any more such news from you, Herr Fibber?

HF:  Ja, sure I'm working on something now. I should not say what it is, but you certainly will not believe it.

Zeitschrift:  Somebody will, Herr Fibber, somebody will.

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A Strange Beetle Find

May 1991

A US author has recently unearthed some startling information which has been kept secret from the public for over twenty years. The implications of this mystery are profound, not only for Volkswagen owners, but for the public at large.

Mr. Cy Kotic, a Californian who has written several controversial books on UFOs, was doing research in his local library when he discovered a NASA document which recently became available under the United States Freedom of Information act (FOI).

"The NASA document detailed that during the Apollo 15 moon landing of 1971, sightings were made of an unidentified object some distance away from the spacecraft. The astronauts Dave Scott and Jim Irwin, who had a moon buggy in which to explore, took photographs of the object, which were understandably never made public at the time. The object was a Volkswagen Beetle.

"This astonishing find leads me to either of three conclusions. I intend to do research in second-hand bookshops and UFO journals in order to find more evidence for either of these theories. One of them has got to be right.

"Theory one was offered by a musician friend of mine. He suggests that the Beetle was stolen from Earth by extra-terrestrials and dumped on the moon. Besturians would be just the type of alien to pull that sort of stunt. According to him, if you look really closely in the pictures you can see that they took the VW badge and the radio and left the rest. The only reason they didn't set fire to it is that it wouldn't burn there because the moon has no atmosphere. His sources also indicate that the odd triangular-shaped number plates on this car were only issued in Bermuda.

"My second theory is that this VW is a relic of a wartime German secret weapon plan. Documents captured in 1945 show that the Germans were working on a V-3 reprisal weapon, and the original sketches show a remarkable similarity to what we have found here. German rocket technology was very advanced at the time, you know. It's what put the Americans where they are in the space race. This car was probably aimed at Detroit when it was put into orbit, but they overshot their mark and it went as far as the moon. Have you ever wondered why the moon buggy of 1971 used a Porsche hub-driven system? It's all tied in, you know. They even had nuclear power back then, you know, but electronics weren't as advanced as they are now. Would you believe this car had only a 6-volt system?

"The third possibility is that the VW Beetle is actually a product of an intelligence superior to our own. The technology was ‘seeded’ to the Earth under the guidance of beings from another galaxy, probably the Lupucastellians. This would explain why there is such a mystical following to the VW on Earth. We were obviously meant to make this find, as they are guiding the technological progress of our civilisation.

"A colleague of mine, Derek Ron Vanagon, has written a book called ‘Hot-Rods of the Gods’ which offers evidence in support of this theory. His book shows that on the fields of Nazca, high in the Patagonian plains, there are strange shapes. From ground level, all you see is a bunch of rocks. But once you get airborne, you can make sense of it. The rocks turn into immense straight lines going right across the desert. Derek claims that this is proof that drag racing has been around for thousands of years. There are also enormous spiders, snakes and ... beetles! The Beetle we have found on the moon could be the space vehicle which brought alien beings to the Earth."

Mr. Kotic claims that there has been a conspiracy to keep this information secret. "NASA never intended to release this document. Certain people don't want the truth to be known. I keep seeing oriental faces in Toyotas following me around."

Mr. Kotic's books are entitled "Let Me Out Here" and "Off the Planet."

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Karmann Conversions

October 1991

VW Beetles which started life as a sedan, but which were then converted to a cabriolet, have been noticed in Germany recently sporting a Karmann badge.

Further investigations have revealed that Karmann is indeed taking existing Beetles and making extensive body modifications to them, marketing the result as a ‘Sküm-Bug’ (very hard to translate).

Karmann have brought all their skill and experience into the design of the ‘Chopp-Topps’, as they are known in German. The strength of the VW body is considered to be adequate for the conversion, whereby the roof is completely removed, though if the customers wishes, a square-tube frame can be attached to the floorpan, which is then electric-welded to the body. Scuttle shake is thereby kept to a minimum of 40 mm. A roll-over bar made from 52mm galvanised tube is installed and covered with impact-absorbing foam rubber, as required by the TUV, the German testing authority. The top is constructed from a special single-layer vinyl, and rear and side windows from ‘Poly-view’, a new type of clear plastic guaranteed to be transparent for at least six months. The frame for the top is constructed of aluminium tubing, supplied by Bananen-Canape GmbH. Waterproof seat covers and floor mats are provided, as well as one-way drain holes in the floor.

The cars are mechanically unchanged, and any rust present is left, this being considered the responsibility of the owner. All cars are resprayed, and any colour is available, as long as it is pink.

The market at which Karmann is aiming is predominantly the female youth sector, those who want an enjoyable, wind-in-the-hair experience in a pink Beetle for one summer, but who know nothing about cars.

I am so impressed by the design and workmanship of these cars that I intend to have my split-window Superbug made into a convertible!

A similar conversion is reportedly also available for the Trabant, now a very popular vehicle in Germany. This model is called the ‘Trabrio’.

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Nutz-Los Accessories

January 1992

The market for accessories to fit the many models of VW and Audi vehicles is virtually saturated with different firms and products. One has only to look in any automotive magazine to realise what immense variety there is in after-market products. This situation has not deterred a new firm, Nutz-Los GmbH, from entering the market.

The Nutz-Los works is situated in the town of Fallen-Apart, Schabbiewerk, one of Germany’s new states. For many years the firm was involved with the exclusive manufacture of accessories for East Germany’s most popular car. Now Nutz-Los has entered the wider market of Unified Germany and is applying to Volkswagen and Audi cars the same standards of design and manufacture that it is renowned for.

The strategy of Nutz Los is different from any other company sharing the crowded market place. Nutz Los has created products for which there is no competition from other manufacturers, and has available a diverse range, both for new VW and Audi vehicles, and for those which have not been made for some years.

Here is a short extract from Nutz Los’s line of unique VW-Audi accessories:

• A roof rack for the Golf Cabriolet. This ingenious device allows Cabriolet drivers to carry extra luggage for scenic drives in the country. A sun-roof is also available for the Cabrio, which allows sunshine and fresh air to enter the car for healthy motoring.

• A sun-visor for the Audi 100. This well-designed piece in proven aluminium mesh material fits above the windscreen of your Audi and makes driving a real pleasure. Since Audis no longer have drip moulds, self-tapping screws are used to attach the sun-visor to the rain channels on your car’s roof.

• Syncro 2WD kit. Helps stop wear on your VW syncro’s running gear and lowers petrol bills by disconnecting one set of driving wheels. Saves on tyre wear too.

• A GT body stripe kit for the Audi V8. Nutz Los feels that the appearance of the new Audi V8 is somewhat restrained, and their multi-coloured body stripe set is guaranteed to make your V8 into a true sports car.

• A spoiler and side skirt kit for the Golf Country. Many Country owners have been looking for that ‘low low’ look, and Nutz-Los can now oblige them with their 30-cm deep front spoiler and sill extensions.

• A snow chain set for all Audi quattro and VW Syncro models. These have so far not been available from any other manufacturer and come only in sets of four.

• Energy Polariser, which uses Orgone Energy to align the car’s molecules and improve performance. As sold to Peter Brock’s HDT. Fits all VW models with large self-tapping screw, comes with window sticker aerial. Must be turned sideways to fit Golfs.

• Anti-rust compound for all Audi vehicles. Nutz Los can guarantee that cars treated with their compound have never yet rusted.

• High-energy spark plugs for all VW-Audi diesel-engined vehicles. A special design which helps starting and overall performance. Nutz-Los ‘Zap-It’ diesel electronic ignition also recommended.

• A dust/pollen filter for the VW 181. Nutz-Los uses a paper insert from an Audi 100 filter and guarantees a clinical atmosphere for your 181.

• Caravelle cargo conversion kit. Makes your Caravelle much more efficient at carrying loads by eliminating windows, seats, carpet and trim. Why waste space when your Caravelle can be turned into a useful utility and delivery vehicle.

Nutz Los also has a large range of accessories for classic VW Beetles. The value-adding kit to convert Beetles from 12 to 6-volt is very popular, as are the Morris Minor and Mazda 323 tail light kits, Nutz Los time-saving clamp-less fuel lines, high-strength brake cable kits and wide range of attractive Porsche-lookalike fibreglass mudguards in a range of metal-flake colours. The latest edition to the line is the ‘US Brake’ kit for post ’68 Beetles, which replaces the standard discs with strong and reliable US-spec drums.

Commercial vehicles are not forgotten by Nutz-Los. In their line they offer, amongst other items, a carpet kit and seat cover set for the rear area of the VW Transporter delivery van, an extensive range of ‘big rig’ running lights for the VW Caddy, and reclining seats and pop-up roof for the LT truck.

I can personally endorse all of Nutz-Los’s products and recommend that you write to them at this address for their free catalogue (please enclose DM75 for postage):

Nutz-Los Autozubehorherstellungsundhandelsgesellschaft
Kustomer Last Str.
Fallen-Apart 86750
Telex Nutz UOSB4UCM
GERMANY

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VW/Audi – The Untold History

April 1992

Exhaustive research into secret archives has unearthed some astounding facts, which have previously been suppressed from the official history of the VW and Audi marques. The following items, for the period up to 1969, have been unearthed from documents until now suppressed by Wolfsburg and Ingolstadt.

1911: Audio Plattenspieler-Werke, makers of record players, diversifies into the production of motor vehicles. The new name of this company is Audi.

1932: Auto Union is formed from an amalgamation of Audi, NSU, IFW (later to make the Trabant), and Wartburg. The board of Auto Union decides to change the company’s logo. It is the Helsinki Olympic year, so the Olympic symbol of five interlocking rings is adopted and modified to four rings, each one symbolising the wheel of a car. Early versions even showed a tyre around the ring. The international Olympic committee successfully sues Auto Union for breach of copyright.

1934: Ferdinand Porsche works intensively on an air-cooled 16-cylinder aero engine design and is responsible for the engines which power the dirigible LZ129, Hindenburg, built by the Zeppelin Luftschiffbau. Desiring to apply the technology to motor vehicles, he designs a scaled-down four cylinder which is later used in an obscure people’s car project.

1935: Bernd Rosemeyer, the successful Grand Prix race driver for Auto Union, is contracted to the KdF project as a test driver. In a much-modified version of the KdF-wagen prototype with shortened wheelbase, early 4WD and force fed engine, he wins the first Nuremberg Rally.

1936: The Nazi Car Club committee stages National Socialists 1936 at the Berlin Olympic stadium. The Natsocs is the first international meeting for German cars, but is marred by ill feeling when Jesse Owens’ black ‘34 Ford wins first place in the concours d’elegance, after claims that it was of an inferior standard.

1937: Ferdinand Porsche designs the Trabant. The superiority of this design is later demonstrated by the Trabant’s outstanding long life. Its advanced use of new material technology marks the beginning of lightweight design, even now a feature of VW/Audi vehicles.

1938: The foundation stone is laid at Wolfsburg, soon to be the site of the world’s largest automobile factory. The new city is named after the Wolfsburger, a kind of mediaeval German lupine fast food.

1941: Wolfsburg designs and produces the ‘Kübelwagen’, a military version of the pre-war ‘Dünewagen’ beach buggy. It finds favour with Field Marshall Erwin Rommel's 7th Panzer division in North Africa. The insignia of the Deutsche Afrika Korps, with the letters ‘DAK’, is painted onto both side doors, leading to the vehicles being known as ‘DAK DAK’.

1942: The now-famous VW symbol is adopted when it is noticed that when a Nazi swastika is rotated anti-clockwise at high speed, it produces a recognisable V superimposed on a W.

1944: The KdF Commission conducts experiments on heating systems by re-routing the exhaust gases of an air cooled engine into the back of a light truck. The first results prove successfully toxic to the passengers, and the final solution to the problem is soon realised. Door seal technology, a much-praised feature of later VWs, is significantly advanced through these experiments.

1945: Hitler commissions the VW-3 prototype, the first post-war vehicle to be produced at Wolfsburg. Forerunners in the same series were the V1 and V2, which were moderately successful in the field of ballistics. VW unofficially stands for ‘VergeltungsWaffe’, literally ‘retribution weapon’. In English it is better known as ‘Hitler’s Revenge.’ Factory officials refer to the VW vehicle by the nickname of ‘Volkswagen’, or ‘People’s Car’, to hide its true purpose.

1949: Wilhelm Karmann produces the first chop-top Beetle prototype, a modified version of the sedan called the ‘Büchsenoffner’ by the Karmann engineers. A second version was later put into production.

1950: Production of the VW Transporter begins, based on a mirror-reversed version of the DKW F800 people-carrier design. For improved safety a Y-frame chassis is used, anticipating Toyota’s Tarago design by 40 years.

1961: A new company, Volkswagenwerk AG is formed to produce tractors, combine harvesters and other agricultural equipment. The parent company, Volkswagenwerk GmbH, has only a limited liability for the new concern.

1969: Management at Audi contract NSU after forming a close partnership. A full recovery follows timely medical treatment.

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Advancement Through Technology - The Early Days

September 1993

It is a little known fact that the technological superiority so convincingly demonstrated by current Audi models goes back nearly to the beginning of this century. The company's motto, ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ (loosely translated, ‘four springs make it work better’), was devised in 1910, when competitors’ vehicles typically were suspended on single transverse leaf springs and leather straps. Audi’s principal model, the Typ C, could by then boast of the luxury of one leaf spring per wheel.

In the early days of the automobile, the principal materials in use for constructing bodywork were not as we know them today. Much as a horse-drawn carriage would have been built, sheet metal was folded around a timber frame, which was then attached to the steel chassis. The sheet metal was, of course, prone to corrosion. Audi developed a process which they called ‘Vollverzinkung’, or zinc-plating, and even went to the trouble of using zinc-plated nails to attach the galvanised sheet steel to the wooden framework of doors and upright members.

Windscreen frames of the time were typically made of cast iron. Audi recognised the shortcomings of this expensive material - high weight and bulky appearance. They formed their window frames from extruded aluminium, which gave the added benefit of improved aerodynamics and reduced wind noise through flush fitting.

Perhaps the finest example of Audi’s early technology was the Typ B of 1913. This car, known as the ‘Alpensieger’, was specially developed for rally competitions over mountain passes. Its extreme high performance virtually blew away the competition. All the following features were Audi firsts:

The engine was a turbocharged, inter-cooled five-cylinder of 2.6 litre capacity, developing an amazing 1028 horsepower. Since traction on snow-covered passes was essential, four-wheel drive was used. Not the usual layout of a transfer case with a driveshaft to the front axle, however. Audi's system transmitted drive directly to the front wheels, as well as out the back of the gearbox to the rear wheels. To prevent drive train ‘wind-up’, a centre differential was used. But this was a differential with a difference - the so-called ‘Torsen’ differential, named after its inventor, Alfred Torsen. It sensed the torque requirements of each axle, then apportioned sufficient torque to each.

In the years 1934 to 1938, Auto Union was responsible for developing a range of aluminium bodied, supercharged 16 cylinder supercars, which swept all before them in international competition. Hans Stuck and Bernd Rosemeyer won numerous international races and broke record after record. This series of cars was supported by the German authorities; even Germany's well known leader at the time, an avowed car enthusiast, made available financial backing, with the undisguised intention of scoring a propaganda coup for Germany's international prestige.

Why then did the obvious technological superiority of Audi over all other cars of the time not allow the company to rise to prominence in the marketplace, and make it one of the major players in the world automotive scene, as it deserved? The answer may surprise you: a conspiracy was hatched by the Allied powers to discredit German engineering. Rumours were spread that the narrow tyred, rear-engined, swing axle cars were unstable at high speed, a ludicrous proposition when you think about it, and moreover, that their immense power was uncontrollable - the so called ‘unintended acceleration’. Though nothing was ever proved, it is suspected that the world land speed record attempt car of 1937 was tampered with before Rosemeyer’s spectacular death on the Autobahn near Frankfurt, though not before the record was won.

After this high-profile apparent failure of the much-vaunted German technology, Audi/Auto Union was forced by political reasons to give technology a rest for a few decades, and made some rather uninteresting two stroke cars until the early 1960s. Their technological renaissance would have to wait.

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Concept 1 Road Test

World Exclusive Secret Report
June 1997

I test drove the brand new VW Concept 1 today and found it the most fantastically superb car since the last fantastically superb model was turned out last year.

The new model VW, the stylish and elegant Concept 1 (also known as the NEW Beetle), was unveiled in a lavish ceremony in Tahiti attended by motoring writers, hula girls, whores and a man from the Edelston clinic in case anyone came down with a dose of the clap.

I drove the marvellous new Concept 1 around the Papeete racing circuit half a dozen times. The circuit is along the main street, and all casualties were paid for by Volkswagon.

I found the car full of surprises.

The first surprise was getting into the New Beetle and finding everything facing backwards. In the normal Beetle position with the engine behind, I found myself facing the back seat and parcel shelf, and the smooth new dashboard behind me. Even the headrest now supports the chin! This is a great advance in combating driver fatigue - no more neck strain and no more confusing gauges.

Getting underway at last, I noticed the magnificent Concept 1 began shuddering at 30 km/h. This rhythmic motion helps passengers sleep, and is one of the many luxury additions to the car.

The next surprise of the wonderful New Beetle was that the sleek mudguards, built of unstressed plastic, fell off after travelling a kilometre. I felt this gave the new car a rakish, dragster look that shows forward thinking on the part of the designers. This will certainly appeal to those beach buggy enthusiasts.

Then, as I jollied the fabulous Concept 1 to its top speed of 60 km/h (which the high-powered VR6 version can reach in only 1.3 seconds!), both highly polished plastic doors flew open. This let in a pleasing rush of cool air, for it must be remembered that the terrific New Beetle is designed for hot climates as well as cool.

Another surprise of the fascinating New Beetle was the sudden failure of the brakes. The attitude of the car on the road then perfectly matched that of its Golf-based engine - sideways. What a challenge this remarkable car is to the sporting driver.

Without brakes he is forced to use his gears for stopping, and I found that driving became even more challenging when the plastic gear-stick came away in my hand.

The Golf engine, mentioned above, is modified to give it an air-cooled tone by changing its firing order to 1-4-3-2, just like the Beetle of old. In an inline engine such as the excellent new Concept 1 is, a devastating effect on its balance is achieved. This became very clear when the motor blew up. It's a thoughful touch that this wonderful new car should also appeal to the many VW home mechanics who love tinkering with cars.

I was not at all surprised when the backward-facing seats of the gorgeous New Beetle collapsed, because this is a feature of modern cars. The modern safety-conscious driver likes a collapsible seat for a quick struggle at the drive-in.

The surprise feature of the seats of the unsurpassable Concept 1 is that they give way on the part that you're sitting on. It is an unusual and unique addition.

Of course I have my criticisms of the brilliant New Beetle. The washer bottle water gets very hot and rusty after the engine runs for a while, and I couldn't find the spare tyre anywhere in the front boot. I also found to my disappointment that the otherwise brilliant Concept 1 doesn't float; however these are trifling criticisms.

It is the best car I have ever seen and will remain so until I go to Bermuda next week for the launching of the new super-luxury V12 VW limousine called the Bleischlitten.

I can't speak too highly of the wonderful reception and grog-on given us by the lovely VW company. The intelligent and handsome public relations officers gave us everything we wanted - even brochures, and they didn't threaten us more than once.

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Press Release: Volkswagen Introduces New Instant-Win Airbags

November 1997

Sydney, Australia. With fourth-quarter 1996-97 sales sluggish, and its share of the domestic passenger car market down 11 percent since 1995, TKM Automotive Australia Pty Ltd and its subsidiary, Volkswagen Distributors, unveiled a new 'instant win' airbag contest on Monday.

The new airbags, which award fabulous prizes upon violent, high-speed impact with another car or stationary object, will come standard on all of the company's 1998 model VW passenger cars and commercials.

“Auto accidents have never been so exciting,” said Volkswagen Distributors' vice-president of marketing, Chris Locantro, who expects the contest to boost 1998 sales significantly. “When you play the new VW Instant Win Airbag Game, your next fatal collision could mean a trip for two to the 1998 ARL or Australian Rules Grand Final, or a year's worth of free Ampol petrol.”

Though it does not officially begin until January 1st 1998, the airbag promotion is already being tested in select cities, with feedback being overwhelmingly positive.

“As soon as my car started to skid out of control, I thought to myself, 'Oh boy, this could be it - I could be a big winner!’”, said Brisbane's Martin Frelks, who lost his wife but won $50 on Sunday when the Golf GL they were driving hit an oil slick at 100 km/h and slammed into an oncoming truck. “When the car stopped rolling down the embankment, I knew Sharon was dead, but all I could think about was getting the blood and glass out of my eyes so I could read that airbag!”

“It's really addictive,” said Terrigal, NSW, resident Marjorie Janner, speaking from her hospital bed, where she is listed in critical condition with severe brain haemorrhaging and a punctured right lung. “I've already crashed four cars trying to win those footy tickets - my kids love the Newcastle Knights - but I still haven't won. I swear, I'm going to win those tickets, even if it kills me.”

Janner said that as soon as she is well enough, she plans to buy a new VW Polo GL and drive it into a tree.

Volkswagen Distributors officials are not surprised the airbag contest has been so well received. “In the past, nobody really liked car crashes, and that's understandable. After all, they're scary and dangerous and, sometimes, even fatal,” Volkswagen Distributors CEO Keith Coulston said. “But now, when you drive a new Volkswagen car or commercial, your next serious crash could mean serious cash. Who wouldn't like that?”

Coulston added that in the event a motorist wins a prize but is killed, that prize is awarded to the next of kin.

He also added that VW has a proud record in passive safety features fitted to its cars, with all current VW model cars and commercials on sale in Australia fitted with at least a driver's side airbag. In addition, all passenger cars (except the new Caravelle) are also fitted with a standard passenger airbag, which doubles the chances of claiming a rich prize.

According to VW's official contest rules, odds of winning the grand prize, a brand new 1998 Volkswagen Passat VR6, are 1 in 43,570,000. Statistical experts, however, say the real chances of winning are significantly worse. “If you factor in the odds of getting in a serious car accident in the first place - approximately 1 in 720,000 - the actual odds of winning a prize each time you step into your new VW are more like 1 in 31 trillion,” said CSIRO Statistical Actuary Boris Pobjoy.

Furthermore, even if one is in an accident, there is no guarantee the airbag will inflate. “I was recently broadsided by a drunk driver in my new Golf GL,” said Melbourne, VIC, resident Barry Polaner. “My VW was written off, and because it was the side of my car that got hit, my airbag didn't even inflate.

“But what gets me is the fact that the drunk driver, who rammed my Golf with the front of his white 1997 Transporter, won a $100 Myer-Grace Bros gift certificate. That's just wrong.”

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New Beetle To Use Windows 98

June 1998

Seattle, Washington: Microsoft founder and president, Bill Gates, has announced in a press conference that all VW 'New Beetles' sold from August 1998 will be fitted with the new Windows 98 computer operating system.

VW has recently struck problems with quality control and has recalled all early cars with myriad electrical faults that have caused embarrassment to the German maker. Gates has timed his announcement to restore consumer faith in the New Beetle at just the moment that VW would want. No prior details of any cooperation between VW and Microsoft have been released to the press.

“I have greatly admired the New Beetle since VW revealed the Concept 1 several years ago,” Gates said at the press conference. “It represents a triumph of media hype, rumour and marketing promotion over substance, something Microsoft has done for years,” he said.

“It was only natural that we work together to provide a more suitable means to travel the information superhighway. From August 1998, all New Beetles will come standard with Windows 98, not just on monitors in the cabin but controlling every facet of the car.

“Not just the engine, gearbox, brakes, fuel system, electrics, hydraulics etc. will be done on computer; everyone does that. On the New Beetle, you'll actually OPERATE the car with Windows 98 - to buckle up, start the car, steer, turn, brake and stuff all through an easy-to-use, Microsoft Windows interface.”

No members of the press were able to test the system at the launch, nor were any brochures available. However, several pages of the VW-Microsoft operation manual were leaked:

Instructions For Microsoft New Beetle 98™

You must first unlock the door. By doing so you agree to accept and honour Microsoft rights to all Volkswagens. You may not let anyone else drive your New Beetle (which would infringe Microsoft's rights). You may, however, let others trial your New Beetle, and are encouraged to tell them to purchase their own copy.

Sit behind the control monitor. To start the New Beetle, boot the operating system, wait for the desktop to load, then enter the following keystrokes at the command prompt: <\msvw.-car.//01drv@cncptl//. Wait for the software to load, then enter <\msvw//start.motor_cold#@-//fuel~spark\$!$/brm.brm:-)gocar#startme. When this has finished scrolling, click and hold the Key icon and drag it to the Switch button. When the short diagnostic routine has compiled and run, a dialog box will appear. Enter your User ID and password, then Click OK. Wait until the hourglass has disappeared.

Note: Some Beta test cars were fitted with Macintosh software. If your New Beetle has this superseded version, sit in the car and press Start. The engine will then start.

Should the engine fail to start, shut down, exit and re-enter the car to reset the sensors, then enter <\msvw.car.nogood@again*.*/:-(_//startme. This simple process may have to be repeated. Try unplugging the engine interface module then doing a complete cold start IMPL. If this doesn't work, contact the Microsoft Helpline (wait calls charged at $3.34 per min).

Once the New Beetle has started, the Drive Command Panel will appear on the control screen. You can select between Manual and Automatic control with the drop down box; Automatic users should click on the ‘D’ option, while Manual drivers can select any one of five forward speeds. Microsoft recommends beginning with ‘1’. Enter the command

Similarly, to slow the car down simply enter

Some users have complained that the dashboard of the New Beetle contains switches that have no function. These are for future software releases. Microsoft promises an entertainment package with every New Beetle from 1999. However that version has yet to be released. Microsoft New Beetle 98™ may be incompatible with other cars in your garage, causing your house's electrics to malfunction. This is a feature, not a bug. Your other cars will have to be upgraded anyway.

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VW in alphabet upset

December 2004

VW has been thrown into turmoil this week with news that its licence to use two consecutive letters of the alphabet has expired. Renewing the licence would cost millions, leaving the German firm with the choice of forking out or changing its popular abbreviated title.

“This is a familiar problem," observed Leighton Buzzard, Doctor of Letters at St. Angreavsie College, Oxford. “Ford's cash reserves were severely drained in 1970 after it bought the letters ‘RS’ for a sporty Escort. Fortunately, in 1973 they hit upon a way to make some of their money back by leasing the letters to Porsche.”

Sources in Wolfsburg are unlikely to find such a neat solution, and some spies suggest that the firm may have to opt for the cheaper ‘WV’ combo. “This would make the company name Wagenvolks,” says one insider, “which means ‘car people’ in German. Actually, that's quite nice. I don't know why we didn't think of that before. If we weren't known as ‘people's car’ in future it would certainly make the Phaeton less ridiculous.”

However, some commentators believe that, to avoid making their familiar badge look ‘top heavy’, the car giant will dig deep to retain the rights to its current abbreviation. No one knows how much these rights will cost but it may well top the $200 million Michael Jackson paid back in 1970 for the rights to both ‘ABC’ and ‘123.’

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Dihydrogen Monoxide Dangers

March 2005

Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) is colourless, odourless, tasteless chemical. It is surprisingly common in the environment and in the workplace. It kills uncounted thousands of people every year.

DHMO is referred to by some as Dihydrogen Oxide, Hydrogen Hydroxide, Hydronium Hydroxide, or simply Hydric acid. Its basis is the unstable radical Hydroxide, the components of which are found in a number of caustic, explosive and poisonous compounds such as Sulphuric Acid, Nitro-glycerine and Ethyl Alcohol.

Most of these deaths are caused by accidental inhalation of DHMO, but the dangers do not end there. Prolonged exposure to its solid form causes severe tissue damage. Symptoms of DHMO ingestion can include excessive sweating and urination, and possibly a bloated feeling, nausea, vomiting and body electrolyte imbalance. For those who have become dependent, DHMO withdrawal means certain death. Dihydrogen Monoxide:
•    Is also known as hydroxl acid, and is the major component of acid rain.
•    Is the major contributor to the ‘greenhouse effect’ and the El Nino weather effect.
•    May cause severe burns in both the gaseous and liquid states.
•    Contributes to soil erosion in our natural landscape.
•    Initiates the corrosion and rusting of many metals.
•    Causes electrical short circuits and decreased effectiveness of automobile brakes.
•    Has been found in excised tumours of terminal cancer patients.

Contamination is reaching epidemic proportions!

Quantities of Dihydrogen Monoxide have been found in almost every stream, lake, and dam reservoir in Australia today. But the pollution is global, and the contaminant has even been found in Antarctic ice. DHMO has recently caused millions of dollars of property damage in the American south, Brazil, India and Indonesia.

Despite the danger, Dihydrogen Monoxide is often used:
•    As an industrial solvent and coolant.
•    In both coal-fired and nuclear power plants in electricity generation..
•    In the production of Styrofoam.
•    As a spray-on fire retardant.
•    As an additive in certain ‘junk-foods’ and in genetically-modified grains and fruit.
•    In many forms of cruel animal research.
•    In the distribution of pesticides. Even after washing, produce remains contaminated by this chemical.
•    In abortion clinics and in plastic surgery.
•    As a major ingredient in many homemade bombs and small hand-held pistols.
•    As a by-product of air conditioning compressor operation
•    In cult rituals such as the Scientologists and the Catholic Church on their members and their members’ families.
•    By paedophiles and pornographers (for uses I'd rather not say here).
•    By the clientele at brothels in Sydney, New York City and San Francisco.
•    Volkswagens made since 1974 contain significant quantities of DHMO.

Companies dump waste DHMO into rivers and the ocean, and nothing can be done to stop them because this practice is legal. The impact on wildlife is extreme, and we cannot afford to ignore it any longer!

The Australian government has refused to ban the production, distribution, or use of this damaging chemical due to its "importance to the economic health of the nation." In fact, the NSW Government is conducting research into DHMO, and designing multi-billion dollar facilities to collect, process and utilize it. Hundreds of facilities receive tons of it through a highly sophisticated underground distribution network. Many store large quantities for later use. The NSW Government is even planning on extracting it from the ocean and pumping it into people’s houses. I say it should be banned. Contact your local Federal Government representative.

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Late VW News

August 2006

German car giant Volkswagen is to launch a radical new model for car markets in developing countries - a brown horse. Following the cancellation of its sub-Lupo project for the Chinese market, code named AOUO, VW is going back to basics with an equine approach to under-developed markets. As yet details of the new model are sketchy but it's thought that costs will be kept down by offering just one body style (horse) and one colour (brown). However, that doesn't mean VW is skimping in other areas. Our spies say that some kind of 4WD set-up will be standard, probably an adaptation of the Golf’s advanced 4Motion system that can push power to the back hooves in slippery conditions. Engineers are also working flat out to ensure the horse's bi-fuel system can accommodate all grades of carrots and hay. It's not yet known if the horse will be sold in Australia but if it were to come here it would undoubtedly struggle without a diesel powered variant. Interestingly, Volkswagen is not the first manufacturer to develop a long faced, straw chewing model. Kia have been making donkeys for years.

Two new models from German car giant Volkswagen “cancel each other out” to maintain a ‘dullness equilibrium,’ according to a very clever man who knows these things. Dr Carl Ungererer of Sheisse College, Gdansk, has been studying VW's range for “a long time” and says that the company has long tried to balance out its interesting new cars by announcing other models of almost no interest whatsoever. “Older readers may remember when the Corrado was launched some years back,” Dr Ungererer notes. “VW knew that it was a bit exciting and needed to be balanced with some dull old shit diesel Golf with an engine that switched off at traffic lights or something. However, it's only now that Wolfsburg has truly achieved a ‘dullness equilibrium’ with the almost simultaneous unveiling of the very exciting Golf R32 and the arse-clenchingly dull diesel Touran MPV.” However, Dr Ungererer warns that this new boring balancing act may have dire consequences for VW dealers and drivers. “These two models are completely opposed and act together to maintain the overall tedium of VW’s range, but if they were to be placed together in the same room then I have conclusive evidence that they would cancel each out and cause some sort of well-built, dynamically inert black hole that closes with a satisfying ‘clunk.’ Oh no, hang on, I'm looking at the wrong page...”

The Volkswagen Golf will have 3,500 kW by 2010, according to calculations carried out by an automotive maths expert. Professor Ken Marineply claims to have reached this stunning conclusion after studying the increasing power outputs of successive Golf models launched since the original GTI model of 1976. “If we look at the way the output of the most powerful Golf increases over time it is possible to extrapolate future power ratings for the future,” Prof. Marineply explained. “So, where the original Mk1 8V Golf GTI had just 82 kW,” the professor continued, the Mk2 GTI 16-valve offered 104 kW, which is 127% of that original output. Then the Mk3 VR6 put out 130 kW, 158% more than the original Mk1 GTI, and a percentage point increase of 31. But when we get to the new Mk4 R32 we find 179 kW, meaning a 218% increase, which is 60 percentage points more than the previous power peak increase. Thus, we see that the percentage point increase pretty much doubles with successive generations. This means we can look forward to 120 percentage points increase for the Mk5 Golf, from which I have calculated 218 + 120 = 338% of 179 kW, which works out at 605 kW. But, the real shock comes with the Mk6 model, which will enjoy a 240% increase, or 578% in total, and that means a staggering power output of 3497 kW for the top of the range variant.” Professor Marineply later denied that his maths was 'rubbish'.

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