Home » This Odd Little VW-Based Buggy Has Something I’ve Never Seen Before On A Car: Cold Start

This Odd Little VW-Based Buggy Has Something I’ve Never Seen Before On A Car: Cold Start

Cs Ruska 1
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One of the things I’ve always loved about the Volkswagen Beetle is the way its simple platform chassis lent itself to having all sorts of strange bodies bolted to it. The ease of this process – which resulted in a street-legal, registrable car –  birthed a massive industry of kit cars. In the Netherlands, one of these VW-based specials was made by a company called Ruska, and the car, which you see up there, was the Sprinter. It wasn’t really intended to be a dune buggy like, say, a Meyers Manx, but more of a nostalgic caricature of a sporty car from the 1930s, sort of. It was just supposed to be fun!

And, really, I think it was. This 1975 once used the 1600cc VW dual-port engine, good for about 60 horsepower, with a fiberglass body that must have made the whole car’s weight, what, 1,700 pounds, maybe? I do like the huge quilted bench seat, and the sort of ’60s show rod kind of look about the whole thing. But what I really want to point out is this detail.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

See if you can spot what I’m talking about:

Cs Ruska 2

What do you think I’m getting at here? It’s something I’m pretty certain I’ve never seen done on a production (even low-volume, like this Dutch fella) car before. Give up? It’s this:

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Cs Ruska 3

Fake doors. In decal form, even! There’s an outline of a door and a door handle, at the front, implying a suicide door, even, but they’re just stickers! That’s a fake door! Who puts fake doors on cars? There’s a fake radiator grille there, too, but we’ve seen that plenty of times before. But fake doors? Sometimes they had up to four fake doors! That’s a new one for me. Wow.

The Ruska company also, interestingly, attempted to import the amazing Beetle (or, I guess Fusca)-based Gurgel X12 from Brazil into Holland:

Cs Ruska 4

Those are really cool, sort of plastic-bodied VW Things/Type 181s, but better, somehow. Maybe the headlight fences there are what does it, or the spare tire indentation in the hood? I like them, but only about eight ever made it to the Netherlands. Or Holland. You know, where all the Dutch people live as they sit around and can’t decide what to call their country or themselves, it seems.

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Speaking of Netherlanders, the Ruska company ended up as Holland’s (yes, yes, I know that’s only 1/6th of the provinces of the Netherlands, I just like using the word) only independent automaker after continuously-variable transmission pioneers DAF were bought by Volvo!

 

 

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J Ludwik
J Ludwik
1 month ago

What about a windscreen that tapers larger upwards?

Bob Boxbody
Bob Boxbody
1 month ago

From the B&W photo, I figured you were talking about the doors, but I first thought they were real door-holes, like doggie doors. Because I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen doggie doors on a car.

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
1 month ago

A reminder that the Kaiser Traveler from 1949-1950 had a fake left rear door. It used the same body stampings as the Vagabond sedan, but the split hatchback modifications and reinforcements to the body left no room for the spare tire in the usual locations, so they sacrificed a rear door to put the spare tire in it, welding the door shut from the factory but keeping the panel gaps and door handle to keep it looking symmetrical.

This wasn’t just a decal that looks like a door, it gave every external indication of being a real door from panel gaps to a door handle, it just was not and could not be used as a door. It must’ve frustrated countless postwar Americans as they tried in vain to get into the car via the fake door, only for the owner to have to explain that that door isn’t actually a door, and you’ll have to booty-scoot your way to that seat from the passenger side.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
1 month ago

Just call them The Seven Provinces.
A door decal is new to.me and even more pointless than the “seat” decals on trials motorcycles.

MAX FRESH OFF
MAX FRESH OFF
1 month ago
Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
1 month ago

Donkervoort and Spyker would like to talk about Dutch automobile manufacturing. VDL Nedcar is too busy making Minis and BMWs but sent a tray of fermented herring.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
1 month ago

I want to call that a Dutch door, but I think I’m only half right.

Robert Swartz
Robert Swartz
1 month ago

As someone who lived in Amsterdam let me clarify, even if the Dutch don’t. The country is The Netherlands, while Holland technically refers to the two provinces of North and South Holland. But that’s where most of the people are so it gets sloppy.

But remember we’re also talking about a country whose seat of government – The Hague – is different from its capital – Amsterdam. Those wacky Dutch!

getstoneyII (probably)
getstoneyII (probably)
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert Swartz

Ah, and yet Belgium exists, and they are also kinda sorta Dutch…

Phuzz
Phuzz
1 month ago

There’s no need to be rude 🙁

getstoneyII (probably)
getstoneyII (probably)
1 month ago
Reply to  Phuzz

Huh? How is that rude?

Phuzz
Phuzz
1 month ago

Comparing anyone to the Belgians is rude by European standards.
(I’m mostly joking)

Zeppelopod
Zeppelopod
1 month ago

Must be thinking of Ostend Hoverport.

Robert Swartz
Robert Swartz
28 days ago

Heh. The Flemish part, yes. Ad it was part of The Netherlands from time to time.
Fun fact: The best French food I’ve eaten was all in Flanders. And they, not the French, gave us frites.

OldJackBurton
OldJackBurton
1 month ago
Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
1 month ago

Some open versions of the Ford Model T have a fake driver’s door stamped into the body. There’s a lever on the inside which would have been in the way of using it as a door anyway, so a door it is not. This also explains why it’s not a big deal to put something that otherwise would have been in the way on the outside:

https://www.whatitcosts.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/restored-ford-model-t-car.jpg

Last edited 1 month ago by Mike Harrell
Fjord
Fjord
1 month ago

Hey I caught the fake doors right away, most likely proving I’m not fit company for anyone outside this website.

I’m fairly certain that Holland is a province (North and South actually) and Netherlands is the country, but most of the population lives in the Hollands. So, if you refer to Netherlands as Holland you’re only offending those Dutch that live in the small provinces.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
1 month ago

There were fake doors on the Ruska in the photo? I missed that; must’ve been distracted by something else. Guess that’s why you’re running The Autopian: you looked at that picture and focused on the car.

getstoneyII (probably)
getstoneyII (probably)
1 month ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Is the Wikifeet site down for you too?

getstoneyII (probably)
getstoneyII (probably)
1 month ago

The whole Dutch identity/culture/territories/heritage/etc. has to be the most confusing “ethnicity” in all of anthropology. Just like this car, it’s all “a little bit of this, a little bit of that…let’s just throw this on it because two Flemish guys think it’d be neat.”

Last edited 1 month ago by getstoneyII (probably)
Andy Individual
Andy Individual
1 month ago

Yet they still think they are a colonial empire with all the sense of superiority that comes with it. 😉

getstoneyII (probably)
getstoneyII (probably)
1 month ago

I mean, I’m part Dutch and no matter how much I read up on which cities/towns “my people” came from, I still don’t get it. They are a very serious people.

Flyingstitch
Flyingstitch
1 month ago

Never has an actual, functioning car looked so much like it would strike up a cheerful conversation and invite you to join it on a madcap adventure.

Sid Bridge
Sid Bridge
1 month ago

That door worked perfectly fine when the Road Runner got into the car. I don’t know what everybody else’s problem is.

OCS-BN
OCS-BN
1 month ago

Look at that plywood door on the Gurgel. And those hinges. Thank you, I rather take the fake door.

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
1 month ago

That four-door almost looks like something George Barris would have built for a 1960’s sitcom. Almost. It’s not quite crazy enough though. Maybe if it was like a low-key sitcom like Father Knows Best.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rad Barchetta
IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
1 month ago

Yes! I passed the quiz this morning. I read the headline and stared hard at the lead image. “Did they paint fake doors on the side of this thing?” I said to myself. They sure did, and they’re not even convincing from a distance since you can obviously see the unbroken body work above it. It looks like a printed tuxedo t-shirt for a car.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
1 month ago

I noticed the door handle looked fake, missed that there wasn’t a door.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
1 month ago

It’s exactly how children draw doors on cars. Used to frustrate me to no end when my classmates did this in second grade.

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
1 month ago
Reply to  Vetatur Fumare

Awesome. I’d like to think that Torch would go around to the other kids’ drawings and rip into them for not including taillights.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
1 month ago

I went to school with a kid whose car drawings were nuts. Even for a kid in the 2nd grade. Everything he drew had doors that looked like the doors on a house. With door knobs.

And he ate paste.

Guido Sarducci
Guido Sarducci
1 month ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

Yummm! Thanks for the memory of the savory taste of LePages paste. Now I’m also wanting an Artgum eraser to chew on. Beats Bazooka Bubble Gum hands down.

Cool Dave
Cool Dave
1 month ago

I love it! Now I want to see one on the beach driven by someone in a swimsuit and monocle!

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
1 month ago
Reply to  Cool Dave

Bonus points if they have a top hat which they leave on while swimming.

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