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?
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!
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?
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!
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.