Home » Let’s Look At Some Car Pairings From The Autostadt: Cold Start

Let’s Look At Some Car Pairings From The Autostadt: Cold Start

Cs Autostadtpair1
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A few years back, I got to go to Wolfsburg, Germany, for some Volkswagen event. While there I went to the Volkswagen Foundation museum, which is fantastic and full of obscure prototypes and all manner of wonders, and Volkswagen’s Autostadt, which is a sort of car museum/theme park right next to the huge VW factory. This morning let’s look at some cars from the Autostadt, specifically a few pairings of cars VW’s curators put together, and let’s see if we can figure out what the common threads are. I mean, why not? What the hell else are you doing?

Let’s start with that top one up there: we have, let’s see, a pretty unlikely pairing: a Trabant 601, the East German smoky wonder, and a C1 Chevy Corvette. What do these two have in common? Why are they paired up here? I think I know why: they’re both made of interesting and pioneering composite materials. The Corvette is fiberglass, at the time better known for boat manufacture, and the Trabant is made of Duroplast, a composite made of resin and old Soviet underpants that was occasionally snacked upon by goats.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Let’s look at another pair! How about this Lotus Elite Series II and a Matra Djet 6: Cs Autostadt Pair2

What do they have in common? Well, hm, I think maybe they’re just similarly-scaled European sports cars? Sort of uncompromising, pure sports cars? The Djet is mid-engined and the Elite is front-engined, so maybe showing two different approaches to the same problem? Maybe.

How about this one: a Chevy Corvair and a Porsche 911!

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This one is easy! They’re both air-cooled, rear-mounted flat-six engines!

Here’s another odd matchup, a Tatra T87 and a Volkswagen XL1:

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I’m thinking these two are sharing floorspace because they’re both sort of uncompromising aerodynamic examples, both approaching, as best they could, that ideal teardrop shape.

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Next we have these two little fellas, an Autobianchi A112 and an Austin Mini:

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I think this is another case of two similar cars solving the same basic problem. Both of these are transverse, FWD cars, though the Autobianchi has a more modern hatch compared to the Mini’s flip-down trunk.

Okay, the VW Thing there is pretty cut off, but you know what a Thing looks like. It’s matched with this Empi Imp dune buggy, something of a Meyers Manx knockoff:

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I think these are just showing the off-road, fun-car potential of the basic Type 1 VW chassis, one from the original manufacturer and intended for military use first, the other an aftermarket kit just for fun.

This next one, a Delorean DMC 12 and a Alfa Romeo Alfasud Super 1.3, I have to admit I really am not sure why these two were paired up.

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Is it just because they’re both sort of wedgy? I don’t get it.

This next one is a lot easier:

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That’s a 1938 Beetle, the first year the Beetle design was truly finalized for production, and a 2003 Beetle, in fact the very last (Ultima Series) Beetle ever made. First and last. You can see a lot of detail changes and not a lot of big-picture changes there. Pretty incredible.

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Ron888
Ron888
10 months ago

That early model beetle is gorgeous in gloss black

Autonerdery
Autonerdery
10 months ago

The little round badge on the Corvair’s decklid and the tea tray on the Porsche’s means they’re both *turbocharged* air-cooled, rear-mounted flat-sixes!

Jonathan Green
Jonathan Green
10 months ago

My in-laws are Romanian, and are well versed as to the Trabant.

My father in law told me that you’d order a car, wait forever to get it, and then when you’d get it, depending on where your car was on the train that shipped it, you could have little burns through the body from the embers coming from locomotive that hauled it from the factory.

Rusty S Trusty
Rusty S Trusty
10 months ago

A really good cold start today.

10001010
10001010
10 months ago

“You can see a lot of detail changes and not a lot of big-picture changes there.”

I think the biggest difference is the taillight size from 1938 to 2013. Geez, were they paying by the cm² back then?

Toecutter
Toecutter
10 months ago

Let’s look at another pair! How about this Lotus Elite Series II and a Matra Djet 6:

What do they have in common?

A low drag coefficient for their era. The Elite had a drag coefficient of 0.29, and the Djet a 0.27.

Here’s another odd matchup, a Tatra T87 and a Volkswagen XL1:

I’m thinking these two are sharing floorspace because they’re both sort of uncompromising aerodynamic examples, both approaching, as best they could, that ideal teardrop shape.

That was my guess upon seeing the pair. For their time period, they were among the most aerodynamic vehicles sold to the public, the Tatra T87 having a 0.36 drag coefficient in 1936(a downgrade from its predecessor, the T77A, which had a 0.21 in 1935), and the VW XL1 having a 0.19 Cd value.

Last edited 10 months ago by Toecutter
2cv8
2cv8
10 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

According to wiki:
The smooth body of the T77a gave a coefficient of aerodynamic drag of 0.212. Some sources, though, claim that this figure was based on a 1:5 scale-model test, and it has been confirmed recently that the drag coefficient for the real full-size car is 0.36.

0.212 would be pretty astounding. Also, wikipedia can be unreliable.

Chris Hoffpauir
Chris Hoffpauir
10 months ago

This next one, a Delorean DMC 12 and a Alfa Romeo Alfasud Super 1.3, I have to admit I really am not sure why these two were paired up.

I think it might be that they’re both kammbacks.

Amberturnsignalsarebetter
Amberturnsignalsarebetter
10 months ago

Both are capable of time travel, neither are capable of actual travel.

Chris Hoffpauir
Chris Hoffpauir
10 months ago

TBH, it’s always been an exercise in suspension of disbelief when I watch the Back to the Future movies. I’m OK with the whole flux capacitor making time travel possible. I’m just not convinced the Delorean could reach 88 mph that quickly and consistently without something breaking.

Chris Hoffpauir
Chris Hoffpauir
10 months ago

Yet, it’s still a pretty car to look at.

Wolfpack57
Wolfpack57
10 months ago

Maybe Doc dug up a Legend turbo kit?

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
10 months ago

Both were designed by Giugiaro. That’s the best link I can come up with.

Lokki
Lokki
10 months ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

Both cars were failures despite having early great promise, and both cars were built by workers in places where the workers had little or no history in building automobiles -Ireland for Delorean and southern Italy for Alfa – and both had the that decision forced on them by politics. Are you sure there isn’t a Hillman Imp joining in that picture somewhere?

Morgan Thomas
Morgan Thomas
10 months ago

Opposite ends of the rustability spectrum?

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
10 months ago

Both the Elite and the Djet were early pioneers of super lightweight, aerodynamically efficient, GRP constructed, modestly powered sports cars. The Elite in particular was a little over 1000lbs, which is mind boggling even today.

Chronometric
Chronometric
10 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

What is mind boggling is that someone would bolt a suspension directly to molded fiberglass. And that it would mostly work, until you hit a curb, ran through a puddle, or drove over cobblestones. I love the Elite. I fear the Elite.

Toecutter
Toecutter
10 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

I WANT the Elite.

Toecutter
Toecutter
10 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

Think of what could be done with modern technology.

I say this as an engineer: it is possible to build a sub-900 lb 2-seater streamliner EV that only needs 10 horsepower to hold 100 mph, which could be gifted with AWD and over 300 peak horsepower on tap with hub motors, and get competitive 250+ miles of freeway range on a battery of under 15 kWh. In volume, this could be an extremely inexpensive vehicle to build considering how little materials are needed. No one with the resources to build it is brave enough to try it, but damn wouldn’t such a thing be an enthusiast’s dream? The closest we’ve gotten is the McMurtry Speirling, but that’s a one-seater, is bespoke, and low volume. And damn is it beautiful.

Instead, we commoners can have whatever EV we like, as long as it’s another $60k 5,000 lb lardass of a crossover with the driving dynamics of a stuck pig wrapped in bubble packaging thrown in a shopping cart.

I eventually want to build something like the Speirling, without compromising on the aero drag reduction, looking to pedal-powered velomobiles for inspiration and using one as a base. My first proof of concept vehicle only needed 0.008-0.010 kWh/mile to cruise around town at 30-35 mph, and I live in a hilly area. 150-200 miles range, operating in traffic, off of a tiny 1.5 kWh battery.

Toecutter
Toecutter
10 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

Both the Djet and Elite were also able to get near 40 miles per gallon in daily use as a result of that low mass and low drag, using engines that were roughly half as thermally efficient as those used in modern automobiles.

Olaf Hart
Olaf Hart
10 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

Both are mid engined. (The Elite’s engine is aft of the front axle.)
I had seen pictures but had no idea how jewel-like the are until I stood beside one.

Chronometric
Chronometric
10 months ago

I just ordered a POORISH decal for the back of my Corvair so that pairing was spot on. These photos made my morning. Thank you.

https://www.blipshift.com/products/poorish-decal

ExAutoJourno
ExAutoJourno
10 months ago

These “pairings” represent the basis for my fantasy Fabulous Automotive Collection being led two-by-two to the Lavish Display Space — complete with giant access door so I could take ’em all out for drives.

Well, except for the DeLorean and Alfasud, neither of which ever made my wishlist.

But the rest? Yummy!

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
10 months ago

Delorean and Alfasud were both Giugiaro designs. Maybe that’s what they were after.

Soso Tsundere
Soso Tsundere
10 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

shucks, you beat me to it while I was trying to work in a cocaine joke

Mrbrown89
Mrbrown89
10 months ago

I remember riding as a kid with my mom in a beetle taxi in Mexico city, where the passenger seat was out so you could get in and out fast. With crime raising, they prohibited 2 doors taxis and that’s what basically killed the beetle in Mexico.

Flyingstitch
Flyingstitch
10 months ago

…a composite made of resin and old Soviet underpants…

Reading Torch, you just never know when the snort is coming.

Alec Rosenbaum
Alec Rosenbaum
10 months ago
Reply to  Flyingstitch

I curiously looked up Duraplast (actually Duroplast). Torch’s description is not far off!

Toecutter
Toecutter
10 months ago
Reply to  Flyingstitch

Don’t let the Underpants Gnomes find it then.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
10 months ago

Corvettes were also occasionally feasted upon by Goats in the ‘60s.

Chris Hoffpauir
Chris Hoffpauir
10 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

While it’s a myth that goats will eat tin cans (they eat the labels), they will eat just about anything else.

This attribute makes goats the only realistic way to get rid of kudzu. You can’t mow it or use a weedeater. The vines just wrap around the machines’ respective shafts and choke out the engines. A small herd of goats can clear an acre of kudzu in a matter of hours. Leave them out there a couple of days and it’ll be stripped to bare earth.

Andrew Gessel
Andrew Gessel
10 months ago

In my experience with goats though the undesirable plant has to be the last option for them to eat. Goats will eat anything but only if they have to. Shetland sheep, on the other hand, willingly eat anything. We had a big thistle problem on our property a few years ago with a huge (>100sqft) patch of thistles. The Shetlands literally laid in it while eating it.

Chris Hoffpauir
Chris Hoffpauir
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Gessel

Ruminants Rock

ES
ES
10 months ago

A goat will kill for tobacco. or rip through a shirt/jacket, plough through a screen door, probably tap dance and sing the Marseillaise.

Chris with bad opinions
Chris with bad opinions
10 months ago
Reply to  ES

I hear they’re crazy for Tomacco as well.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
10 months ago
Reply to  ES

I had a roommate like that, once.

Toecutter
Toecutter
10 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

The Baphomet loves both Trabants and Corvettes.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
10 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Is that you Alister?

Toecutter
Toecutter
10 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus
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