September 29, 2021

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Automotive forever

Eight Prototypes That Practically Replaced the Volkswagen Beetle

Arriving at our shores in 1949, the Volkswagen Beetle swept The us throughout the Summer months of Enjoy and became a symbol of the counterculture movement in the 1960s. Commissioned by Adolf Hitler and created by Ferdinand Porsche, the Beetle (officially the Volkswagen Form 1) debuted in 1938 as the KdF-Wagen, a “The People’s Automobile” the two simple and efficient that the normal community could find the money for.

In its storied background, the two-doorway, rear-engine Beetle would gain from a series of hugely profitable commercials and acquire Hollywood by storm. Presented many nicknames, including the ubiquitous Bug moniker, the very low-maintenance Beetle is beloved as a adorable, trustworthy, and strong vehicle. The peculiar two-doorway from Germany earned its stripes and broke revenue data, starting to be the finest-promoting vehicle in the planet in 1972.

The Beetle fulfilled its gradual demise when Volkswagen launched the Golf in 1974, a nimble entrance-wheel-push hatchback that was far more practical and productive. The initial Kind 1 remained in production right up until 2003—21 million have been offered in the course of its epic operate. Its nominal spiritual successor, the Golf-centered New Beetle, explained auf wiedersehen in 2019, with the Remaining Version design coming off the assembly line in Puebla, Mexico.

But in advance of the Golf hatchback effectively changed the Beetle, there were being many other contenders in the functions. As early as the 1950s, Volkswagen appeared at additional than 70 types that could possibly swap the Beetle, and eventually, none proved productive. These are eight of the would-be versions that pretty much made it to generation, but weren’t considered acceptable Beetle replacements.

1955/56 EA47-12

The EA47-12, 1 of the initially tries at replacing the Beetle, was the 12th out of 15 prototypes developed concerning 1953 and 1956. This prototype is the work of Italian vehicle designer Ghia, as shown by its resemblance to the Karmann Ghia. It came driven by a 1,192-cc four-cylinder, air-cooled boxer motor rated at 30 hp with a prime velocity of 50 mph. It highlighted a absolutely synchronized gearbox, torsion bar rear suspension, and a transverse backlink front axle, highly developed know-how for the period.

1955 EA48

In 1953, Volkswagen set out to establish a car or truck that would sit beneath the Beetle in sizing, efficiency, and selling price. The boxy EA48, showcasing a entrance-mounted motor and front-wheel generate, may possibly have overwhelmed the likewise innovative British Motor Enterprise Mini to market place had it produced it into creation. This prototype was the first model created in-house with out the involvement of Porsche. Engineers developed the EA48 from scratch and did not carry more than any components from the Beetle. The entrance-push EA48 had unibody design and showcased a horizontally-opposed twin-cylinder motor (effectively fifty percent of a normal VW H-4) and a MacPherson-type entrance suspension.

1960 EA97

VW acquired out ahead of its skis on the EA97. Employees had assembled about 200 pilot cars by hand and had been placing up its manufacturing assembly line just before it was decided that the two-doorway sedan was too shut to equally the Beetle and the Type 3 to make it in the industry. This rear-engine two-door featured a handsome if relatively anonymous three-box shape and arrived geared up with a 1.1-liter engine.

1961 Form 3 Cabriolet

Volkswagen significantly viewed as a more upscale option to the Beetle with the Kind 3 Cabriolet prototype, unveiled in 1961. VW lovers are acquainted with the Kind 3’s notchback, squareback, and fastback variants, but this topless prototype places the basic condition in a total new light-weight. Classy, maybe indulgent, the Type 3 Cabriolet highlighted a convertible top rated that folded down elegantly (at least in contrast to the Beetle’s uncomfortable problem), and featured a glass rear window. But the Karmann Ghia convertible occupied a similar spot in the lineup, and the Kind 3 cabrio was canned for anxiety it’d give the Karmann Ghia convertible a operate for its cash.

1963 EA128

Volkswagen made the four-doorway EA128 as a immediate competitor to the Chevrolet Corvair. Marketed as a six-passenger motor vehicle, the EA128 would have been the initially of its kind in Wolfsburg experienced it advanced past the prototype section. VW set up a 2.-liter air-cooled, flat-six, horizontally opposed engine taken from the Porsche 911, which debuted in 1963. The EZ128 also featured 911 steering and suspension components and could achieve a top rated velocity of 99 mph. This luxury sedan had an all-leather-based inside, like the seats, sprint, and doorway panels. Due to substantial creation prices, Volkswagen CEO Heinrich Nordhoff requested the undertaking to conclude.

1966 EA142

Motivated by Pininfarina, this technical thought highlighted the closing bodywork design and style for the Kind 4, a motor vehicle that would debut in 1968. All through the Variety 4 growth stage, Volkswagen experimented with various overall body types, such as the two-door EA142 prototype. Showcasing what the automaker identified as a “notchback” human body model, the EA142 came equipped with the exact 1.7-liter engine used in the Style 4 ultimate production variation.

1969 EA276

This just one-off prototype would be the inspiration at the rear of the initial Golfing, marketed as the Rabbit in The usa. The front-generate EA276, showcasing a hatchback design and front-mounted engine, had a boxier body than any other potential Beetle substitute. Not absolutely purposeful, the EA72 relied on the exact flat-4, air-cooled engine that powered the Beetle. But Volkswagen’s a lot extra fashionable household of water-cooled I-4 engines derived from VW’s purchase of NSU would confirm to be a smarter go, and had been fitted in the Golf that essentially succeeded the Beetle.

1969 EA266

Developed with the assist of Porsche, the mid-motor EA266 hatchback was amongst the most progressive prototypes predicted to exchange the Beetle. Ferdinand Piëch, the grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, who afterwards grew to become Volkswagen Group chairman in 1993, led the progress of the EA266. Electricity arrived from a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder, h2o-cooled engine longitudinally mounted under the rear seat. Inspite of obtaining a ahead-considering structure infused with basic Porsche DNA, and a place-economical powertrain arrangement, the EA266 wouldn’t make it to production. Rather, the Golf’s transverse entrance-travel structure would be the wave of the long term.