April 24, 2024

Didcot Gateway

Building Cars, People First

1980 Volkswagen ARVW prototype speed records and specifications

The most aerodynamic car or truck at any time to put on a Volkswagen emblem on its nose is not the latest Golf GTI or an ID-badged electrical product. It can be a forward-wondering prototype named Aerodynamic Investigation Volkswagen (ARVW) created and built in 1980 in response to the oil shortages that rocked the international economy in the seventies.

Volkswagen initiated the project for the reason that it preferred to understand far more about aerodynamics and fuel effectiveness. Starting up with a blank slate, its engineers developed an aluminum frame and topped it with a overall body built from fiberglass and carbon in get to preserve excess weight in look at. The single-seater stretched 196 inches extended, 43.three inches vast, and 33 inches tall, dimensions that designed a silhouette significantly nearer to a race car’s than to a Passat’s.

Building the ARVW as sleek as achievable required mounting the headlights driving Plexiglas handles. There ended up no mirrors — they would have designed drag — but a pair of winglets sticking out from the entrance conclusion and two large fins out again ended up added to preserve the prototype regular and on four wheels at triple-digit speeds. Its low, elongated overall body boasted a drag coefficient of .15. To increase context, the Porsche Taycan Turbo’s drag coefficient checks in at .22.

The intrepid take a look at driver sat immediately in entrance of a two.four-liter straight-6 turbodiesel engine borrowed, somewhat shockingly, from a substantial, box-like van named LT. This product was never ever bought in the United States believe of it as the Vanagon’s larger, boxier, and entrance-engined brother. The 6 despatched 177 horsepower to the included rear wheels by means of a intent-developed chain travel. Holding it interesting without the need of adding huge air scoops to both equally sides was a obstacle, but Volkswagen solved it with a intelligent system that injected h2o into the turbo’s ingestion. 

In 1980, Method A single pilot Keke Rosberg was let unfastened on the Nardò track in the ARVW. He established two globe information — like the quickest diesel car or truck at 225 mph — and eight class information right before contacting it a working day. 

Volkswagen never ever severely viewed as providing the ARVW the proverbial environmentally friendly mild for creation. It was a rolling show of modern systems built for engineers to tinker with, not a preview of a product the firm hoped to offer alongside the Golf and the Jetta in showrooms all around the globe. Volkswagen quietly set the project on hiatus during the eighties, but its spirit lived on in the 1-Liter prototype pushed by previous chairman Ferdinand Piëch concerning Wolfsburg and Hamburg in 2002. It step by step evolved into the restricted-creation XL1 launched in 2013.