Home » I Think The Cybertruck Will Make The VW Hormiga Cool Again: Cold Start

I Think The Cybertruck Will Make The VW Hormiga Cool Again: Cold Start

Cs Hormiga1

The Cybertruck still isn’t out yet, and yet the hype around it is still powerful and even a bit unhinged, at least among certain dedicated Tesla hives. But what if you’re sick of waiting? What if you want your curve-free truck option now, and, even better, what if you want to spend a lot less money? In that case, you’re in luck, because Volkswagen made something that I think would work fantastic for you, way back in the 1970s: the Hormiga. It’s a truck that looks like a low-polygon video game that ran on an SNES with the SuperFX chip. What more do you want?

Cs Hormigacutaway

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Technically, the Hormiga is very interesting because it’s only one of two air-cooled VWs that placed the flat-four engine up front, driving the front wheels; the other is the original VW Gol. The Hormiga is even a bit different still, as it’s a cabover design, and you actually sit in front of the engine. The engine is still ahead of the front axle, so I don’t think that makes it mid-engined, but it’s definitely odd for an air-cooled VW. It’s also the only air-cooled VW to use leaf springs!

Cs Hormiga3

These were designed to be as simple as possible to build, with no complex curves or stampings required, and all flat glass. You could get them with stakebed pickup bodies or a chassis-cab, like you see there, and from there it could become anything! Look at the little camper in the lower right! I’m not sure what those black deflector-looking things are on the corners; is that for some…aero purpose? Could that be? On something this crude? Maybe they keep some crazy wind noise within human tolerance levels?


Cs Hormiga4

Look at how useful this thing is! It’s a multitool! And look how the rear window is off-center! And that it has at least one seatbelt! And that it can make both cowboys and construction workers smile!

Cs Hormiga Basistransporter

Most Hormigas were made in Mexico (the name means ant, which I love) but there was a variant built in Indonesia and Turkey and some other places called the Basistransporter that used some VW Type 2 Bus body parts for the body. But weirdly modified, as you can see. They just used the front panel/windshield, but added in some clunky air intakes and, in the case of that chassis-cab version on the left, even swapped out the turn indicator lenses with little off-the-shelf round ones!

Anyway, my advice to all of you waiting on a Cybertruck is to save money and be cooler and look for a good used Hormiga.

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5 months ago

The picture of the chassis is not from a Hormiga but from a Teijo. Here is a link to Swiss site: https://vwbusforum.ch/t/vw-basistransporter-ea489/44481
Ok, it is in German, but I believe the essence becomes clear.

5 months ago

This kind of utilitarian pick up was pretty common among farmers when I grew up in Switzerland in the 80s and 90s. The most common manufacturer was Schilter (looks similar…google!). The VW was likely created to compete with the Schilters.

5 months ago

What a wonderful use of the air-cooled VW powertrain. These things ooze cool by virtue of their honesty, simplicity, and uncelebrated ruggedness(ie no bolt-on, bulbous, black plastic bullshittery). Cybertruck’s got nothing on that. The Hormiga is truly a beautiful machine, in that its design is anti-design. It is pure function, simple load-carrying motive force at its purest and most basic. The Cubertruck is….well, not beautiful. But then again, no modern truck is. The plot has been lost but Hormiga reminds us of the beauty we took for granted.

5 months ago

It never stopped being cool.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
5 months ago
Reply to  MrLM002

You beat me to it.

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