Saturday, October 16, 2010

Karmann-Ghia TC

Volkswagen TC - coupe body by Karmann-Ghia - manufactured in 1970

You don't have to be a petrol-head to remember the Volkswagen Type 1, affectionately known as the Beetle and arguably the most popular post-war car of its time world wide. Most of you will also remember the also popular and distinctive sports coupe and cabriolet versions based on the Beetle floorpan which immortalized the names Karmann and Ghia, a combination which became practically synonymous to the rear-engined Volkswagen sports models.

Some people may even think this was the model name of these cars, but that was not the case. Like most Volkswagen models at the time it lacked a name, it was simply referred to as the Type 14. Karmann and Ghia were two well respected coach building firms of which the Italian, Ghia, supplied the design and the German, Karmann, produced the bodies. But since Karmann-Ghia sounded so much better than Type 14 the names of these suppliers were promoted from a simple badge somewhere on the car to eye-catching spots on the lid and on the dashboard. And because of that these cars are commonly referred to as Volkswagen Karmann-Ghias or even Volkswagen K-G.
The Type 14 was a success though it didn't have anything near to a sporty performance. In 1962 the Type 14 was also taken into production in Brazil, with Karmann setting up a branch factory near the Volkswagen plant in São Bernardo do Campo named Karmann-Ghia do Brasil. The Type 14 sold reasonably well in Brazil but, like in Europe, there was a demand for a more powerful version, a car that could fulfill the promise of its exterior. In Europe Volkswagen had chosen to introduce the Type 34 Karmann-Ghia coupe, also known as the 1500/1600 or "big" Karmann-Ghia, in 1961 to meet this demand. This car was based on the chassis of the Type 3 Volkswagen, sometimes referred to as the pontoon model, a more upmarket version of the Beetle with a larger engine and different bodywork. The new coupe had a more angular appearance than its smaller brother with a sort of angry looking front end styling which was clearly not everybody's cup of tea and as a consequence it sold far less. In Brazil however a different approach was chosen.

Having learned from the slightly disappointing reception of the Type 34 coupe in Europe and the US, Karmann-Ghia do Brasil looked at Ghia in Turin for a reworked design at the end of the 1960s, preferably one that could match the looks of the popular and far more expensive Porsche 911. At the time Ghia employed Giorgetto Giugiaro, the famous Italian designer who had just presented masterpieces like the DeTomaso Mangusta and the Maserati Ghibli, and he was set to work on the new Brazilian Karmann-Ghia. The result was the Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia TC (Touring Coupe), internally known as the Type 145, which was introduced in 1970.

This model looked much like an Italian impression of a Porsche 911 and was a roomy 2+2 coupe with a modern and comfortable interior. Its appearance was easier on the eyes than that of the Type 34 Karmann-Ghia, though its lines were not undisputed and generally not considered to be Giugiaro's best work. The rear portion of the car seems to be modelled slightly after that of the Volkswagen 411. Underneath it was similar to the Type 14 though actually the platform of the Volkswagen Variant was used rather than that of the Beetle. Main difference was the engine: the Type 145 TC was fitted with the 1584 cc flat-four aircooled boxer unit from the Type 3 instead of the 1192 cc unit of the Type 14. Now the car had 65 hp @ 4600 rpm and a top speed of 137 kph, compared to the lowly 34 hp and 115 kph of the Type 14. This was certainly an improvement though its performance was still rather sedate compared to other coupes in its class.

The Karmann-Ghia TC had its looks and more powerful engine but wasn't as successful as anticipated. It actually had one big flaw: it was terribly prone to rust, or as Brazilians put it, it started to rust at the first raindrop. In particular the grill in front and the vents in the rear let in water which was collected at rust sensitive parts of the construction and also the door rubbers didn't seal adequately. Yet in all 18,119 TC models have been produced during its production run from 1970 till 1976. It was only offered in South America and wasn't exported off the continent.

This fact and its rust problem makes the Karmann-Ghia TC a very rare sight in Europe. The car shown here is a prototype which is part of the factory museum collection of Karmann in Osnabruck, Germany. It's an interesting example of autonomous design and engineering by the South American car industry, which is often overlooked here in Europe.

Source: Internet

Concept Caddy Van

The Volkswagen Caddy Van featuring with a wooden boat deck on the roof of car for sunbathin. Volkswagen is showing this Caddy Topos Sail design concept at the largest recreational vehicle show in D'sseldorf, Germany.

"The Caddy Topos Sail design concept, based on the smallest model in the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle van range, uses design cues from classic yachts and has its multi-functional roof covered with wooden decking surrounded by aluminium roof rails.
The wooden sun deck on the roof is accessed via four matching wooden and aluminium steps in the Caddy's tailgate, and to complete the design theme there are wooden inserts along the side of the vehicle and in the rear bumper."

Source: Internet

Concept T

The Volkswagen Concept T was first seen at the 2004 North American International Auto Show, held in Detroit, Michigan.

The Concept T crossover vehicle displays attributes similar to both sports coupes and off road vehicles, and aimed to fill a gap in the international vehicle market.

The Concept T in its aim to achieve both roles has ended up looking like an expensive dune buggy.

The unusual two tone styling which connects the recessed head lights, tail lights and high level exhausts also gives the visual effect of lifting the body away from the wheels.

The Concept T's impressive upswinging doors are hinged off the A-pillars and swing both outward and upward.
The high mounted rear view mirrors help the driver see over the high, wide rear arches.

The concept T also features an easily removed T-bar roof as well as a removable rear roof section to effectively make it a convertible with a roll bar.

Volkswagen powered the Concept T with a 3.2 L V6 developing 241 bhp, propelling the concept to a respectable 144 mph.

Source: Internet