April 21, 2024

Wade Through Films

The Ultimate Driving Machines

1980 Volkswagen ARVW prototype speed records and specifications

The most aerodynamic automobile ever to dress in a Volkswagen emblem on its nose is not the newest Golfing GTI or an ID-badged electrical model. It is a forward-thinking prototype named Aerodynamic Investigate Volkswagen (ARVW) formulated and constructed in 1980 in response to the oil shortages that rocked the worldwide overall economy in the seventies.

Volkswagen initiated the task because it preferred to find out additional about aerodynamics and gas performance. Setting up with a blank slate, its engineers designed an aluminum frame and topped it with a human body made from fiberglass and carbon in get to continue to keep body weight in check out. The single-seater stretched 196 inches lengthy, forty three.3 inches vast, and 33 inches tall, proportions that established a silhouette a lot closer to a race car’s than to a Passat’s.

Producing the ARVW as modern as probable demanded mounting the headlights behind Plexiglas covers. There have been no mirrors — they would have established drag — but a pair of winglets sticking out from the entrance close and two significant fins out back again have been additional to continue to keep the prototype regular and on 4 wheels at triple-digit speeds. Its low, elongated human body boasted a drag coefficient of .fifteen. To incorporate context, the Porsche Taycan Turbo’s drag coefficient checks in at .22.

The intrepid exam driver sat straight in entrance of a two.four-liter straight-six turbodiesel motor borrowed, relatively shockingly, from a big, box-like van named LT. This model was never ever sold in the United States consider of it as the Vanagon’s more substantial, boxier, and entrance-engined brother. The six sent 177 horsepower to the covered rear wheels by way of a purpose-designed chain generate. Retaining it cool devoid of introducing massive air scoops to the two sides was a problem, but Volkswagen solved it with a clever system that injected h2o into the turbo’s consumption. 

In 1980, Formulation One pilot Keke Rosberg was allow unfastened on the Nardò observe in the ARVW. He set two entire world data — including the fastest diesel automobile at 225 mph — and eight course data in advance of contacting it a day. 

Volkswagen never ever very seriously regarded as supplying the ARVW the proverbial inexperienced gentle for generation. It was a rolling exhibit of innovative systems constructed for engineers to tinker with, not a preview of a model the firm hoped to sell alongside the Golfing and the Jetta in showrooms about the entire world. Volkswagen quietly set the task on hiatus in the course of the 1980s, but its spirit lived on in the 1-Liter prototype pushed by former chairman Ferdinand Piëch in between Wolfsburg and Hamburg in 2002. It little by little progressed into the limited-generation XL1 introduced in 2013.