Wolfgang The Talking Volkswagen — Volkswagen Beetle Cabrio

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Volkswagen Beetle Cabrio

VW Cabriolet History

A Short Possible Future of the VW Cabriolet

The Cabriolet is one of those rare that has attained cult It has a rich history that from over 50 years of and is deeply entwined with key advances in technology and the best and Italian automobile designers and Here is a quick look at of the key players, cars, facts and future developments in the VW convertible

Volkswagen AG

Headquarters: Wolfsburg,

Volkswagen was founded in 1938 by the government to build the KdF Wagen Car) as part of the master to provide the average German with an affordable reliable (KdF stands for Kraft Freude and means strength-through-joy.) KdF was a arm of the German Labor Front was set up to organize recreation, sport and activities in pre-war Germany. Dr. Porsche, arguably the leading car of the time (he had been the chief for Daimler-Benz and Auto-Union) and the father of Porsche (co-founder of Porsche), had a design that employed revolutionary ideas but was unable to get the German car manufactures to build it. It was to carry two adults and three at a speed of 60 mph with at least 33 mpg at a not much more than a It had a unitized body construction didn’t require a heavy frame. It also had an air-cooled that didn’t have a that would freeze in and was positioned at the rear to put the weight the wheels to increase traction. a meeting at the Hotel Kaiserhof in Hitler ordered the KdF to sponsor the development so the average German could purchase it using a mark-per-week stamp book plan. It would also the average German to drive the new During the development of the KdF Wagen convertible and roadster prototypes explored.

An entire new city city of the KdF car (Stadt des KdF-Wagens) was just to make Beetles. even laid the corner-stone of the new However when WWII the city was renamed Wolfsburg a nearby castle, and the company Volkswagen (People’s Car). KdF plant was briefly known as the Motor Works for a while the name officially changed to Although the factory was heavily during the war, the machine and presses were in good The Ford Motor Company was to buy VW for only $5 million but turned it because they thought the small cars would sell. The French government planned on disassembling the entire and moving it back to France as war but was stopped by the French auto because they didn’t competition. So the factory was resurrected by a military officer named Ivan Hirst because of the for transportation and the desire to get the German started again to stop the of communism. The British military the first order for 20,000 Within a couple years, VW for around 10% of West Germany’s

Volkswagen AG marks include Audi, Lamborghini, Bentley, SEAT and Skoda. VW has had several up and periods. Volkswagen is the 4th largest manufacturer in the world, the largest in Europe, and is the number one import in the US. This is amazing when you that VW almost pulled out of the US because of lack of sales in the ’90s. VW has just over a 12% of the world’s auto market and sales were 4.99 cars and vans in 2002. The VW has been the best selling car in for over a decade. Volkswagen is to move the VW brand upscale and is cars at prices unheard of It has bought more new mainframe to design engines and chassis any other auto manufacturer in the VW has even opened an amusement (Autostadt) in Germany where can come and play, see pavilions to each mark and pick up new car.

The vision and energy Volkswagen’s revitalization was widely credited to the now retired VW Chairman CEO Dr. Piech. When Dr. Piech command he replaced most of the old board of directors, fired of VW’s top management, standardized platforms and insisted on high quality. Earlier in his carrer, Dr. was also directly responsible for Audi Quattro 4-wheel and in rebuilding Audi sales and success as we know it today. His was Dr. Porsche and his family is still one of the owners of Porsche. Dr. Piech in April 2002 with Dr. Pischetsrieder becoming his successor. Dr. used to be a big cheese at BMW and was responsible for BMW into Formula 1 racing. is now officially suppling Maserati (a of Ferrari) with technology.

Karmann GmbH

Headquarters: Germany

Wilhelm Karmann was founded in 1949 and currently or builds cars for Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, Renault, Jaguar and General Motors, but has worked with Porsche, BMW and KIA in the Karmann does everything design and engineering, to conversion, to manufacture. (For example, completely built both VW the Porsche 914 and the BMW 6 Series.) Although VW the raw coupes to start with, the are shipped to Karmann who does all the and engineering, cuts the metal off, welds in reinforcements, bars, new panels and hand each convertible top. known for classic German quality.

KdF Kübelwagen, Schwimmwagen Kommandeurswagen

1940 to 1944

Units: Kübelwagen

Units: 14,283

Units: 667 Kommandeurswagen

Units: 65

Manufactured: Germany

Before could be delivered in mass to the German, WWII started and the KdF started churning out special versions for the German military. versions included 4-door drive convertibles called the 82 Kübelwagen (bucket car). was even a special Kübelwagen drove on railways. There was an amphibious 4-wheel drive called the Type 166 Schwimmwagen car) that could and used a retractable propeller at the in water. Finally there was a drive Beetle sedan the Type 87 Kommandeurswagen (commander’s and a two-wheel drive staff car called the Type 82E. A amount of Beetles were built for Nazi party They were essentially the equivalents of the US Jeep. There was a reprise for the Kübelwagen between the and 1980 when a Kübelwagen-like VW for the German military called the 181 (The Thing) was produced for the market. About 90,000 made and it was only imported the US from 1973 to 1974.

Roadster, Heb VW Käfer Cabriolet

1949 to 1980

Units: VW Käfer Cabriolet

Units: 696 roadster

Manufactured: West

During the rebuilding of VW, there two initial open top prototypes. One was a roadster created and droven by Ivan Hirst called the Roadster. The other was a four-door created and driven by another officer. They were toys to play with than serious production It was Heinz Nordhoff, the first head of Volkswagen, who wanted to an open top car. So Volkswagen building two designs in 1949; a convertible version (known as the VW Cabriolet) by Karmann of Osnabrück 15A), and the lesser known roadster version (known as the by Josef Hebmüller Son of Wulfrath 14A). Only 696 (some say 750) Hebmüller roadsters produced because the factory down on July 23rd after a massive fire in the paint shop. After a of 25 pre-production convertibles, Nordhoff Karmann an initial order for cars and the rest is history.

is German for Beetle. Legion has it the was coined when Hitler It should look like a you only have to look to to find out what streamlining is. The VW Cabriolet was based on the standard with a rear-mounted air-cooled The only major platform was the introduction of the Super Beetle in which added MacPherson front suspension to replace bars, repositioned the fuel and spare tire to increase capacity, and a new dashboard and windshield. For the two years of Beetle production, car off the assembly line destined for US was a convertible. German Beetle ceased in 1979 with the cabriolet conversion date 10, 1980. The only mechanical that remained unchanged on convertible throughout the entire run were the running boards.

VW A1/Mk1 Golf Convertible

Years: 1979 to 1993


Manufactured: West

The VW Cabriolet is based on the A1 Golf, first front-mounted water-cooled car. This is the best VW convertible of all time. The A1 Golf was by Giorgetto Giugiaro of Italdesign who is with the creation of the forms we today as the hatchback and GTI. It was the first mass produced car transversely-mounted engine, front drive and fuel-injection. The signature basket handle roll bar two purposes; to add strength and rigidity to the and to provide protection during over. The 1988-1989 versions are to be the pinnacle of VW Cabriolet design as have the new integrated Euro and ground effects, 4-headlight and hydraulic valves but retain the mechanical CIS fuel-injection system.

the A1 Golf was introduced in 1974, the version (Type 155) appear until 1979. says the A1 Golf Convertible was by Karmann engineers on the side VW management was not actively planning a new Although today there are convertibles to choose from, has not always been the case. In the ’80s, there was a time only a few convertibles were for in the US because of safety concerns. It until the Chrysler K-Car and later the Mazda Miata to market that the current craze began.

VW uses names in different countries. In the A1 convertibles were called Convertibles in Europe and Rabbit in the USA. (North America the A1 designation, while the rest of the uses Mk1.) Volkswagen water-cooled cars after Golf is short for gulf Jetta for jet stream, Scirocco for a hot wind, etc. In English, breeze is spelled with a u in German with an o. VWoA it would confuse Americans it meant the sport) so named all US after the Chinese Year-of-the-Rabbit.

In there were two types of standard and limited special Beginning in 1983, there several special editions involved different combinations of and top colors, top materials, leather or pattern seat materials, wheel types and colors, and rear badges, and upgraded packages. Special editions in the USA the Wolfsburg, Boutique (all white), Best Seller and Aigner. In Europe, special included the Acapulco, Azur, Carat, Christmas, Coast, Aigner, Fashionline, Genesis, Highline, Quartett, Sportline, and Youngline.

The Cabriolet went through a of upgrades designed to add power, safety needs and differentiate it other VW. In 1981 Cabriolet from the standard dash in other VW to a special Cabriolet The first engine was 1.5L 71 hp and mechanical CIS fuel injection solid valve lifters. It through several quick until 1984, when the 90 hp engine used in the GTI, the 5 speed transmission, the tachometer, vented windows and front remote mirrors became In mid-1984 the Cabriolet, Jetta I and II fuel tanks were to 13.7 gallons, an in-tank pump was added and the spare changed to a space-saver configuration. required a change in the bend of system pipes to get around the fuel tank. The third light became mandatory in the USA in and bumpers and front side were painted to match the body color. In 1988 VW hydraulic lifters and the Cabriolet kit with the updated 4-headlight front and rear bumpers, flares and rocker skirts. In power windows became and minor changes included a dashboard knee-bolster and black trim. In 1990 Digifant and ODB1 was introduced. Also side airbags and glued-in instead of the older gasket-fit became standard. A power top an option. There were engine versions available in

With the introduction of the new A2 Golf and lines, VW changed the name to Cabriolet in the USA in 1984. When the new A3 convertible was introduced in 1993, the A1 Cabriolet in stock were the Cabriolet Classic in the USA, and Cabriolet Classicline in Europe. The A1 Cabriolet was produced on April 23,

Volkswagen Beetle Cabrio

VW A3/Mk3 A4/Mk4 Golf

Years: A3/Mk3 — to 1997, A4/Mk4 — to 2002

Units: A3/Mk3 139,578, A4/Mk4 — (as of Dec 31, 2001)

Manufactured: Germany

This VW convertible was based on the A3 It was called the VW Cabrio in the USA, and the Cabriolet in Europe. While had aggressively updated and added new there was little more cosmetic changes to the VW Cabrio. The and Jetta made a transition to the new A4 while the VW Cabrio still the A3 platform but updated to the A4 trunk and panels, front grills, and tail lights, and interiors to them looking up-to-update. In VW reclassified the VW Cabrio chassis as

The A3/A4 engine was the 2.0L 115 hp flow 8 valve with sequential multi-port fuel and OBD1 (1993-1996) and OBD2 Small trim changes rear license plate on the lid recess key holes moving the right to centered. Also and oval Wolfsburg badges, or no badges, changed on fenders in the and were side blinkers else. In 1999, the new A4/Mk4 was applied to the interior and exterior. All bodywork such as fenders, hood, headlights, oval blinkers, steering wheel, knob and seats were The license plate recess was to the rear bumper and a small was added to the trunk center to The black textured dashboard was and power convertible tops an option. In 2000 rear brakes were introduced. were diesel engine available in Europe.

The VW Cabrio is the first VW convertible made outside Germany. in 1995, VW Cabrio sold in the US made in Mexico. Externally you can the difference by looking for the Wolfsburg on the front fenders. German VW Cabrios have the Wolfsburg while Mexican VW Cabrios Conversion is still done by as they set up a branch within the VW factory to do the work.

In the US, VW offered VW GL, GLS and GLX versions. In Europe, VW Golf came in different versions of level including the Classicline, Concept, Comfortline, Highline, Sportline and Trendline. Special editions included convertibles after the rock groups Floyd, the Rolling Stones and Bon The last A4 VW Cabrio was produced on 4, 2001 with most automatic transmissions. In Europe, in stock were renamed Edition.

VW New Beetle Convertible

2002 – Current


Mexico Germany

The New Beetle is a low cost convertible targeting and nostalgic buyers. Like the top version, it is based on the VW A4 Golf with a New Beetle chassis. It has a soft top. When introduced, the standard New Beetle was to only be produced in Mexico for the American market. It then off and VW started building them in for European consumption. However, a couple of years, the excitement to taper off and the New Beetle Convertible was to bolster the waning sales.

VW Convertibles Roadsters

The future of VW top cars looks like about to go through major with as many as two new convertibles and a rumored or confirmed. (Note By definition, a convertible has four while a roadster has two.)

The Eos the Greek goddess of the dawn), called the Concept C (Concept is targeted at BMW buyers. It has four and a Karmann Retractable Hard Top which consists of a three metal roof that back to be stored in the trunk. The is to have two cars in one. The is currently used on the Mercedes SL and SLK and the Lexus convertible. Production be at Volkswagen Autoeuropa — Lda factory in Palmela Portugal. American availablity will May 2006 with a 200hp FSI or 250hp 3.2 VR6 FSI engine at around USD.

The Concept R (Concept Roadster), Porsche buyers, was shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It is a new roadster design based on the A5 The concept was powered by a 3.2 V6 engine delivered 262 hp and a top speed limited to 155 However reports in German magazines have stated have been seen Wolfsburg that are supercharged and Production was confirmed by Dr. Pischetsrieder at the North American International Show, however no date was

In addition, rumors are buzzing there will also be a new larger “upscale” convertible a non-traditional shape. Volkswagen that a more larger may be coming in a September 2003 at the Frankfurt Motor Show Dr. Pischetsrieder said “VW is looking at the of building a retractable hardtop positioned between the Jetta and as well as something between the and Phaeton.” This could possibly be some kind of vehicle. It is too early to tell but it is unlikely this project come to pass as VW is currently financial problems and has already previously announced projects.

line up would target in several segments: the New Beetle as the low-cost version, the Concept C be the luxury-sport version, the Concept R be the performance version, and the non-traditional be the ultra luxury-touring car or crossover version.

Past VW convertibles always been versions of the Beetle or Golf. This is a departure. What that is that the spy photos you’ve over the past couple of of convertibles based on the older A4 or A5 platform are ghosts and will be built. Also sadly, it is that any new convertible will not the signature basket handle bar of the past as it is no longer required of new technology.

Volkswagen Beetle Cabrio
Volkswagen Beetle Cabrio
Volkswagen Beetle Cabrio

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