blog.asurroca.com my personal blog

August 5, 2008

Golf VI, From Photoshop to In-the-Flesh Photos

Filed under: business,thoughts — Tags: , , , , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 12:48 am

It must really suck to make a computer-generated guesstimate at a future car model just days before the real deal gets leaked onto the internet. If your Photoshop handiwork is pretty close to the real deal, that helps lessen the blow, but still….

Here’s what Autobild came up with, seen just a few days ago at The German Car Blog:

Golf MkVI render from Autobild

Golf MkVI render from Autobild

Cool, so they basically started off with a bodykit-wearing MkV Golf/Rabbit, added the front end of the new Scirocco, and the rear tail lights from the Touareg and called it a day. Anyway, literally the next day, I see leaked photos of the MkVI Golf in the flesh on Autoblog. And a few more photos popped up on World Car Fans the day after that.

Golf MkVI

Golf MkVI

Now, as for the design, I’m happy to see Volkswagen’s design language taking a step back from gaudy chrome to the glory days of the MkIV generation. You might remember that as the generation that started with the then-iPod of cars, the New Beetle, and basically brought Volkswagen from a near-defunct brand in the US to its former yuppie glory practically overnight. Basically, I’m already sold on the design.

June 10, 2008

Chevy Nomad (By Way of Germany)

Filed under: business,design,technology — Tags: , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 9:59 am

Photo of Chevy Nomad concept car

You might (or not) remember Chevrolet’s concept car from a few years back, the Nomad. It never made it to production, but a similar car might thanks to Murat Günak, former design boss of the Volkswagen Group.

Photograph of the 2009 Mindset Six50

Günak co-founded a new auto company, Mindset and made the Six50, whose purpose is to buck the trend toward larger, heavier cars; its name comes from its weight, 650 kg (1430 lbs). For reference, my VW New Beetle weighs in at just under 3000 lbs, and even the tiny Smart Car weighs about 1600 lbs. Add to the Six50’s light weight the fact that it’s a hybrid, and we should be seeing some serious MPGs.

Rather, Europe should be seeing some serious MPGs. With the target price of €31,000 and the weak dollar, this car’s chances of making it to the States are approximately 0.000%. Check out the details at TreeHugger and scope a few more pics of this sweet-looking hybrid.

June 1, 2008

Volkswagen Karmann Ghia (What’s In A Name?)

Filed under: business,thoughts — Tags: , , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 11:59 am

I was thinking about the name of the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia the other day. Surely, most people don’t puzzle over corporate nomenclature, but I hardly think it’s uncommon for a consummate Volkswagen enthusiast to do. The name Karmann Ghia rolls of the tip of one’s tongue in the same way as the term fahrvergnügen, but thanks to the model’s fame, folks let that side. So, what’s in a name?

The makeup of the name Volkswagen Karmann Ghia is logical enough it’s almost boring. The vehicle was the combination of the expertise of three separate companies: Volkswagen provided the Beetle-based mechanicals, German coach-builder Wilhelm Karmann GmbH created the convertible top and built the vehicle, and Italian automobile design firm Carrozzeria Ghia SpA designed it. And there you have it: The Volkswagen Karmann Ghia comes from the names of each of the three companies that had a hand in creating it.

Type 34 Karmann Ghia

The way the model came to be made by three separate companies is a story of outsourcing. In fact, for such a classic vehicle, it’s almost embarrassing, and a little funny. In short: Volkswagen needed a sports car, so they outsourced its construction to Karmann, who in turn outsourced its design to Ghia, who used a design they had lying around.

The Karmann Ghia isn’t the only model Karmann built for Volkswagen. They also built all generations of the Golf-based convertible (Cabrio in the US); both of the Karmann Ghia’s successors, the Scirocco and the Corrado; and all Beetle convertibles, including the New Beetle Convertible (the convertible top itself, not the entire vehicle). The New Beetle Convertible is the only current Volkswagen/Karmann-made model.

On a last note, it’s fortunate that the nomenclature that begot the Karman Ghia name does not include OEM suppliers. I’m not sure the Volkswagen Hella Bosche Continental makes as good a vehicle name as the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia.

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